The city of Wollongong is located 80km south of Sydney and a great mix of entertainment, arts and culture and with its coastal location comes the relaxed atmosphere of a beachside town. It’s the third largest city in New South Wales.
A bus from Sydney will get you there pretty quickly but hiring a car will allow you to stop at the Royal National Park, the world’s oldest national park (listed in 1879), on your way down the coast. This is a place not to be missed. You can fly to Illawara Regional Airport from Sydney or Melbourne.
There aren’t too many backpackers to choose from but you can find a dorm be for $25 a night or a simple private double room from $40-$50. The average price in a nice hotel is from $100-$150 a night for a double room with an ocean view.
Wollongong is set amidst so many natural wonders. Choose from 17 different beaches, the amazing Royal National park to get back to nature or the Illawara Lake for some great watersports. You can sky dive over the coast, take a Harley Davidson tour, a surfing lesson or visit the largest Buddhist Temple in the southern hemisphere for a cooking class or meditation. There are wildlife and action parks, museums, galleries and theatres and tours by bike, kayak or canoe.
There’s an international flair and mixture of restaurants at your disposal, you’ll have a hard time choosing where to eat. You can also chill out in one of the many casual bars for a beer or head to an upmarket hotel for a cocktail or two. If you’ve discovered the Aussie beer garden and are a total fan, which most people are, then head to the biggest one in world at the North Wollongong Hotel.
There’s no dive centre in Wollongong itself so if you want to dive in the area then you’ll need to head to Windang or Shell Harbour. There’s a site off the coast called Pig Island where you can spot some wobbegong sharks, a good variety of fish and a very colourful sponge garden. The visibility is sometimes low so be sure to check the dive conditions first.
Surround yourself in natural wonders and cultural experiences in the city of Wollongong.
(By Kelly Luckman)