Wollongong Getaway Guide
A town located in New South Wales that is always under-rated is Wollongong. There are many wonderful things to do in Wollongong and this guide is aimed to help you see the best of Wollongong in a short time.
Sydney to Wollongong NSW
Easily accessible from Sydney International Airport, Wollongong is a mere one hour train trip away and costs as little as $20 and even cheaper by bus. To get you around, there are many public transport options available in Wollongong. From trains, taxis and buses, as well as the free ‘Gong Shuttle’ that was implemented to help people get from the main city locations to places such as the university and the centre of town.
Wollongong | City Meet the Sea
Known as where the city meets the sea, Wollongong is surrounded by unforgettable beaches which are not only as beautiful as Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach but also a lot less crowded. In comparison, to the icon Bondi Beach, Wollongong beaches are never overcrowded so there is plenty of space to play beach cricket or laze around in the warm Australian sun.
The most popular is North Beach, where you can also find a plethora of seafood restaurants, such as Bombora, which boasts fresh, local seafood daily. You may also want to visit the iconic Wollongong lighthouse, standing on the top of the hill overlooking both North and South beaches from one spot.
In regards to accommodation, the Novotel on North Beach in Wollongong is by far the most popular. It overlooks the beach next door and is attached to Mudcat cafe downstairs and Pepe’s on the Beach bar which offers exquisite cocktails.
Novotel rooms are very reasonable and guests can check in from 2pm and checkout at 11am. For the best Wollongong accommodation deals and special offers, go to my preferred booking search engine Booking.com. For those who are looking for a a prime location close to the centre of town and the beach, you can’t beat Novotel Wollongong North beach.
There are so many food choices in this city that it will surely have what tickles your fancy within a short walking distance from wherever you are staying. For high-end dining make a reservation at a Lagoon Restaurant. Again, the Lagoon dining experience is a seafood extravaganza and ideal for special occasions or perhaps the perfect place for a destination wedding.
Trendy Local Burger Bar
North Beach Pavilion has a range of pizzas at the Italian themed restaurant and if you are into something a little more low key, then you may want to try His Boy Elroy, a local burger bar which is open daily from 11am – 9pm. The menu is reasonably priced and there is a good selection to suit everyone’s taste buds.
Breakout Bar and Wollongong Escape Room Experience
Another epic location in Wollongong is the Breakout Bar. You may have heard of or visited one of these in the past, but this takes a unique spin on what we commonly see in this style of restaurant bar. Drinks are fairly cheap for this kind of venue and you may want to book one of the escape room for 2-8 people to get the inclusive 90 minutes special package.
In this time, you will be briefed on your mission in the breakout room by the friendly, and very committed staff who make for a truly memorable experience.
There are several escape rooms that you can book, the Da Vinci, the Tomb, the Asylum, the ad Scientist and Medieval. Each have their own level of difficulty and storyline to follow, which can be found on the website, where bookings can also be made.
There are also two karaoke rooms that you can pre-book for the price of $65 per hour. The Library can accomodate up to 10 adults, or the Theatre can take up to 12. The Breakout Bar and Escape Rooms offer corporate packages, cater for parties and events and even allow for under 18’s to join the fun! There really is something for everyone here.
Howlin’ Wolf Bar Wollongong
There are a series of other bars available in the centre of town, including the well known Howlin’ Wolf Whisky Bar. With a extensive range of whiskies to cater to all tastes as well as signature cocktails and shots on offer every night.
Where is the Howlin’ Wolf Bar in Wollongong?
It is located on Crown Street, down the way from Crust Pizza, and is small but very encapsulating. Most nights you will be able to hear some live music of all genres, while playing connect four at your table with friends or perhaps you will enter on a night when trivia is being played. There is always something new and exciting to do at this amazing venue. Make sure you put this bar on your Wollongong must do list.
Heyday | Wollongong Gin Bar
If whiskey is not your thing, then perhaps a signature gin from Heyday will suit you better. Heyday Nightclub on Crown Street is a 1920s Hollywood styled venue set on two levels. This quaint and modern gin bar serves even more cocktails and great live music. Sometimes, there may be a cover charge to get in but it’s totally worth every penny.
Best Local Bands Play at the Rad Bar
For the best local bands and entertainment then Rad Bar is where you should be headed. It is a small venue, only holding less than 100 people on a busy night. Most nights there are bands playing which means there is a cover charge to enter. Aimed at a younger crowd, pricing is extremely reasonable and the entertainment is spectacular.
There is no where to really sit but upstairs you will find a couch area and several pinball machines, pulling you back in time if only for a little while. From here you can also look down upon the stage below and get a good view of the live music. There is no better place to exhibit the local talent than Rad Bar, which has been preserved even though there were plans for the owners of the building to demolish and rebuild in this location. This plan was fought by the public who eventually prevailed. It is a much loved gem of Wollongong and not well known by those who do not live in the area.
Best Wollongong Rooftop Bar
If a rooftop bar is what you are looking for then Humber is the place for you! On the corner of Crown Street before the new add-on to the existing Wollongong Central Mall. This four storey building homes not only a stunning restaurant but also a rooftop bar that is especially good for viewing fireworks. The food is great and reasonably priced again so it is a perfect place to go for a meal as a family or even couples who are on a budget.
Illawarra Brewery Home of Craft Beer
The Illawarra Brewery, located beneath the Entertainment Centre off South Beach, is home to locally brewed beers and a great place to meet friends and catch up while you are in town. They offer your general pub food with a gourmet twist which will have your mouth watering in seconds. The price for food and beverages ranges from moderate to high, so this is not your average pub feed but rather a dining experience. It’s location makes it a popular place to go after a concert or football game in the stadium next door.
Festivals Held in Wollongong
Yours and Owls festival is a local music festival held in Stuart Park across from the far end of North Beach and the highlight of Wollongong’s musical experience every year. Held by the Farmer and the Owl group, Yours and Owls began a few years ago and is still going strong despite New South Wales dwindling live music in the current time.
It is not just a music festival but displays local art and various food stalls which only add to the experience. It is held in late September and tickets are sold for around $300 for the weekend, Friday through to Sunday. You may also buy tickets for one day if there is a particular artist you want to see. If you find yourself in Wollongong around this time of year it is an opportunity not to be missed.
Wollongong Free Attractions
For those of us who are a little more active and seek adventure, the Mount Keira ring track is a great walk and once you reach the lookout at the very top, you get the most amazing view of the city of Wollongong, from the mountains to the sea. The track begins at Byarong Park picnic area and works its way up, winding through the bush of the Illawarra Escarpment until you reach the pinnacle. At the top is where you will find another picnic spot or resting place, 500 metres above sea level and the best view of the area.
We Love the Gong!
All in all, Wollongong is a small city with a lot to offer in regard to entertainment, food and drink as well as overall enjoyment. It may not be in the top places to visit in Australia, but that does not mean that it should be overlooked. Whether it is for the fresh local produce or the variety of bars that are offered, Wollongong is a place of a range of culture and there is certainly something for everyone. Why not take the chance and spend if only a weekend in Wollongong, where the city meets the sea.
Kahvah Yoga is located in Keiraville, an inner-city suburb of Wollongong and within the confines of the Illawarra area. This small yoga space offers regular retreats for those of us who just cannot get enough of the mellow, calming rituals associated with this form of philosophy and physical activity. Click here for more information on Yoga Retreats in Wollongong and my best 12 yoga essentials.
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