I'm a blogger living in Wollongong, NSW Australia. I enjoy travelling and exploring my hometown. Visit my blog at https://www.apalscorner.wordpress.com/
Published August 27th 2016
You have booked, received your tickets and are a month away from departure. You are researching your stops so you can pack adequately. Well, Radiance of the Sea passengers welcome to Wollongong. You are the first cruiseliner I have ever seen come to the 'gong' and hopefully, you will be the first of many.
The Illawarra consists of the areas known as Wollongong, Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, unfortunately you won't be able to see it all in one day, but hopefully you will come back to visit the rest. If I were you I would pick a section or two and focus on that section of the Illawarra. In this post, I will be focusing on Wollongong CBD.
Walk – We have an amazing bike/walking track in Wollongong. The track runs from Wollongong to Thirroul, of course, you can use bits of the track and walk all the way from Shellharbour to Stanwell Park, but it is a very long walk. The track provides you with views of endless ocean, summer fun and hours of joy. You can spend all day on the track alone, but you would miss out on a lot of amazing of places.
I would start my morning in Wollongong at South Beach and stretch my sea legs by walking North around the lighthouse and along the Blue Mile. I like to think it is named the 'Blue Mile' for the endless sea of blue. The Blue Mile provides with you a lot of photo opportunities and places to rest. For you coffee drinkers there are a number of coffee spots along this stretch. This should only take about one hour.
If you are keen you can go all the way to Thirroul, but it is a long walk.
Cycle – If you enjoy a morning ride or walking is to slow for you, give the people at South Coast Bike Hire a call and arrange for them to drop off a bike somewhere along the track. If you are riding I suggest you ride to Corrimal beach as a minimum, but hey, it is your day so go as far as you like.
Hike – The closet hike in town is the Mt Keira. I believe it starts behind the University. It is about 5.5km and would take around 4 hours. The track walks to the Mt Keira lookout which gives amazing views of the CBD and surrounds.
Swimming – We have a selection of beaches and pools to choose from. In summer the beaches are full but they shouldn't be too bad for your day. If you are game, you can learn to surf at a number of beaches one being North Beach. There is South Beach also known as Wollongong Beach, North Beach, the Rock Pool, Continental Pools and also Belmore Basin.
Gardens – Head over to the Botanic Gardens for a stroll in the park. There are no cafes in the park. The Botanic Gardens are a nice little haven of peace and quiet in a city that can be busy and full of action. The Gardens have a range of plants and you can find yourself lost in the rainforest, getting spiked in the cactus garden or just smelling the roses
I would also go for a walk around the University of Wollongong which is across the street from the Botanic Gardens and check out the campus rainforest. Here is the map. Our University is a young one but it is something we are secretly proud of. The University has some amazing buildings and you can enjoy a historic walk. The map can be found on the University's website.
Our University is what keeps us fresh as a city and the University hosts some sustainable buildings most of which are found in North Wollongong opposite Puckey's Estate in a campus known as the Innovation Campus. Each building is unique in architecture and sustainability.
Illawarra Museum – Are you a history buff? Check out the Illawarra Museum on Market Street. The Museum is opened from 12pm to 3pm and entry around is $5.00. The Illawarra Museum provides you with an insight of how far Wollongong has come. You will be guided through old Wollongong by an even older Post Master.
Art – We have an Art Gallery but I much prefer the Wonderwalls. Our very own street art painted over three years. Here is the latest map. The murals are all around town and are on the side of buildings. My favourite is painted by Guido Van Helten and is found in Coombe Lane. It has a blue background and an amazing person with a baby on it. It looks so real and sad. I also see it a few times a day.
Skydiving – I haven't done this one yet as I am not game enough to jump out of a plane but I have heard you get some pretty awesome views when Skydiving the Beach.
Shopping – Head over to Crown Street Mall. You have everything from David Jones to Target and souvenir shops. It also has a wide range of eateries. You are lucky enough to check out the brand new H & M store. We are hoping this will help revitalise Wollongong Mall.
Eateries – There are way too many to name but a few iconic ones are:-
For seafood – Bombora, Harbourfront, Nonabel, Lavendi. The Meatery
• Chickos for burgers
• Terra Mia for pizza
• Kurtosh for all your cakes.
Just remember you are by the beach, nothing beats a picnic in the park smelling the fresh air and the low hum of the waves rolling in. Make sure you watch out for the Seagulls they eat anything.
Now you have read all of the above clicked on all the links you like the look of and are thinking how are we to get around. Well, I can't help you with transport to and from the ship but Wollongong is easy, jump on the free bus. They are supposed to do a circle every twenty minutes but be patient it does take them a while.
Rose Garden - Wollongong Botanic Garden
I hope this has helped plan some of your day. For more on Wollongong, check out my other posts here. Just remember we are only about an hour and a half drive from Sydney so come back to visit.
Some other points of interest that are not in the CBD but are worth checking out:-
• Bald Hill at Stanwell Park
• The Science Centre in Fairy Meadow
• Sublime Point Hike or Lookout
• Australian Motorlife Museum in West Wollongong
• Nan Tien Temple in Berkeley
• HARS museum in Albion Park
• Lake Illawarra
• Kiama Blowhole.
• Illawarra Fly in Jamberoo.
I hope you enjoy your day in Wollongong and the weather is nice and sunny for you all. If you have any questions about the area you can contact me or Destination Wollongong.