Discover some of NSW’s best-kept beach secrets in the beautiful Wollongong and Illawarra region. Backed by the striking Illawarra Escarpment and rolling into the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean, there’s the perfect beach for every traveller – minus the crowds.
Beaches in Wollongong
The city of Wollongong is flanked by beautiful beaches. North Wollongong Beach and Wollongong City Beach are the most popular beaches. Both are next to reserves with picnic areas. Farther south is Windang Beach, near Shellharbour and Lake Illawarra, a large saltwater lake popular for sailing, waterskiing, kayaking and other water sports.
Thirroul, Austinmer and Bulli
Just north of Wollongong is Bulli where you’ll find Bulli Beach and Sandon Point Beach. Tackle the surf at Thirroul Beach, backed by a park with a children’s play area, or swim in two large rock pools at Austinmer Beach. Pitch a tent beachside at Coledale Beach and wake to the sound of breaking waves.
In Stanwell Park, spend some quality time on the fine white sands of Stanwell Park Beach, as hang-gliders and paragliders fly above you in the sky. The large reserve on the edge of the beach is ideal for family picnics with BBQ facilities, a kiosk and a children’s playground.
You can also bring your dog to many beaches in the area. Little Austinmer, McCauley’s and Sharkey’s beaches are dog-friendly 24 hours a day. Others, like Stanwell Park, Scarborough, Thirroul, Bulli and Woonoona operate on a time share basis. Make sure to check the signs first.
The Illawarra region is famous for its ocean pools and there are more than a dozen dotted along the coastline. You’ll find them in Bulli, Towradgi, Woonoona, Bellambi and Coledale. One of the prettiest is at Coalcliff – legend has it that miners blasted it from the rock in the 1920s with dynamite they snuck out of the mines in their pockets.
Surfing and whale watching
Along the coast, you’ll find iconic surf breaks for experienced surfers and absolute beginners. Learn to surf with Pines Surfing Academy and Australian Surf Tours. The headlands by the beaches are great vantage points for whale watching. Spot humpback whales on their annual migration along the NSW coast, between May and November.