Scattered along the coastline of the Illawarra region on the NSW South Coast, the charming village of Thirroul and its northern neighbours Austinmer, Coledale, Wombarra and Scarborough make for a perfect seaside escape. Enjoy magnificent views, quiet beaches and a laid-back lifestyle.

People relaxing on Austinmer Beach, Austinmer, in the Illawarra region

Beaches and ocean pools

The golden sand of Thirroul Beach stretches for one kilometre. It’s backed by a park with a children's play area, and is close to shops and cafes. There’s also an ocean pool, giving swimmers all sorts of options. Just north is pretty Austinmer Beach, flanked by Norfolk pines and with two large rock pools.

There’s a camping reserve at Coledale Beach, and Scarborough Beach is ideal for swimming and surfing. Many of Thirroul’s beaches are dog friendly. Little Austinmer, McCauley’s and Sharkey’s beaches are open for dogs 24 hours a day, while others operate on a time share basis.

Outdoor adventures

For bushwalkers, the Sublime Point walking track begins at Foothills Road in Austinmer. The trail ascends through rainforest of the Illawarra Escarpment to the Sublime Point lookout, where there are coastal views. The lookout is also accessible from the Old Princes Highway by car.

Views of The Scarborough Hotel, Scarborough

Arts and culture

Thirroul has a lively arts community. Check out the events calendar for festivals and shows, including the Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival and the Scarborough Art Show. Anita’s Theatre is a great live music venue, in the restored Kings Theatre, which opened as a cinema in 1925.

Thirroul is where famed English writer D.H. Lawrence wrote much of his novel Kangaroo in 1922. There’s lots of great restaurants and cafes nearby, as well as boutique shops, giving travellers many options away from the beach. Visit the Scarborough Hotel, and enjoy the in-house Matthew Gillett Gallery and ocean views from the garden.

Getting there and where to stay

Thirroul is a 1hr 20nin drive south of Sydney via the Grand Pacific Drive. You can also catch the train and the journey takes around 90min. There’s lots of accommodation to suit various budgets, from campgrounds to luxury holiday houses, like The Retro Retreat surrounded by gardens just a short stroll from the beach.