Skip to main content.
Guides

Useful Tips - Getting the Most Out of Your Stay in Wollongong

Find a place to stay

Located only an hour’s drive from Sydney on the narrow strip of coast between the mountains of the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, Wollongong offers everything you need for an outdoor vacation. Miles of pristine, uncrowded beaches, unspoiled bushland, lots of adventure opportunities, and a thriving restaurant scene make this vibrant multicultural city a great getaway.

Best time to travel

 

December and January are peak months for day-trippers to Wollongong, but travellers come to the city all year round. The climate is mild, with average temperatures ranging between 8 degrees C (46 F) and 17 degrees C (63 F) in July, and 18 degrees C (65 F) and 26 degrees (79 F) in February. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, and even on the hottest summer days there’s usually a cooling sea breeze. Most of Wollongong’s surf beaches are lifeguard-patrolled from September to April; winter swimming is usually only for the hardy.

Not to miss

 

If you’re arriving by car, you should stop at the lookouts at Stanwell Tops or Bulli Pass on your way for sweeping views of the coast from the top of the escarpment. Wollongong has plenty on offer if you’re adventurous, from hang gliding to skydiving. There are lots of bush hiking trails where you can get in touch with native flora and fauna. You’ll find lots of walking and cycling paths around town; when you feel like a break from exploring, stop for a dip at one of the city’s dazzling beaches.

 

Getting around

 

Wollongong’s nearest major airport is Sydney (SYD); the drive from the airport will take you about an hour. Trains run between Sydney and Wollongong every hour - if you’re coming from Sydney sit on the left for great ocean views. The train will also get you to northern beaches like Austinmer, Coledale, and Stanwell Park. The Free Gong Shuttle bus is an easy way of getting around town; it runs every 10 minutes and also stops at the university and botanic garden. It’s worthwhile considering renting a car to explore destinations further afield like Kangaroo Valley and the South Coast.

 

Cuisine

 

Wollongong has become a destination for foodies in recent years, and the city’s cultural diversity is reflected in its restaurants. Lovers of global cuisine will find everything from Vietnamese to Mexican, Lebanese to Indian. Fish and seafood arrive in the harbor daily, and there are fresh ingredients from the fertile hinterland. A relaxed breakfast at one of the beachfront cafés after a morning swim, or fresh seafood with an ocean view, make for meals you won’t forget.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Wollongong is a relaxed and open city, so social etiquette amounts to ordinary good manners. Kids are welcomed almost everywhere, and the vibe is generally laid-back. Casual dress is fine in most places, although some upscale restaurants may have a dress code. Tipping for services is not mandatory in Australia, although rounding up the bill by 10 to 15 percent is customary in restaurants. Australia has extremely strict tobacco laws, and smoking is banned in restaurants, bars, and pubs, as well as most public places, including those outdoors.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 293000
  •  

  • Spoken languages: English
  •  

  • Electrical: 230 volts, 50 Hz, plug type I
  •  

  • Phone calling code: +61 2
  •  

  • Emergency number: 000; 112 on cell phone