#GWDownUnder Day 12: Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

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Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb: Photo Gallery

G'day, mates!

Sadly today was the final full day of our Australian tour, but we definitely went out on top, literally and figuratively!

This morning we truly got the experience of a lifetime as we embarked on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, a 1,332-step three-and-a-half hour journey through and over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge, which carries railroad, vehicular and bicycle traffic, overlooks the Sydney Opera House is the tallest steel arch bridge in the world as it measures 134 meters (440 feet) from top to water level.

Once we were provided with outdoor weather suits to wear, we were broken up into groups of 11 and given an orientation and instruction on what to expect once we reached the bridge. We also had the chance to practice ascending and descending the ladders prior to entering the archway.

Secured to the bridge by a wire lifeline we walked on catwalks until we reached the pylon where we then ascended four ladders to the start of the upper arch. Step by step we continued along the bridge's outer arch on the Sydney Opera House side until we reached the top where we were able to soak in the breathtaking views. Following a team cheer and celebratory photo session, we then crossed the spine of the bridge and began our descent on the Darling Harbour side. As we scaled the bridge our guide provided interesting facts about the bridge and the city of Sydney, in addition to pointing out notable landmarks along the way.

"I thought today was amazing. As soon as we got up and could see the Sydney Opera House I got a little teary-eyed because it was so incredible. This was an awesome experience and is probably one of the most amazing things I have ever done." - Mackenzie Jones, Junior

Following an afternoon of shopping and exploring, the team gathered at Stacks Taverna for our final Aussie dinner where we grilled our own steaks and enjoyed chips and churros.

We say farewell to Australia tomorrow having accomplished many once in a lifetime experiences and we'll take home incredible memories that we cannot wait to share. Our two-week Australian tour has been unbelievable and we are looking forward to returning to the field closer than ever for a successful 2014 season!

"This trip was so much fun and we are so lucky to have had all of the opportunities that we did. We definitely became closer as a team because even though we are always together in D.C., traveling outside of the country and relying on one another is a unique experience. I am so grateful and happy to have accomplished all of these things with my teammates." - Gabbi Hull, Sophomore

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