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17 awesome things to do in Wollongong Australia (with or without kids)

Things to do in Wollongong with or without kids

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

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

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

Wollongong Bald Head 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

#Symbio #Wildlife Park via brunchwithmybaby.com

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

Wollongong City
Photo by Destination NSW

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

Jamberoo

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

Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, Budderoo National Park
Photo by Destination NSW

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.

Illawarra Fly

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

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.

Austinmer Beach

Austinmer Beach: NSW's best beaches for families via christineknight.me

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

Illawarra Light Railway Museum
Photo by Tourism Shellharbour

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
Photo by Destination NSW

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

The Early Start Discovery Space via christineknight.me

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

Science Space in Wollongong has over 100 interactive science-based exhibits, a planetarium, live shows, plus a gift shop and cafe.

Wollongong Space Science

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

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia


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.

Wattamolla Beach

Wattamolla Beach National Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

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

Things to do in Wollongong with or without kids

More things to do in Sydney

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Let Curious Minds Play at Science Space Wollongong

Wollongong Space Science

Let Curious Minds Play at Science Space Wollongong

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.

Wollongong Space Science

Science Space opened in 1989 under the name of Science Centre and Planetarium, just north of the current location. In 1998 Wollongong suffered severe floods, damaging the gallery and exhibits. In 2000 Space Science was rebuilt with support from the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the NSW Government in its current location, on the UOW’s Innovation Campus. 

Wollongong Space Science

Science Space is the only dedicated immersive science centre in NSW.

Wollongong Space Science

The exhibits cover a range of topics from dinosaurs to gravity. Their interactive nature makes science fun and exciting for kids – you could easily spend an entire day here just tinkering with the exhibits.

Wollongong Space Science

We watched a live show in the science theatre (check the schedule to see when shows will be running again) which saw a chemical eruption – included in the ticket and well worth watching.

Wollongong Space Science

It’s also worth watching a show in the Planetarium, which uses a 4k laser projection system to take visitors on an immersive tour of the Universe, a journey back through time or to the deepest and darkest depths of the ocean. Check the website for the show schedule.

Science Space Wollongong

Visitors are welcome to bring their own food and use outdoor picnic areas. There is also a kiosk and café onsite.

Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science

Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science Wollongong Space Science

Science Space Wollongong
60 Squires Way, North Wollongong
Hours: Thur-Tue 10am-4pm (Closed Wednesdays)
sciencespace.com.au

Find more things to to in Wollongong here.

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Wentworth Falls Walks Blue Mountains, NSW

Wentworth Falls Hike Blue Mountains Australia

Wentworth Falls Walks Blue Mountains, NSW

Enjoy breathtaking grand valley and waterfall views on the Wentworth Falls walks in the Blue Mountains National Park.

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

The Wentworth Falls track starts from Wentworth Falls picnic area. There is one main car park plus overflow parking on Falls road. The picnic area has shaded picnic tables and a decent bathroom.

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

If you’re catching public transport, regular trains run from Sydney Central Station to Wentworth Falls. The picnic area is around 2km walk along Falls Road, or you can catch a bus to the corner of Fletchers Road and Falls Road.

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

The road into the car park is sealed and easy to access. There is a wide, paved path from the carpark along to Jamison and Wentworth lookouts. 

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

The Wentworth Falls walk is 1.4km return, with an estimated time of 45min – 1hr. There are steep steps involved that are not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs. The trade is a grade 3, and we found it quite do-able with our nine-year-old. There were plenty of younger children also completing the walk.

Follow the path past Jamison and Wentworth lookouts.

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

There is a steep descent of around 200 steps to the cliff-edge Fletchers lookout. This is a stunning spot to take a look at Wentworth Falls as it plunges 100m into the valley. 

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

Keep following the path down a few more steps to the top of the Falls.

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

The Jamison Creek cascades into a shallow pool to one side, which makes for a lovely little paddling pool for kids.

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

The other side opens into the Jamison Valley. 

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

You can continue on a variety of routes from here, including the National Pass, Weeping Rock circuit, Undercliff track or historic Princes Rock lookout track.

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

We took the this round walk track, which is a short circuit through the bush and comes out at the most incredible view of the other side of Wentworth Falls.

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

Return to the car park via the same route. Take a towel and change of clothes if you’re planning on paddling in the cascades. 

Wentworth Falls
270 Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath
nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/wentworth-falls-track

Find more things to do on a Blue Mountains Day Trip.

Enjoy Lilianfels High Tea.

Find the best Blue Mountains High Tea.

Wentworth Falls Hike Blue Mountains Australia

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Where to find the best Blue Mountains high tea

Blue Mountains High Tea Australia

Where to find the best Blue Mountains High Tea

An elegant Blue Mountains high tea is the perfect way to enjoy the fresh mountain air and spectacular scenic views. These four spots guarantee warm scones, fresh ribbon sandwiches and a divine pot of tea.

Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Katoomba

Enjoy the grand tradition of Lilianfels High Tea, served on a three-tier platter, in the elegant Lilianfels Resort & Spa in the NSW Blue Mountains.

Lilianfels High tea is a triple-tiered plate that includes fluffy homemade scones served with homemade jam and fresh cream, petit pastries, selection of finger sandwiches and your choice of tea or coffee.

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

Read more about the Lilianfels High Tea.

Hydro Majestic, Medlow Bath

High tea is served in the elegant Wintergarden, with panoramic views overlooking the Megalong Valley.

Choose from the traditional High Tea, Eastern High Tea or Gluten-Free High Tea, each served to the table on a three-tiered silver stand and including a range of tea and coffee.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Read more about the Hydro Majestic High Tea.

Bygone Beauties, Leura

For a truly unique high tea, journey inside the Bygone Beauties Treasured Teapot Museum & Tearooms, home of world’s largest private collection of teawares. Enjoy High Tea or Devonshire Tea surrounded by stunning teapots from a bygone era, while waitstaff zoom past with high tea on silver trays.

Katoomba Bygone Beauties

Entry to the teapot museum is right next to the tearoom and well worth a look.

Katoomba Bygone Beauties

Read more about visiting Bygone Beauties.

Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains

Treat yourself to something special with a selection of sandwiches, traditional homemade scones with fresh cream and conserve, decadent sweet treats, rich loose leaf La Maison Du The. The view over Megalong Valley from the dining area is as much of a star of the show as the food! The Fairmont high tea has excellent scones and sandwiches and top notch service, plus the prettiest plates of any high tea.

Fairmont Resport & Spa High Tea

Read more about visiting the Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains.

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Blue Mountains High Tea Australia

Lilianfels High Tea, Blue Mountains NSW Australia

Lilianfels High Tea Blue Mountains Australia

Lilianfels High Tea, Blue Mountains NSW Australia

Enjoy the grand tradition of Lilianfels High Tea, served on a three-tier platter, in the elegant Lilianfels Resort & Spa in the NSW Blue Mountains.

It’s always time for tea in the Blue Mountains, and one can’t go past the elegant high tea served in The Lounge of Lilianfels Resort & Spa. 

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

The luxurious Lounge makes for an elegant and warm high tea experience. With plush Victoria armchairs and lounges to recline in, and the delightful ambiance of classical piano being played live, it’s high tea to dally over with loved ones.

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

Lilianfels High tea is a triple-tiered plate that includes fluffy homemade scones served with homemade jam and fresh cream, petit pastries, selection of finger sandwiches and your choice of tea or coffee.

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

Upgrade your high tea to include a glass of Australian sparkling wine or a glass of Moet Chandon NV French Champagne. When we visited, the tea was priced as follows: High Tea $55 per person (Mon to Thu) and $60 per person (Fri to Sun including public holidays), Deluxe High Tea from $75 per person including a glass of Australian sparkling wine and Luxurious High Tea from $80 per person including a glass of Moet Chandon NV French Champagne.

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

I couldn’t fault the service or food at Lilianfels. The high tea and staff were both perfection, with attentive service and delicious, fresh food.

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

I particularly liked the amount of savoury items compared to sweet, as my tastes are changing and I really prefer more savoury than sweet these days. 

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

There is a Children’s High Tea available for $35pp, which is also served on a triple-tiered plate and includes selection of pikelets, fairy bread, sandwiches and treats. Served with tea, juice or hot chocolate.

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

The Lilianfels High Teas are extremely popular so bookings are essential. 

Leura Lilianfels High Tea

The gardens at Lilianfels are lovely so be sure to go for a stroll in them, including the cute little maze, before you go.

Lilianfels High Tea,
5/19 Lilianfels Ave, Katoomba NSW
lilianfels.com.au

Find more things to do on a Blue Mountains Day Trip.

Find another Blue Mountains High Tea to try.

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids.

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Explore the best Sydney gardens and parks.

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Find the best animal experiences in Sydney.

Chase waterfalls in Sydney.

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Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.

Find the best high teas in Sydney.

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Head to one of the best museums in Sydney.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Find the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Sydney.

Get a list of the best playgrounds in Sydney.

Find the best ice cream and gelato in Sydney

Things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Plan amazing NSW road trips.

Pick your own fruit: fruit picking Sydney.

The best things to do in Western Sydney and Parramatta with kids.

Visit the most beautiful Sydney gardens.

Explore Sydney’s best parks.

A Glamping Stay at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary
A Glamping Stay at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

See koalas in their natural habitat and help support the care of sick and injured koalas at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary. 

The Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary was founded in mid-2020 in partnership with Port Stephens Council to create a first-class facility with urgent care for koalas in need as well as support long-term rehabilitation, preservation and conservation in the wild. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Set in stunning bush lands near Anna Bay, the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary offer visitors the chance to peek inside the state-of-the-art Koala Hospital with Intensive Care Unit treatment rooms and holding pens, take a stroll down the Sanctuary Story Walk, a 250 metre in length meandering pathway offering an immersive educational experience telling the story of koala and its habitat, and enjoy a stroll up the 225m Newcastle Airport SKYwalk elevated pathway and viewing platform, for a ‘tree top’ perspective into the koala’s natural habitat.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

The Fat Possum Café onsite offers basic food like pre-made sandwiches, pies and sausage rolls (several vegetarian varieties on offer) plus pastries and muffins, drinks and a range of souvenirs. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

For a really unique stay, try the overnight glamping experience like we did. The four-star glamping tents are set within the sanctuary grounds, in the shade of beautiful tall trees. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

The glamping tents fit groups of two or four people – our deluxe tent had a queen bed and two single beds. Each tent has its own ensuite and kitchenette with fridge, toaster and microwave. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Also included in the stay is a breakfast hamper and a mini bar full of local treats. We highly enjoyed the wine, beer, cheese and snacks on our verandah while we watched the suns et through the trees.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Other facilities for overnight guests include a swimming pool with a heated spa and BBQ facilities.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Accessible glamping tents are also available.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

The following morning, a guided tour is offered to overnight guests where a staff member takes the group on a tour of the sanctuary and gives a great personal talk on the role of the sanctuary, the plight of the local koalas, and incredible information on these unique creatures.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

We learned so much in this tour, including how fussy koalas are about eating only the particular types of trees in their area, which makes it hard to transport and treat them elsewhere, and how the population has dropped significantly from 30K koalas in the area only 30 years ago to a few hundred today.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

The hospital has an ICU section with around 15 koalas receiving medical treatment for injuries, mostly from motor vehicle accidents, or sickness, which is most often chlamydia, which flairs up when a koala is under stress and can cause blindness.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

While the aim is for the koalas to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild, there are times when a koala isn’t able to be released because their sickness or injury is too severe. These koalas are offered a permanent home at the sanctuary. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

In the future the sanctuary hopes to embark on a breeding program to then release more koalas into the wild and build back up the local population. 

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

If you are keen to stay but not keen on glamping, there are also a range of standard rooms available for a more conventional accomodation choice. 

The Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary is located around an hour from Newcastle or a 2.5 hour drive north of Sydney. There is a shopping centre a 5-minute away in Salamandar Bay with an excellent supermarket for stocking up.

Check in for overnight is from 2pm. I suggest checking in around then to leave yourself enough time to get settled into the room, look around the sanctuary, and leave plenty of time for relaxing in the pool before sunset drinks and dinner. Check out time is 10am the following morning.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary
562 Gan Gan Rd, One Mile
Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm
pportstephenskoalasanctuary.com.au

Find more things to do in Port Stephens.

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Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Blackbutt Reserve Newcastle, NSW Australia

Blackbutt Nature Reserve Newcastle

Blackbutt Reserve

Blackbutt Reserve is a 182-hectare bushland oasis in Newcastle featuring nature trails, wildlife exhibits, children’s playgrounds and picnic facilities.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Nestled in the suburb of Kotara, Blackbutt Nature Reserve is the perfect place to stop on a road trip or make a day trip out of. 

Things to do at Blackbutt Reserve

Visit the Wildlife Exhibits

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Get up close to iconic Australian wildlife in modern and spacious habitats. The habitats are located in the Carnley Reserve section of Blackbutt Reserve, and can be accessed by a boardwalk that starts at ground level and then is elevated, providing a birds-eye view of the animals in ground-level exhibits and of birds as they fly around their enclosures.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

The boardwalk is wheelchair/stroller-friendly and includes interpretive signage along the way to help educate the public on the animals on display. 

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Animals currently on display include koalas, various birds such as Australian King Parrot, Barking Owl, Chiming Wedgebill and many other native fishes, doves and parrots, wombats, wallabies, kangaroos emu and more.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Interactive Activity Packs can be purchased from the Kiosk. Use the activity sheet included to walk the boardwalk in search of the animal plates to colour, and then use the clues to search the picnic area of Carnley Avenue for the animals in order to receive a free gift from the Kiosk.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Animal Experiences 

Feed the emus

Emu cones filled with seeds and grains can be purchased from the Kiosk.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Koala feeding and talk

The koala talk and feeding is held at 2pm daily on the boardwalk.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Reptile Show

Reptile show at 11.00am on weekends, tickets available at the Kiosk.

Reptile Encounters

Private reptile encounters are available in the Wildlife Arena. Meet a snake, lizard or other reptile. $106 (minimum) for up to 10 people and $10.30 per person thereafter (maximum 20 people).

Critter Encounter

Book a Critter Encounter for an onsite party or event. Guests can enjoy hands-on learning experiences and the opportunity to meet, touch and handle some of Blackbutt’s favourite reptiles in the Wildlife Arena. Each child also receives an activity sheet to walk the boardwalk in search of the animal plates to colour-in. $165 for 30 participants* (maximum)

Take a  guided tour

Book a private guided tour through the animal exhibits. Guests can see and touch animals during this one-hour experience which includes encounters with several reptiles. $195 (minimum) for up to 10 people and $19.50 per person thereafter ( maximum of 20 people).

Hunt for wildlife

Blackbutt Reserve is made up of Eucalypt Forest and a restored rainforest, which provides habitats for a number of rare and vulnerable species. While bushwalking, keen an eye out for these reclusive inhabitants. The restored rainforest is home to approximately 15,000 Grey-headed Flying foxes, currently listed as a vulnerable species in New South Wales. 

Take a bushwalk

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Blackbutt Reserve has seven different walking trails that wind their way through varying forest types and along creeks. Trails are signposted at each major intersection with the name of the track and the distance. 

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Have a picnic

Blackbutt Reseve has two main picnic areas and three additional picnic areas with limited facilities. The picnic shelters are designated with a shelter symbol on the map, while the tables with no shelter are designated with a table symbol.

Blackbutt Nature ReserveBlackbutt Nature Reserve

The picnic area at Carnley Avenue is extremely popular and books out for large events. It’s a really lovely spot and close to the animal enclosures as well as the playground, duck pond and kiosk.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Play in the playgrounds

There are two excellent playgrounds inside Blackbutt Reserve. 

Richley Reserve Adventure Playground

The Richley Reserve Mega Adventure Playground opened recently after a $2.5million overhaul. The playground features a massive 60m-long play area inspired by nature.

Features include rope courses, bridges, swings and slides, an adventure tower, and elements that suit kids of all ages, from toddlers to tweens, and all abilities (there is a specially designed carousel and better wheelchair-accessible pathways as part of the refresh).

Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Carnley Adventure Playground

The older adventure playground is best suited for kids aged 6-10. It includes spinning elements and interactive musical instruments. 

Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Find more things to do in Newcastle.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve
Carnley Ave, Kotara
Hours: Daily, 7am-5pm
https://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/blackbutt-reserve/blackbutt-reserve-home

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Head to one of the best museums in Sydney.

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Find the best ice cream and gelato in Sydney

Things to do in the Blue Mountains.

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Pick your own fruit: fruit picking Sydney.

The best things to do in Western Sydney and Parramatta with kids.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve Newcastle

Sydney Day Trips: Wollongong Botanic Garden

Wollongong Botanic Garden

Sydney Day Trips: 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 site of the Wollongong Botanic Gardens was originally occupied by the by local Aboriginal peoples, the Dharawal, who occupied the land for tens of thousands of years. They remain the Custodians of the Land. European settlers in the 1880s used the land for farming until it was bought by the Hoskins family in 1929, who built their home, Gleniffer Brae, on the site in the late 1930s. The house still stands today within the Botanic Garden. 

The Hoskins family dedicated a large part of their property to Wollongong City Council in the 1950s to create a Botanic Garden. The garden was established in 1964 and officially opened to the public in January 1971.

Today, the Wollongong Botanic Garden is a beautiful spot to spend the day, either exploring the various collections or setting up folding chairs or a picnic blanket under one of the many shady trees and enjoying a picnic or bbq.

Tips for visiting the Wollongong Botanic Garden

There are seven entry points for the garden, most without maps or signposting of directions. I highly recommend if it’s your first visit entering at the main entrance located at Murphys Avenue and Paulsgrove Street and collecting a map (or downloading it to your phone).

Wollongong Botanic Garden

The garden is huge and it will take quite some time and leg power to see everything, so allow plenty of time to stroll and take everything in – at least two hours. 

Wollongong Botanic Garden

There are paved paths throughout the majority of the garden, making it extremely accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. There is a disabled toilet located at the entrance. Scooters and bikes are also allowed – a great idea for kids to help little legs get around.

Wollongong Botanic Garden

Pack your own food, folding chairs or picnic blanket to really enjoy a full day at the garden.

There is a cafe near the main entrance, the Garden Grounds Cafe, which serves coffee and light snacks daily between 9am and 2pm. 

Wollongong Botanic Garden

There are picnic tables scattered around the garden, and free barbecues near the playground.

Wollongong Botanic Garden

Wollongong Botanic Garden Collections

The Wollongong Botanic Garden is divided into 11 collections, all seamlessly connected. There are large signs that give information about each section but largely it’s a case of wander, explore and enjoy. The sections are: Australian Open Forest, Azalea Bank and Middle Creek, Dryland Collection, Flowering Trees and Shrubs, Palm Collection, Rainforest Collection, Rose Garden, Sir Joseph Banks Glasshouse (closed at time of print), Succulent Collection, Towri Bush Tucker Garden, Woodland Garden.

Wollongong Botanic Garden

We particularly enjoyed the Succulent Collection, which looks like a landscape from another world. Best visited in June / July when the Agave and Aloe plants produce amazing flower spikes, it’s also pretty spectacular in late August (when we visited) and in spring when a carpet of mesembryanthemum flowers blooms.

Wollongong Botanic Garden

The Azalea Bank and Middle Creek collection is also stunning, featuring plants found in Asiatic regions including China, Japan and Korea. Of note are the beautiful Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Camellias, Dogwoods (Cornus alba), Maples (Acer palmetum) and Dawn Redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), many of which were blooming when we visited, and a row of white flowering-cherry trees,  near the Japanese Tea House.

Wollongong Botanic Garden

We were fascinated by the aerial roots of the Swamp Cyprus (Taxodium distichum) in this section, too. 

Wollongong Botanic Garden Features

While you can read in detail about the features of the garden here, I have highlighted our favourites below.

Kawasaki Bridge

Wollongong Botanic Garden

One of the most stunning features of the garden is the Kawasaki Bridge. The traditional Japanese bridge and tea house were presented as a gift to the City of Wollongong from the City of Kawasaki in 1993 to mark the fifth anniversary of their Sister City relationship. 

The shape of the bridge is called taiko-bashi (drum bridge) in Japanese. If you look into the water from the top of the bridge you’ll see its reflection in the shape of a drum.

All Abilities Playground

Wollongong Botanic Garden

The fully-fenced all-abilities playground is perfect for kids aged 2-12. The playground includes swings, a sandpit, no-step slippery dip, climbing net, viewing platform and a maze. There is also an edible herb garden along the southern wall with seasonal herbs available for picking such as rosemary, chives, basil, parsley and mint.

Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden

Outdoor Reading Rooms

What a fantastic idea to include little book libraries inside the garden! There are two with a range of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books located next to the Cafe at the Murphys Avenue entrance and along the main path near the Flowering Trees and Shrubs collection.

The Mercury Fountain

Wollongong Botanic Garden

While the fountain was turned off when we visited, it is still a striking piece to behold and for kids to climb, no matter the season. The Mercury Fountain was designed by Robert Woodward. It was inspired by Wollongong’s industrial and mining history, and the five islands off the coastline.

Duck Pond

Wollongong Botanic Garden

Who doesn’t love feeding ducks? The duck pond has a beautiful rotunda in the middle which is the perfect spot to feed the native ducks and watch the eels swim past. If you want to feed the ducks, please either buy the peas and corn from the cafe at the entrance or bring an approved feeding option from home. No bread.

Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden

Insect Hotels

Wollongong Botanic Garden

We have made our own insect hotel at home, which pales in comparison to the beauties found inside the garden. The hotels give insects a sanctuary from the cold of winter and a nesting space in summer. 

Wollongong Botanic Garden

Events and programs

The Wollongong Botanic Garden runs a wide range of educational events throughout the year for adults and kids. During the school holidays kids can enjoy interactive hands-on activities relating to the environment. Find out about upcoming programs here.

Wollongong Botanic Garden

Getting to the Wollongong Botanic Garden

By car: Take the M1 Princes Motorway, then the Keiraville exit and follow the signs to the Wollongong Botanic Garden.

Parking: All parking is free (2 hour limit). There are four car parks and also street parking available. 

Public Transport: Take the free Gong Shuttle Bus or catch the train to North Wollongong. 

Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden Wollongong Botanic Garden

Wollongong Botanic Garden
Murphys Avenue, Keiraville
Hours: Daylight saving hours 7am to 6pm weekdays, 7am to 6.45pm weekends and public holidays. Non-daylight saving hours 7am to 5pm daily

Phone: (02) 4227 7667
wollongong.nsw.gov.au

More things to do in Wollongong

Visit nearby Austinmer Beach.

Visit the Early Start Discovery Space

More things to do in Sydney and surrounds

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Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

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Chase waterfalls in Sydney.

More things to do on the Central Coast.

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Wollongong Botanic Garden

Dirty Janes High Tea Bowral, Southern Highlands, Australia

Your Vintage Occasion Tea Salon: Dirty Janes High Tea Bowral

Your Vintage Occasion Tea Salon: Dirty Janes High Tea Bowral

The perfect high tea in Bowral. ‘Your Vintage Occassion Tea Salon’ serves up delicious high tea inside Dirty Janes Bowral, in the NSW Southern Highlands.

Dirty Janes Bowral

For an authentic high experience, we absolutely love ‘Your Vintage Occasion Tea Salon’, the quaint and quirky salon inside Dirty Janes Bowral.

Dirty Janes Bowral

With a speciality in high tea, ‘Your Vintage Occasion Tea Salon’ is also a place where you can drop by for a light meal or treat. Their cakes are absolutely incredible, all handmade each day onsite, and the scones are next level. Possibly the perfect scone – light, fluffy and fresh out of the oven. 

Dirty Janes Bowral

The menu is a simple one: sandwiches, toasties, soup, pinwheel sandwiches, light meals such as frittata or quiche, and the magnificent scones. Scones are available in a variety of flavours, my favourite bing the rose scone, which comes with rose cream.

Dirty Janes Bowral

Gluten-free options are available for treats and the high tea.

When visiting on a weekday, it’s easy to stroll in and get a table. Weekends, however, are always busy and full up fast. Bookings are available at 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm.

Dirty Janes Bowral

The salon puts up what I consider the best high tea in Bowral, and it’s very reasonably pried too at $29 pp or $32 for gluten-free. There was no problem accomodating us with a vegetarian high tea as well. 

Dirty Janes High Tea Bowral

Each high tea comes with a choice of freshly bakes scones, a daily savoury selection and an assortment of sweets, plus a pot of loose-leaf tea by The Highland’s Tea Company or an espresso coffee.

Kids aren’t left out either, with a Little One’s High Tea for $20pp, including a delicious assortment of treats along with a fruit juice, small iced chocolate or berry swirl.

Dirty Janes High Tea Bowral

Dirty Janes High Tea Bowral

Dirty Janes Bowral Dirty Janes Bowral

Your Vintage Occasion Tea Salon at Dirty Janes 
13-15 Banyette St, Bowral
0457 106 970
yourvintageoccasion.com.au/tea-salon-dirty-janes-bowral

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More things to do on the Central Coast.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.

Find the best high teas in Sydney.

Things to do in the Southern Highlands.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney.

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Where to Find Beautiful Waterfalls in Sydney

Waterfalls in Sydney

Where to find Beautiful Waterfalls in Sydney

Ready to chase waterfalls in Sydney this weekend? You don’t have to look far to fund spectacular plunge waterfalls to satisfy your wanderlust.

Blue Mountains

Katoomba Cascades

Katoomba Cascades

Katoomba Cascades is a small waterfall on the Kedumba River, in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, 1.5 hours west of Sydney.

The cascades can be found in a bend on Cliff Drive, near Katoomba Park. There are some picnic benches in the park, making it the perfect place to stop for a break before heading down to the cascades. 

It’s a short 300 metre walk down to the falls, which takes about 15 mins. It can get quite muddy, so wear closed in shoes and possibly bring a change of shoes in the car.

Read more about visiting Katoomba Cascades.

Katoomba Falls

Katoomba Falls

The Katoomba Falls is a segmented waterfall that is located close between Echo Point and Scenic World, near Katoomba. The falls flow into the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains.

To view the falls, you can take the short, picturesque circuit walk starting at Scenic World. The 1.5km circuit, which takes about 1 hour 45 mins, goes through the rainforest, all the way to the waterfall, with panoramic views of Jamison Valley.

There is an excellent view of the falls from the Scenic World Skyway.

Wentworth Falls

Blue Mountains Wentworth Falls

The spectacular Wentworth Falls  are a true Blue Mountains gem, with plenty of surrounding bush walks to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. Head to the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area and the nearby Wentworth Falls Track, which leads past the Jamison and Wentworth lookouts and then descends to the spectacular Fletchers lookout.

Read more about visiting Wentworth Falls.

The Minni Ha Ha Falls

Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me

The beautiful Minni Ha Ha Falls (also known as Minniehaha Falls and Minnihaha Falls) are the reward hikers receive for taking the 1.3km trail down to the bottom of the valley floor. You can swim in the waterfall (be warned – it’s cold!) or just enjoy the serenity.

Get more info on visiting the Minni Ha Ha Falls here.
NOTE: the falls have been reported closed, so check they are open before going.

Southern Highlands

Carrington Falls

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

The magnificent Carrington Falls, a 50m waterfall plunging into a natural swimming gully, is located in the Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

The Kangaroo River flows over a sandstone escarpment into the gully below. There is a loop walk that takes approximately 25 minutes to complete and takes visitors to three lookouts with stunning views as well past cascades, waterholes and rockpools. 

Read more about visiting Carrington Falls here

Fitzroy Falls

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

The spectacular Fitzroy Falls is located inside the Morton National Park, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, a two hour drive from Sydney or Canberra and 60mins from Wollongong. The 81-metre waterfall is easy to access and makes for a stunning day trip.

Fitzroy Falls are viewable from several lookout points, the first of which is only a short walk from the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre and is full accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

Read more about visiting Fitzroy Falls here

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls is a plunge waterfall with three drops. It’s extremely easy to drive directly up to the lookout point and enjoy these stunning views over the Kangaroo valley. There is a 1.8km return walk that can be taken from the lookout to the top of the waterfalls.

Read more about visiting Belmore Falls here.

Central Coast

Somersby falls

Somersby Falls Central Coast

A popular place for family picnics and bushwalking, the Somersby Falls are located on the NSW Central Coast, an hour-and-a-half drive from Sydney.  

The Somersby Falls walking track is a 500m return walk that takes in views of the top and bottom waterfalls. Note that the walk is steep and can be slippery in places.

Read more about visiting Somersby Falls.

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids.

Find things to do in Sydney for free.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.

Find the best high teas in Sydney.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Find the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Sydney.

Get a list of the best playgrounds in Sydney.

Find the best ice cream and gelato in Sydney

Things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Things to do in the Southern Highlands.

Plan amazing NSW road trips.

Pick your own fruit: fruit picking Sydney.

The best things to do in Western Sydney and Parramatta with kids.

Waterfalls in Sydney

Read more about visiting the Blue Mountains National Park