The coastal city of Wollongong has become one of my favourite weekend escapes. With all the conveniences of Sydney and a relaxed beach-town feeling in the air, it's the best of both worlds. Here's a small list of locations that are lovely to catch some rays in...
1. South Beach
As the name suggests, this beach sits south of the Head Lighthouse peninsular. Bordered by golf course greenery, this stretch is rather scenic. With warmer weather in town, it was pleasant to stroll with toes woven in the sand and splashes of sea.
2. Wollongong Head Lighthouse
This landmark is on the headland dividing the two main beaches of 'The Gong'. Enjoy panoramic views of surrounding beaches from up here. Nearby you'll also find the inactive Breakwater Lighthouse of Belmore Basin.
North Wollongong Beach makes a nice day out for the whole family. Grab the picnic blanket and fold-up chairs, and take your place in the sun. Do a coastal walk, cool down with a swim or surf, hit the park with the kids (they'll love the playground!), or dine alfresco at nearby cafes.
This petite park is a short walk from South Beach and the CBD. It is decorated with beds of roses, along with crazy neat hedges and lawns. With few people passing through, it's not only a pleasant, but peaceful place in which to unwind.
Pioneer Park rose garden
5. Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens offer sprawling, well-kept grounds, and many a patch to lay down a picnic blanket - and, if it's also your idea of fun, bring out the brie. Then, explore the diversity of gardens. Will it be the rainforest, dry-land, or Japanese first?
Along North Beach sits a lagoon, where the Para Creek mouth meets the ocean. This is lovely to relax beside, and when you find yourself getting too hot, go for a splash in. Access a boardwalk/cycle track via Stuart Park and wander through beachside greenery.
Just as this picture says, Wollongong is full of feel good vibes. Pick a sunny day and hit up these scenic spots. There's plenty more to discover in the area over the summer. Please post further suggestions in the comments below!