Unlike Auckland, you can actually walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge – and it’s one heck of a nice walk actually. But Sydney aren’t just satisfied with having proper pedestrian and cycle paths across the harbour, they actually celebrate how nice their bridge is by relatively frequently closing it off to traffic and holding special events on it. I know that the marathon at the Olympic Games started on the harbour bridge, while a couple of years ago there was a Formula 1 car driven across there with much of the bridge closed off for people to watch it. Sydney have done it again today, with what they have called “Breakfast on the Bridge”. Here’s some more information from the NZ Herald:

SYDNEY – Thousands of people ate breakfast on the Sydney Harbour Bridge yesterday as the iconic steel span was transformed into a grassy picnic ground.

Usually bustling with traffic, the bridge was covered by lawn laid specially for the morning event. It was attended by 6000 lucky picnickers chosen in a ballot to enjoy food, music and the majestic view.

“It’s amazing to see the bridge in this perspective,” Sydney resident Don Fuchs said as he strolled across.

“Usually you sit in the car, you cross it, and that’s it,” he said.

Picnickers brought hampers full of fruit and croissants, while organisers handed out freshly baked bread, jams, apples and yoghurt. A pianist played honky-tonk music while grazing cows added a rustic touch.

New South Wales state Premier Nathan Rees said the tourism promotion would likely become an annual event.

And some photos of the event:sydney1

Preparation for the event involved covering the bridge with grass – how damn cool is that?






sydney7The fact that I can’t ever imagine Auckland ever doing something similar (NZTA’s idea of celebrating our Harbour Bridge’s 50th birthday was to do… ummm.. well, nothing) is an indictment on NZTA and our city in general. No wonder so many New Zealanders move to Australia, they’re decades ahead of us in their realisation that it’s important for people to enjoy the cities they live in.

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  1. That is awsome, the look on everyones faces!

    But could you imagine even suggesting such a thing in Auckland, you’d get lynched.

  2. they’re decades ahead of us in their realisation that it’s important for people to enjoy the cities they live in.

    Not necessarily. Wellington is pretty good in this regard, and there are plenty of counter-examples in Australia. Auckland could do a lot better, however.

  3. I still can’t believe that NZTA didn’t do anything for the 50th anniversary of our harbour bridge being built.

    George, yes it’s hard to believe that Wellington has got so many things right yet Auckland has got so many things wrong. Are they really both in the same country?

  4. I walked across the harbour bridge back in May and actually the cars on the other side of the motorway were not too annoying. I think the wind, or rain, might be a bigger problem.

    We certainly don’t seem to have much of a ‘can do’ attitude about this kind of thing though.

  5. Admin: In fact the law would need to be changed to allow it. Besides diverting traffic (Sydney Harbour Tunnel helps as pointed out) perhaps the biggest problem is the slope, Sydney Harbour Bridge is relatively gentle with its incline, AHB is a climb both sides, and quite a bit longer.

  6. Obviously it helps that Sydney has a tunnel, however I am sure that if we cut the harbour bridge down to 4 lanes and put the speed limit at 50 kph it would still be prettty pleasant having a picnic on the other 4 lanes.

    Regarding the slope, it is overrated as a problem. There were people in wheelchairs who crossed over the bridge back in May.

  7. Is this what Bill English and Don Brash are talking about when catching up to Australia?

    I would hate to do this because Australia has done it, I would like to think we could come up with other ways of using the bridge which represent New Zealand culture and attitude. I love markets and think that would be awsume to have a market day as a way of celebrating the AHB.

    I guess your right Bill and Don, we have a long way to go before we can get to this kind of thinking!

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