The seaside city of Wollongong, affectionately known as 'the gong', is located on the NSW coast and an easy 1 hour drive south of Sydney.
Here are 12 of our favourite things you can do in the area:
1. Grand Pacific Drive and the Sea Cliff Bridge
Experience the spectacular coastal drive between Sydney and Wollongong (and beyond) on the NSW South Coast. Beginning 45 minutes south of Sydney at the Royal National Park – the second oldest National Park in the world – the award-winning Grand Pacific Drive stretches 140km. Enjoy driving through coastal rainforests and villages before traversing the magnificent Sea Cliff Bridge.
2. Nan Tien Temple
Nan Tien Temple, known as “Southern Paradise”, is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. The temple offers regular events such as meditation retreats, excursions, art and craft classes.
3. Southern Biplane Adventures
With a range of aerobatic and scenic adventure flights available, Southern Biplane Adventures promises an experience to remember in the flagship of its fleet, the stunning Lilly Warra.
4. Hang Gliding from Bald Hill
Warren Windsports, Hangglideoz and Sydney Hang Gliding Centre provide professional hang gliding tours and hang glider flying lessons from the historic flying site of Bald Hill, Stanwell Park, at the southern tip of the Sydney Royal National Park. Bald Hill is where early flight pioneer Lawrence Hargrave Drive first took flight and the landmark provides magnificent views incorporating Royal National Park and the amazing coastline to Wollongong and beyond. In addition, the onshore breeze reflecting off the Illawarra coastal mountain range in the NSW South Coast region produces world-class conditions for soaring.
5. Craft Beer at the award-winning Illawarra Brewery
The Illawarra Brewing Company was established in 2001 and originally named the Five Islands Brewing Company after the five islands just off Wollongong's coast. Located right on the beach at Wollongong, this sizable microbrewery offers 10 custom brews, the offer of a beer and cheese degustation and the perfect accompaniment – sea-side ‘pub grub’.
6. Illawarra Fly
Hovering 45m above the forest floor, the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk provides picturesque views from Bass Point in the south to Bundeena in the north. A sunrise walk allows visitors to capture the start of the day from on high.
7. Breakfast at Diggies
There are few places better than Wollongong’s popular Diggies Cafe to start the day. Located at a heritage listed site on North Wollongong Beach, renovations to the building have seen it transformed into a modern and stylish beachside cafe, serving great di lorenzo coffee and yummy award-winning breakfast and lunch dishes.
8. Jamberoo Action Park
New South Wales’ largest theme park Jamberoo Action Park is jam-packed with family entertainment and fun for all ages. Open from September through April, attractions include a wave pool, speed slides, mini golf and the Funnel Web water slide, part of the exciting new Kangaroo Island development.
9. Symbio Wildlife Park
Symbio Wildlife Park has the full offering of native animals as well as exotic Sumatran Tigers, Meerkats, Red Pandas and Cotton Top Tamarin monkeys. Featuring a range of great animal encounters, a visit to Symbio is perfect for animal lovers of all ages.
10. Skydive the Beach
Skydive the Beach, as the name suggests, is the only place in NSW to skydive on to the beach. The skydive professionals jump from Australia's highest altitude of up to 14,000ft ensuring guests have plenty of opportunities to admire the beautiful sights of Wollongong from above.
11. Coastal Walk around the Illawarra Escarpment
Located on the southern fringe of metropolitan Sydney, Royal National Park offers spectacular scenery from sub-tropical rainforests and sandstone heathlands, to dramatic coastal cliffs and unspoilt ocean beaches. The Park boasts many spectacular walking trails, including the renowned Coast track where visitors can explore cliffs, beaches and escarpments, taking in magnificent ocean views and the rugged beauty of Royal National Park’s coastline. Whether meandering along one of the shorter tracks, or hiking an advanced trail, a day spent cliff gazing in this amazing national park is one of the best ways to experience all the region has to offer. For a guided experience, try Sydney Coast Walks.
12. Scarborough Pub for an afternoon beverage
Perched on a clifftop along Grand Pacific Drive at Coledale with brilliant views of the Pacific Ocean, The Scarborough Hotel looks like a traditional pub but offers much more, including a modern airy interior, pleasant beer garden, bistro-style meals and craft beers on tap. The Scarborough is ideal for all the family and a perfect stop-off point after a day exploring Wollongong.