Wollongong is the third-largest city in NSW, a bustling hub of technology, art, food and entertainment. Surrounded by the beautiful beaches of the South Coast and packed with students from the large university, it’s a town that buzzes with energy.

People enjoying the outdoor seating and cafes in the town centre of Wollongong

Eat and drink

You’ll find a dedicated ‘eat street’ right in the centre of Wollongong on Keira Street between Crown and Smith. Rookie Eatery serves contemporary cuisine from an historic house, Babyface Kitchen brings a Japanese flair to Australian ingredients and His Boy Elroy is famous for burgers.

The small bar movement is a big deal in Wollongong. Popular watering holes include the rooftop Humber, cosy The Little Prince, chic The Throsby and Howlin’ Wolf, a dedicated whisky bar. Or enjoy a cool drink at the Mount Kembla Village Hotel, a timber pub established in 1898, and visit the cellar door of Five Barrel Brewing.

Things to do

The city also has a vibrant arts precinct, centred on the Wollongong Art Gallery, one of Australia’s finest regional art galleries that houses a large Aboriginal collection. At the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre there are three venues that regularly host theatre, music and comedy.

Journey to the stars at the Science Space and discover the future at the Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre. A short drive south of Wollongong is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, Nan Tien Temple. Take a tour and explore the pretty gardens. There’s also a weekly tour of the Port Kembla Steelworks.

Aerial overlooking the scenic Sea Cliff Bridge in Clifton, Illawarra

The great outdoors

Take a dip at one of three beaches that line the edge of the city. Just outside of Wollongong there are plenty of outdoor adventures from skydiving and scuba diving, surfing, fishing and mountain biking. Explore rainforest walking tracks on the Illawarra Escarpment at Mount Keira and Mount Kembla.

Just getting here from Sydney is a tourist attraction in its own right. Instead of taking the M1 Princes Highway, take the Grand Pacific Drive, a spectacular touring route through the Royal National Park to Stanwell Park and south over the Sea Cliff Bridge.

Getting there and where to stay

Wollongong is located just south of Sydney and the drive takes around 90min. You can catch the train from Sydney, which also takes around 90min. Accommodation options include modern hotels and serviced apartments, motels, cottages and holiday parks.