Adorned by rainforest-covered escarpment and the stunning golden beaches of the South Coast, NSW’s third-largest city is a fun, vibrant and delicious urban centre that offers diverse appeal. In Wollongong, dial up the adventure by going skydiving, playing golf or cycling, or discover beautiful botanic gardens, relaxed cafés and restaurants, and a thriving arts scene.

Couple enjoying lunch at Humber Rooftop Bar,  Wollongong

Humber Rooftop Bar, Wollongong - Credit: Dee Kramer Photography

Eat & drink

From visiting bustling food markets to enjoying a cocktail at a hidden small bar, there’s many foodie experiences on offer in Wollongong. Explore the dedicated ‘eat street’ on Keira Street between Crown and Smith streets. Visit Babyface Kitchen for a seasonal produce-inspired menu, His Boy Elroy for American-style burgers or Rookie Eatery for contemporary cuisine within a historic house.

Wollongong’s small bar scene is quite exciting, with top options including The Little Prince, Night Parrot Bar and Kitchen, The Throsby, Humber rooftop bar, Red Square and Howlin’ Wolf Whisky Bar. Or enjoy a cool drink at The Illawarra, a historic pub, and visit the cellar door of Five Barrel Brewing. A 30-minute drive away is the Glenbernie Orchard, where you can pick your own seasonal fruit or enjoy a crisp cider. 

Friends playing beach soccer, Wollongong Beach

Wollongong Beach, Wollongong

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 collection of contemporary, Aboriginal, Asian and colonial artworks. At the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, there are three venues that host theatre, music and comedy.

Journey to the stars at the Science Space, home to Australia’s most digitally advanced Planetarium and over 90 interactive exhibits For children under 10, Early Start Discovery Space offers hand’s on experiences that will inspire the imagination, perfect for 10 years and under. 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 guided tours of the Port Kembla Steelworks and the historic Blue Mile.

The great outdoors

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

Just getting to Wollongong from Sydney is a tourist attraction. 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. More scenic views await at Hill 60 lookout.

The scenic oceanside Continental Pool in Wollongong, Illawarra

Continental Pool, Wollongong

Getting there

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