Road Trip To Sea Cliff Bridge
The destination was Sea Cliff Bridge, about a 1-2 hour drive south of Sydney. The plan was to wake up before the first morning light, hike up the side of the steep cliff face to a somewhat hidden spot, and capture the sun rising over the Pacific Ocean. Haylee had been to this spot months prior and after being enamoured by what she had captured, I had a huge desire to see it with my own eyes.
I had collected a bunch of screenshots from Instagram that I wanted to try and replicate with my own twist and like all of our road trips, Haylee and I had been planning this particular one for a while now. So when Saturday night finally came, we set our alarms and made sure we had an early night as this was going to be one big adventure, and one early wake up call.
I must admit, when my alarm went off at 3:00AM, I did not want to leave the comfort of my bed but my car was washed, my new Langly bag with my camera gear and new Garage Welt merch was packed (BTW how rad is that bayside blue GTR skate deck!?) and Haylee was on her way to mine.
She arrived with good company (her puppy named Bearson) and we exchanged sleepy hello's then ventured off onto the empty streets of Sydney. No one was on the road which meant the trip down south was rather quick and quite enjoyable, despite the lack of sleep.
We then arrived at Sea Cliff Bridge and the moment we stepped out of our warm cars, we discovered just how cold and windy it was. It was so unbearable that I raced back into my car and piled on the layers of clothes to keep warm. I handed Haylee my spare wind-breaker as we waited for her friend Hayden to arrive.
Once Hayden had arrived we hopped out of our cars, (Bearson included) and braced the wind as we headed towards the cliff. It was pitch black so we used the lights from our phones to guide us up onto the train tracks and through the hidden path up to the secret spot.
With my hair in my face and a very sniffly nose, we arrived at the spot and began to set up our tripods. Unfortunately for me I somehow lost one of the handles on my tripod which meant it was of no use :( By this time it was still pitch black and all that you could hear were the waves crashing violently against the cliff face and the odd car passing by.
My goal for the shoot was to take a few long exposures in attempt to capture some light trails from the cars, only problem was I needed my tripod! Thankfully Hayden came to the rescue and was kind enough to lend me his. I had never shot anything like this before but had always wanted to, so after a few tips from both Haylee and Hayden, I got to work...
Admittedly I had no idea what I was doing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but I am pretty happy with how my shots turned out.
After an hour or so had passed, we made friends with 2 other automotive photographers who were at the same spot we were at. After chatting and discovering that they knew my car, the sun had finally risen above the horizon, revealing our surroundings. I could finally see just how incredible the snake-shaped bridge over the coastal waters was. I had driven and walked across the bridge many times over the past few years, but I guess I never really appreciated or admired it until now. It is crazy to think that this particular bridge costed a whopping $52 million to build and is 1 of only 7 off-shore parallel to coast bridges in the world!
And it is here that you really get to see how epic the bridge is!
Just driving across this incredible bridge is so exhilarating. To one side you have the endless Pacific Ocean and to the other you have the ancient layers of the edge of the cliff. It hugs the coast between the high battlements of the Illawarra Escarpment, looming like the great wall of a lost world, and the vastness of the sea, an ocean view so wide you can see the curve of the Earth. I could drive across this bridge every day and never get tired of the view.
After doing a few drive bys along the bridge, we went down to another spot I had never been before - under the bridge! It was here that you could see just how incredibly engineered this bridge is. It truly is one of Australia's most photogenic experiences!
After that we ventured down the north side of the bridge, before heading home through the Royal National Park. By this time it was 11AM and we were absolutely wrecked.
Even though I had seen this bridge photographed and posted on social media often, what was fascinating about this road trip was that though I knew somewhat to expect, seeing the bridge and surrounding landscape with my own eyes and from a different perspective, was far more powerful than any photo that I have seen and far more beautiful than I envisioned it would be. All this led me to the realisation that the popularity of a place should never deter me, or any of us, from going and experiencing such places for ourselves. After all, just because I have seen a place online or in a publication does not mean that I have truly experienced it, with my own eyes and ears.