I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the Fishing Monthly Group and Australian Fishing Network.
I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published January 2nd 2015
Walk, surf, picnic, play and eat to your heart's content
Having lived on the south coast of NSW at Gerroa there was many a time when we visited the City of Wollongong to go shopping, have a surf at City Beach or swim at North Wollongong Beach, fish off the breakwall at North Harbour or pick up some fish and chips at the shop in the park at Wollongong Harbour.
You can sit on the grass and enjoy your fish and chips from Levandi's
Since then Wollongong City Council has come up with the Blue Mile Masterplan that would create foreshore improvements to stretch of harbour between Stuart Park and Wollongong Golf Club. This Masterplan was developed in consultation with local residents.
Their vision was the Blue Mile will become a high quality, popular and beautiful open space area that links the city centre to its magnificent foreshore, and provides a substantially enhanced amenity for residents and visitors.
Wollongong City Council objectives were very clear:
1. establish high quality open space 2. improve pedestrian / cycle access to and along the foreshore 3. provide high quality facilities of distinctive local design that respond to and enhance the unique natural environment 4. provide a range of facilities for families, visitors and local residents 5. ensure design proposals maximise the safety of visitors 6. improve vehicular access and parking opportunities
7. integrate public art into design proposals.
The plan was to have the following works completed by the end of 2014. They have completed the following up grading and improvements to the highest degree. So much so that local residents and visitors can be seen using the Blue Mile every day of the week.
A. NORTH BEACH: North Beach Bathers Pavilion Precinct refurbishment of the Pavilion, upgraded amenities and construction of modern restaurant. Creation of new wide plaza viewing terrace, sea walls and grand stairway access from Cliff Road. North Beach Kiosk refurbishment of heritage building and creation of kiosk, restaurant and viewing terrace.
B. GEORGE HANLEYDRIVE/SQUIRES WAY: New pedestrian and cycle shareway connecting to the northern cycleway.
C. CLIFF ROAD PROMENADE: Creation of a cliff top promenade with viewing areas.
D. BRIGHTON LAWN/WOLLONGONG HARBOUR: New sea walls and broad promenade, historically theme playground artwork, increased seating and picnic opportunities.
I. ANDREW LYSAGHT REST PARK: Establishment of a park on the site of Wollongong's original cemetery, with adjacent new car park, seating, and pedestrian and cycle shareway.
The areas listed below that have been completed by the end of 2014 have given the end users so much more area to go for a walk or jog, ride a bike, go for a swim, sit down at one of the many restaurants and cafes that are found along this stretch of coastline.
1. HERITAGE WALK STAGE 2: Continuation of the Brighton Lawn to Flagstaff Hill Heritage Walk from the fish co-op pedestrian bridge to the harbour entry road.
2. THE TRAMWAY: New seawall and widened shareway from the Continental Baths to North Beach.
3. FLAGSTAFF HILL CLIFF WALK STAGE 2: Continuation of the Cliff Walk around the northern side of Flagstaff Hill.
The work on the north side of Endeavour Drive is planned to be carried out between April and October 2015. The Wollongong City Council will be working closely with local businesses and major event organisers to ensure they are aware of the intended works program and to minimise disruption to businesses and community activity in the area.
WHAT TO DO THERE?
There are a number of restaurants and cafes found along the Blue Mile that are worth a visit. Whether it's to sit down and have a coffee and cake, or get a coffee to go. Maybe you would like to get some fish and chips and sit on the grass or the beach on the southern side of the Harbour.
You could try your hand at stand up paddle boarding, go for a swim at the outdoor pool or paddle at the beach in the Harbour. What about taking a fishing rod and have a fish off the inside of the breakwall. There is a small children's park nestled in the corner of the harbour that has slippery dips, climbing walls and nets, activities and swinging bars.
Maybe you would like the slower pace of checking out the history of Wollongong. So why don't you take yourself on the self-guided Wollongong City Centre Heritage Trail Map. You will visit places like Market Square, Wollongong Town Hall and the site of Throsby's Stockman's Hut are all must-see stops on the trail which takes approximately two hours to explore.
The Heritage Trail features 23 locations across the city, including some of the most significant and historic landmarks post-European settlement. You will need to collect a copy of the map from the iHub on 93 Crown Street or from the Southern Gateway Centre on Bulli Tops.
So the next time you are looking for something to do, why don't you hop on down to the Blue Mile at Wollongong and take in the sights, smells and sounds of what this part of the south coast of NSW can offer you.