Wollongong is a simple 1 ½ hour drive south of Sydney. It is perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway. Let me describe and plan for you the perfect family friendly day trip to Wollongong.
First part is the drive. So, you can come down along the freeway the whole way but I would suggest making a detour through Helensburgh to check out Bald Hill where if you are lucky you can watch some Hang Gliding. The other option is going through the Royal National Park which will take you directly to Bald Hill. The reason why you are going to Bald Hill is to take in the amazing views of the Northern Suburbs of Wollongong, these are where the Mountains really meet the Sea. This also then sets you on the path to Grand Pacific Drive (you may have heard of it or seen the bridge in some car ads). The Grand Pacific Drive goes all the way to Kiama but we aren’t going to go that far.
|Far North Wollongong Area|
After you have enjoyed the views of Bald Hill head down the mountain along the coast road and enjoy the little towns, amazing beaches and some morning tea. I would suggest stopping when you get to the Sea Cliff Bridge, finding a parking spot before or after the bridge and go for a walk along it. It is amazing. The bridge was built a couple of years back when we all got sick of the road being closed due to rock slides.
Once finished there continue on past Scarborough, Austinmer and all the other little towns. Thirroul is probably a nice place to stop for morning tea.
From Thirroul head to Fairy Meadow. We have an awesome Science Centre for the kids to check out. The Science Centre & Planetarium is closed through February 2016 but reopens in March 2016. It is opened 10am to 4pm every day with special events happening all the time.
From here head into Wollongong. I would suggest find a park near the Crown Street Mall or in one of its parking stations. Enjoy the shops through the mall and venture down the lower end of Crown Street for some lunch. You will always find some cafes open on the street or near North Wollongong Beach.
In the afternoon take you pick of heading to the Novotel North beach to hire some bikes and ride the path along the beach as far as you can manage (I would suggest heading north but for a short ride head south and enjoy and ice cream near the lighthouse). If you have had enough of the beach head to Gwynneville and take a walk through Wollongong’s Botanic Gardens (if you have some old bread you can bring it with you and feed the ducks).
If you wish to be real adventurous and to me one of the most outstanding things we have in Wollongong is the Nan Tien Temple in Berkeley which is a 15 minute drive south of the city. The Nan Tien Temple has been around since 1965. It is a nice peaceful place just off the freeway. The Nan Tien Temple is free to enter and walk around they do ask for donations at most of the doors to the shrines. Now if you go to the Temple make sure you walk up the little track to the gong and hit it while taking in the views of the southern end of Wollongong.
|Nan Tien Temple|
From here I say you are free to do a you please, either enjoy dinner at one of our beach front restaurants (the Lagoon, Harbourfront, Meatery) or head back to Sydney.
Wollongong is an amazing place to come visit. We have all the beaches and scenery that the South Coast and Sydney has without the tourists. When we talk about Wollongong we don’t just talk about Wollongong the centre we mean the region which I would say is from Helensburgh down to Kiama. This would be a full hour drive in length. We are a large region and today we have only touched on the North side of Wollongong. I am yet to discover the South side properly and I have lived here my whole life.
I hope you come to Wollongong and enjoy it as much as I do!