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"The Old Coat Hanger" is the affectionate term that most Australians use when referring to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Its impressive span of steel made it the most famous landmark in Sydney before the Opera House was built.

Construction of the bridge began in 1923 and was completed in 1932. The structure contains six million steel rivets and contains 485,000 square meters of steel, which translates to about 53,000 tons of steel. It is one of the longest one-bow bridges in the world--504 meters long--just 66 cm shorter than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

The bridge spans the Sydney Harbour at one of its narrowest points, running from Dawe's Point near Circular Quay to Milson's Point to the north. Maintenance of the bridge is a gargantuan task that requires almost constant painting and re-painting.

The eastern pylon of the bridge contains the Harbour Bridge Museum and pylon lookout. There are two hundred steps that lead up to one of the most impressive views of the harbour found in the city. Many people are daunted by the number of steps involved, but you get a better understanding of the making of the bridge by climbing these steps.

You can enter the pylon from the bridge's pedestrian walk, which is accessed from Cumberland Street in The Rocks. Another way to reach the pylon is near Milson's Point Station on the North Shore. It's a long climb but well worth the information and the view.

Cars, joggers, trains, and cyclists all make use of the bridge. There is a cycle way on the west side of the bridge, and the pedestrian walk is located on the east side. If you are crossing the bridge by train or car, don't expect to see much of the view. The best way to see the bridge and harbor is by taking the pedestrian walk way.

It is now possible for visitors to actually climb the bridge. This is called the Bridge Walk. It is a really unique experience to stand at the top of this imposing structure with a 360-degree panoramic view. This is not a task for the faint of heart. Climbers are led over the catwalk and pylon, then up over the arch of the bridge across ladders, catwalks, and steep arches.

When visiting Sydney, this is a site one must see, either from the ground or the pylon; or for the very brave, go to the summit of the bridge, which rises 134 meters above sea level.