Thirroul

Charming Thirroul and its northern neighbours of Austinmer, Coledale, Wombarra and Scarborough invite you to get outdoors, serving up stunning beaches, magnificent views and incredible bushwalks. Stroll the palm tree-lined streets of this laidback seaside town, located in the Illawarra region on the NSW South Coast, and you’ll find plenty of boutique shops, lively eateries and grassed picnic areas.

Students enjoying a lunch with ocean views at The Scarborough Hotel, Scarborough

The Scarborough Hotel, Scarborough

Beaches & 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 lovely shops and cafes. There’s also an ocean pool at the northern end of the beach, giving swimmers all sorts of options. Just north is pretty Austinmer Beach, flanked by Norfolk pines and home to two large rock pools.

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

Aerial overlooking Austinmer Ocean Pools, Austinmer Beach

Austinmer Beach, Austinmer

Outdoor adventures

For bushwalkers, the Sublime Point walking track begins at Foothills Road in Austinmer. The magnificent track ascends through the rainforest of the Illawarra Escarpment to Sublime Point lookout, where you’ll enjoy panoramic coastal views. The lookout is also accessible from the Old Princes Highway by car. Cyclists will love the 15km Wollongong to Thirroul bike track.

Aerial overlooking Austinmer Beach with views through to Sublime Point, Wollongong

Austinmer Beach, Austinmer

Arts & culture

Thirroul has a lively arts community. Check out the events calendar for festivals and shows. Anita’s Theatre is a great live music and comedy venue, found in the restored Kings Theatre, which opened as a cinema in 1925. The Clifton School of Arts also houses craft workshops and community events.

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 in the area, as well as boutique shops, giving travellers many options away from the beach. Visit the Scarborough Hotel for a relaxed meal with ocean views – and whale watching between May and November – and stop by the in-house Matthew Gillett Gallery. For beachfront dining, head to Thirroul Beach Pavilion, or for some casual but delicious seafood, opt for South Sailor. 

Views of The Scarborough Hotel, Scarborough

The Scarborough Hotel, Scarborough

Getting there

Thirroul is a 1h 20min drive south of Sydney via the spectacular Grand Pacific Drive. You can also catch the train, with the journey taking around 90min. There’s lots of accommodation in Thirroul to suit various budgets, from campgrounds to serviced apartments and luxury holiday houses. Meanwhile, for ocean views, book a serviced apartment at Headlands Austinmer Beach.