Here at What’s On In Wollongong, we have collated the ultimate guide to summer in Wollongong and the Illawarra. We have found the best restaurants, the best beaches, fantastic activities, and more for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Whether you live here and have the whole summer to explore or are visiting for a day, weekend or a few weeks, there are plenty of fun things (lots free and some with entry fees) here to keep you busy and make your summer memorable.

Best Illawarra & Wollongong Swimming Pools, Rocks Pools & Beaches

Ultimate Summer Guide – Best Beaches in Wollongong

Stay cool this summer! Check out the Illawarra’s best beaches, the best rock pools, and the best pools that take in the beautiful views and atmosphere of our wonderful area.

Some of the best local beaches include (but are definitely not limited to):

Stanwell Park: A great beach hidden in plain sight. Stanwell Park Beach has a fantastic playground and cafe. It is also patrolled. It is a beautiful spot, with plenty of parking, toilets, and even a creek for the kids to splash in.

Austinmer: The ever-popular Austinmer Beach is another northern Illawarra-patrolled beach. It has good parking but gets very busy in summer. There are takeaway shops or cafes to eat in across the road, a fantastic beach pool and easy access to toilets.

Woonona: Woonona has a lovely long stretch of beach to find the perfect place to spend your day. There is a great park behind the beach and a lovely cafe across from the park; the food and coffee there is delicious. Woonona also has a beautiful ocean pool to enjoy.

Sandon Point: The famous Sandon Point Beach is very popular for surfing and swimming; on the north side of the point is McCauley’s Beach, which is a great dog beach, and on the south side is patrolled and a beautiful place to stretch out and swim. The surf club has toilets as well. On the south end of Sandon Point Beach is the gorgeous Bulli ocean pool, and there is also a fantastic cafe for lunch or coffee.

Jamberoo Action Park

Ultimate Guide to Wollongong – Jamberoo Action Park

Jamberoo Action Park is the best water park in the Illawarra for kids or adults of all ages. It is a fantastic day out and will be somewhere the whole family will want to return to time and time again. At Jamberoo Action Park, you can set yourself up at a picnic and lose the big kids for the day, only seeing them for fuel to keep playing, or you can spend the day together exploring the huge variety of slides, pools, toboggans, and the awesome wave pool. You can bring your own food or buy lunch and ice creams from the great selection of cafes onsite.

Best Illawarra & Wollongong Markets this Summer

Ultimate Guide to Wollongong – local markets

Whether it’s Christmas markets or markets by the beach that have a fun summer vibe, Wollongong has some amazing markets in the area. There are enough, in fact, that every weekend has one somewhere. Check out our article on all the local markets in our area, including the summer and Christmas markets.

Best Wollongong & Illawarra Cheap Eats & Restaurant Deals

Ultimate Guide to Summer – Steamers Bar & Grill

Wollongong has some award-winning and wonderful places to eat, ranging from bars to cafes to restaurants. Whatever your favourite style is, you will find it in Wollongong. We have lots of beachside dining options, places where kids eat free, and lots of romantic restaurants for couples to choose from.

Best Illawarra & Wollongong Happy Hours

Ultimate Guide to Summer – Best Happy Hours, Wollongong

Going out somewhere local and enjoying happy hour in the local area is a great way to explore some fantastic local places. The atmosphere at the places in this article is relaxing but fun, and depending on what you look for in a night out, we have you covered in our article on the Illawarra’s local happy hour deals.

Sunset Cinema Wollongong

Ultimate Guide to Summer – 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. Well, you’re in luck as the iconic Sunset Cinema will be returning to Wollongong this summer for its 11th season! From the 11th of January, over 3 glorious months, Sunset Cinema will be screening its signature mix of new releases, family faves and all-time classics from the lush surroundings of the stunning Wollongong Botanic Garden. Enjoy premium bean lounges, bottomless popcorn, fully licensed snack bar +dinner is sorted with local legends His Boy Elroy serving up mouth-watering burgers and tasty sides all summer! Secure your tickets now.

Best Illawarra & Wollongong Walks

Ultimate Guide to Summer – Seacliff Bridge – photo c/o Jo Wetten

Wollongong has some great walks to explore, both bushwalks and others. Here is a great article on how to explore the Seacliff Bridge. There are some beautiful bush walks to make the most of our beautiful escarpment while in the Illawarra. And why not get the family out of the house and into nature with some of these great walks in Wollongong that are family-friendly.

Best Illawarra & Wollongong Bike Rides

Ultimate Guide to Summer – Cycling around Wollongong

Wollongong has a fantastic selection of bike rides for various age groups and abilities. Whether you are looking for great family-friendly bike rides or other cycling routes around Wollongong and the Illawarra, you will find what you are looking for here.

Best Illawarra & Wollongong Playgrounds & Places for Kids

Ultimate Guide to Summer – Best playgrounds Wollongong

Wollongong has heaps of terrific playgrounds and activities for kids of all ages. Follow these links for playgrounds and activities to suit your family and give you a great day out. Pack a picnic, take a soccer ball, or simply enjoy the equipment, and why not choose a playground with BBQ facilities for a perfect lunch out? Here are the links; each article has everything you need to know: toddler-friendly playgrounds, fenced playgrounds, playgrounds and activities teens will love, and the best playgrounds around Wollongong.

Best Illawarra Festivals this Summer 2023/2024

Ultimate Summer Guide – Yours & Owls Festival, Wollongong

Festivals are an awesome and fun way to spend summer, something truly memorable and special. We have researched and found the best festivals in Wollongong and the Illawarra area for you. We just know that whichever one you choose, it will be a fantastic day out.

Best Events & Whats on Guide Wollongong & Illawarra This Summer

Wollongong has a range of activities to do this summer. For a range of activities, events, and a list of programs that will leave you spoiled for choice, check out our Events Page and browse the huge range of things to do.

After more events and businesses near you? Never suffer FOMO again with our Weekly Newsletter sent straight to your in-box! Sign up HERE

For more articles on the awesome things to do in Wollongong over the summer, check out below.

About the Author: Lisa Hagan
Lisa grew up in Thirroul and is a mum of four children. A student to life, Lisa loves learning and searching for the most fun things to do with her kids. She loves exploring the Illawarra and surrounds. Searching for fun and educational activities are her favourites for her kids whom she homeschools.