It's 9.30am on a brilliant Sydney morning and I'm about to step out over the void. Dressed, along with two Swedish tourists and two guides, in a ‘skysuit', I walk to the railing, look out toward the Blue Mountains and then gaze down, 266 metres to the street. Generally I'm OK with heights, but when someone tells me to jump on a glass floor that's suspended over open air my heart starts to race just a tiny bit. "We do it every day to test the platform's strength," insists a guide.
First opened to the public in 1981, Sydney Tower provides a panoramic 360-degree view from the Pacific Ocean in the east to the Blue Mountains in the west. And if you manage to get past the five levels of the Westfield Sydney Shopping Centre then the most dangerous part is over. Pass through the metal detector and into one of the three double-decker lifts that ascend above the city skyline. Arrive at the Observation Deck and gaze out on every rooftop in Sydney. Peer through free through binoculars, have a coffee in the lounge, or simply sit back and absorb the spectacle. Included in the price of a regular Tower Ticket (adult $25; child $15) is OzTrek, a 10-minute virtual reality ride across Sydney, the bush and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Skywalk costs an extra $40 ($30 for kids) and allows you to view the city in open air a further 16 metres above the Observation Deck. It's awesome day or night, but keep an eye on the sky because Sydney Tower attracts 80 percent of all lightning strikes in the Sydney area, making it too dangerous for the Skywalk during storms. (If black clouds roll in suddenly you'll be given a bad weather pass, allowing a return trip at the time of your choosing.)
Before zipping up a sexy blue-and-yellow body suit and fastening a safety harness, you'll be breath tested. Once everyone is suited up, the guides will lead your group up a flight of stairs, attach the harnesses to an external walkway and allow you to step out onto the platform for godlike views and an adrenaline rush you're unlikely to forget. Julia Ivins
Skywalk tickets include Skywalk, and Observation Deck. Adults $65, Children $45. Skywalks run every 30-60 minutes from 9.30am-8.45pm.