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What to See and Do in Wollongong - Miles of Beaches, Mountain Views, and Verdant Forests

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With miles of ocean beaches, pristine forests, and a rugged mountain backdrop, Wollongong offers everything you could ask of an outdoor vacation. Whether you want to ride the waves, explore rain forests, or sit on the sand and watch the breakers roll in, you won’t need to travel far to find it.

Exploring Wollongong by bicycle

 

With over 60 kilometers of cycle paths in and around Wollongong, hopping on a bike is a great way to explore with the sea breeze in your hair. The route starting at Sandon Point takes you along stretches of untainted beach through the city, past the Port Kembla steelworks, to Lake Illawarra and the southern beaches. If it gets too hot along the way, you can stop and cool down in the ocean. For hard-core road warriors, there are more demanding routes which reward you with sweeping views from the top of the escarpment.

 

  • Spinway Bike Hire, 2-14 Cliff Rd, Wollongong NSW 2520; Tel: +61 418 382 758; Website: Spinway Bike Hire

Hiking around Wollongong

 

Wollongong’s location between ocean and escarpment means a wealth of walking trails where you’ll experience unspoiled natural beauty and superb scenery. Royal National Park is the world’s second-oldest nature reserve, and has lots of walks through subtropical rain forest, along coastal cliffs, and over pristine beaches. On the Illawarra Escarpment trails, you’ll encounter a myriad of birdlife in the eucalyptus forests, as well as panoramic coastal views. For something more sedate, the “Blue Mile” guides you along the harbor foreshore - with lots of great refueling stops along the way.

 

 

Great places to swim in Wollongong

 

Wollongong has an array of great swimming spots, from surf breaks for board riders at City Beach or Sandon Point, to ocean rock pools and sheltered areas for the kids. You can choose from 17 lifesaver-patrolled beaches, all with fine sand and clear water - and fewer crowds than in Sydney. There’s nothing like watching the sun rise over the Pacific before plunging into the surf for a pre-breakfast swim. If the waves aren’t your scene, there are saltwater pools at several beaches along the coastline.

 

  • Northbeach Pavilion  , 5 Cliff Road, North Wollongong NSW 2500; Tel: +61 2 4223 3000; Website: Northbeach Pavilion  

 

Exploration and indulgence in the city centre

 

A stroll following the Wollongong Heritage Trail is a great way to combine education and indulgence. The trail leads you to historic sites in the city centre - which is also the shopping and dining hub. Here, you’ll be tempted by over 350 stores, including traditional Australian department stores such as Myer and David Jones, as well as a plethora of specialty shops. Crown Street Mall is the scene of the “Eat Street” at Crown Markets on Thursday evenings, with a vast choice of global cuisine to go, and a live-music soundtrack.

 

  • David Jones, 169 Crown Street, Wollongong NSW 2500, ; Tel: +61 2 4252 5555; Website: David Jones
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  • Eat Street, Crown Street Mall, Wollongong NSW 2500; Tel: +61 4771 09132; Website: Eat Street

 

Quiet havens in Wollongong

 

If you’re feeling like a vacation from your vacation, there are several spots where you can retreat and hear nothing but the breeze and the birds. Wollongong Botanic Garden is a tranquil oasis with indigenous and exotic plants. You can stroll among themed gardens, or simply relax by the lake while the kids are busy in the playground and maze. The serene gardens of Nan Tien Buddhist temple, with a pagoda, Buddha statues, and a lily pond, are a perfect place to centre yourself.

 

  • Wollongong Botanic Garden, Murphys Avenue, Keiraville NSW 2500; Tel: +61 2 4227 7667; Website: Wollongong Botanic Garden
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  • Nan Tien Temple, 180 Berkeley Road, Berkeley, NSW 2506; Tel: +61 2 4272 0600; Website: Nan Tien Temple