Wollongong and its surrounding Illawarra region are a treasure trove of attractions, sites and experiences. If you’re wondering how to spend a day or a weekend in Wollongong, look no further for inspiration! Written by a born and bred ‘Gong local, this guide lists the very best things to do in Wollongong and the Illawarra. Wollongong is famous for the natural wonder of its coastline, but equally as awesome are the vibrant local Arts, Music and Foodie scenes! The ‘Gong has an offering for every taste — and budget. (So if you’re looking for Free Things to Do in Wollongong and the Illawarra, this guide is for you). Read on for the Wollongong’s Top Attractions, Places to Eat & Drink, Family Fun and Upcoming Events in Wollongong and the Illawarra. Let’s explore!

Just quickly – if you want a more daring and different adventure, discover Wollongong & Illawarra’s unique and lesser-known attractions here.

Wollongong Harbour and Blue Mile Walk

Stunning. Flagstaff Hill, Wollongong is a highlight of the famous ‘Blue Mile’ Walk.

Now this is Wollongong at its finest! Blue ocean and escarpment views for miles, viewing platforms to watch for whales and dolphins (you may spot seals too). Plus, free parking.

The 1.5k Blue Mile walk runs from the iconic Stuart Park in North Wollongong (great for kids, it’s our Flagship Park!) to the glorious South Beach, via North Beach and the Harbour. You get 6 cafes and restaurants to choose from along the way.

Highlights of the Blue Mile include Flagstaff Hill, which boasts two lighthouses to admire — the gentle Harbour Beach (great for young kids), the Continental Pool (which is free), and the stunning natural rock pool next to it.

The Blue Mile seriously has something for everyone — people love to ride cruiser boards, kids love to bring their scooters and everyone is soaking up the sun. The only trouble is that it’s a little too well loved on Public Holidays! (So start out early)

The Sea Cliff Bridge

Ahh the majestic Sea Cliff Bridge, Wollongong. It’s one of the most scenic spots on the South Coast NSW Australia, the highlight of the famous Grand Pacific Drive. This top Illawarra tourist attraction is also on my daily commute.

Every morning I get to drive the half-kilometre of gently curving bends that hug the sandstone cliffs. Below, the glorious blue sea stretches out to the horizon, ever-changing. I’ve lived here all my life, and this stunning drive still takes my breath away. Read the Sea Cliff Bridge local’s guide to checking out this iconic landmark.

Best Rock Pools and Beaches

Local favourite, Coalcliff Ocean Pool

When the weather heats up and the water calls, Wollongong has some of the best rock pools and ocean swimming pools on the South Coast of NSW — each as inviting and beautiful as the last. We are seriously spoiled for choice all along the coast from Coalcliff to Port Kembla. These delicious ocean refreshed pools range from little rock pool to Olympic in size and design, so you’re sure to find your perfect fit. A lovely relaxing swim is a perfect idea for a date, a fun arvo with friends or an adventure with the kids. I’ve put together a detailed run down of the very best local ocean pools here – see you in the water!

For Wollongong’s best beaches, read our Illawarra Beach Guide here, you can choose the best beach for your swimming, surfing, beach lazing or BBQ needs!

Wollongong Market Guide. Get your Markets here!

Mouth watering yum yums at Crown Street Friday Markets, Wollongong

Wollongong is the lucky home of so many diverse and vibrant markets! The local market scene has really taken off in the last 10 years, and has become part of the social fabric of the region. Think street food and lots of local produce — plus Arts, traditional crafts, fashion and vintage collections. Most markets also feature live Music and performances, and many are pet friendly! This comprehensive guide will give you the skinny on what each Market has, and what to expect.

Best local Breweries

All smiles from the father & son team behind Stoic Brewing, Gerringong

Wollongong is a bit of a haven for beer enthusiasts, with its burgeoning craft beer scene that’s sure to delight even the most sophisticated tastes! Local breweries in Wollongong are more than just places to grab a pint; they’re vibrant hubs of creativity and community spirit. Imagine stepping into a cozy brewery, the air filled with the enticing aroma of hops and grains — only the best Sunday sesh of your life, babey. What makes these breweries special is not just the exceptional brews they offer, but also the friendly atmosphere and the chance to chat with the skilled brewers themselves. read our insider’s guide to the Top 10 Wollongong Breweries here…

Skydiving

Skydive over the ocean near Wollongong with Bigwave Skydive

A thrilling way to experience the stunning beauty of our Illawarra coastline! BIGWAVE Skydive in Shellharbour offers the best rush of adrenaline over our aquamarine waters. Tandem skydives from $399 to create the experience of a lifetime. An unforgettable way to enjoy the Gong!

Jervis Bay Wild

Explore the beauty of the natural South Coast wonders on water with Jervis Bay Wild

Jervis Bay Wild offers a range of breathtaking Whale Watching & Dolphin cruise options for you, your family and your friends to enjoy all year-round on the South Coast.

Whale watching and Dolphin spotting with them in Jervis Bay is a fantastic way to experience the local wildlife along pristine white sandy beaches, towering cliffs and clear turquoise water.

Jervis Bay Wild proudly showcases the beautiful ecosystem and marine life including Dolphins, Whales & Seals of Jervis Bay Marine Park in Huskisson, South Coast.

They also offer other fun activities throughout the year, which can be found on their Cruise Options page.

Trees Adventure – Ziplining & Action Park

Treetops Adventure = the best family fun in nature, with a mild adrenaline hit!

Ok Treetops Adventure, we love your action park! it’s a little drive south of Wollongong to Nowra (only 59mins!) but so worth the trip. You and the kids (age four up), can literally climb up, zipline and adventure through the trees next to the tranquil Shoalhaven River. Trees Adventure is an epically awesome adventure park on the South Coast of NSW. It’s safe too with their harness system and different courses / challenges for all ages. Plus, it’s next to Shoalhaven Zoo so you get free little sneak peaks of the animals (or pay for entry to the Zoo if you want close up’s and a double whammy day trip experience!)

Jamberboo Action Park (open September to April)

For a big-fun day out you can’t really beat Jamberoo Action Park, Jamberoo

OK. I might be seriously biased here because I love to have fun. But if you really want to have a good time, Jamberoo is hard to beat. This is the biggest water theme park in NSW and they bring the thrills and memories to match. The rides and waterslides are exciting for all ages, and they never get old. I went with my Dad every summer as a kid and now my family are shameless season pass holders. The park is so well maintained and everyone is always in a good mood. Not just for families — waterslides are fun for dates and mates too! I’ve put together a (too comprehensive?) guide to getting the most of our your day at Jamberoo here.

The Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

See the rainforest from a different perspective at Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

Here’s a day trip that’s out of the ordinary: a walk through the rainforest — 50 metres above the forest floor! At Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures you can take a walk through the canopy along 1.5 kilometres of steel walkways. The panoramic views are beyond your imagination — from the rainforest all the way to the ocean. You can also take a zipline tour! It’s the highest zipline in Oz, and tons of fun. A visit to the Illawarra Fly is always an immersive experience, with lots of laughs and lots of nature-lovin’.

Wollongong Botanic Garden

Bring along some oats, peas or corn to feed the ducks and water fowl at Wollongong Botanic Garden

Immerse yourself in glorious Illawarra nature at the Wollongong Botanic Garden, with their excellent network of paths exploring the huge 27 hectares of gardens and parkland.

In addition to the many garden collections displaying local plants and plants from around the world, the Garden is home to a range of wildlife including Bower Birds, native bees, Ring Tail Possums, Kookaburras, plenty of mini beasts, and so much more.

You can also walk through one of the largest rainforest collections in Australia, featuring a broad collection of Illawarra Rainforest species.

Kids will love the all-abilities playground, visiting the duck pond and the nature-based school holiday activities. Plus, entry is free! Click here to read more.

Sunset Cinema Wollongong (Dec – March)

Bask in a perfect Wollongong summer’s evening at the Sunset Cinema Wollongong

Dreaming of basking in the late afternoon sun, feeling the gentle summer breeze as you settle down on a squishy bean bag for a movie under the stars… sigh. 

The Wollongong’s longest-running outdoor cinema, Sunset Cinema Wollongong, showcases a season of unmissable cinematic experiences every Summer with their signature mix of hot new releases, retro classics and family favourites to the stunning Wollongong Botanic Garden

Soak up the alfresco atmosphere from the comfort of the Sunset Lounge and enjoy premium bean lounges in a reserved area with prime viewing PLUS bottomless popcorn!

Don’t forget to make a stop at the fully licensed snack bar + dinner is sorted with an array of local food trucks. Be sure to grab all your movie night snacking essentials too like Murray Street Choc Tops and freshly popped popcorn before you settle in for the show.

So whether its date night, family. night or catching up with your mates Sunset Cinema is this Summers ‘must do’ experience!

Bundanon – a serene sanctuary along the Shoalhaven River

There’s something for all ages at the stunning Bundanon property with art, bushwalks, workshops & events!

Bundanon is many things. An art museum embedded in the landscape. A wildlife sanctuary set on 1000 hectares. Bundanon is twenty minutes from Nowra, on the Shoalhaven River, and one hour from the Southern Highlands and Wollongong.

What’s to see at Bundanon:

Touchdown Helicopters

Take a trip of a lifetime over the iconic landmarks of the Illawarra coastline and mountains with Touchdown Helicopters

Touchdown Helicopters offer an incredible, once in a lifetime way to explore and enjoy the stunning Illawarra and surrounds! Whether flying over the gorges and waterfalls of the Illawarra Ranges, flying low over the sun-kissed beaches of our spectacular coastline or dropping into one of the region’s world class vineyards, you will cherish this unique flying experience of the Illawarra.

Prices start from an affordable $160 for a Local Scenic Flight for memories that will last a lifetime. Get in touch with the Touchdown Helicopters team now here.

Best Wollongong & Illawarra Escarpment Bushwalks and Lookouts

The stunning views from the top of the Sublime Point Walking Track, Sublime Point

The Illawarra escarpment is renowned for its incredible views, visiting this very special natural wonderland makes for a memorable day out that doesn’t cost a cent! There are so many unique walking tracks to choose from, each winding their way through diverse ecosystems, from woodland to rainforests. Anyone up for a challenge will be well met by the near-vertical Sublime track, and adventurers looking to explore will love the wild Wodi Wodi! Here is the insider’s guide to bushwalking this incredible ancient landscape.

Want a dip after your walk? Read our Illawarra bushwalks with water holes and waterfalls guide here

Best Eating and Drinking in Wollongong

The best in local produce and seafood – dining out in Wollongong = Foodie Joy

When it comes to culinary adventures, Wollongong is a food lover’s paradise. Strolling down the vibrant streets towards the beach, tantalizing aromas wafting from charming cafes and restaurants. From trendy fine restaurants plating up gourmet creations to cozy local eateries offering flavour fusions (and everything in between) there’s something to satisfy every craving. Read our Best Cheap Eats and Restaurant Deals in Wollongong & Illawarra here.

If you’re looking to delight your loved one with a romantic dinner, we’ve curated a selection of fine dining options here that are sure to please. Seafood enthusiasts, rejoice – with its coastal location, Wollongong brings only the freshest and best to the table. And what’s a seafood dinner without a view to match? Here are our picks of the very best ocean view dining. Wollongong is so fabulously multicultural, we’re so lucky to have huge diversity in our local food scene.

Wan to enjoy the best Wollongong happy hours for a refreshing drinks? Read our Illawarra & Wollongong Happy Hour deals here.

After drinks and dinner, don’t miss out on the thriving pub and night life culture here.

Things to do in Wollongong this weekend – Best events guide

The Festival Season in Wollongong runs year round

Are you looking to get into something different this weekend? Wollongong’s event calendar is a tapestry of diverse experiences waiting to be explored. All year around, chances are there is something on somewhere to tickle your fancy. From vibrant Arts & Culture festivals to thrilling live music gigs that will have you dancing the night away. Our Live Music guide is updated regularly and is a great place to keep an eye on the local scene. From the lively atmosphere of outdoor markets to celebrations of Sports and community — there is something for everyone. Families can look forward to kid-friendly events filled with laughter and silliness, especially in the warmer months. I’ve written a round up of the best Music, Arts and Food & Drink festivals for the coming year here.

The What’s On in Wollongong Event Guide is a comprehensive calendar of everything that’s happening in Wollongong! Check it out for top tier weekend inspo.

Best things to do for Kids & Family Wollongong & Illawarra

Curious kids love to explore UOW Science Space, Science Museum in North Wollongong

Our kids are so lucky to live and play in such a paradise. From beaches to playgrounds, rock climbing to museums – finding an adventure to put a smile on their faces is a breeze. My little ones are nuts about a good playground – loading up the scooters and picnics and heading out to explore gets them wiggling. Our sister site Parents Guide Wollongong has an amazing guide to the top playgrounds in Wollongong – kid approved!

Love getting into nature with the kids but don’t love giving piggy backs up a bush track? Same. Luckily we have a list of the best Family Friendly Bushwalks in Wollongong here. Tracks that your little one can walk in crocs, with a barbie in one hard and a biscuit in the other. No shoulder rides necessary!

If you have bubs who are climbing the walls at home, why not let them challenge themselves at Hangdog Climbing Gym? Or take them to their edge at Treetop Adventures Nowra!

For curious kids who ask 10,000 questions an hour, feed their inquiring minds with interactive exhibitions at the Science Space! Or let them get up close and personal with aeroplanes at the HARS Aviation Museum below!

One of the Illawarra’s best kept secrets for a great day out! The HARS Aviation Museum, located at Shellharbour Regional Airport in Albion Park (just over an hour by road south of Sydney), is a fantastic local tourist attraction that showcases some of Australia’s aviation history, right here in the Illawarra.

You can board many of their aircraft and even sit in the pilot’s seat of an F111 supersonic fighter. The museum offers families a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with the aeroplanes, walk through the hangars, sit in some of the cockpits and even explore some of the planes on display. Learn more here about special days and events HARS have coming up – especially their Tarmac Weekends where HARS opens to the public.

Best Things To Do in Wollongong & The Illawarra – HARS

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We offer our gratitude and deep respect to the lands, waters and skies of Dharawal Country. We stand in solidarity with its traditional custodians, the Dharawal and Wodi Wodi people, whose sovereignty was never ceded.