Wollongong is a surprising seaside destination. The ‘gong was once more famous for its steelworks than beautiful beaches and hinterland. These days Wollongong is a hub for adrenalin-pumping activities and fine dining.
Here’s our top ten for families heading to Wollongong:
1. Bald Hill Lookout.
Grab an ice cream and check out the impressive view of Sea Cliff Bridge and the coastline stretching south beyond it. There are usually a few hang gliders soaring above as well.
Take a one-hour or two-hour trail ride through this very pretty valley. The rainforest trail winds through the trees and across a few creeks. It’s simply beautiful on horseback.
The koalas at this zoo have taken social media by storm with their cute antics. Be sure to grab a koala selfie and check out the other critters here, including tigers, cheetahs and – King Julian himself and his lemur subjects.
4. Revolution Laser Arena.
This is next-generation laser gaming with a movie set quality arena, detailed backstory and the latest in technology.
Check out the ocean spray at the Blowhole, which can sometimes reach up to 25 metres high.
6. Hangdog Climbing Gym
This huge indoor climbing centre has more than 140 different climbs on 40 ropes – some self-belaying. When you’ve had enough of climbing you can go caving in a series of tunnels behind the walls.
The largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere has beautiful gardens to explore. Great for teens who love taking selfies. But you can also take some time to learn about Buddhist culture and how it has shaped people’s lives.
This elevated steel canopy walk has amazing views over Lake Illawarra and now you can also fly through the tree tops on a series of ziplines.
You’ll find loads of wet and dry thrills at Jamberoo. See how fast you can come down the mountain on the toboggan or scare yourself silly on the Funnelweb waterslide.
10. Beach volleyball
Join in a game of volleyball at Northbeach and cool off afterwards with a swim in the surf.
Top three places to eat in Woolongong
1. Coldwater Creek Restaurant & Bar
At Coldwater you can design your own burger – and even make up a name for it – from their list of gourmet ingredients.
Enjoy a yummy vegan meal at Nan Tien’s restaurant, choosing from Chinese and Malay style dishes (the fried tofu is the bomb).
3. Northbeach Pavillion
Hearty Italian food – including metre-long pizzas made to share.
Deborah has been travelling with her kids for 20 years, and writing about it for almost as long. She’s published several travel magazines throughout her career in media, and is currently editor of Out & About With Kids. Deb also blogs about the ocean: diveplanit.com and about travelling with teens: where-to-next.com