Heading south, Wollongong starts where Sydney finishes. It is the third largest city in the state behind Sydney and Newcastle and is thinly wedged on a coastal plain between an escarpment and the Pacific Ocean. It is pronounced Wool-on-gong.
Geography defines Wollongong, as the city is never more than roughly six kilometers at its widest but stretches over forty kilometers from South to North. Its growth was limited by mountains, which are not so much high as steep, and the sea, Wollongong has grown to include a whole chain of coastal towns, from Dapto and Port Kembla in the south to Bulli, Austinmer, and even up to Stanwell Park in the north. Continuous development has recently stretched the urban area along the coast as far as Kiama in the distant south but those areas are serviced by the growing centre of Shellharbour.
Its modern origins are in coal mining and steel production, industries which persist, notably the BlueScope steel facility at Port Kembla to the south. A dedicated port exists for the transport of materials whereas private craft and fishing boats use a separate facility nearer the city centre in Belmore Basin. New industries, such as financial services, information technology, tourism and education are fast becoming trademarks of the city. Wollongong people are proud of the employment and heavy industry in the area, and choose to be more than just a outer commuter suburb for Sydney.
The University of Wollongong is popular with local, other Australian and international students. Due to post war migration involving heavy industry, Wollongong also includes a large Mediterranean (Macedonian, Serbian, Bosnian, Crotian, Italian, Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, Portugese, Spanish), Indian and Asian population which has left its mark on the city and means there is a great range of food and entertainment options.
There are many interesting and beautiful locations within easy reach. The immediate area possesses some fine, often uncrowded beaches and reasonable surfing.
The quickest way from Sydney is to take MetRoad 1 and the Princes Highway south. You leave Sydney, and enter greater Wollongong just before the freeway starts. Its about 50 minutes drive to this point, and around another 20 minutes down the freeway to the Wollongong CBD. Expect to take longer in the afternoon peak, Wollongong is a part of the Sydney commuter belt.
If you have a little longer, you can take a route via the Bulli Pass and the Wollongong Northern Beaches. At the end of the freeway the Bulli Pass road throws itself straight down the escarpment and along the coast. The exit is well signposted after the end of the freeway. Add 10 minutes for this diversion.
If you have a little longer still, a very scenic way to see more of Wollongong, the escarpment and the cliffs, is to take the Grand Pacific Drive. Exit from the freeway at Helensburgh through Stanwell Park and down the coast. The road is well signposted to Wollongong. The Sea Cliff Bridge is a highlight of this trip, between Coalcliff and Scarbourough.
From the south of Wollongong, follow the Princes Highway north.
From Canberra or Melbourne, you can access Wollongong via the Illawarra Highway or via Picton Road. Picton Road offers a faster, straighter trip, while the Illawarra Highway offers scenery with windy roads and the occasional waterfall and picnic areas. To go the quick, Picton Road, route, ignore the first exit sign to Wollongong from the Hume Highway at Moss Vale, and take the second, where the exit is also signposted to Picton.
There are hourly train services between Sydney and Wollongong on the the South Coast Cityrail line . This train can be busy during the morning and evening peaks heading towards and away from Sydney respectively, but you should usually get a seat.
The train journey is a scenic one, travelling through the Royal National Park with views of the ocean and rainforest. Sit on the left hand side and upstairs (looking in the direction of travel) when travelling from Sydney or the right hand side travelling to Sydney. The trip takes around 90 minutes.
Wollongong is primarily serviced by scheduled international and domestic airline flights operating fromSydney Airport (IATA: SYD)  to the north of the city. Connecting links to Sydney are provided by rail and road.
To get to Wollongong by car from Sydney Airport drive 60 min south along the Princes Hwy and Southern Freeway. Follow the signs from the airport towards Wollongong and Rockdale to get to the Princes Highway, and from there follow the road and directional signage south to Wollongong.
To get to Wollongong by train  from Sydney airport, you should catch an airport train to Wolli Creek, and then change for a train to Wollongong. Peak hour trains to Wollongong often skip Wolli Creek, so during peak hour catch the next train to Hurstville, and then change again for a train to Wollongong on the South Coast rail line.
Private bus companies operate shuttle services from the airport to any destination door to door in the Illawarra/Wollongong region.
Illawarra Regional Airport (Wollongong Aerodrome) (IATA: WOL)  is only for charter flights and general aviation, and is 20 min south of the Wollongong CBD and located at the intersection of the Princes Highway and Illawarra Highway at Albion Park Rail. The airport is an 80 min drive from Sydney Airport and 60 min from Sydney's southern suburbs. It is the site of the The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) museum and and workshop facilities associated with that society are located at the airport. The airport has a airport terminal building and a licensed a la carte restaurant.
The nearest airport after Sydney with scheduled commercial flights is Canberra, about three hours drive along the Picton Rd and Hume Highway. Flights to and from Canberra Airport are typically more expensive and more infrequent than Sydney, and there are fewer destinations served.
An extensive cycle track runs from Wollongong north for 10 km to Thirroul, hugging the scenic beaches, or the same distance south south to Windang and Lake Illawarra. Generally uncrowded and a great way to get a feel for the city and surrounds.
A good cycle route could take 60 km mostly off-road from Bulli to Kiama, hugging the coast and headlands the whole way, and passing close to all Wollongong has to offer. You can put your bike on the train for the trip back.
You can hire bikes at Thirroul to ride south:
Steel City Cycle, 365 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul, ☎ +61 2 4267 1747. $40 per day. edit
or in downtown Wollongong:
Wollongong Bike Hire, 337 Keira St, ☎ +61 2 4228 7366. $40 per day. edit
The northern coastal suburbs of Wollongong are well serviced by train, however depending on the station, you can still be a kilometre or so from the beach. Stanwell Park, Austinmer, Coledale, Wombarra and Bulli are the best stations to access nearby beaches, with Austinmer the most popular. All stations see hourly services.
A car will take you everywhere in the region you want to go. Parking in the multi-story carparks in the Wollongong CBD is less than $2/hr, up to a maximum of $15. Parking along the Wollongong beaches and foreshore is free. Parking on Sundays is free.
There is a free city loop bus, operating between the University and the City Centre, via Cliff Rd and the Princes Highway - every 10 minutes peak, and every 20 minutes off-peak from 7AM-10PM weekdays, and until weekends from 8AM-6PM. The free bus is useful to access the university and the botanical gardens.
The Wollongong buses form part of the Sydney public transport network. You can purchase a ticket for your journey when boarding the bus, or you can use any MyMulti ticket or MyBus 10 trip ticket that you have purchased in advance.
Buses operate from the south will usually operate via Wollongong Station and the city centre. Buses from the north can terminate in the city centre, which is about a 5 minute walk from the station.
Dions Bus Service, . Operates buses north along the coastal beaches north of Wollongong as far as Austinmeredit
Greens Northern Coaches, . Operates express bus services along the coastal beaches north of Wollongong as far as Helensburgh.edit
Premier Illawarra, . Operates buses from Wollongong and North Wollongong, as far south as Kiama.edit
During the summer months, Wollongong has 17 surf beaches to choose from, each with less crowds and more space than any Sydney beaches. All have free foreshore parking, and most are accessible by public transport and bicycle.
To the north of the city try...
North Beach One of the most popular beaches, in front of Stuart Park and the Novotel. There is a kiosk right on the beach, but other take-away and restaurant options nearby. You can find a shady spot under the trees in the park, just a few steps from the sand.
City (South) Beach, right at the end of Crown St, by WIN Entertainment Centre. Not as popular as North Beach, perhaps because the views to the south take in the steelworks and dunes rather than parks and headlands. Still, it is nice sand and a place to cool off only minutes walk from the city centre.
Austinmer, a very pleasant cove, and small beach. Cafes and restaurants across the road, park and barbecues behind, some would say the ultimate beach, sometimes suffers from its popularity. Go early or late on a sunny day.
Towradgi, beach you are sure to get your own stretch of sand.
To the south of the city try..
Port Kembla, maybe the Gong's most underrated beach. Possibly associated with the steelworks and the town, but the beach is over the headland, very pretty, and possibly the longest strech of sand on the Wollongong coastline. Has parking, is on the coastal cycle track, and about 2km from Port Kembla station.
Windang, has the caravan park, and a feel more like a south coast beach. Just near the entrance to Lake Illawarra, there are also nearby parks and bicycle rides near the lake.
If you just want to do some laps, or for the kids to splash in the water, try the lap and leisure pools at Beaton Park, on Foley St (off Gipps Rd).
The escarpment next to Wollongong provides spectacular views over the coastline and city.
Bulli Pass, (10 min North of Wollongong on the main Sydney road, only accessible by car). Spectacular views over Wollongong and up and down the coast are available from the lookouts at the top of the Bulli Pass. Barbecues, picnic tables and kiosks are available at the lookouts. There are actually three lookout locations here, including Bulli Lookout and Sublime Point. Sublime Point is probably the most famous, and best for a picnic or the view. Bulli Lookout has a restaurant/cafe on the top of the cliff.Free. edit
Mount Keira Lookout, (from Wollongong take tourist drive 11, Mount Kiera Rd). More spectacular views from the top, as well as some walks and views of the hang-gliders launching. Cafe at the top, serving Devonshire Teas. Worth a visit at night to see the lights of the town.Free. edit
Mount Kembla Lookout, (car park off Cordeaux Rd, in the Illawarra Escarpment Conservation Area). Free. edit
BHP Australian Historical Flying Museum, Illawarra Regional Airport (intersection of the Princes Highway (F6) and the Illawarra Highway). A project was started to build an exhibition facility for the aircraft of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society  who have an existing base there. HARS recently completed a major hanger, part of an ongoing project. HARS has and extensive static aircraft display and many operational aircraft including the only remaining flying Super Constellation in the world.
Science Centre and Planetarium, (Squires Way, Fairy Meadow), ☎ +61 2 42865000, . Two-storey museum with lots of stuff to do for kids aged 1 to 15 (and their parents, of course). Don't miss the 3PM Planetarium show ($6 adults, $4 children/concession).edit
Nan Tien Temple, Berkeley Rd, Berkeley, ☎ +61 2 4272 0600 (email@example.com, fax: +61 2 4272 0601), . Tuesday to Sunday: 9AM-5PM (open Mondays on public holidays). Opened in October 1995 it is a branch temple of Fo Guang Shan and the biggest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere. "Nan Tien" in Chinese means "Paradise of the South". Received awards for lighting (yes, architectural lighting), gardening, architecture and tourism.Free. edit
WIN Sports & Entertainment Centres (the WEC), Corner of Crown and Harbour Streets (southern end of the Central Business District), ☎ +61 2 4220 2800 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +61 2 4220 2801), . The Sports stadium hosts rugby league (St.George Illawarra), rugby union, and soccer and has a capacity of 18,500 (11,000 seated). The Entertainment Centre is situated to the north of the stadium and hosts a variety of sports and special events.edit
Australia's Industry World - Port Kembla Steelworks, Visitor Centre at the BlueScope Steel Northgate Entrance, Springhill Rd Coniston. The entrance is marked with extremely large Australian and BlueScope Steel flags, ☎ +61 2 4275 7023 (email@example.com, fax: +61 2 4275 7204). The Port Kembla Steelworks is located 80 km south of Sydney in the heart of Port Kembla, an industrial suburb in the Greater City of Wollongong, A fully integrated plant with steelmaking capacity of 5 million tonnes a year, the Steelworks is situated on an area of 800 hectares and directly employs up to 6,000 people. The Steelworks is one of the world's most technically advanced producers of high quality slab, plate and strip products. It has become arguably one of Australia's most valuable industries, competing for overseas markets and providing valuable export dollars for the Australian economy. A drive through the area at night can be interesting, with the flames more visible. You can even sometimes see the glow of the hot steel.edit
Wollongong Botanical Gardens, (Gwynneville. Just adjacent to the Wollongong University. Take the university exist from the Sydney Road). A usually uncrowded open space, with duck ponds and short walks. Bring some bread for the ducks, and a picnic.Free. edit
Minnamurra Rainforest, (Budderoo National Park, near Jamberoo, head along Jamberoo Mountain Road). Visitors centre and boardwalks through sub-tropical rainforest. Go early in the morning for the best chance at seeing wildlife such as lyre birds and wombats. edit
Cycle, . There are designated cycle routes all across the Wollongong Region. If you want coastal scenery, cycle north from Wollongong towards Bulli, all off road and long stretches through parks. If you want to see Wollongong industry close up, cycle south to Port Kembla, passing the steelworks along the way.edit
Mount Kiera Ring Track, a very popular 5.5 km loop walk around Mount Keira. Eucalypt and rain forest scenery. Very popular with leeches if there is only the slightest bit of rain.
Mountain Bike. There are rides for all levels of fitness and technical abilities on or around the escarpment. Rides include fire trails, single track and lightly used roads which provide a good workout for all ages. edit
Cockatoo Run, (toll free: 1300 65 3801), . Sundays. The Cockatoo Run is a vintage train that climbs through the Morton National Park Rainforest to Robertson and Moss Vale.edit
Illawarra Live Steamers, . Model train rides are offered to the public on the 4th Sunday of every month down at Stuart Park. Fun for all the family just remember to wear enclosed shoes and no drinking on trainsedit
Diving, Some of the best temperate water diving to be encountered anywhere can be found in Wollongong and areas to the south. Bass Point should be your stopping off point as it offers at least a dozen dives suitable to all standards of diver. Shellharbour Scuba Centre  is a PADI 5 Star centre about three minutes drive from Bass point offering all facilities including boat dives, nitrox and courses.
Sky-Diving, Wollongong's amazing scenery is even more amazing seen from above. If the mountain lookouts aren't exciting enough for you, the option to sky-dive is yours. A number of companies operate out of Illawarra Regional Airport , one of these being the Bushsports group .
University of Wollongong, Main campus-Northfields Avenue, Gwynneville, (next to the Botanical Gardens), (shuttle bus service operates from North Wollongong Station). ☎ tollfree 1300 367 869. For prospective students or general enquiries (firstname.lastname@example.org). . The campus is one of the most attractive in Australia, nestled below a sub-tropical rain-forest overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the base of Mount Keira Streams and ponds run throughout the area. Cars are kept to the perimeter of the campus. It is worth a visit purely as an attraction of the city. UOW is one of only two universities nationwide to achieve top-tier rankings in every discipline category of the Australian Government’s Learning and Teaching Performance Fund for 2008, and was the only University to do this in 2007. UOW has also been ranked first for the quality of its teachers and receives the highest rating for educational experience and graduate outcomes in the Good Universities Guide. Also twice awarded the prestigious accolade of Australia's "University of the Year".
Crown St Mall, is the centrepiece of Wollongong shopping. It is a pedestrian mall, partly shaded, with the main department stores, cafes and speciality stores lining both sides. There is a stage in the centre, with local talent (schools and dance groups) often performing on weekends.
Westfield Shopping Mall, is located at Warrawong, with a smaller one at Figtree, just south of the city off the Princes Highway. The usual obligatory and formulaic chain stores, food halls, and supermarket shopping, with cinemas at Warrawong. There is also a small shopping mall at Corrimal to the north, and shopping strips in most of the northern beachside suburbs along the Princes Highway.
Wollongong Central, The biggest shopping mall in Wollongong and home to over 220 leading retailers. Stay on trend and enjoy the extensive range of fashion brands on show and also the array of resturants and bars to drink and dine.
Everything about Wollongong's eateries is excellent. Most restaurants are located on either Keira St or Corrimal St, but don't be afraid to venture down a laneway, or further North or South to outer suburbs, to find great food. There is something for everyone.
Coconut Thai, (also located on Keira St), Variety of excellent Thai dishes. Meals range from $10-20 per person. Recommended for vegetarians and vegans, as they offer a lot of excellent non-meat dishes, as well as a wide array of beef, chicken and seafood orientated meals.
Chef's Choice, Some of the best Chinese and Cambodian food in Wollongong, with large delicious meals at bargain prices. Very popular with the towns student population, Chefs Choice is a no frills restaurant with friendly waitresses and a guarenteed good feed. Meals range between $6-$15. Try the gailan vegetables, salt and spicy tofu and the laksa!
Au Lac Vegetarian Restaurant, being Wollongong's first vegetarian restaurant, all of Au Lac's delicious meals are healthy and contain no egg or meat. The extensive and delicious menu recreates many classicly meat dishes using soy protein, and is a great option for anyone looking for something different. Meals range between $8-18.
Bei Feng Northern Style Chinese, on Keira street, this no-frills northern style Chinese restaurant is unbelievably cheap, delicious, and unlike any other Chinese restaurant in Wollongong. Try the zucchini and eggplant, and tofu nao.
Food World, Chinese/Vietnamese food, big meals and dirt cheap. Mains $8-$10. Great atmosphere. Don't be put off by some of the ugliest decor ever allowed to grace a restaurant, they have some of the most satisfying Chinese food for prices that don't ever seem to be affected by inflation. Highly recommended if you want a quick, cheap and filling meal, try the Chicken and Rice.
Amigo's Mexican Restaurant, . A casual Mexican place which does huge tasty Mexican meals. Recommended are the Lunchtime Special (meal and drink for $8.50) and $3 tacos (Tuesday nights, 5:30PM - 9:30PM), which is very popular with students. Outside of Tuesdays, Amigo's can be more expensive, with meals ranging from $14 onwards.
Fujiyama Teppanyaki Restaurant, Japanese restaurant. Chefs cook the food at the BBQ in front (and sometimes behind of) of your eyes. A delight to the senses at budget prices. Meals range between $-20,
Mylan, There are a number of Vietnamese restaurants around (Mylan, Twins, Ha Long Bay etc) Mylan is by far the best and is always busy, book ahead if you can.
FU's, (next to Amigos). Chinese food provided in large servings. It is also a great place to go with a group because they do meal deals.
Roppongi. Market St. (Close to Extreme surf store and the Illawarra Hotel), Japanese styled restaurant. Choose from the sashimi (raw fish) to delicious Japanese salad and schnitzel with special sauce. If you want to indulge in a more cultural experience you can also sit in the Japanese style room where you sit on cushions. The lunch time special is also great for those on a budget as they continue the Japanese tradition of offering cheaper prices for the dinner meals.
City Diggers Wollongong (RSL), 82 Church St, ☎ +61 2 4225 2563 (fax: +61 2 4225 2685). Nice atmosphere, but on weekends reservations are highly suggested. Food gets served within 10-15 minutes.Mains: $13-17. Beer: $4-6. edit
Marco's, Corrimal St. In Wollongong's Cafe district, offers a range of dishes concentrating predominantly on Italian cuisine. Portions at Marco’s will challenge even the most avid eaters.
Hideaway Cafe, (in the centre of Wollongong city between the amphitheatre and Greater Union cinema). Delicious food and down to earth staff. On Thursday and Saturday entertainment is provided by local artists. From $13-20
Jasmine Rice, Corrimal St. Thai food with traditional seating on cushions in one room or tables and chairs in another. The food is consistently good, although more pricey than some of the other Thai restaurants.
Thai Carnation, Corner of Corrimal and Crown St. Popular Thai restaurant. Duck curry is served with lots of fresh vegetables and some fresh grapes, the duck is succulent and tender and the broth is mild but tasty.
Lorenzo's Diner, Keira St. (Directly across the road from Caveau). The first restaurant in Wollongong to receive a single hat from the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide. Lorenzo Pagnan's diner serves modern and some traditional Italian cuisine in very slick modern surrounds. Saturday night's offer $55 per head for two courses, plus appetiser, bread and vegetables. Meals average at $40, $20 for mains and $12 and up for entree.
Caveau, 122-124 Keira St. Opened mid 2005, the creation of former Banc (Sydney) sous chef Peter Sheppard. Caveau serves French meals, with prices set at either $55 for two courses or $77 for three. The second Wollongong restaurant to receive a hat from the Good Food Guide and as such a friendly rivalry has developed between Lorenzo's and Caveau - one that has seen the North Keira street area develop into an important restaurant district for the City. Location (immediately next door to Ahmed's, see above).
A growing city, Wollongong's nightlife has transformed dramatically in recent years. Large, generic pubs are no longer the only option, with many bar-style establishments now offering a diverse range of drinking, dining and entertainment. Wednesday nights are 'uni nights', so expect to see a lot of students - especially at the North Gong, the Illawarra and the Grand. Geographically, most of the venues are scattered along and near Crown St from City Beach to Wollongong Train Station. Other venues exist in clusters; on Corrimal Street, Keira Street and Globe Lane.
Red Square 108 Keira Street. A hip, loosely Russian themed bar with a huge hammer & sickle on the wall, Red Square is famous for its incredible array of vodka infusions - 100+ different varieties available at last count. For beer-lovers Longboard, a well-known local beer is served on tap, and an excellent range of cocktails, drink specials and bar food are also available. There are open mic nights and live music on Fridays and weekends. Also features a covered outdoor area.
T-Bar 116 Keira St. Located inside Amigos Mexican Restaurant, T-Bar is a small bar speciallising in Tequila, Mescal and other Central American drinks, accompanied by vibrant Mexican decor.
The Living Room 195 Keira St. Mostly a cafe by day, in the evening the Living Room is just as popular with drinkers as it is with diners. Generous share platters and fishbowl sized cocktails makes this a great place for a group of friends to start a night on the town.
Humber 226 Crown St. This flatiron-style building in the centre of Wollongong features three levels; a cafe on the ground floor, a bar on the second and a rooftop cocktail lounge on the third. Rustic, funky interior. Their fresh menu has a strong emphasis on local sorced produce.
His Boy Elroy Globe Lane. This vintage, early 20th century New York style venue is a popular cafe by day and busy bar by night. Famous for its burgers, listed on various websites as among the best in Australia, His Boy offers a diverse eating and drinking menu from breakfast through to dinner. A solid cocktail list and beer on tap. Also well-liked among local coffee connoisseurs.
The Little Prince 502 Globe Lane. One of the flagship venues in Wollongong’s new small bar culture, The Little Prince is a favourite with locals and always fills up early. The venue has one of the most extensive and impressive cocktail lists in the city. On-tap craft beers and bar food are also a hit. It has a small, well-decorated indoor area that spills out onto a large patio and the atmosphere is always lively and busy.
Rad (formerly Yours & Owls). Corner of Crown and Kembla Street. This small venue focusses primarily on live music, supporting local and alternative artists. The venue also houses a cafe and bar. There are generally multiple gigs every week.
The Throsby 2/88 Kembla Street. A small, intimate wine bar, The Throsby features a selection of antipasto-style share plates and cheese boards to accompany their wide range of French, Spainish and Italian wines. Tastings are often held in early evenings and weekend lunches are also on offer.
Three Chimneys Unit 3 63/65 Crown St. Hidden in an alleyway between Crown and Burelli streets adjacent to Howlin Wolf and the IPAC. Converted from an old pasta factory, the name refers to the bar's three other funcitons; as a backery, a coffee rostery and as a tapas kitchen. Good craft beer selection. This place pumps when the live music gets going.
Howlin' Wolf Unit 3 53/61 Crown St. Located in an arcade off Crown St, this prohibition/speakeasy themed bar specialises in Whisky and regularly features live music.
Alibi 76 Crown Street. This cocktail lounge offers an intimate atmosphere and a good cocktail selection. Tends to be more low-key than other bars in the city. Occasionally features live music. No kitchen.
Dagwood 19 Market St. An upbeat, fun bar, whose decor, food and drinks is a fusion of American, Mexican and Japanese. Great Tequila and Whiskey selection, with Mexican and Australian beers. Very popular, busy every day.
Char Char Bar & Grill 49 Harbour Street. Directly beneath WIN Stadium lies Char Char, a popular dinner and weekend lunch destination. There is a wide food selection including share platters and mains like ribs and steak with a South African twist. A solid range of cocktails, beers and wines are also available.
Pepe’s on the Beach Novotel Northbeach, Cliff Road. On the ground floor of the Novotel overlooking North Wollongong Beach is Pepe’s, an 80s Miami inspired beach bar. The bar makes the best of its scenic location, with wide open spaces, cabanas overlooking the ocean and an outdoor deck complete with bean bags. The food menu mostly consists of bar snacks and share plates with breakfast served on weekends. The bar stocks a good selection of wines, beers and a reasonable cocktail menu.
The North Wollongong Pub, (North Gong for short),. Flinders St, adjacent to North Wollongong Train Station The "local" for the University of Wollongong. Several bars, including a spacious outdoor beergarden, a bistro and lounge bar inside. Although frequented by UOW students, North Gong remains popular with all ages.
Hotel Illawarra, (or just the 'Illawarra), Large hotel/pub recently refurbished in wood and chrome. It receives the early morning crowd as it is the only bar that consistently closes at 3AM most nights of the week. Somewhat upper class - smart casual dress. Wednesday Uni Night and Retro Thursday are immensely popular with the 18-22 year old crowds.
The Grand Hotel, (previously known as Cooneys), (at the south end of Keira St). A three part hotel. One features a number of 'pokies', pool tables, a bar, game machines and a lounge area. The second is a large outdoor beer garden and smoking area, while the third is a proper nightclub, complete with DJ booth and impressively sized dance floor and two separate bars. Hosts local and international acts on occasion.
Dicey Riley's, 333 Crown St. An Irish hotel that is conveniently located near Wollongong Train Station. Once known for being 'dicey', it is now one of the only venues in Wollongong to have live music on Friday and Saturday nights. With a new bistro, McKoll's Kitchen, it is the place to be. Especially on St Patrick's Day.
The Illawarra Brewery, formerly Five Islands Brewery. 9-11 Crown St, adjacent to City Beach and Wollongong Entertainment Centre. Brew their own beer and the bistro serves bar food. Has a fantastic terrace overlooking City Beach and Lang Park. Sit and drink watching the surf roll in from the Pacific Ocean just 50 m away. Quite nice to take the (older) kids on a Sunday afternoon.
The Builders Club, 61 Church St, (close to the City Centre). Mainly older laidback crowd but The Builders is also very popular with students taking advantage of cheap drinks and $2 pool. The Builders is fantastic for a few early drinks and then maybe kicking on to the nightclubs later. Worth visiting to see the huge mural painted on the front wall. Thursday night and friday day poker games. Comedy shows are held twice a month on Saturday nights and usually feature both local and established touring comics.
Ivory 77 Crown Street. An established Wollongong nightclub catering mainly to the 25+ crowd. The venue offers drink specials including cocktail jugs and happy hour til late on Fridays and weekends.
The Garden. Victoria Street. The Garden (so named for its outdoor area and its design theme) offers a cocktail bar, a range of themed events, uni parties and quality DJs from around the country, with an emphasis on house and electronica.
OneFiveOne 150 Keira Street. Nightclub known for its Thursday night offerings including free food, entry and cheap shots and cocktails all night. The venue regularly attracts DJs and holds special events, particularly around public holidays.
HostageX 270 Crown Street. HostageX is a two-level nightclub. It regular hosts DJs from a variety of genres, including house, R&B, Hip-hop and Top-40. Ocassional live performances. Wednesdays are uni-student nights.
Fever Nightclub Corner of Atchinson and Crown Streets, (formerly the Bluenote), Opens at 9pm yet is the only bar in town open past 3am - Fever closes at 6am weekend evenings, so if you want to make the most of a night out, it is the place to be! The club is smaller than some of the other venues in town, but makes up for it in atmosphere. The bar staff are entertaining, drink prices low and the music always lures you to the light-up dancefloor.
Glasshouse, Crown St. ***Currently closed for renovation April 2015.*** A tavern and nightclub which has recently re-opened, having been redeveloped - but still smelling distinctly of it's trademark vomit and sawdust. It is reasonably popular, with an entry fee charged for the upstairs nightclub. Often somewhat violent, coupled with incompetent security staff can make for an unpleasant night out if you don't keep your wits about you.
Sovereign Inn Wollongong, [http://www.sovereigninnwollongong.com], ☎ +61 2 4271 1122 (fax: +61 2 4271 4535). A basic motel close the city centre. Good for an overnight, or if you are not spending too much time around the hotel.From $85. edit
Mantra Wollongong, 6-10 Gladstone Avenue, ☎ 13 15 17 (email@example.com), . checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. Located in the heart of the Wollongong CBD, within close proximity to the Wollongong Hospital and moments from the region’s spectacular beaches.edit*
Best Western City Sands, 151-161 Corrimal Street, ☎ +61 2 4222 3111 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +61 2 4222 3100), . Part of Wollongong Golf Club and close to the CBD, WIN Stadium, WIN Entertainment Centre, and local beaches.edit*
Hotel, Cnr Market & Church St, ☎ +61 2 4223 6000 (H6377@accor.com, fax: +61 2 4223 6006), . In the city's main entertainment and business precinct.edit
Novotel Northbeach Wollongong, 2-14 Cliff Road, North Wollongong, ☎ +61 2 4224 3111 (email@example.com, fax: +61 2 4226 2072'), . Beach views, a day spa and is just 5 min from the Wollongong CBD and retail precinct.From $175-300. edit
Chifley Wollongong, 60-62 Harbour St, (toll free: 1300 650 464, firstname.lastname@example.org), . Ultra-modern hotel adjacent to WIN Sports and Entertainment Centre. A short walk to the beach, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.From $135-700. edit
All of Wollongong area has good mobile phone and data reception with all three carriers. There are a few coffee shops and McDonalds that offer free wifi Wollongong Library has free internet access at all libraries, and free wifi at the City Library (ask staff for a ticket with username/password). The city library is in the council building in Burelli St, which runs parallel to and one street south of Crown St.
There are some cases of drink-spiking so never leave your drink unattended. If you believe your drink has been spiked, speak to the security staff immediately - they'll determine wether you have or not, and if so will call you an ambulance to ensure your safety. Alcohol-fuelled violence is common in town at night - primarily in the Crown Street Mall and around takeaway food shops. Also, beware of groups of young men in cars at South Beach at night and the Lagoon carpark. Do not wander Unanderra and Dapto at night - both are unsafe, and sometimes during the day. Figtree can be nearly as bad, and Thursday nights in the Crown Street mall are often similar.
The recent spate of "Coward Punching" that is plaguing Sydney has been known to materialise in Wollongong also.
From Wollongong you can follow the coast southwards towards the Victorian border. This road is quite a unique stretch of highway in Australia that it follows the coast and headlands, giving views as you drive it. Many other coastal Australian Highways usually stay a small distance from the cost, requiring side trips to see the scenery. At Batemans Bay you can turn inland to the Hume Highway via Braidwood to Canberra and Melbourne via the freeway.
The Illawarra Highway is a scenic route through the Southern Highlands to the Hume Highway. The road winds its way up through the Macquarie Pass, through Robertson and then on to the open road.
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