Sea Cliff Bridge also offers visitors to get out of their car and stretch their legs. It is also a spectacular viewing platform to watch the majestic whales heading north/south during their migrating season (May-November).
Dolphins and seals can also be seen here, as well as birds such as cormorants, little penguins, white-bellied sea eagles, sooty oystercatchers, and Australian pelicans.
The Sea Cliff Bridge was named by Makenzie Russell, who at the time, was an eleven-year-old student and entered the naming competition which was opened to local primary school students. Lawrence Hargrave Drive and the Lawrence Hargrave Drive Bridge are both named in honour of Lawrence Hargrave, an Australian engineer, explorer, astronomer, inventor, and aeronautical pioneer.
Opening in December 2005, Sea Cliff Bridge, together with adjoining Lawrence Hargrave Drive, is a two road bridge that crosses rock face on the Illawarra escarpment, as well as offers unparalleled coastal and headland views.
Sea Cliff Bridge is filled with a rich history dating back to 1796. In August 1797, Dr George Bass discovered the presence of a coal seam six to seven feet thick on the sea cliffs at Coalcliff. Due to its inaccessibility of the site, coal was not mined until January 1878.
There was a 150 metre jetty from the shoreline constructed to load the mine and hauled to the surface by horse and later steamed powered rope haulage system. The jetty was named The Jetty Mine, and on numerous occasions due to the strength of the sea, the jetty was destroyed and rebuilt.
The last shipment of coal from the jetty was in 1912.
In 1909, The Jetty Mine was renamed to Coal Cliff Colliery, and the mine became accessible by a rail line. Over 40 years, between 1878-1918, it was estimated 3 million tonnes of coal was mined and extracted from Coal Cliff Colliery.
In toad was built in the 1860s, and in 1947 the road became Lawrence Hargrave Drive, and in August 2003, a large embankment slip caused the entire road to close. The road remained closed from two and half years to avoid further rock falls and slippage problems, as well as to allow construction of the Sea Cliff Bridge.
In December 2005, Lawrence Hargrave Drive reopened three months ahead of schedule. Sixteen thousand pedestrians walked the Bridge on the day of opening, and since then Sea Cliff Bridge has become an icon to the people of Wollongong and is known to be one of the best coastal drives.
The Sea Cliff Bridge is also accessible via public transport. Coalcliff Station is around a 15-minute walk from the station to the bridge and features a steep incline from the train station to the bridge. Trains run seven days a week.
There also bus stops located on either side of Sea Cliff Bridge, with two services Monday to Saturday.