Known for its beautiful beaches and cafes, the town of Thirroul, and its northern neighbours of Austinmer, Coledale, Wombarra and Scarborough, offer a delightful coastal escape. Enjoy magnificent views, delicious restaurants, boutique shopping and a challenging bushwalk.

This area of northern Wollongong is on the Grand Pacific Drive, a spectacular touring route through the Royal National Park to the Illawarra region. You can also travel from Sydney by train. Places to stay in Thirroul suit various budgets, from luxury holiday houses to campgrounds.

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

An inspiring place, Thirroul is where English writer D.H. Lawrence wrote much of his novel Kangaroo in 1922. The fine white sand of Thirroul Beach is backed by a park, with a children's play area, and is close to shops and cafes. There’s also a saltwater pool next to the beach.

Just north of Thirroul is pretty Austinmer Beach and two large rock pools. There’s a camping reserve at Coledale Beach, and Scarborough Beach is ideal for swimming and surfing. Visit the Scarborough Hotel, and enjoy the in-house Matthew Gillett Gallery and sweeping ocean views from the garden.

Dancing for joy, Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival

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.

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 beautiful coastal views. The lookout is also accessible from the Old Princes Highway by car.