The Sydney Tower Eye


Source: The Sydney Tower Eye

We can arrange for a visit to Sydney Tower Eye as part of our Essential Sydney private guided tour or our Neighbourhoods private guided tour as an additional option.

The Sydney Tower Eye – often referred to by Sydneysiders as Sydney Tower, Centrepoint Tower, AMP Tower, Westfield Centrepoint Tower or Sydney Skytower, amongst other names – has been an integral part of the famous Sydney skyline for the past 30 years.

Sydney Tower Constuction

Construction of Sydney Tower Centrepoint shopping centre began in the late 1970’s with the first 52 shops opening in 1972. The office component was completed in 1974 and the final stage of the complex, the Sydney Tower, was opened to the public in August 1981.

Ranked as one of the safest buildings in the world, the striking design has made the tower capable of withstanding earthquakes and extreme wind conditions.

The construction of Sydney Tower is an interesting tale of engineering and quality construction. Pre-made individual barrel units formed the shaft of the tower and the four levels of the turret structure were constructed at the base of the shaft and raised to the top as work progressed.

The shaft supporting the turret is made up of 46 barrels units, each weighing 27 tonnes. These were brought on to the site in seven pieces and welded together. Once the first three sections were in place, a gantry crane was erected to hoist the remaining 43 barrel units.

Each barrel unit was completed with lift rails, stairwells and hydraulic risers before hoisting. The shaft contains two sets of fire stairs, fire, electrical and plumbing ducts in one half and the lift shafts in the remainder.

Once the tower structure was complete, the spire was erected. This was done in two parts, by placing one half and then lifting the top section onto the bottom section. The crane did not have the reach to lift the spire from the top, so it was lifted from the side. This was achieved despite the difficulties of maintaining adequate balance.

Facts about Sydney Tower

The golden turret has a capacity of 960 persons and contains two levels of restaurants, a coffee lounge, an Observation Deck, two telecommunication transmission levels and three plant levels
The height of Sydney Tower from the bottom to the very tip of the spire is 309 metres
Three double deck lifts provide access to the Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck and restaurants
The 1504 fire-isolated sets of pressurised stairs, closely monitored by security, allow patrons direct access to street level, in case of an emergency
The 420 windows of the tower are cleaned by a semi-automatic window cleaning machine name ‘Charlie’. ‘Charlie’ recycles and filters 50 litres of water and takes two days to clean all the windows
A 162,000 litre water tank, the tower’s primary damping system also acts as a stabiliser for the tower
56 cables stabilise the tower, and if the strands of these cables were laid end to end, they would reach from Sydney to Alice Springs or from Sydney to New Zealand
The spire located above the Tower is used for telecommunications and navigation purposes
Contrary to popular belief, Sydney Tower was never officially named Centrepoint Tower
Sydney Tower is the first to see the Sydney dawn, and the last to see its final dusk
Sydney Tower retains its original name today as simply ‘Sydney Tower’, with the Sydney Tower Eye being the name of the viewing attraction located on the upper level, providing the best views from the highest point in the city
The SKYWALK experience was constructed at the top of Sydney Tower in 2005 at a cost of almost $4 million

Blu Bar Level 36 Shangri Hotel

Blu Bar, located  at Shangri La hotel floating high above the glittering lights of Sydney Harbour is perhaps one of the best views of the harbour from high above.

This bar serves serious cocktails by talented bartenders presiding over a sleek space brimming with Sydney-siders and visitors alike. The breathtaking views of the Emerald city’s trifecta – The Harbour Bridge, Opera House and harbour lights – enhance the sparkling, shimmering glamour of Sydney’s signature destination bar.

Opening Hours:

5pm – 12am, Monday to Thursday
4pm – 1am, Friday and Saturday
3pm – 11pm, Sunday

Please note that seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sea Cliff Bridge

r0_208_4000_2458_w1200_h678_fmaxThe 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

Elizabeth Bay

Elizabeth Bay which is situated on the harbour between Garden Island and Rushcutters Bay, is home to what was once, one of the colony’s (Sydney) finest homes, Elizabeth Bay House. There is a beautiful little public garden space (Arthur McElrone Gardens) which was once part of the grander gardens rolling down to the harbour from the home. We often visit these gardens as part of our Essential Sydney Tour.

A densely populated suburb with some very expensive homes “Boomerang” (considered the finest Spanish mission-style trophy home in Sydney with an asking price circa $60m) as well as many expensive contemporary and art deco apartment buildings.

Middle Head Fortifications

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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3]

source Wikipedia

Scenic World – Blue Mountains

We highly recommend you consider a visit to Scenic World as part of our Blue Mountains & Featherdale Private Tour. This is a privately owned tourist attraction located in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. It hosts 4 main attractions, Katoomba Scenic Railway, Scenic Skyway, the Cableway and the Walkway.

Whilst theme parks or man made tourist attractions may not be your thing, I recommend you go to Scenic World as all the attractions are designed to give you a real experience in this rugged National Park.

Leura Village (Everglades Gardens) Blue Mountains

Leura Village is visited by us on our Blue Mountains and Featherdale Private Tour as it is one of a number of towns you come across as you travel to the Blue Mountains.

Most visitors prefer Leura Village (over Katoomba) to stop off for some shopping or eating as it has a large variety of interesting shops and boutiques as well as some very good cafes/restaurants.

You can also visit Sublime Point close by, which offers beautiful panoramic views over the Jamison Valley.

Leura also hosts the Everglades Gardens, the former home of Belgian-born industrialist Henri van de Velde, which has 5 hectares of landscaped gardens designed by Danish architect Paul Sorensen.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

You can walk over it (BridgeClimbSydney), walk across it, walk up it (Pylon Lookout), walk under it and even catch a ferry beneath it. Each experience gives you a different perspective of this iconic Sydney structure. So I suggest you try as many as you can while you are here.

Featured in our North Shore & Beaches private tour “ The Coathanger” is perhaps Sydney’s most iconic structure (it fights it out with the Sydney Opera House).

It was opened in 1932, and holds a very important place in Sydney’s history as it opened up the north shore and northern beaches to development.

The roadway across the bridge is known as the Bradfield Highway named after Dr John Bradfield a controversial figure who is largely attributed with the construction of the bridge.

The bridge’s design is often said to be influenced by the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City.

A brief history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Courtesy of Pylon Lookout website

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s largest (but not longest) steel arch bridge, and, in its beautiful harbour location, has become a renowned international symbol of Australia. A brief history follows:-

The contractors, under Director of Construction, Lawrence Ennis, set up two workshops at Milsons Point on the North Shore. Here, the steel (79% imported from England, 21% from Australian sources) was fabricated into girders etc.

The foundations for the four main bearings, which carry the full weight of the main span were dug to a depth of 12.2 metres and filled with special reinforced high-grade concrete laid in hexagonal formations.

The four impressive, decorative 89 metre high pylons are made of concrete, faced with granite, quarried near Moruya, where about 250 Australian, Scottish and Italian stonemasons and their families lived in a temporary settlement. Three ships were specifically built to carry the 18,000 cubic metres of cut, dressed and numbered granite blocks, 300km north to Sydney.

After the approach spans were erected, work began on the main arch. Two half-arches were built out progressively from each shore, each held back by 128 cables anchored underground through U-shaped tunnels. Steel members were fabricated in the workshops, placed onto barges, towed into position on the harbour and lifted up by two 580 tonne electrically operated creeper cranes, which erected the half-arches before them as they travelled forward.

Joining of the Arches
There was great excitement on 20 August 1930 after the arch was successfully joined at 10pm the night before. The steel decking was then hung from the arch and was all in place within nine months, being built from the centre outwards to save time moving the cranes.

As the project neared completion, the last of approximately six million Australian made rivets were driven through the deck on 21 January 1932. In February 1932 the Bridge was test loaded using up to 96 steam locomotives placed in various configurations.

Opening Celebrations
The official opening day on Saturday 19 March 1932 was a momentous occasion, drawing remarkable crowds (estimated between 300,000 and one million people) to the city and around the harbour foreshores. The NSW Premier, the Hon. John T. Lang, officially declared the Bridge open. However, the Premier enlivened proceedings when Captain Francis De Groot of the para-military group, the New Guard, slashed the ribbon prematurely with his sword, prior to the official cutting. The captain was arrested, the ribbon was tied together, and the ceremony went ahead.

The opening celebrations included a vast cavalcade of decorated floats, marching groups and bands proceeding through the city streets and across the deck in a pageant of surprising size and quality, considering the economic depression.

The celebrations continued with a gun-salute, a procession of passenger ships under the Bridge, a ‘venetian’ carnival, a fly-past, fireworks, sports carnivals and exhibitions. After the pageant the public was allowed to walk across the deck…an event not repeated until the 50th anniversary of the Bridge in 1982.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse

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”.


The Gap

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.

Echo Point The Three Sisters


Blue Mountains

The Three Sisters is the Blue Mountains’ most spectacular landmark.

The Three Sisters is essentially an unusual rock formation representing three sisters who according to Aboriginal legend were turned to stone. The character of the Three Sisters changes throughout the day and throughout the seasons as the sunlight brings out the magnificent colours. The Three Sisters is also floodlit until around 11pm each evening looking simply spectacular set against the black background of the night sky.

Each of the Three Sisters stand at 922, 918 & 906 metres tall, respectively. That’s over 3000 feet above sea level! The Aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’ lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe. These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry. The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle. As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe took it upon himself to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come.

Probably the most famous of attractions in the Blue Mountains and not to be missed.

Cremorne Point Reserve

This really is a beautiful public reserve that has the lot. Views, picnic spots,walking tracks, fishing, a swimming pool, a kids playground, gardens and a ferry stop (Cremorne Point).

For me the best part of Cremorne Point is the walking track on the Eastern side (the side looking back towards the heads not the city view side (although it is also fantastic).

Blue Mountains

The Greater Blue Mountains region is Australia’s most accessible wilderness area approximately 90 minutes drive from Sydney.

This is a world heritage listed National Park with a diverse mix of temperate rainforest, native forest, rugged sandstone cliffs, deep canyons and towering waterfalls.

This area offers some of those most spectacular views and too many to mention. However any visit to the mountains would not be complete without a viewing from Echo Point and Govetts Leap. Don’t miss these. See our Blue Mountains & Featherdale Tour.


Palm Beach Ferry

This is a fantastic ferry ride out on the Pittwater from Palm Beach and calling in a various locations (Bennetts, Basin, Currawong and Mackerel) in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. A round trip takes only 45 minutes – but your welcome to stop off anywhere along the way and catch the next ferry.

This ferry ride is part of our North Shore and Northern beaches Tour.

Manly Ferry

Catching the Manly ferry has been “ a thing” in Sydney for as long as there has been ferries. Whilst a great trip and you should do it, I encourage any visitor to Sydney to catch any of the public ferry trips from Circular Quay to any destination and back. They are fair value and you will explore a new part of Sydney that may not be in the guide books.

Suggest the following trips:

Watsons Bay

Mosman Bay

Cockatoo Island