There are so many brilliant things to do around Wollongong you are unlikely to run out of options, but when that day comes and you feel like going somewhere different, we’re on the case. If you fancy a change or you’re tired of sharing the most popular things to do with everybody else, read on to discover eight of the best under-the-radar things to do in and around Wollongong.
Little Blowhole, Kiama
Tingira crescent (3km south of the big blowhole)
Nobody needs crowds and difficult parking on a day out, so instead of visiting the well known ‘Big Blowhole’ at Kiama, why not consider the lesser known little brother 3km further south? The diameter of the opening is smaller which actually means that often the water spout is more impressive, shooting higher and on a day with a bit of swell, very frequently. You can go right up close to the blowhole but beware of slippery rocks and rogue waves.
Open air cinema
40 Murphys Ave, Keiraville
Wollongong’s Botanic Garden is hardly a secret, attracting all kinds of visitors with exotic planting such as the cactus garden and the rainforest walk. Visit in summer and once you have had your fill of wildlife, walking trails, sculpture and art installations, BBQ and picnic spots or kids’ playgrounds, head for the Fig Lawn to catch a movie under the stars. The Sunset Outdoor Cinema shows classics as well as the latest films, offers popcorn and bar refreshments and provides comfy loungers.
Steelworks Tour, Port Kembla
Springhill Road, Port Kembla
BlueScope Steel works has long been a landmark in the Port Kembla area, but what goes on inside those vast industrial spaces? Why not find out on an informative and immersive tour of the works, guided by knowledgeable ex employees who can give you a really personal insight into the processes involved in steel manufacture. The tour offers great close up experiences including areas such as blast furnaces and rolling mills – its hot and noisy and very impressive! All safety equipment is provided and the tours are suitable for adults and kids over 10 years old.
Hot on the heels of some of Australia’s most impressive inner city revivals, central Wollongong has undergone a rebirth as well in recent years. Just as Brisbane and Melbourne have overhauled forgotten city centre areas into funky, fashionable ‘laneways’ buzzing with life, so has Wollongong. The laneways district centres on Globe Lane, Coombe Street and Keira Lane and showcases boutique bars, delightful galleries, artisan coffee shops and hip restaurants.
Saddleback Mountain Lookout
Saddleback Mountain, Kiama
Only around a ten minute drive inland from the blowholes at Kiama, through glorious countryside and up a winding road, brings to you another undersung attraction near Wollongong. Boasting not one but three lookout points, visit on a clear day for jaw-dropping views that take in most of the Illawarra coast and the escarpment. If you are lucky you may also see kangaroos on your visit, but even if they don’t put in an appearance you will be blown away by the stunning panorama from up here. You can pick up hiking trails from the lookout if you can’t resist striking off into the greenery.
Located to the south of Warilla Beach.
The small estuary at the south end of Warilla Beach is known as Little Lake or Elliott Lake, and makes a perfect day out for families with young children. The inlet divides Warilla from Barrack Point and it’s sheltered from the open ocean so the water is really calm and inviting. Shores and sandy and the saltwater is clean, so bring little ones to learn to swim, perhaps try your hand at SUP or just come to relax and enjoy the scenery. Elliott Park on the south shore and Little Lake Park to the north are both well set up with shaded areas, BBQ facilities and toilets.
Helensburgh Hindu temple
1 Temple Road, Helensburgh
Founded in 1978, the Sri Venkateswara temple was the first Hindu temple in the Sydney area, and came into public use in 1985. The temple is a significant Hindu place of worship and among the most important in the southern hemisphere. It remains an important centre for cultural events and worship in the region, and while it is a working temple, visitors are wlecome. Admire the intricate architecture of the temple exterior, experience the daily life of the temple and dine on fantastic south Indian food at the canteen.
Breakwater Battery Museum
2 Gloucester Blvd, Port Kembla
Documenting the military heritage of the area, the Breakwater Battery Museum is housed in a building constructed for military ops during the second World War. Check out military relics from the time and learn about the important contributions made by the region and its population. If you don’t enjoy military museums you are sure to be amazed by the ranks of anti tank traps which take the form of large white pyramids scattered over the coastal heritage park, more akin to an art installation than a military relic.
Author: Martha Hales
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