Story Bridge Brisbane was one of the first locations to introduce this very Australian of must do event - bridge climbing.
© Cyron Ray Macey | Flickr - Story Bridge Panorama
Being so far from the world's major population centers, Australia and New Zealand have had to do some original, if not extreme things to draw visitors. One of their recent innovations to the world's travel experience is bridge climbing.
I think this began in Australia, certainly that's where it's most developed. Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane all give you the opportunity to view the city from the top of their iconic bridges.
In the case of Brisbane, the bridge is the Story Bridge, named for one of Brisbane's colorful past civic leaders.
Before you start your bridge walk, you'll get some initial training and will be kitted up in an all-encompassing suit. This is to stop stuff falling hundreds of feet onto passers-by below. You then climb the maintenance stairs to the top of the arches.
© Tom Bennett| Flickr - Story Bridge Climb
© Michael Coghlan | Flickr - Maintenance Stairs Story Bridge
The steps have a hand rail and a rail to which the walkers clip their body harness. Losing the occasional visitor would be bad for business! (Just kidding...)
The Story Bridge Brisbane climb is made in easy stages to allow the different levels of climber to keep up.
It makes sense because on any given climb, climbers range from out-of-shape teens to their game, and grizzled, grandparents. It also means the guide can give the spiel in manageable chunks rather than one big dollop at the top.
The pathway you are walking on, is made of perforated grating, that gives a clear view of the dizzying drop below your feet. The photo on the right, shows a group of walkers that has almost arrived at the peak. It gives a good idea of how high the peak is!
The climbers look very small from here. This climb certainly isn't for those who suffer from vertigo.
If just watching people clamber around on the top of tall buildings in the movies makes you queasy, this isn't for you. For everyone else, bridge walking is a fantastic way to spend your vacation time.
The photo below shows climbers at the top of the first peak. This group is just leaving the 'summit', which is where the walkers stop to have their photos taken.
While stopped they learn more about the city, which is also a good way of keeping the minds of those of a nervous disposition on something other than the height they're at.
And, when you get down, what better way to celebrate than with a drink in the Story Bridge Hotel to restore the nerves. The hotel also has fine examples of pioneer-days Australians' love of fancy woodwork around its eaves, porches and balconies, as you can see in this photo.
For the latest prices and other useful information about climbs, visit this website, Story Bridge Climb.