Are you looking for a place to escape to away from the big city? A place full of beautiful views, beaches and delicious food? How about Wollongong? Here are 10 things to do in Wollongong.
1- Best Wollongong Beach
As it is a coastal city, there are many beautiful beaches in Wollongong. North Wollongong Beach and the Wollongong City Beach are fun and relaxing. There’s something earthy about feeling the sand between your toes and the flow of the ocean around your feet.
There are numerous things to do in Wollongong, however, going to the beach would have to be high up on the priority list of most visitors. Take a surfing lesson or a beach fishing tour with a professional. For an adventure you will always remember, try skydiving over Wollongong’s beaches for an adrenalin rush with a splendid bird’s-eye view.
2- NanTien Temple
Of all the Wollongong attractions, this Buddhist temple is one of the most impressive. Wollongong’s NanTien Temple is also known as “Southern Paradise” because it is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Most visitors to Wollongong would not expect to find themselves visiting a Buddhist temple but, trust me, this temple is worth the trip.
The Nan Tien Institute has a programme of regular activities like meditation, retreats, excursions and art seminars. Tourists are welcome at this Wollongong Buddhist temple and participating in the activities is a serene experience.
3- Jamberoo Action Park
Jamberoo Action Park is full of fun-packed activities for families and kids of all ages. If you are travelling with the family, you cannot go wrong here.
Jamberoo recreation park is one of the largest theme parks in New South Wales and has attractions like mini golf, speed slides, wave pools and an exciting funnel web water slide that is part of the new Kangaroo Island development at Jamberoo water park.
4- Symbio Wildlife Park
Symbio Wildlife Park is in Helensburgh, which is on the outskirts of Sydney. If you are visiting Wollongong, then this is the place to see wildlife.
Spend the day checking out the Sumatran tigers, meerkats, red pandas and tamarind monkeys. Symbio zoo has a decent range of animals to attract wildlife lovers and families.
5- Hang Gliding from Bald Hill
Being a coastal city, the thermals around Wollongong are perfect for hang gliding, and there are hang gliding lessons for all levels of experience.
However, if you are undecided about whether or not to take the plunge, head to Bald Hill in Stanwell Park to watch the hang gliders throw themselves off the edge of the cliff.
Bald Hill is near the southern boundary of the Sydney Royal National Park and has a splendid view. of the Royal National Park and New South Wales coastline.
6- Sea Cliff Bridge
Just south of Sydney, at the entrance of the Royal National Park, Grand Pacific Drive is an impressive 140 km route through rainforests and seaside villages. The star of the drive is the 665-metre Sea Cliff Bridge.
The balanced cantilever bridge cost $52 million and links the coastal villages of Coalcliff and Clifton. Rent a sports car, put the roof down, crank up the music and head across Sea Cliff Bridge for a drive to remember.
7- Illawarra Fly treetop walk
Take the Illawarra Fly tree top walk through lush rainforests. The steel walkway sways gently as you meander beneath the forest canopy 50m from the ground. The Illawarra tree top walk brings you close to nature and is suitable for all the family.
However, adventurous travellers will love the range of Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures offered. The Illawarra Fly zipline is the highest zipline tour in Australia and involves soaring 35m above the ground on a series of cable spans and suspension bridges. The views of the rainforest and coastline are stunning. Combine the walk and the zipline experience for an Illawarra tree top experience to remember.
8- Wollongong Science Centre
Wollongong Science Centre and Wollongong Planetarium is an interactive, hands-on science centre with experiences for all ages. There are a science theatre and plenty of exhibits to captivate the entire family, especially if it is a rainy day! Don’t miss the free science shows and planetarium shows.
From dinosaurs to space travel, this is the place to hide away for a few hours to stimulate the mind. The facility is part of the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus.
9- Minnamurra Rainforest
Explore the Minnamurra rainforest in Budderoo National Park, for gushing waterfalls and lookouts with jaw-dropping views. It is the place to get away from the city and go bush walking and bird watching. Spend some time soaking up the energy of Minnamurra Falls.
The national park has decent facilities, including the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, with riverside picnic areas and well-marked walks along raised boardwalks. Alternatively, glide along the Minnamurra River in a canoe or kayak. There are several spots to launch a kayak on your own, but if you are unsure of the Minnamurra tides, a guided tour is a less stressful way to experience the river.
Trainworks is Australia’s top railway museum. The Thirlmere train museum is home to a significant rail heritage collection. It has more than 100 historical items associated with the history of New South Wales’ railways. Of all the places to visit in Wollongong, the Thirlmere railway museum is the place that will impress railway buffs.
Thomas the Tank Engine fans will love visiting on Sundays for the heritage train ride between Thirlmere and Buxton. It is a fabulous day out for families. Bring a picnic and enjoy some time in the sun after learning about railway history at Trainworks Thirlmere. Keep an eye out for the Thirlmere Steam Festival, which is in March each year.
Here’s a map of Wollongong to help you get your bearings.
Hotels in Wollongong range from top international brands to apartment-style stays. There are eight internationally branded Wollongong hotels and plenty of B&Bs. If you are on a road trip, there are some caravan parks in Wollongong to choose from too.
Getting from Sydney to Wollongong by car is an easy one hour’s drive along the Princess Highway and freeway. However, if you have more time, the Bulli Pass is the more scenic route.
Best restaurants in Wollongong
You will not go hungry in Wollongong as there are hundreds of eateries to choose from and a range of cuisines. Here are three suggestions:
Altitude 1148 is a contemporary restaurant that serves up modern Australian cuisine in Bulli Tops. The restaurant has impressive floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto a balcony with fantastic coastal views.
Caveau was award a chef hat in the 2017 SMH Good Food Guide Awards. Treat yourself to the seven-course French degustation menu for a dining experience you will not forget.
Samba Brazil is the place for a traditional Brazilian barbecue and a Latin dancing show.
What’s on in Wollongong
Wollongong nightlife is buzzing hidden bars, quirky cafes and new nightspots. The bar and club scene is hopping in Wollongong, and places like His Boy Elroy, Howlin Wolf and The Throsby are fun spots to have a cocktail or a beer with friends.
There are many festivals and events in Wollongong throughout the year, including theatre festivals, art exhibitions and charity walks. For more Wollongong events go to this website.
For more things to do in New South Wales, go here.