A quick travel guide about the best things to do in Wollongong, Australia.
Of all the different places I’ve lived, Wollongong may be my favorite.
It doesn’t feel like a city because the town center is small and welcoming, yet the list of the best Wollongong attractions is long and the fun things to do are endless.
Stunning beaches sit on the east side of this coastal city, and towering mountains sit on the west.
The overwhelming presence of nature and the laid-back lifestyle make this city feel relaxing and comforting, and Sydney is only 1.5 hours away if I really want some big city vibes.
So for anyone planning to travel to Australia, I highly recommend visiting Wollongong. And for anyone wondering what to do in Wollongong, Australia, I hope this article is helpful!
Here are the 15 best things to do in Wollongong, for anyone lucky enough to visit.
15 Best Things To Do In Wollongong, Australia
From Sydney, you can take the South Coast Train line to Wollongong, and spend some time enjoying this gorgeous yet humble coastal city.
If you have a car and prefer the scenic route, travel along the Grand Pacific Drive. Winding along the coast from the Royal National Park to Kiama, this drive is a highlight of New South Wales and brings you straight to Wollongong.
Along the Grand Pacific Drive, stop at Bald Hill Lookout or hike to Sublime Point Lookout for panoramic views of the area. Or see some Australian wildlife at Symbio Wildlife Park, walk along the Sea Cliff Bridge or surf at Stanwell Park Beach or Sandon Point Beach.
For more things to do along the Grand Pacific Drive, check out this post!
After marveling at the Sea Cliff Bridge, Bald Hill Lookout and more, turn off the Grand Pacific Drive and head into Wollongong. Here are the best things to do when you arrive!
1. Go To The Beach
Any city that has its own beach is automatically a superior city in my eyes.
Wollongong even has two beaches, both with long stretches of soft sand and fun, refreshing waves.
Wollongong City Beach is huge, and North Wollongong Beach is a bit smaller but has a nicer view so it gets more crowded when the weather is nice. I love both of them, and they’re great for chilling, swimming, and surfing.
Just south of North Wollongong Beach is also Wollongong Harbour. There is some flat, shallow water and sand there that is nice for sunbathing or playing with kids.
Port Kembla Beach is a bit further south, and Wattamolla Beach in the Royal National Park is further north, but they make nice day trips.
(If you’re interested in learning how to surf, Australian Surf Tours is the best local company to take lessons with. They offer hourly lessons as well as a two-week surf camp, and a four-week surf development course for those who really want to improve their surfing.)
2. Dine Out In A Restaurant
Australia is a very multicultural country, and this coastal city is full of amazing international food choices.
There are plenty of Thai and Indian Restaurants on Kiera Street, and you can easily find good Turkish kebabs and falafel wraps for a cheap meal.
There are also a few fancy beachside restaurants for a lavish night out, like Steamers Bar and Grill. This is where I work, and they have delicious fresh seafood options and interesting cocktails.
Also for those who like craft beer, the Illawarra Brewery has countless options.
There is no shortage of places to eat in Wollongong!
3. Swim In The Rock Pools
Swimming in the rock pools is definitely one of the best things to do in Wollongong.
You can swim in the cold, salty Pacific Ocean in a less crowded, more relaxed setting.
Rock pools are also just incredibly picturesque.
There is one small rock pool situated between the Lighthouse and City Beach, and there’s another one called the Gentlemen’s Baths in between City Beach and North Wollongong Beach.
4. Watch the Sunrise
Australian’s love to get up early and catch the sunrise.
If you make the effort to get out of bed a little earlier one day, you can also see the glorious natural colors of the early morning over the Pacific Ocean.
Just head to the Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse, the lighthouse on Flagstaff Hill, Wollongong Harbour, or anywhere along the coast, bring a camera, and enjoy the view.
5. Visit The Wollongong Art Gallery
The Wollongong Art Gallery is free to enter and open 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday through Friday, or 12 pm – 4 pm Saturday and Sunday.
It has three floors of interesting paintings, sculptures, digital art displays, and exhibitions, and it’s a nice stop when walking through town.
The artists are often local and create artwork representing local areas and wildlife, so this is actually a cool insight into the culture here.
6. Search For Street Art
Even outside of the Art Gallery, Wollongong bursts with creativity.
You can’t walk a few blocks without seeing some form of street art, and there are even some giant murals showcasing incredible talent.
Literally all you have to do it walk around and you’re guaranteed to find some artwork in the city.
7. Bike Along the Cycleway
For active people and fitness enthusiasts, biking along the cycleway is one of the most fun things to do in Wollongong.
This cycling/pedestrian path begins at Wollongong Harbour and goes all the way up to Thirroul, passing through eight small coastal towns on the way.
The path hugs the coastline, giving you amazing views of the ocean, and sometimes winds inland to bring you through shady neighborhoods.
The whole track is roughly 17km, and it’s mostly flat and easy except for a few hills in Bulli and Thirroul.
8. Visit The Weekly Street Markets
Wollongong has two wonderful street markets located on Crown Street, the main pedestrian road in the center of town.
Every Thursday night from about 5 pm – 9 pm is Eat Street Markets, where there are too many delicious food trucks to count.
Every Friday from roughly 8 am – 2 pm is the Forager’s Market, where you can find local vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, vintage clothes, woodwork, homemade candles, crystals, and essential oils, and plenty of other interesting things.
Both markets always have live music playing as well, and they are both top Wollongong attractions for visitors and locals alike.
Check out the website for both Eat Street Markets and Forager’s Market for more info.
9. Hike Mount Kiera
Take advantage of the nature located on the outskirts of Wollongong by venturing up to Mount Kiera.
You can simply drive to the lookout at the top or hike all the way up; either way, you can witness an amazing view over the city, ocean, and surrounding greenery.
You can also hike all the way around Mount Kiera along the Ring Track, or hike to the Robertson Lookout which gives you a side view of Mount Kiera.
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, also consider heading up to the Royal National Park. There are lots of amazing hiking trails and bushwalks. Read about more things to do in the Royal National Park here.
10. Visit Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere
A quick, 20 minute drive from Wollongong will bring you to Nan Tien Temple, a hidden gem of New South Wales.
This is actually the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere! The giant complex of Nan Tien Temple has lots of attractions, including a Pagoda, a museum, gardens, and a tea room.
Nan Tien Temple is a unique place to check out when you visit Wollongong. Visit the website for more details!
11. Try A Holistic Therapy
Australia is a very health-conscious country, and Wollongong has lots of health treatment centers with some interesting therapies available.
If you’ve always wanted to try something new that might transform your body and mind in a positive way, why not give it a try while visiting Wollongong?
You can try Cryotherapy, which means exposing yourself to cold temperatures for a short time to rejuvenate the body. Visit NOW Cryotherapy at 71 Kiera Street or Cryotherapy Wollongong at 2/24 Flinders Street.
You can also try Cocoon Floating Therapy, where you float in a sort of sensory-deprivation tank and rejuvenate the mind and soul. Visit Cocoon Flotation at 70 Kembla Street to try that one out!
12. Explore Puckey’s Estate
Along the Cycleway just north of Stuart Park lies Puckey’s Estate, a nature reserve full of trees, bush, sand dunes, and a little creek.
There is one main wide dirt path that you can bike along, and a few smaller paths branching off into the bush.
Running here is great on a hot day because it’s shaded by trees, just be sure to watch out for lizards and snakes on the path.
13. Tour The Wollongong Botanic Garden
The Wollongong Botanic Garden is very impressive and free to enter.
There are a few different sections of native and exotic plants here, including a colorful rose garden, a dense, misty rainforest section, and a desert-like area for cacti and succulents.
It’s a great place for a picnic, and it’s one of the best free things to do in Wollongong.
The Wollongong Botanic Garden is open daily from 7 am to 6 pm.
14. Visit A Lovely Cafe
Australians love their coffee, and Wollongong has no shortage of cozy cafes for chilling out.
Quay Canteen has a nice view over the Crown Street Plaza and Opus Coffee Brewers serve their coffee in gorgeous handmade mugs.
Or if you’re hitting the beach after, visit Longboard Cafe near City Beach or Diggies Cafe on North Wollongong Beach.
Anyone wondering what to do in Wollongong should just head to a cafe and then figure out your plans from there.
15. Go SkyDiving
For any thrill-seekers out there, sky diving is one of the craziest things to do in Wollongong!
This is a great chance to cross something off your life’s bucket list!
For only 184 USD (that’s actually pretty cheap!) you can do a 15,000 foot tandem skydive with the gorgeous views of the Wollongong coastline around you.
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So those are the 15 best things to do in Wollongong!
Another great thing about when you visit Wollongong is all the amazing places near the city as well.
On days off, it’s so easy to venture up to Sydney or south to Kiama, enjoying the vibrant coastal scenery on the way.
Cruise along the gorgeous Grand Pacific Drive and Sea Cliff Bridge, kayak in Lake Illawarra, visit Symbio Wildlife Park, go hiking in the Blue Mountains or try camping and snorkeling in the Royal National Park.
Or head south and enjoy family activities like Jamberoo Action Park, the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk, the Illawarra Light Railway Museum, or the Australian Motorlife Museum.
There are honestly endless things to do in Wollongong and the surrounding areas, so you’ll never be bored!
I have loved every second of living in Wollongong, and I am eager to see more as soon as possible.
Before you travel to Australia…
- You’ll need a visa to enter the county. Visit iVisa.com to get your visa online.
- You should also have travel insurance, especially if you’ll be skydiving or even just surfing or hiking. Visit Squaremouth Insurance to get the best, affordable travel insurance plans. You can take advantage of their online live chat as well if you have any questions!
- Check Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Australia!
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For more inspiration about traveling in Australia, check out these articles!
For information about how to live and work in Australia, check out Guide To Working Holiday Visas In Australia (First and Second Year)
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