holiday guide

Places To Go & Things To Do Around the Illawarra

The Illawarra has so many great things to explore up and down its beautiful coastline. Are you visiting the area and don't know what to do or see? Here are some ideas for things to do when visiting the Illawarra. It goes without saying that the Illawarra has some of the finest beaches in New South Wales.

Darkes Forest Horse Riding Ranch, Darkes Forest, Near Helensburgh

Darkes Forest Riding Ranch and Boarding stables 30 min South of Sydney, 30 min north of Wollongong was established in 1971. For 33 years family owned and operated horse riding ranch, set in native bushland is a great place to enjoy a horse ride or a horse riding lesson.
There are activities and classes designed especially for children.  Lessons for beginners and advanced riders of all ages.
Open 7days a week, all year round (except Christmas and New Years day).

4294 3441

448 Darkes Forest Road, Darkes Forest, Near Helensburgh


Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh

It is an award winning family owned zoo, set in 16 acres of bush parkland - famous for providing genuine hands-on encounters with the most fascinating creatures from Australia and around the world.

7-11 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Helensburgh. Open9:30 am – 5:00 pm                          

Phone: +61 2 4294 1244


Bald Hill Lookout, Coalcliff

Watch the hang gliders take off this spectacular rock cliff, or just buy an ice cream and enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline from Stanwell Park Beach all the way to Wollongong.


Seacliff Bridge

The 665 metre Seacliff Bridge is a highlight along the Grand Pacific Drive. The bridge has become an icon to the people of Wollongong and the world,  spectacular to drive or walk over, hanging impressively over the Tasman Sea.


Scarborough Hotel

This popular and historic hotel situated on the cliff top offers exquisite food and beer garden, with spectacular views, and is child friendly, too.


Wombarra Sculpture Garden

The Wombarra Sculpture Garden is a beautiful place to visit and experience art and nature together. Located in the Illawarra escarpment, the garden is bathed in dappled light created by rainforest trees surrounding approximately 60 sculptures. It is a perfect place to unwind and experience peace and tranquility. The garden is open on first full weekend of the month or by appointment.


Wombarra Beach

The Scarborough/Wombarra beach is patrolled and family friendly, with Surf Life Saving Club and tidal rock pool. The Oval and playpark is a great place for picnics and sporting events to keep the kids occupied.


Coledale Beaches

The main Coledale beach is patrolled with an active Surf Life Saving Club running a boutique camp site and BBQ area. The second, Sharkey’s beach, is often used by locals to walk their dogs off the leash, surfers, shore fishing enthusiasts, and by kids exploring numerous tidal rock pools. In between the two beaches there is a large rock pool, used by swimmers for most of the year.


Coledale Village

In Coledale village itself you will find the RSL club with excellent selection or food and drink at very reasonable prices.

There is a newsagency/grocery store, video hire, hairdresser and a souvenir shop. There are also two cafes, with “Chedo’s” well known for its fine cuisine excellent coffee and take away gourmet pizza, conveniently located next door to the “Coledale Fine Wines” bottle shop. 


Coledale Market

Every fourth Sunday of the month the local school becomes a host for Coledale Market, with brick-a-brac stalls, local produce and food stalls, which is very popular among the locals and tourists alike. The school located literally on the ocean front, with its own whale watching station.


Austinmer Beach

Austinmer Beach is one of the most beautiful patrolled beaches with picnic areas, rock pool and Surf Life Saving Club. Austi Beach Café offers coffee, deserts and meals, including the best tasting gelato, conveniently located opposite Austinmer beach with a kiddies playground.


Sublime Point walking trail

For the serious walkers, Austinmer escarpment offers Lady Fuller Park with Sublime Track running up to Sublime Point at Bulli Tops.


Thirroul & beaches

Thirroul is a heritage town, well known for its shopping, art galleries, boutiques, eateries and entertainment. Thirroul has two beautiful surfing beaches, Thirroul Beach and McCauley beach, as well as Olympic size swimming pool and state of the art kids playpark.

There are many great eateries and coffee shops there, so why don’t you discover them for yourself? “The Beaches” hotel offers live band entertainment and live artist painter at an open air beer garden.  

As a focal point in Thirroul there is proudly presented and beautifully restored “Anita’s Theatre”, providing entertainment for all tastes, from classical music concerts, to cinema shows and ballroom dancing. It is well used by the locals and tourists alike.


Bike Track & Great Cafes at Bulli

The 13km Bike Track is a walking, jogging and bicycle track running from Wollongong City to Thirroul following the coastline with magnificent views of beautiful beaches and the Pacific Ocean. You can enjoy a walk and then stop for coffee or a snack at the great cafes at Bulli.


Bulli Foragers Market

Every Sunday 9 – 2 on the site of Bulli race track. It is a great place to visit, offering great atmosphere, fabulous food, music and loads of stalls to browse.  


Bulli Tops

The Illawarra Escarpment offers a full range of exciting walks. Start the walk at either Coalcliff (Wodi Wodi track) or Austinmer (Sublime Point track). It will take you to Sublime Point lookout offering panoramic coastal views below.  While you are there you can visit “Altitude 1148” gelato bar and restaurants with lookout points.


Wollongong North Beach

Family picnic areas, restaurants and baths. Landing zone for Sydney SkyDive the Beach. Dine in luxury at the famous Lagoon restaurant with its excellent seafood menu and function facilities.


Australian Motor Life Museum and picnic area

A fabulous collection of vintage vehicles and antiquities of all sorts, set in a peaceful rural location on the outskirts of Wollongong.

Check the Facebook page for details of their frequent events:  

Darkes Rd, Wollongong NSW 2530

02 4261 4100


HARS ( Historic Aircraft Restoration Society ), Albion Park Rail

At the home of Wings Over Illawarra air show, HARS maintains an amazing collection of historic aircraft, including City of Canberra, the Boeing 747 that flew non-stop from London to Sydney- the world record for the longest non-stop flight by a commercial aircraft
The museum is open every day (except Good Friday and Christmas Day). Guided tours (including the lower deck of our Boeing 747) are available any time between 9:30am and 3:30pm.
To arrange group bookings please call the HARS reception desk in advance on 02 4257 4333.
Cnr Airport Road and Boomerang Avenue
Albion Park Rail NSW 2527, Australia
Ph. (02) 4257 4333


Jamberoo Water Park

Great family entertainment with water rides and slides.
1215 Jamberoo Road,
Jamberoo NSW 2533
(02) 4236 0114