The world famous Sea Cliff Bridge is more than a bridge – majestically sweeping over the waters of the Pacific as you head down Grand Pacific Drive.
To drive it is exhilarating, but take the bridgewalk and you’ll see deep into the aqua waters clear to the bottom, looking down on sealife like massive manta rays and every kind of water bird.
That’s the sea, but look the other way at the cliffs and find the eagles living there. The ancient layers of the eastern edge of this timeless land.
It truly is one of Australia’s most photogenic experiences
Fortifications Middle Head
There is a submarine in the harbour!!
The first fort at Middle Head was built in 1801 and the last batteries were constructed in 1942. The majority of the fortifications were built between 1870 and 1911. The site contains the works of several periods and technologies, which remain in place for review today. Historically it dates from the time when defence was first moved away from Sydney Cove and towards The Heads.
There were three sets of fortifications built in Mosman and Middle Head in the 1870s, these were upgraded in the 1880s on the advice of British experts. These fortifications still exist and are now heritage listed, they are, the Lower Georges Heights Commanding Position, the Georges Head Battery and a smaller fort located on Bradleys Head, known as the Bradleys Head Fortification Complex.
The battery on Middle Head built in 1871 was designed by James Barnet, a colonial architect. The fort was built on a strategic location and received many additions until 1911. It formed part of a network of ‘outer harbour’ defences. They were designed to fire at enemy ships as they attempted entry through the Sydney Heads. The whole area is linked by an extensive network of underground tunnels, ancillary rooms, gunpowder magazine and a disappearing gun emplacement. The site has its own underground power room that is supported by iron columns. Rooms located below ground were used to train some of Australia’s first troops who were sent to Vietnam in ‘Code of Conduct’ courses, which were lessons in how to withstand torture and interrogation, by simulating prisoner of war conditions.
In 1974 the Middle Head fortifications featured in the movie Stone.
In 1979 most of the area became national park and the military has moved on to more strategic locations. The army base on site which included the transport group and 30 Terminal Squadron, left Georges Height’s in 1997. The Headquarters Training Command section relocated to the Victoria Barracks in 2002.
As an option, we can visit Bare Island on our Grand Pacific Drive Tour.
Bare Island is an islet within Botany Bay in Sydney. Containing fortification facilities, Bare Island is listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register and is significant as an almost completely intact example of late nineteenth century coastal defence technology.
The waters around Bare Island are very popular with snorkelers and SCUBA divers, as the reefs that stretch around the island are home to Australia’s most colourful marine animals. Big belly sea horse, sea dragons, pygmy pipe horse, red indian fish as well as sharks.
Bare Island was featured in Mission Impossible II and East West 101.
Customs Tower La Perouse
We get to visit the beautiful Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve in both our Essential Sydney Private Tour and our North Shore & Beaches Private Tour.
This reserve is a Sydney treasure, as it contains more than 160 species of fish and includes sandy beaches (Shelly beach), rocky reefs, seagrass beds, and open water. It also has a very good cafe/restaurant at Shelly Beach called The Boathouse.
There is a fantastic promenade walk from Manly beach to Shelly Beach which takes approx 15-20 minutes but you will not regret it.
This location is one of my personal favourites in Sydney and is not to be missed.
We see Barrenjoey Lighthouse as part of our North Shore & Beaches private tour. It stands majestically at Barrenjoey Head at Sydney’s most northern point. You have the option to walk up to the lighthouse from the beach (approx. 15 minutes) which is quite a steep climb, but the views are spectacular.
Built in 1881, this heritage lighthouse is an iconic Sydney attraction in an iconic Sydney location “Palm Beach”.
Sydney Harbour defences
Often known more for its dark place in Sydney’s history (many people have jumped to their death) “The Gap” as it is known, is located near South Head.
One of the great day trips is to catch a ferry to Watsons Bay and explore South Head, The Gap, Camp Cove, The Hornby Lighthouse and the ship wreck site of the Dunbar. Or you can take our Essential Sydney private tour and we will visit these attractions and much more.
Take a step back in time to 1788 when Capt. Arthur Phillip sailed from Botany Bay in the South to Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) and discovered what was to become one of the great harbours of the world.
If you take a short walk from Camp Cove to the end of the peninsula you can gaze out across the straits to North Head.