All posts by Leigh-Anne Wrighter

The Aussie Pub Comedy Tour Comes to the Gong

Hold on to your seats Wollongong! The hilarious blokes from the Aussie Comedy Club Tour are hitting the stage at Wollongong Comedy for ONE NIGHT ONLY this Saturday, 22 August.

Bringing a whole lot of crazy and an abundance of laughs, Chris “The Bloke” Franklin, The Nelson Twins and Evan Hocking are pumped and ready to deliver you a night of supreme stand-up comedy.

Chris “The Bloke’ Franklin

In 2000, Chris “The Bloke’ Franklin became our most unlikeliest chart toppers with ‘Bloke’, a parody of Meredith Brooks’ classic feminist siren call ‘Bitch’, which etched Chris into Australian music history.

The song opened doors for Chris and he toured with bands like Rose Tattoo, The Angels, The Screaming Jets and The Radiators, and hosted events like the Deneliquin Blues and Roots and The Phil Emmanuel Memorial Concert .

And it wasn’t only the average Aussie bloke who loved the song.

“I have also had people like Hugh Jackman, Kevin Rudd and Keanu Reeves tell me how much they enjoyed the song.” – Chris

So does ‘Bloke’ accurately represent the real Chris Franklin?

“Bloke is definitely in my DNA but it is of course an amplified version of me. I don’t share a lot of the views of the character in the song, being pro gay marriage, pro refugees & immigration and pro equal rights for everyone, I do however love V8 Supercars, AC/DC, VB and Jack Daniels. I may be private school educated but I am most comfortable in my flanno, singlet and thongs.” – Chris Franklin

Writing more hilarious parodies such as ”Mullethead” and “Beer Is My Poison”,  Chris hinting that he has recently been busy working on a new parody.

Will we hear the new parody on Saturday night? Maybe. Chris sends his advanced apologies to any Robbie Williams fans!

The Nelson Twins

Unique comedy duo The Nelson Twins are made up of twin brothers Chris and Justin.

Performing for the past 6 years, they have appeared live on the NRL Footy Show and toured all the major comedy venues across Australia, winning several comedy awards.

Popular for their quick witted one liners, Justin reflected on their journey in stand-up comedy.

“I have always been funny and I’m waiting for Chris to start.” – Justin

Raised in rural NSW, the lads with the big bush ranger beards have taken their rise to fame in their stride.

“We’ve handled our rising fame with a great deal of poverty and anonymity.”

With a perfect mix of sibling love and rivalry, this pair know how to have fun…mostly at each other’s expense.

“We were part of a show called How To Win At Everything on National Geographic where we played guinea pigs for a number of different science experiments, Justin had to poor the hottest chili sauce on the hottest vindaloo curry and eat it. I’ve never seen someone sweat and cry at the same time, it was gold.” – Chris

Evan Hocking

After taking the leap of faith to full time stand-up comedian, Melbourne based Evan Hocking hasn’t looked back.

Performing solo shows at the 2016 and 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festivals, with ‘Evan is a Place on Earth‘ and ‘The Morning After‘, the comedian admits life has been busy.

“I didn’t eat today so it’s not going that well, no it’s been good. I’ve just got to keep gigging and getting my name out there, otherwise I might have to apply for “Married At First Sight” to boost my profile” – Evan

Finding material for continual comedy acts can also have its challenges but Evan has a plan.

“Most of it comes from life experiences but sometimes life isn’t that exciting so I have to get drunk and do something stupid for material” – Evan

Don’t spend the night sitting on the couch when you could be laughing your ass off with these boys.

The Aussie Pub Comedy Tour is proudly presented by Wollongong Comedy and the Classic Comedy Company.


Saturday, 25 August 2018
Doors open: 8pm
Show time: 8.30pm


Wollongong Comedy
The Builders Basement Bar
61 Church St
Wollongong, NSW


$15.00 online
$20.00 at the door (subject to availability)

Book Online Now



Gretel Killeen and Jackie Loeb | Wollongong Comedy

For one night only two of Australia’s much-loved comedy queens, Gretel Killeen and Jackie Loeb, will light up the Wollongong Comedy stage to fill your night with some good old banter and laughter.

When: Sunday, 19 August 2018
Tickets on Sale Now

Gretel Killeen is an award-winning TV host, comic, journalist, author and social commentator.  Wearing many successful ‘hats’ has come naturally to the multi-talented star.

It probably not only comes naturally but is also actually a necessity. I like stimulation and challenges and working in a lot of fields means that the landscape is constantly changing and I have to keep on my toes at all times. – Gretel

Admitting that a life in show business is littered with highs and lows, Gretel reflected on some of her own ‘oh my god‘ career moments.

I realised I could make people laugh when I was reading a serious poem and the audience got the giggles, the first time I realised I can sing (which was about 2 months ago), and the first time I recognised that the joy performers and artists give is truly precious and valuable, even if it doesn’t make many rich. – Gretel

Described as “gobsmackingly excellent” and “completely in your funny face”, Jackie Loeb has appeared on The Today Show, Good News Week, Spicks and Specks and Showtime’s – The Playlist.

Nominated for Best Comedy Award for her one-woman show ‘Jackie Loeb Sings The Worst Ever Written‘, Jackie started out her career looking for something creative and found comedy was her fit.

I was wanting to do something creative while waiting impatiently to become a movie star in between toying with the idea of becoming a plus size model and or screenwriter.

Also, I’d always loved the idea of having one-sided conversations, divulging the most personal aspects of my life to hundreds sometimes thousands of strangers. – Jackie

Having performed at comedy festivals across Australia and around the world, Jackie acknowledges her own past with Wollongong when asked about performing in an intimate venue such as Wollongong Comedy.

Nothing says intimacy like ‘The Gong’. A stone’s throw from the Kiama Blowhole and only an hour’s drive from picturesque and sexy Nowra. When I think of intimacy, I think of Wollongong – The Paris end of the South Coast!

Did you know I applied for the Creative Studies course at Wollongong Uni and didn’t get in? Yeah, so coming to perform at Wollongong Comedy Club reminds me that despite this gross injustice, I still made it! – Jackie

After travelling and working together on-and-off since 2014, Gretel and Jackie have built a strong connection and admiration for one another.

Jackie and I have travelled together, trod the boards together and chatted in dressing rooms across the country and I can honestly say the craziest thing I know about Jackie is that she seems to have no idea of how truly talented she is.

What’s been the best advice Jackie has ever received from Gretel:

Eat the pasta!

So what can you expect from an intimate night with two exceptionally funny ladies?

Love is my main my priority at the moment because I think the essence of life is to love and be loved. So I’ll be banging on about love in all it’s forms and telling some humiliating yet fun stories of my own pathetic, brave and ludicrous journeys to find it. – Gretel

Don’t miss Gretel Killeen and Jackie Loeb perform live at Wollongong Comedy on 19 August 2018.

This is a ONE NIGHT ONLY performance.

Location: Wollongong Comedy Club, The Builders Basement Bar, 61 Church St, Wollongong

Time: 7.00pm – 9.30pm.


Adults: $39.00
Concession: $34.00

Group discounts available.

Tickets on Sale Now

Gretel Killeen and Jackie Loeb Comedy Show flyer


Criniti’s Italian Cuisine Now Open in Wollongong

Food lovers across Wollongong rejoice! Multi award winning family-owned restaurant Criniti’s Italian Cuisine is now open in the heart of Wollongong.

South Coast fans of the authentic Italian cuisine have been flocking to the new premises on Crown Street and newbies are quickly discovering what all the fuss is about.

Ticking all the boxes for delicious food, superb service, and a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, Crinitis is definitely upholding their exceptional reputation for excellent dining.

“When you’re here, you’re family….salute!”

There’s always something special and cosy about dining at a family-owned restaurant that you simply can’t beat.

From the warm welcoming, the comfortable setting to the outstanding abundance of freshly cooked food, you always leave with a smile on your face and a very full belly!

Frank Criniti has a saying…”when you’re here, you’re family…salute!“…and they certainly deliver on that.

Establishing the first Crinitis in Parramatta in 2003, it is now a multi-award winner of ‘Australia’s Favourite Italian’ with 8 locations across NSW and Victoria including Wollongong.

Traditional Italian Meets Contemporary Dining

Where to start! Bringing a fusion of traditional Italian cuisine  and contemporary dining together in perfect unison, this is one place you must visit if you love amazingly good food.

The menu is simply outstanding…..and enormous! Whether your coming for a family dinner, a catch up with friends or a celebration, you will absolutely adore the range.

You are sure to find a crowd pleasing dish for everyone and they also cater to a range of dietary requirements including vegetarian dishes. Check out the full menu here.

Experience Criniti’s

There had been many expressions of deep foodie-love from those that had already experienced the Italian sensation so I was excited for my first visit.

With the family in tow, I set off with an  empty stomach and high expectations. Boy were we all in for a treat!

After receiving a warm welcome and checking out the funky decor and family photos , we couldn’t wait to begin.

We kicked off proceedings by sharing the Mozzarella Stick, a 1m wood fired bread stick filled with mozzarella, Italian herbs, rosemary and sea salt flakes.  As you can see below, it was a winner!


What followed was nothing short of a taste sensation, little mickie’s pizza with crispy bacon and garlic prawns, a special family recipe Criniti’s lasagne (complete with a mamma rosa’s meatball) and beef nachos.

My family all have varying tastes but I have to say we loved sharing our meals and simply devoured the lot!

Saying we were full after this was an understatement but there’s always room for dessert….right?!

With an extensive choice of desserts including classics, crepes, pancakes, authentic Italian gelato, fried desserts and so much more it was a difficult decision, but one we enjoyed pondering.

We finally settled on Oreo sliders! Battered and fried oreos with vanilla, salted caramel and nutella gelato with Criniti’s mascarpone cream topped with hot white choc fudge, dusted with icing sugar.  Delicious! I shared with the kids but I’ll seriously be getting my own plate next time.

Visit Crinitis

Criniti’s Wollongong
200 Crown Street
Wollongong NSW

Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner.


Phone: 1300 CRINITIS OR (02) 8026 7700
Visit for further information.







Beachside Ice Skating at Novotel Wollongong 2018

Time is running out to take advantage of the genuine Beachside Ice Skating experience at Novotel Wollongong in 2018

You would be hard pressed to find a similar experience and we are so lucky to have it right here in Wollongong.

With a genuine ice skating rink set on the roof top terrace of one of Wollongong’s most iconic buildings, this is the perfect middle of Winter activity.

Looking out over the stunning ocean views of Northbeach, you can easily be skating on ice one minute and walking on the beach the next. Now that is one unique experience.

Genuine Ice at Beachside Ice Skating

After thorough investigation and further testing and confirmation from a very cute 7 year old, we can confirm that the ‘ice’ on the rink is real! YIPEE!

You can see how they set up the ice rink on The Deck here.

It’s REAL ice! As confirmed by the super cute Tiffany – aged 7 years

Kids on the Rink

To make life a little easier you can grab a penguin (ice skating aid) to help your little one stay off their bottom and on their feet – although we can’t guarantee that! They can easily push their penguin around the ice and feel like ‘they are doing it’.

The penguins are free but subject to availability.

Watch their confidence soar with their penguin friend.

Adults Only Sessions

Grab your buddies together for the ‘adults only’ skate time on Friday and Saturday night.

Starting from 8pm, two additional sessions have been set aside for strictly over 18’s. So come and practice your dance moves under the disco ball whilst the live DJ turns up the beats!

Even the adults can make friends with the penguins.








Food and Beverages

You’ll feel like your at the snow with a variety of food and beverages on site, perfectly suited to the occasion. Perfect for a little break in between.

When to Go

General: Sessions run from 12 midday with the last session starting at 7pm.

Over 18’s Only: Friday and Saturday evening from 8pm.

The final day will be Sunday, 22 July 2018.


The Deck – Rooftop Terrace
Novotel Wollongong Northbeach
2 – 14 Cliff Road, North Wollongong

It’s all about fun!

Tickets to Beachside Ice Skating

Session prices include skate hire. It is encouraged to book your session online to avoid disappointment.

Adult 14+ From $19.50
Child 5-13yrs From $15.00
Toddler 2-4yrs From $10.00 (must be accompanied by a paying adult)
Family (2ad & 2ch) From $55.00

Book Now

Special Event: Winter Wonderland High Tea on Ice

When: Thursday, 19 July 2018
Time: 11.30am – 1.00pm

Ice Skating High Tea: $40pp
High Tea only (no ice skating): $29pp
Under 2: complimentary

All guests must have a ticket, all children must be accompanied by an adult.

This is a themed event which includes a High Tea  with entertainment from a dazzling Ice Queen and Snowman, face painting and other activities!

Get in quick for this one as places are limited.

Tickets on Sale Now

Winter Wonderland High Tea on Ice


Brokers Nose | Family Friendly Bush Walk in Wollongong

Finding a bush walk that is suitable for everyone to enjoy can be tough but that’s why we love Brokers Nose in Wollongong.

Suitable for children, beginners and those with low fitness, the terrain is easy going and you are rewarded with the most amazingly beautiful views views!

There is plenty of adventure too with manageable but completely awesome fun rock hopping along the way. Big and little kids will love it.

Located within the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area, the wonderful thing about this trail is that you can look one way and see the glorious green of the Escarpment and on the other, the epic blue of the ocean.

It’s adventure time!

Where Is it

Brokers Nose is located approx. 3 km west of Corrimal and about 5 km south-west of Bulli. The summit sits approximately 440m above sea level.

If you look back towards the Escarpment from around Corrimal, you should be able to see a BIG television transmission tower sitting on top of the cliff face. That’s where you’re headed! It’s totally worth it.

Where to Start

The entrance to the track is located on the side of Mt Ousley Road.  If you’re heading north from Wollongong, take the Picton Road exit and turn immediately right, taking the exit back onto Mt Ousley Road (you would now be heading South back towards Wollongong).

Stay in the left hand lane and pull off at the first Truck Stop. Please be aware there is limited parking here.

Note: If you are at the Truck Stop with the toilets you are on the wrong side of Mt Ousley and need to follow the above instructions (we know this from experience!).

You will see a green gate and that is the entrance to the trail where you will begin your walk.

It does feel a bit wrong standing on the side of such a busy road however you will soon enter one of nature’s beautiful playgrounds and the sound of passing trucks will soon be forgotten.

Parking at the Truck Stop on Mt Ousley Rd, Wollongong heading South





Where to Next

Follow the main trail and before long you will come to an amazing sweeping view over Balgownie and beyond.

Take your time, breath in the fresh air and immerse yourself in the view. This also happens to be a great spot for the kids to have a snack, do a few cartwheels and shake their silly out.

As you move off you will notice different trails branching off here, there and everywhere. We have been told by those ‘in the know’ that there are several shortcuts up to Brokers Nose but we decided to stick with the main track.

Apparently as long as you follow the cliff line (heading North) you’ll be fine but pick your adventure wisely!

From here we continued to follow the track until the path was wide enough for cars (i.e. service road). Look up to your right and you will see the television transmission tower. You need to head directly for the tower (do not turn around, do not pass ‘go’, just head for the tower!).

As you approach the tower you’ll probably be thinking “Is this it?” but boy oh boy are you in for a treat once you get past the tower. Absolutely stunning sweeping views over Wollongong and beyond.

Almost there. Walking along the service track towards the tower.



Brokers Nose Summit

Once you pass the tower this will be your reward!

Take lots of photos and move around the cliff to get all sorts of views and angles but keep in mind that the area is not fenced and it’s a darn good drop if you did fall.

Keep your eye on little ones! If it’s windy stay well away from the edge.

Try your luck at spotting some key locations around Wollongong such as the lighthouse and Stuart Park….you might even find your house.

Watch out for a passing train too, they look like they are in a model train set.

Highlight for the adults: Gorgeous ‘forget your worries‘ views.

Highlight for the kids: Spotting the roof of Bunnings at Bellambi (I’m not kidding!).

The stunning view!


Inscribed Rocks

Don’t forget to look under your feet when you get there. You’ll find inscriptions on the rocks dating back as far as 100 years ago.

Time Taken

This is a tricky one to answer. We were given an estimate of 1.5 hours round trip. It is approximately 3.5km return.

We were travelling with a very experienced (well for his age!) almost 3 year old bushwalker and a couple of 6 and 8 year olds. There was plenty of stopping, skipping, dancing and just general chit chat along the way.

We took our time and enjoyed a few snack breaks along the way. It took us 3 hours return. So really it depends who you have with you and what there walking pace/physical fitness is like.

When to Go

This walk was taken during the July school holidays and it was a perfect clear day. You could see the fauna was starting to flower and although there was a puddle here and there, it was pretty easy strolling.

This would definitely be an all-year-round amazing walk. Spring would be fantastic! We would recommend avoiding windy days or after heavy rainfall (slippery rocks and BIG puddles).

What to Take

  • Water, snacks
  • Sunscreen, hat
  • Insect repellent
  • Leech repellent (we didn’t see any but you can’t be too prepared)
  • A jacket, especially in cool or windy weather
  • Comfortable walking shoes/runners
  • Long pants
  • Mobile phone for pictures and those unexpected situations
  • Binoculars for the great views and birdwatching
  • Friends and/or family (always travel with at least 3 people)
  • Tell someone where you are going and the approximate time you expect to return.
The first breathtaking view along the track – enjoy!


If your after something that takes less time and would be suitable for toddlers or you want something a bit more challenging and suitable to those with a bit more experience, check out our blog on The Cascades Walk and Jump Rock at Macquarie Pass National Park.