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Sydney Harbour Bridge offers tourists an unusual birds' eye view


Sydney's Harbour Bridge invites tourists to climb to the top to get an amazing view.


Courtesy of BridgeClimb Sydney

Next time you visit Sydney, you might put the Sydney Harbour Bridge on your list of places to see. 

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

And perhaps you don't want to just see it, you want to climb it. Climb leader Phil Roach is among the guides who will take you to the top of what he, while standing atop the bridge, describes as "the most unusual place" — something spectacular, marvelous and even historic.

"I'm looking out across our magnificent city as it wakes up and heads to work. What a beautiful morning!" he says. "I climb the bridge four days a week, sometimes three times a day. I never get nervous. I suppose I'm blessed in that way."

Roach may feel so stable because he has a a long history of climbing. As a kid, he climbed to the top of the highest trees; he says he's always been adventurous.

That should be comforting to the tourists who choose to climb to the top of the bridge.

"They're guided by a very experienced team to achieve their goal of standing atop the bridge. You are standing on an exposed steel girder, suspended in space, and you're looking out across the most beautiful city vista anywhere in the world," he says.

People have all sorts of reactions when they finally reach the top, Roach says.

"Climbing up's a bit of a thighbuster, so generally everybody wants to cheer and throw their arms up in the air, and there's a lot of cheering, a few high fives," he says. "Some people have very emotional reactions to the view, in fact, people break down in tears, reflecting on their own personal achievements. It really is a heroic feeling  to see the sun rise out of the Pacific Ocean, to see all of that light spilling out of the harbor, lighting up the sails of the Opera House. It's just magnificent. You feel like you're the king of the world."

Nature does its part to make the climber appreciate the wonder, as well.

"On our climb to the summit this morning, we saw a magnificent flock of white sulphur-crested cockadoos," Roach says. "They're a very distinctive, large Australian parrot. They were ducking and cartwheeling and weaving in among all of the steel girders up on the bridge."

There are other birds who make a home in and around the bridge, including two resident ravens.

"They're very affectionate, and we know them quite well," Roach says. "We've nicknamed them Russell and Sheryl Crow. They have a little nest on the bridge," he says.

Congratulations to our "Geo Quiz"/World Text game players who came up with the correct answer: the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Bella in Scottsdale, Ariz., Charles in Santa Monica, Calif., Brannon in Jefferson, W.Va.

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    The way up to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge


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    Stong, silicone steel girders and 6 million rivets form the skeleton of the Sydney Harbour Bridge


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    A view of Sydney Harbour


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    An Australian cockatoo nests among the bridge girders


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    A night climb


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    Sydney Harbour Bridge. Don't look down!


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    The bridge at dusk


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