The charismatic Harbour Bridge, northeast of Circular Quay, has straddled the channel dividing North and South Sydney since 1932; today, it makes the view from Circular Quay complete. The largest arch bridge in the world when it was built, its construction costs weren’t paid off until 1988. There’s still a toll to drive across, payable only when heading south; you can walk or cycle it for free. Pedestrians should head up the steps to the bridge from Cumberland Street, opposite the Glenmore Hotel in The Rocks, and walk along the eastern side for fabulous views of the harbour and Opera House (cyclists keep to the western side).
The bridge demands full-time maintenance, and is protected from rust by continuous painting in trademark steel-grey. Comedian Paul Hogan, of Crocodile Dundee fame, worked as a rigger on “the coathanger” before being rescued by a New Faces talent quest in the 1970s. To check out Hogan’s vista, you can follow a rigger’s route and climb the bridge with a dozen other jumpsuit-clad go-getters. If you can’t stomach (or afford) the climb, there’s a lookout point actually inside the bridge’s southeastern pylon where, as well as gazing out across the harbour, you can study a photo exhibition on the bridge’s history.