Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge

Tuesday August 16, 2007
Actually Wednesday August 17, 2007 (Day 1)

Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge

After some 7,500 miles in 15 hours the mighty 747-400 touched down very gently in Sydney, Australia at 7:45 AM. It was nice to gather our things and walk off the aircraft. Bags all made it so we where happy to find our way to the first meeting point where a van driver drove us to the hotel named "Alice" in downtown Sydney. I think traveling all night to faraway places is a very good approach as we basically left last night at 11:30 PM from LAX and arrived early morning in Sydney (although we lost a entire day when we crossed over the International dateline).

We where close to the downtown area of Sydney so we walked around, took pictures and decided on our plan for the day. It was an it difficult to remember to look right and a street corner before crossing as cares are coming towards us on the left side of the road. Diana had the book of events which we had prearranged with the tour company/travel agency to do.

We toured the Sydney Opera House and listened to the methods used in designing and building the structure. It was over budget and took much longer that was originally planned. Sydney Opera House, a good Project Manager (my field of study) may have helped the situation. We then literally ran around the bay and end up and the entrance to the "Bridge Climb" Basically we got dressed in safety equipment and climb the Harbor Bridge that extends over the Sydney bay. They talk of safety and have everyone dress in coveralls and have a hat attached with clips to your jacket, gloves attached the same way and a harness attached to a steel locking device that attaches to a cable that runs along the side the walkway. When you first walk out on the super structure of the bridge you look down from a catwalk maybe 100 feet (35 meters, sorry). During the climb we climbed up from under the bridge past the road surface and up onto the arch of the bridge. The guide pointed out various site seeing thing as we climbed. The arch span is 300 m (1,650 feet) and the weight of the steel arch is 39,000 tons. The arch's summit is 134 m (440 feet) above mean sea level, though it can increase by as much as 180 mm (7 in) on hot days as the result of steel expanding in heat. Two large metal hinges at the base of the bridge accommodate these expansions and contractions and thereby prevent the arch from being damaged.

Once at the very top of the arch we paused and pictures where taken (check the picture link below). It was windy that day and very cold and we had added the windbreaker to our dress clothes as we climbed. It was very cold and I was happy to finish the climb by walking across the road way (134 meters-44 stories above sea level) and then proceeded down the other arch back to bridge level. We then walked back to the hotel which was a good 2 km away....