Whether you are a local Wollongong resident searching for a fun weekend activity, or a tourist, looking for the authentic Illawarra experience while on holiday, we’ve got you covered. Check out this list of must-do activities below to enjoy the best our region has to offer. With a combination of indoor and outdoor options, there is sure to be something on this list for everyone.
Just one hour from Wollongong, you will find Trees Adventure Nowra Park, Australia’s #1 Tree Ropes Course and Ziplining Experience located in Nowra. With over 80+ challenges and 15 flying foxes, this is an experience that all Illawarra visitors will be bound to remember. Trees Adventure has something to suit all ages and abilities.
Open Tuesday – Friday 9.30 am to 5 pm and Saturday – Sunday 8.30 am to 5 pm. Open seven days a week during the school holidays. Prices from $25 – Bookings are essential! Check-in is 15min prior.
If you enjoy a physical challenge, get the family climbing at Hangdog Climbing Gym, the Illawarra’s only purpose-built indoor rock and boulder climbing gym. An excellent place for family bonding as you learn to support each other through each climb, both physically and emotionally. Indoor rock climbing is a great way to introduce beginners of all ages to the thrills of climbing in a controlled environment. Being fully undercover, Hangdog Climbing Gym is the perfect wet-weather activity for families and friends who want to take things to the next level.
Discover the Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk, where a 1.5km return walk takes you through lush, native rainforest. Nearly 50 metres from the forest floor, the steel walkway features two gently swaying cantilevered arms and a central tower. Positioned an impressive 710 metres above sea level, the stunning panoramic views take in everything from the rainforest canopy coastal towns and out to the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy a Ziplining tour on what is officially the highest zipline in Australia. The Illawarra Fly Zipline Tour includes three flights, two suspension bridges and more!
If you want to escape the summer heat, be sure to plan a day at Jamberoo Recreation Park for all the swimming, sliding and summer fun you can handle. Perfectly nestled between the mountains and pristine ocean shores of the Illawarra, this family-owned water park is packed full of adventure with water slides for the thrill-seekers, younger kids and everyone in between. Built into the rolling hills of Jamberoo, climb your way to the top of each attraction through beautiful, natural bushland, filled with shade from towering trees and views as far as you can see.
Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend a day exploring the expansive Wollongong Botanic Garden. Set against the backdrop of Mount Keira, the Botanic Garden is filled with exciting things to discover. Follow trails and walking paths to explore rainforest areas, rose gardens, the Japanese Tea House, flowers, shrubs, palms and more. Parking is available on-site as well as on the surrounding streets. This place is overflowing with incredible things to do and see, all in a large open space where you can slow down and connect with the natural world.
Learning has never been this fun at the Early Start Discovery Space located in the University of Wollongong Main Campus. Designed to inspire early learning and imagination, sparking curiosity is the number one goal at Australia’s first dedicated hands-on children’s museum. The space is perfect for enjoying with children (birth – 10 years) and adults. Learn about animals, society, the environment, our bodies and our community while having fun as a family. This space is open seven days a week, with bookings preferred.
Find an upcoming game and support our local Illawarra Hawks with a high-intensity Basketball game that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Watch the Hawks battle against some of Australia’s best teams in what is always a heart-pumping experience. Experience the best NBL action right in the heart of Wollongong.
Perfect to keep older kids and teens occupied, 3sixty Indoor Skatepark is packed with 8ft roll in to airbag and resi ramp, 2 street sections plus a mini halfpipe with spine. There is something for everyone at all skill levels as you choose your session length from 1, 2 and 3-hour options. Scooters, skateboards, helmets and pads are available for hire, though your own Skateboards, Scooters, BMX, Blades are also welcome. Helmets are required for all.
Live like a Wollongong local and enjoy the summer sessions of The Sunset Cinema Wollongong. With a fantastic mix of new blockbuster movies and retro classics, you are sure to find something you can’t wait to see. Select from various seating options and enjoy the food and drink on-site, or bring your own (no BYO Alcohol) to enjoy as you kick back and relax for your movie within the Wollongong Botanic Garden. It will no doubt be the most extraordinary movie experience you ever have.
Unlock your curiosity as you learn about the inner workings of science. Science Space Wollongong is the largest hands-on science centre in NSW, located at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus. The centre is home to the DIGISTAR 6 Planetarium system, the state’s largest and most digitally advanced planetarium. Take in a science show with the kids or head to the hands-on exhibits that demonstrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in action. Perfect in all weather conditions, the Science Space will keep you amazed for hours.
Enjoy some airtime at Flip Out in Albion Park, where guests of all ages can choose from the different areas available to work on their skills and just have fun. Practice your flips or belly flop into the extra-large foam pit or take advantage of the Flip Out After Dark sessions where after 6 pm on Friday and Saturday nights, the lights go down, the music goes up, and it’s disco time at Flip Out. Need more? How about a Ninja Warrior Course, Parkour Arena, Tumble Track, Junior Arena & Junior Foam Pit, and Ninja Trampolining Classes?
Perfect for rainy days and fully air-conditioned, the Revolution Laser Arena just south of Wollongong is a great place to work on your competitive edge. Work with a team or join someone else’s, be sure to use the winding corridors to work on your stealth. Immerse yourself in an experience that boasts a movie set quality arena, the latest hi-tech equipment and brings together the best parts of laser tag and online gaming to create a truly unique experience.
One of the best things about Wollongong is the beautiful, natural landscape of where we live, so it’s no surprise that one of our favourite things to do when we have a little downtime is to relax and enjoy it. Choose from one of our top ten picnic locations around the Illawarra and then create your own picnic or collect some takeaway from one of our favourite beach-side locations. It’s a simple, low-cost way to enjoy the region and the best way to get in touch with the spirit of this beautiful place we call home.
If you prefer a more active way to connect with our stunning landscape, be sure to take advantage of one of the many walks throughout the escarpment and surrounding national parks. While there are too many to mention here, you can check out some of our favourites listed in a recent article, Five Walks in the Illawarra your Family will Love. Choose from lush rainforest to waterfalls and views that are well and genuinely Insta-worthy. Be sure to look for the notes on terrain to ensure it is an enjoyable experience for everyone in your group.
Be sure to enjoy hours of fun and family-friendly enjoyment without breaking the bank at Shellharbour Tenpin Bowl. Take some time out from the heat and enjoy a friendly game seven days a week between 9 am and 5 pm. Lanes feature automatic scoring, flat-screen monitors, nightlife music videos, bumper bowling for kids, cosmic bowling, and amusement machines.
If you had to pick one aspect of the Illawarra that sets us apart from the rest, it would have to be our beaches, pools and waterways. Especially in the warmer months, these are great places to enjoy with the family or when flying solo to reset the mind and body. In the cooler parts of the year, be sure to spend time enjoying the ocean and beaches, as the lower crowd levels make them the perfect place for long walks and exploration missions with the kids. Are you looking for a list of our favourite pools for summer? Check it out here.
Zoë Wood is an international travel writer from the local Illawarra area. Contact her here: Email