17 things to do in Wollongong Australia (with or without kids)
Wollongong, located an hour south of Sydney, is a coastal city with 17 stunning beaches, rock pools, gardens, cafes and many attractions for a great day trip. There are so many things to do in Wollongong that it’s hard to fit it all in.
Grand Pacific Drive and Sea Cliff Bridge
The 140-kilometre coastal route from Sydney to Shoalhaven winds its way through the Royal National Park and past spectacular sheer cliff drops. Our favourite section is the Sea Cliff Bridge, which was built in 2004. The bridge is 1/2 a kilometre in length and clings to the cliff-face. Park at either end of the bridge and stroll the bridge in both directions.
Wollongong Botanic Garden
The Wollongong Botanic Garden is a 30-hectare garden in the suburb of Keiraville featuring a large collection of native and exotic plants from around the world. The garden features a Japanese drum bridge, cactus collection, large playground and picnic facilities. Visiting the Wollongong Botanic Garden is one of our fave things to do in Wollongong – make a day of it with a picnic lunch.
Read more about visiting the Wollongong Botanic Garden.
Bald Hill Lookout
This scenic spot overlooks the beach where Australian aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave made a successful flight on 12 November 1894. Today, its a well-known lookout over the Sea Cliff Bridge and popular hanggliding point.
Symbio Wildlife Park
Nestled in the quiet suburb of Helensburg lies Symbio Wildlife Park, a tiny zoo that makes for a great afternoon of wildlife encounters — particularly for little kids. Symbio boasts “we’ll get you closer”, and there are indeed opportunities to get up close to lots of animals. The grounds are spacious and well-kept, and the animals all healthy and happy looking. No sad depressed animals in tiny enclosures here.
Read more about visiting Symbio Wildlife Park.
Wollongong Harbour and Lighthouses
The heritage-listed Wollongong Harbour was created to ship coal from mines in the area in the 1840s. It is now a departure point for fishing boats and home to the Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse, which was built in 1872.
Nan Tien Temple
In the southern Wollongong suburb of Berkeley you’ll find Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. Built in the early 1990s, the temple has peaceful Japanese-style gardens, two large prayer halls featuring Tibetan-style architecture, accommodation and a restaurant serving vegetarian dishes.
Read more about visiting Nan Tien Temple.
Jamberoo Action Park
Kids will love Jamberoo Action Park, famous for its water slides and attractions. There are water-based activities for adults and kids of all ages at Jamberoo. Billabong Beach is a popular spot for littlies to play, as is the Mushroom Pool, a bright and colourful pool with a mini water slide and squirting frogs.
Read more about visiting Jamberoo Action Park. Photo courtesy of Jamberoo.
Minnamurra Rainforest Centre
Wander the elevated walkways through remnants of an ancient rainforest that once covered the Illawarra region. The 1.6km walking loop takes visitors across suspension bridges and raised boardwalks into the heart of the forest. Keep our eyes peeled for the local wildlife – lyrebirds, eastern water dragons and swamp wallabies live here.
Read more about visiting the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre.
Fly through the tree tops at Illawarra Fly, the highest zipline tour in Australia. Illawarra Fly is located 2 hours south of Sydney, and also includes a 1.5km Treetop walk.
The perfect day trip for a special occasion, Illawarra Fly offers Australia’s highest zipline tour for adventure junkees, and a stunning accessible walk with views of the Southern Highlands and Pacific Ocean from an elevated treetop walk.
Read more about visiting Illawarra Fly.
Local families love Austinmer Beach, particularly the fenced in playground (sadly no shade cloth) that has plenty of activities for kids of a variety of ages. The rock pools are a major draw for this beach, too.
Located at the south end of the beach, they attract children and adults alike with their amazing ocean life. We spotted fish, a crab, sea snails, an anemone, and some freaky looking creatures that none of us could identify. We have been back to Austimer Beach so many times over the years – it’s one of our fave things to do in Wollongong with kids.
Read more about visiting Austinmer Beach.
Australian Motorlife Museum
Visit the second-largest motor museum in Australia and check out the rare, vintage collection that includes cars as well as motorbikes, telephones, lawnmowers, radios, typewriters and more. Several of the vintage appliances were loaned to Baz Luhrmann for filming of the Great Gatsby in 2013.
Read more about visiting the Australian Motorlife Museum.
Illawarra Light Railway Museum
Take train-obsessed kids to the Illawarra Light Railway Museum! They will adore riding the miniature railway, while adults will get a kick out of seeing the collection of excellently preserved steam and diesel locomotives.
Read more about visiting the Illawarra Light Railway Museum.
Wollongong Art Gallery
Wollongong Art Gallery is a leading regional art gallery with an excellent collection of Contemporary, Aboriginal, Asian and Colonial artworks. The gallery itself is housed inside a local landmark: a unique building, designed and built in the 1950s.
Read more about visiting the Wollongong Art Gallery.
Early Start Discovery Space
Australia’s only dedicated children’s museum is located on the campus of the University of Wollongong in Sydney’s south. The Early Start Discovery Space is designed for kids aged 12 and under and features 14 interactive spaces designed to spark the imagination as they build, create and explore through play. A particular hit is the Tummy Tour, where kids can imagine themselves as a piece of food and crawl through an inflatable digestive system. The Early Start Discovery Space is one of our fave kids activities in Wollongong.
Get more info on visiting the Early Start Discovery Space.
Science Space in Wollongong has over 100 interactive science-based exhibits, a planetarium, live shows, plus a gift shop and cafe.
The major hands-on science venue of southern New South Wales, Science Space is suitable for all ages, with two floors of interactive exhibits, plus live shows in the science theatre and Australia’s most digitally advanced Planetarium. Science Space is the major hands-on science venue of southern New South Wales.
Read more about visiting Science Space Wollongong.
Royal National Park
The Royal National Park is one of the oldest in the world. Established in 1879 the park spans 160 square kilometres and makes for the perfect family day trip with plenty of spots for picnics, bbqs, bushwalking, swimming, fishing and whale watching. There’s wildlife to discover and Aboriginal heritage to explore. Enter the park by car, ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena or a tram from the Sydney Tramway Museum in Loftus.
Get more info on visiting the Royal National Park.
A popular spot for families in the Royal National Park, Wattamolla is the name of a cove, lagoon, and beach. It’s an absolutely stunning spot with a flat lagoon for kids to swim in, a waterfall and a beach with rocks to climb on.
Get more info on visiting Wattamolla.
Read more about things to do in Wollongong.
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Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!