For many people driving from Sydney down the NSW South Coast, the town of Albion Park is just a place to drive through, get fuel or stop at McDonalds. But this town has quite a lot to offer and is worth spending at least a day. Part of the Shellharbour region, Albion Park has something for everyone with rainforest walks, mountain bike trails and golfing, plus you can ride on a steam train and browse an impressive display of aircraft at an aviation museum.
The Historic Aircraft Restoration Society Aviation Museum has an extraordinary collection of military and commercial aircraft. Highlights include the Qantas 747-400 that made history flying non-stop from London to Sydney, a Catalina flying boat and a Lockheed Super Constellation.
At the Museum’s Tarmac Days, you can sit in the cockpit of some of the aircraft including the 747, and for an extra price, you can sign up for a wing walk. For even more derring-do, attend the Wings Over Illawarra air show to be dazzled by breathtaking aerobatics.
As the museum is located right next to the Illawarra Regional Airport, you can easily take to the skies yourself on a scenic flight over the stunning South Coast, or even have a flying lesson. There are several operators, including Touchdown Helicopters, Five Points Aviation and NSW Air Flight Training.
There are always plenty of places to get out and about in nature. Mountain bike riders of all skill levels will be thrilled with Greenvalleys Mountain Bike Park, in the foothills of the Macquarie Pass. Cascades Walk is a must when you visit Macquarie Pass National Park. You might be lucky along to spot lyrebirds in the rainforest and platypus in the babbling creek on this 2km return waterfall trail. Hikers will also enjoy the challenging Clover Hill trail, a 6km return walk on an old logging route to Rainbow Falls past a patchwork of open fields.
Ride and slide
There is a lot of family fun to be had around Albion Park. It is only 10 minutes away from the giant waterslides at Jamberoo Action Park or enjoy the rush of excitement at Australia’s highest zip-line at the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures. It’s also home to the Illawarra Light Railway Museum where kids and big kids alike can experience a slice of history riding on steam, diesel and miniature trains.
Getting there and where to stay
Albion Park is a 2hr drive from Sydney along the spectacular Grand Pacific Drive. You can also catch a direct train from Sydney to the Albion Rail station and the journey takes about 2hr 30min. Or you can fly from Brisbane and Melbourne into Shellharbour Airport at Albion Park. You’ll find a number of places to stay around Albion Park including motels, cottages and the elegant Ravensthorpe - a grand heritage guesthouse.