With the stunning Illawarra Escarpment as a backdrop, the relaxed village of Bulli entices with its gorgeous beaches, colonial buildings and mining heritage. Head to this northern suburb of Wollongong for picnics, swimming, cycling, surfing and breathtaking views.

Bulli is 90 minutes’ drive from Sydney, or you can take the Grand Pacific Drive touring route through the Royal National Park and over the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge, where the road snakes above the ocean. The scenic train trip from Sydney’s Central Station is 80 minutes.

Scenic view of the lush Illawarra Escarpment, with ocean glimpses

You’ll find a number of places to stay, including holiday houses and campgrounds at Bulli Beach Tourist Park. The idyllic Bulli Beach is 900m long and backed by a large park ideal for family picnics. A stroll north is Sandon Point Beach, another gem with a pretty picnic area.

Check out the events calendar for markets and festivals, such as the annual Illawarra Folk Festival. Bulli’s colonial heritage comes to life through its pub, churches, timber cottages and public buildings such as the grand three-storey Bulli Heritage Hotel, which opened in 1889.

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

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

The Southern Gateway Centre is atop the escarpment, and home to the Wollongong Visitor Information Centre, restaurant Altitude 1148 and a gelato shop. From the Bulli lookout, enjoy vistas of the Illawarra and South Coast. For more great views, Sublime Point lookout is a little farther north, above Austinmer.