Wollongong Bush Walks

With Wollongong being such a scenic place in Australia, it is likely that you will want to explore some of the more natural locations while you are there. Many of the trails and NSW national parks surrounding it are absolutely breathtaking, and five in particular that should not be missed.

Weather in Wollongong

Wollongong can be hot in summer and cool in winter making it the perfect holiday or short stay city break all year round.

From Mount Keira to Macquarie Pass, you can explore anything from dense rainforest to waterfalls, and you may even just enjoy a walk along the coastal line or pristine beaches that are on offer. No matter which season you choose to visit Wollongong, there is a great walk worth taking.

Wollongong coastal walks
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1. Mount Keira Ring Track

In Mount Keira you can find three unique trails, each with their own points of interest and rainforest to explore. The most remote of the three would certainly have to be the Robertson Lookout track, far up in the depths of the rainforest. West of the Mount Keira Lookout, you will be able to follow the road up to the Mount Kembla turn off. About 5 minutes from the first lookout you will find a small area called Robertson’s Knoll on your left-hand side. Of course, if you are coming from Mount Kembla way it will be on your right!

The walk links to the Mount Keira Ring Track and reaches one of the highest points of the escarpment. It has been renewed by the National Parks Department recently and now has a revamped picnic area and sturdy platform to look out over Wollongong and the surrounding areas from a different direction to the much more poplar lookout in the area.

The track is of an easy to medium difficulty and takes about two hours on average to complete. Alone, if you park on the corner of Mount Keira Rd and Queen Elizabeth Drive, this section of the track is around 4km in length.

The Ken Ausburn Track is another which ventures up Mount Keira but begins from the University of Wollongong side. It is named after one of the previous physics professors at the local university who had an underlying love of the Illawarra escarpment area.

Australian Gouldian Finches
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West of the Botanic Gardens, the track begins at the corner of Northfields Ave and Robsons Rd. There is plenty of parking at the base around the university, especially on the weekends when you are not competing with uni students! On the one-and-a-half-kilometre trek, you will come across a couple of lookout points as well as the Lawrence Hargrave memorial statue and parts left from the past mining exploits in the area.

One way it will take you an average of half-an-hour, but it is harder and more difficult as it can get extremely steep in some parts. It hooks onto the Mount Keira Ring track and you can use this to make your way back to the beginning for a change of scenery.

Finally, the last notable walk in the Mount Keira area is the Dave Walsh’s Track. It is only about 500m long, but this winding track can take over an hour to complete in full. It is quite difficult, more so than the other tracks in the same area, with steep, rocky sections that make it an excellent choice if you like to climb.

Combine this walk with the Ken Ausburn Track as well as the Mount Keira Ring Track, you can complete an entire “city to summit” walk. The beginning of this section can be found on the corner of Mount Keira Rd and the scout camp entry road. Parking here is difficult, there is not really any spaces, but you can park within the scout camp and make your way from there.

National Parks NSW
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Mount Keira is an amazing location that is nestled into the Wollongong area. You can see lyrebirds, echidnas and various reptiles like blue tongue lizards, which are common to the area especially in the spring and summer period. There are also a selection of gum tree varieties and rainforest ferns that can be found in this vibrant surroundings.

 2. Macquarie Pass Cascade Falls and Jump Rock

Macquarie Pass can be found outside of Albion Park in the opposite direction to Mount Keira. Another rainforest-type area but with several different features that make it unique to the greater Wollongong location. We are talking waterfalls!

These walks are of course perfect for the summer months as you can bring a picnic and take a long, relaxing dip in the deep pools that surround the area. There are two paths that you can take. On one side of the main road, you will find a car park next to a sign for Cascade Falls. This is generally not as popular with locals and tourists alike, so you will have less people about if you choose this route. It is a fairly easy walk and well-marked, so no chance of getting lost in the forest that encases you.

It will take around one hour to complete and bring you to an isolated picnic area in the midst of the rainforest. The falls are beautiful and in direct sunlight, so they are not only great to take a dip but also perfect for any Instagram shots too!

Australian Rainforest
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On the other side you will find a carpark that leads to a caravan park, but do not be deterred! This is a local secret nestle in the rolling hills that create the valley of Macquarie Pass. Generally, despite the lack of signage or even an obvious track, there are many more people here and they are looking for one thing at the conclusion of their journey… Jump Rock.

This track is extremely steep, has no evident pathways and can be quite hard at times to follow. It is not recommended for small children. At the end you will find a range of natural plunge pools which tumble into each other and make for a great water hole. There are even flat rocks on the waterfalls where you can set up a picnic and make a day of it.

This track, as mentioned, is quite difficult and can take up to an hour-and-a-half to complete, but it is well worth it!

Walker walking alone in the bush
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3. Sublime Point Lookout

To experience the best of the Illawarra Escarpment area, you need to visit Sublime Point. In contrast to the range of rainforest walks we have been looking into around the Wollongong area, Sublime Point offers some unique bushland that is the essence of the diverse environment that we have in the Illawarra. The Woodward Nature Walk in particular is delightful in spring, when the wildflowers and interesting flora are in full bloom.

You can access this walk from Sublime Point Lookout if you head directly behind the amenities block that is located near the main picnic area. The walk is quite easy and also short, around 400m long and taking less than half an hour to complete. You will find a picnic table mid-walk where you can sit and relax and enjoy your surroundings.

4. Wollongong Botanic Gardens

The Wollongong Botanic Gardens can be found across from the University of Wollongong, with a large carpark on Murphy’s Ave and entry is free! Here you will find not only a range of well-kept gardens that stretch over the 27 hectares of land, but also some of the richest birdlife in the area.

This is a pretty easy stroll with many concrete pathways to explore. If you are an avid bird watcher, or just want to give it a go, every Thursday at the Discovery Centre the Illawarra Birders Club meet around lunchtime to take a tour and show off the fantastic birdlife.

5. Tom Thumb Lagoon

Tom Thumb Lagoon is truly a story of triumph over waste. Situated on the corner of Springhill Rd and Bridge St is the former rubbish dump turned Wollongong Greenhouse Park. This marvel of bushland restoration is just south of the Wollongong CBD. You can walk along the perimeter or take a stroll over the hill, which is to be perfectly honest, a breathtaking oasis in the midst of the industrial landscape that encases it.

The length of the walk return is about two and a half kilometres and it can take between one and two hours, depending on your speed. It is an easy walk for anyone to take part in. There is plenty of accessible parking on both Tate and Keira St in Wollongong. If you would prefer to walk further, it is about 1.5 km from the CBD.

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Walks in Wollongong

So, whatever your fitness ability or whatever you would like to see, there is something to fit everyone’s needs and get you out in that fresh air too! There is a plethora of unique Australian wildlife, such as echidnas and lyrebirds, as well as unique plant life that can only be found in this area.

Some tracks will lead you to amazing waterfalls that will have your jaw hitting the rocky ground. Others will take you on a journey through Australian rainforest or over a deep lagoon.

Whatever your preference and fitness level, there is a fantastic Wollongong walk awaiting you. So, get moving and take up the challenge on one of Wollongong Top 5 Walks.

Things to Do in Wollongong NSW
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Visit Wollongong NSW 

For more things to do and see in Wollongong check out these posts.   

Best brewery in Wollongong NSW
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Wollongong Accommodation

There are many more things to do and see in Wollongong. Enjoy a refreshing drink at one of the nearby wineries or breweries, or stop by the Mount Kembla Village Hotel, an old timber pub established in 1898.

Wollongong has an extensive events calendar of live music, festivals, theatre shows, concerts, art exhibitions and local markets. There is an abundance of accommodation options, from city to beachside hotels to picturesque camping sites by Lake Illawarra and some of Wollongong’s best beaches

5 Top Places to Stay in Wollongong

  1.  Novotel Wollongong North
  2. Sage Hotel Wollongong
  3.  Mantra Wollongong
  4.  Adina Apartment Hotel Wollongong
  5.  The Belmont All-Suite Hotel
Accommodation Wollongong
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