Wander through Wollongong
For the cultural bustle you would expect of a large city with the laid-back attitude you would stumble upon in a small beach town, Wollongong is an impressive blend of both worlds. Whether staying a while or just for the day, the Gong is one of the NSW south coast’s best-kept secrets.
Take a dip by the reef and look out for the odd humpback whale down at Sharkies Beach, go for a bushwalk through the spectacular countryside at the Illawarra Escarpment, or wander down to the fish market and check out the 19th century lighthouse down at the Belmore Basin. Wollongong is the kind of Aussie town that wears its heart on its sleeve. It may be a little rough around the edges at times and in places, but that’s all part of the charm.
WOLLONGONG’S TOP 10
10. Five Islands Brewing Company Kick back with one of the nine draught beers brewed here, including the Pig Dog Pilsner.
5. Symbio Wildlife Gardens Immerse yourself in nature and get up close and personal with a Tassie Devil.
9. Lake Illawarra An enormously popular spot for water sports, with windsurfing a particular favourite.
4. Futureworld Crank it to 88 and get interactive at the excellent eco-technology exhibition.
8. Cockatoo Run Take a step back in time and jump on board this heritage train, which runs inland towards the Southern Highlands.
3. Science Centre and Planetarium Quench your curiosity and indulge all of your senses at this fantastic centre.
7. Cycle Path Bring along your bike for the day and take the path either north to Bulli or south to Port Kembla.
2. Nan Tien Buddhist Temple For a weekend retreat, a vegetarian cooking class or just a tai chi class, this tranquil temple provides peace amidst the hustle and bustle.
6. Breakwater Lighthouse This is the newest lighthouse in Wollongong, and you can find brilliant views on the headland.
1. North Beach Within walking distance of the city centre, North Beach has breaks suitable for everyone, and a long stretch of sand for those who just want to relax.
Finally, a reasonable excuse to go outside dressed as a gypsy! Finger-cymbal your way along to the Illawarra Folk Festival in January.
Fire up the barbie and crack a beer for the Australia Day celebrations in January.
Prepare your wallets for a mean round of two-up in Wollongong on ANZAC Day in April.
For Wollongong’s premier celebration of creativity and innovation, head to the Viva La Gong festivities in November.
Sit by the waterfront and see the skies explode with colour on New Year’s Eve.
WHEN TO GO
· Summer temps in the Gong average around 26°C (79°F).
· Winter in Wollongong is still relatively mild, usually reaching around 17°C (63°F).
· Spring is a prime time to drop in on Wollongong, as the sun is shining and the beaches are clear.
Visit our partner page Wollongong hotels by Hotel.com.au
· CityRail runs a service to Wollongong and surrounds from Sydney. It is a pretty quick and cheap way of getting into town.
· Wollongong offers a free shuttle bus around the city centre and its beaches.
· Driving is also a pretty good option, as Wollongong is not all that far from Sydney and is great for a day or weekend trip.
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