Why The Pylon Lookout Is Way Better Than Climbing The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Iconic Coat Hanger, The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a spectacular iconic landmark that sits perched above the worlds largest harbour, Port Jackson, that overlooks the equally iconic Sydney Opera House. It’s a gorgeous scene, and there’s no better way to see the world-renowned city of Sydney than from the top the coat hangers unmistakable arches. Or is there?

Although climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a bucket-list item for many of those who venture to Sydney, you might recoil in horror when you learn of the price tag, especially if you’re on a budget or have a family in tow. (It’s over AUD 250)

Sydney Harbour Bridge
The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge

Wait, There’s An Alternative? Say Hello To The Pylon Lookout

Meanwhile, the Pylon Tower that provides support for the bridge is just sitting there twiddling its thumbs going dum de dum dum dum getting none of the prestige. It’s not well advertised because tourism always wants you to spend the big bucks, but it’s not something to disregard. Here are five reasons why the Pylon Lookout is way better than climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge
You can see incredible views from the South East Pylon Tower (left) if climbing the bridge is too expensive.

2. Similar Breathtaking Views

First up, the views. In no way is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb not magnificent. It provides epic, 360-degree views from both sides of the bridge, allowing you to see the expanse of the worlds most famous harbour to the east and the west. It’s glorious, but so are the views from the Pylon Lookout.

While there might not be 360-degree uninterrupted views, there is a spectacular sweeping panoramic view of the east side of Port Jackson, the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, and close-up views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge itself and the highway that crosses it. It’s a mightily impressive view for a fraction of the price.

Views From The Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout
The Rocks and Circular Quay
Views From The Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout
Views north
The Sydney Opera House
Not having 360 degree views is not always a disadvantage. (Climbers on the bridge)

2. Acrophobia? Climacophobia?

In some shape or form, you’re going to want to experience the Sydney Harbour Bridge while you’re in Sydney. If you were considering the climb, but the idea of scaling to those heights with a harness and a safety rope gets you quivering, the Pylon Lookout is for you!

Instead of ascending the bridge with a few bars around you that you won’t fall through, but fear you will, the Pylon Lookout takes you up through the supporting tower and feels a lot safer for those who are acrophobic. Just feels like walking up to a balcony.

There are also a lot fewer stairs on the inside climb than the outside climb up the bridge. Let’s face it, no one but fitness junkies like stairs, especially when they seem like they go on for an eternity. The Pylon Lookout‘s 200 steps may seem like a lot, but when compared to the Bridge Climb‘s 1000+, yeah, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. The former is definitely a lot easier on the knee caps.

Views From The Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout
People who are scared of heights might not like climbing the Bridge.

3. Photograph every square inch of the city.

When hitting up the heights of anything that doesn’t have four walls and requires a harness, cameras are usually a big no-no. Companies don’t want to risk you potentially dropping your gear and giving someone an unexpected knock on the noggin’. 

Sure they’ll take a few shots of you and your party from the glorious summit and some of the stunning landscape surrounding you, but for the photographic enthusiast, what about all the little things your eyes see that you want to capture forever. Things like the way the road creates leading lines to the skyscrapers or close-ups of the Opera House, or the beams that make up the Harbour Bridge your standing on might be things you want to capture. The Pylon Lookout allows you to capture anything and everything to your hearts content.

Drink in the incredible Sydney skyline for as long as you like at the Pylon Lookout
Views From The Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout
Views to the north

Maybe you want to be a bit sillier (but not more dangerous) with your selfies and make humourous faces or have a mix of serious and funny photos. You can be more relaxed with your pictures and not hold up the tour guide whose like “Yo, I ain’t got time for this!”. 

Not only are they more fun to back at, but they are also free. Cha-ching. You’re still able to grab some souvenirs from the Pylon Tower, but without the option of photos, you’re not tempted to pay inflated tourist prices for a picture or a couple of pictures to commemorate your Sydney Harbour Bridge adventure.

4. Stay As Long As You Wish

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb allows you to select from four different times of day to climb the famous arches, whereas the Pylon Lookout is only open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. 

While some of the most magnificent times of day to view landscapes is at sunrise and sunset, and cities are always spectacular at night, you’re spending much of your tour ascending the bridge. There’s less time to absorb the breathtaking scenery before you have to descend.

The Pylon Lookout, on the other hand, has no time limits. You can stay there until your heart’s content, admiring the view and drinking in all the scenery till closing time should you wish. There’s certainly no rush, and with a city as chaotic and on the go as Sydney is, it’s also nice to slow down and enjoy the city for everything is it rather than watching it go by in a few minutes.

Views From The Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout
Looking north

5. Less Damage To Your Wallet.

The most notable difference between viewing the landscape from Pylon Lookout and taking a tour to scale the Sydney Harbour Bridge is also the one to consider the most: the price tag. 

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb will put a big dent in your wallet at over AUD 200p/p on then some, depending on the tour you get. That’s great if your packing or it’s for a special occasion. It’s a magnificent way to experience this stunning harbour city.

But if you’re on a budget, or travelling with a crew and want your money to go further, the Pylon Lookout is a fantastic alternative that will cost you less than two blue bills per person (AUD20). Ca-ching!


Pylon LookoutSydney Harbour Bridge Climb
CostUnder $20.Over $200.
ViewsSimilar views but obstructed by bridge to the north & west.Uninterrupted 360 degree views.
Walk200 stairs inside the Pylon Tower
1000+ steps outside on the beams.
Harnessed walk.
DurationAs long as you wish until closing time.Up to 3.5 hours.
CamerasTake your own and photograph the heck out of the landscapeCan buy some photos at the end.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an incredible way to see the stunning world-class city of Sydney, but for those on a budget, or who are with family or shouting friends, it ends up putting a big dent in the credit card. Meanwhile, the little advertised, low cost supporting tower challenges the iconic coat hanger with views similarily as epic, sweeping and spectacular, making the Pylon Lookout a way better and more affordable adventure than climbing the expensive Sydney Harbour Bridge.

More Sydney:

Sydney Gallery.

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