Bald Hill Reserve is one of my favourite lookout spots that I regularly visit as a day trip for its breathtaking panoramic coastal views to unwind and relax.
Bald Hill Reserve Lookout / Source: stanwellpark.net.au
The reserve has plenty of green open space to sit back and absorb the stunning panoramic views of the blue ocean, the golden sandy beaches and the Sea Cliff Bridge below against the rise of the luscious green ridges of the Illawarra escarpments. The air is always refreshing however, usually windy so don't forget to bring a jacket.
If you didn't pack a picnic don't worry, you can always grab a snack, soft-serve ice cream, drink or coffee from the one and only ice-cream van on site by the parking lot. Toilet amenities are also available and the area is wheelchair accessible.
If it's your lucky day, the wind should be blowing in a South South West to East direction providing favourable flying conditions for the para gliders and hang glider to come out and play. They put on a spectacular show brightening the sky with vibrant colourful sails as the gliders soar up and down, dancing gracefully high above the South Pacific Ocean and the Illawarra escarpment below.
The site is internationally renown for its hang gliding and para gliding activities. The para gliders and hang gliders share the reserve with the spectators while they prepare for their flight.
Perched on the edge of the grassy green hill some 300meters above sea level, they wait for the windsock to indicate the wind direction and relative wind speed before take-off.
The crowd holds their breathes as they watch the gliders leap off the cliff then cheering with exhilaration as the glider is lifted effortlessly by the wind and carried far across the ocean and high above the headlands. It is just spectacular to watch!
These professional gliders makes it look so easy and so much fun it really entices you to give tandem flying a shot. Well, maybe not one day soon for me but if you are interested in learning to fly or in tandem here are some of the companies that can help you out.
Make sure you check the weather and wind forecast on the link below to maximise your day trip to Bald hill so you don't miss out on a spectacular show. Remember, Bald Hill is flyable in winds SSW to East.
Located approximately 60minutes south of Sydney, take the Princes Highway south towards Wollongong and exit at Lawrence Hargraves Drive. Keep straight ahead to Otford Road up the hill and you will see the reserve on your right with plenty of parking available.
I will always try to maximise my day trips by doing at least one detour.
The Southern Gateway Centre
Southern Gateway Centre at Bulli Tops is the third exit off the Princes Highway after Panorama House and the Cliffhanger café (Bulli Lookout), it is approximately 20minutes south of Otford.
Provides a viewing platform there offering 180 degree views of Wollongong to the South Coast. The information centre is newly built offering interactive plasma screens and displays to assist visitors with ease of access to the tourist information about the region.
Café Altitude 1148
Enjoy a nice meal from their al-le-cart menu with outdoor and indoor seating both offering amazing views.
Drool worthy gelato, the best by far, fresh and made on site, amazing flavours, also serves coffees and cakes with spectacular water views with indoor and outdoor seating.