Gladesville Bridge - Can you walk over it?

History of the Gladesville Bridge

Gracefully rising over the picturesque Parramatta River, Gladesville Bridge first opened on 2nd October 1964 by Her Royal Highness, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. Upon its opening, it was the longest span concrete bridge in the world measuring 305 metres (1,000 feet) and held this title until 1980 where it was superseded by Croatia’s 416 metre span Krk Bridge.

The new Gladesville Bridge took five years to complete and replaced the 1881 two-lane iron truss bridge which was the only road crossing over Parramatta River until 1932 when the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened. Linking the suburbs of Drummoyne on the southern bank of the Parramatta River and Gladesville on the northern bank, it remains an important crossing for road traffic.

Designed by Tony Gee, a young British engineer who worked for G. Maunsell and Partners in London, the construction of Gladesville Bridge used many innovative methods and materials, setting a new standard for bridge design. Rather than using the same steel bridge technology used for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Gladesville Bridge used a pre-stressed concrete design with precast segments and was one of the first bridges designed using a computer.

Originally designed with six lanes, increased traffic meant the bridge was been widened to seven lanes to cater for this extra road traffic. Today, it is a popular crossing for those working in suburbs such as Ryde, Lane Cove, Chatswood and Macquarie Park.

Gladesville Bridge

View of Gladesville Bridge from Huntleys Point

Can you walk across the Gladesville Bridge?

As well as a popular crossing for road traffic, the Gladesville Bridge is frequently used by walkers, runners and cyclists, with pedestrian and bicycle access on both sides. However, I recommend walking on the side closest to Sydney Opera House, not only for the iconic views of Sydney Harbour, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but also because this side has a wider footpath. The other side is extremely narrow and although you can walk single file, bicycles are not recommended. It takes approximately 10 minutes to walk across the Gladesville Bridge from Drummoyne to Huntleys Point. However, it is worthwhile stopping at the top (41 metres high) for panoramic views of the harbour and to read the plaque about its construction. As this bridge is busy with walkers and cyclists, it is best to keep single file as much as possible to be considerate to other passing walkers or cyclists. In Drummoyne, you can enter the Gladesville Bridge from Victoria Road just by Cambridge Road, whilst in Gladesville you can enter via Huntleys Point Road walking through a tunnel directly underneath the bridge then turning right to follow the footpath round.

Cyclist along gladesville bridge

Gladesville Bridge plaque

What can you see from Gladesville Bridge?

There’s always something happening on the Parramatta River and along the harbour. Watch the RiverCat journey up the Parramatta River stopping along the nearby wharves including Drummoyne, Huntleys Point, Chiswick and Abbotsford. You can also admire the other boat traffic including magnificent yachts, speed boats and fishing boats as well as kayakers and even paddle boarders. Of course, there’s the million-dollar homes with large frontages, sparkling swimming pools and private marinas, whilst observe the iconic Sydney skyline and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance.

View from gladesville bridge

View over chiswick from gladesville bridge walk

When to walk over the Gladesville Bridge?

One of the best times to walk over the Gladesville Bridge is early in the morning as the sun is just rising – the sunrises can often be spectacular from here. Likewise, time your walk to the end of the day to watch the sunset – this is best observed from the side closest to Parramatta as the sun sets in the west. Of course, any time is a beautiful time to admire the harbour views. In the evenings on special nights you might even see event fireworks like for New Year’s Eve or the iconic Vivid light show.

Popular walks including the Gladesville Bridge

There are a number of Sydney walks that you can tie in with the Gladesville Bridge within Canada Bay and Hunters Hill council areas. These include the following:

Drummoyne Ferry Wharf to Woolwich Wharf

Approx. 6-8km including Clarkes Point and Woolwich Dock

Enjoy a day out on the water with the family and combine it with panoramic harbour views from above as you cross two bridges during this route. From Drummoyne Wharf, walk up Wolseley Street and turn right to walk along Victoria Road and cross the Gladesville Bridge and then the Tarban Creek Bridge. At Church Street, turn right before joining Alexandra Street. Turn right at Ferry Street then left at Woolwich Road.

Feel free to stop in at the Woolwich Pier Hotel for a fabulous pub grub and beer on tap before exploring Clarkes Point and Woolwich Dock, a former dry dock and shipyard. Finish your route by walking along Gale Street and The Point Road, before turning right on Valentia Street to arrive at Woolwich Wharf to take the ferry back to Circular Quay.

Exploring the Tarban Creek and Riverglade Reserve

Approx. 7km loop route from Gladesville Bridge

Just by the Tarban Creek Bridge is the expansive Riverglade Reserve. This popular park has plenty of room for children to play, kick a ball and fly a kite on a windy day. Follow the loop track around the park or continue following the Tarban Creek to explore the Tarban Creek Reserve. Here you will spot bats snoozing upside down in the trees along with a plethora of other Australian birdlife and wildlife.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic which can be enjoyed at one of the picnic tables or under a shady tree. There is parking nearby along Waruda Place and Mortimer Lewis Drive if you preferred to drive and park here.

Crossing three bridges

Approx 3km one way – 6km loop

Extend your walk by crossing all three bridges, the Gladesville Bridge, Tarban Creek Bridge and Fig Tree Bridge. These three bridges make up the Seven Bridges Walk, a total circuit of 28km if you’re feeling energetic. The other four bridges during this circuit include Sydney Harbour Bridge, Pyrmont Bridge, Anzac Bridge and Iron Cove Bridge. The 7 Bridges Walk is also an annual sponsored walk run by the Cancer Council each year if you'd like to be involved.

Alternatively, for a shorter walk, continue on towards Lane Cove or follow the Loop Road by the Lane Cove River and enjoy a shady picnic at Cunninghams Reach before walking back.

Drummoyne to Lane Cove via the Great North Walk and Lane Cove Valley Walk

Approx. 9km one way

Complete a section of the 260km Great North Walk that includes parkland, bushwalk and boardwalk. Start at Drummoyne and cross the iconic Gladesville Bridge and Tarban Creek Bridge. Just before the Fig Tree Bridge follow the signs for The Great North Walk to lead you through Joubert Street Reserve. Walk along Martin Street and turn right onto Bonnefin Road, before turning right onto Ryde Road and take the next right onto Boronia Avenue. Pass the Boronia Park South Playground and continue straight to the end to join the great North Walk / Lane Cove Valley Walk.

Follow this route which will lead you through bushland, a forest of trees and along boardwalk above lush mangroves. Follow the Lane Cove River and cross Buffalo Creek by walking along the Lane Cove Mangrove Walkway before following the Sugarloaf Point Trail and rejoining the Lane Cove Valley Walk / Great North Walk. This will lead you to a playing field. Cross the footbridge over the Lane Cove River to arrive at Epping Road where there are bus services back towards the city. Bus services include 258, 286, 287, 288, 290, 291 and 294.

Exploring Drummoyne

Approx. 4km one way

Drummoyne is a picturesque suburb home to the iconic Drummoyne Oval, overlooking beautiful Drummoyne Bay. Arrive at the weekend and you might be lucky to see a rugby or cricket match being played.

Take a leisurely stroll along Drummoyne Bay, with a dedicated path for walkers and cyclists. Stop by Taplin Park Playground and let your children play on the swings and slides or fly a kite in the large playing field. You can also sit on one of the benches and watch the boats going out at the Five Dock Bay Boat Ramp just by the park.

Follow the path around The Esplanade towards Raymond Reserve and walk up the steps to Victoria Place to reach Howley Park for spectacular views over the Parramatta River, Chiswick, Huntleys Point and the Gladesville Bridge.

You can reach Drummoyne by ferry or take one of the many buses from the city including M50, M52, 501, 504, 505, 506, 507, 515, 518 and 520.

Yearning for more?

Don't forget to check out nearby Iron Cove Bridge, connecting the suburbs of Rozelle and Drummoyne.