It would be hard to find a prettier seaside town in the whole country than Bulli in the Illawarra region of NSW. Sitting at the northern edge of Wollongong and dwarfed by the dramatic Illawarra Escarpment, Bulli’s main streets of colonial buildings face out on to quiet beaches and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Aerial view of Bulli Beach, Bulli, in the Illawarra region

Beaches and ocean pools

The tranquil Bulli Beach is 900m long, and perfect for swimming and surfing. It’s backed by a large park ideal for family picnics. There’s also an Olympic-sized ocean pool dating back to the 1930s and an adjoining toddler pool. Stroll north to Sandon Point Beach, another gem with a pretty grassed area.

Bulli history

The mining of coal – nicknamed black diamonds – began in Bulli in the 1860s. Learn the stories if the coal miners, mining tragedies and underground heroism at Bulli Black Diamond Museum Heritage Centre, in the heritage-listed Bulli Railway Station, built in 1887.

Bulli’s heritage comes to life on the streets through well-preserved pubs, churches, timber cottages and public buildings. Drop in to the grand three-storey Bulli Heritage Hotel, which has been serving thirsty locals since 1889.

Scenic view of the lush Illawarra Escarpment, with ocean glimpses

Things to do

The Southern Gateway Centre is on top of the Illawarra Escarpment above Bulli and is home to the Wollongong Visitor Information Centre, restaurant Altitude 1148 and a gelato shop. From the Bulli Lookout next door, take in the incredible views of Illawarra and the South Coast.

For more great views, Sublime Point lookout is a little farther north. Check out the events calendar for markets and festivals, like the annual Illawarra Folk Festival. The Sunday Foragers market on the second Sunday of the month is the place to pick up local produce and handmade goods.

Getting there and where to stay

Bulli is located just south of Sydney and the drive takes around 1hr 15min. You can also catch a train from Sydney, which takes around 80min. You’ll find a number of places to stay, including holiday houses and oceanfront campgrounds at Bulli Beach Tourist Park.