Walking over the Iron Cove Bridge Sydney
Where is the Iron Cove Bridge?
Linking the Sydney suburbs of Drummoyne and Rozelle, this heritage listed bridge spans the Parramatta River and is an important connection to Sydney CBD with the busy Victoria Road running across it. This iconic bridge is close to the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet shopping centre, popular with locals and tourists seeking designer brands at low prices as well as the 7km picturesque Bay Run that passes along the newer Iron Cove Bridge. You can find a number of pleasant park areas nearby including Brett Park, Bridge Street Wharf Reserve, Bridgewater Park and King George Park. The charming Drummoyne Swimming Pool, a 50 metre outdoor heated salt water swimming pool also sits beside the bridge alongside the Parramatta River and is a picturesque place for a swim during the summer months.
When was the Iron Cove Bridge built?
The impressive Iron Cove Bridge that we can see today was constructed between 1947 to 1955 with the bridge officially opening on 30th July 1955 by the Hon. J.J. Caholl, MLA, Premier and Colonial Treasurer of NSW. However, the original bridge was constructed of wrought iron lattice girders and opened in 1882, creating a new route for western residents to travel to Sydney via Balmain.
In 1939, a decision was made to replace this bridge with a new steel truss bridge, just before World War II began. The design consisted of four 18m plate girder approach spans and seven 52m steel Pratt truss spans with a total length of 461.26m. The bridge features various Inter-War Art Deco style elements which was popular between 1915 and 1940 and carries four lanes of road traffic, with a separate pedestrian and bicycle path on the side nearest Birkenhead Point.
Interestingly, the Iron Cove Bridge was the final steel truss bridge to be constructed in New South Wales with rivets used for field connections before high strength bolts became the favoured method. However, more recently, a second bridge was added to help with traffic flow and was constructed between 2009 and 2011, with the bridge opening on 28 January 2011. This second bridge includes one lane designated for peak bus traffic as well as three westbound traffic lanes. There is also a wider shared pedestrian foothpath and cycleway which forms part of The Bay Run.
Today, all that remains of the original bridge are the sandstone abutments that can be seen on both sides of the river. For history buffs, the abutment on the Drummoyne side is now listed on the NSW Heritage Register.
Iron Cove Bridge Walk
Take a walk along the Iron Cove Bridge for picturesque views of the Parramatta River, nearby Birkenhead Point Marina, Rozelle, Balmain and historic Cockatoo Island. You can also see the skyline of the Sydney CBD in the distance, as well as watching passing ferries and yachts. From the second bridge, you can enjoy views of the Iron Cove, gaze across Rodd Island and trace the route of The Bay Run. Measuring 461 metres, it only takes about five minutes to cross the bridge, but be sure to stop along the way to admire the water views. As the bridge is popular with walkers, runners and cyclists, keep to the side whilst walking to avoid collisions. The pathway is much wider on the newer bridge, with designated lanes for both walkers and cyclists. At the end of the bridge on the Rozelle side, be sure to walk down the steps for views underneath the bridge, which makes for some spectacular photo opportunities particularly at sunrise and sunset. On the Drummoyne side, keep an eye out for the original abutments.
Walks that connect with the Iron Cove Bridge
There are many walks that you can enjoy with the Iron Cove Bridge. These include the following:
The Bay Run
Crossing over the second bridge, The Bay Run is a 7km circular route that passes along the bridge above the Drummoyne Swimming Pool, and follows the Iron Cove. A popular workout for walkers, joggers and cyclists, highlights of the route include Brett Park, Callan Park, Leichhardt Park, Rodd Park, Rodd Island and walking along Henley Marine Drive with the magnificent mansion homes.
You can also stop in at Le Montage, UTS Haberfield Club, Aqua Luna Waterfront Dining and The Watershed Kitchen to fuel up on drinks and refreshments.
Exploring Rozelle and Balmain
Take a bus along Victoria Road and stop just over the Iron Cove Bridge on the Drummoyne side when coming from the city so you can walk back over the bridge to explore the leafy suburbs of Rozelle and Balmain. Walk down the steps at the end of the bridge to stroll through Bridgewater Park which sits on the side of the Old Balmain Power Station and view the heritage Pumphouse. From here follow the path around to arrive on Waragal Avenue, before walking up Norman Street to arrive on the popular Darling Street. Follow Darling Street which travels all the way down to the Balmain East ferry wharf and peruse the boutique shops and cafes along the way. Keep an eye out for plaques on the side of buildings, providing a brief history of the original building’s use.
On weekends, the Rozelle Collectors Market runs, held in Rozelle Public School, so you might like to stroll through here looking for antiques and second hand goods.
Seven Bridges Walk
Extend your walk further by crossing seven Sydney bridges, encompassing a total of 28km. This circular route passes through numerous suburbs including Pyrmont, Leichhardt, Rozelle, Drummoyne, Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Wollstonecraft and Milsons Point with plenty of stunning Sydney Harbour views to enjoy along the way. The seven bridges include Sydney Harbour Bridge, Pyrmont Bridge, Anzac Bridge, Iron Cove Bridge, Gladesville Bridge, Tarban Creek Bridge and Fig Tree Bridge. By the end of this walk, your legs might be aching, but you can decide which of these seven bridges was your all-time favourite.
Look out for the sponsored 7 Bridges Walk for charity, which also usually occurs in October each year.
When is the best time to walk the Iron Cove Bridge?
You can walk over this bridge any time of the day or night, but for the best views, particularly if you’re a keen photographer or looking for that insta-worthy shot, I recommend walking across at sunrise or sunset for those magnificent fiery orange glows or soft pastel pinks, depending on what the weather is conjuring up.
How to get to the Iron Cove Bridge?
The Iron Cove Bridge is easily accessible by car and public transport. Bus and ferry are the best public transport methods as there are no train stations or light rail stations close by.
If coming from the city there are numerous bus routes you can take that stop along Victoria Road before the bridge just after Clubb Street by King George Park or just after the bridge by Thornley Street (a good stop for Birkenhead Point). These include routes 501, 502, 504, 505 ,506, 507, 508, 515, 518, 520, M50 and M52.
The nearest ferry wharf to the bridge is at Drummoyne, a 20-minute walk away. There are also numerous ferry wharves in Balmain including Balmain Wharf, Balmain East Wharf and Birchgrove Wharf which are perfect to take a ferry back to Sydney CBD if you didn’t want to walk up the huge hill towards Victoria Road. Alternatively, a private ferry operates between Birkenhead Point and Darling Harbour / Circular Quay called the Shopper Hopper, but I recommend checking the timetable for its hours of operation.
There is plenty of free parking along the roads in Drummoyne and Rozelle. Try parking by King George Park or along Henley Marine Drive if you’re thinking of walking The Bay Run.
Loved the Iron Cove Bridge? Discover more about the nearby Gladesville Bridge, the longest span concrete in the world upon its completion.