Sharmali’s hand-picked a selection of top outdoor activities to do in Wollongong, a stunning coastal town just 1.5 hours south of Sydney.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Dharawal  people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Discover Wollongong, a stunning coastal town just 1.5 hours south of Sydney. Nestled between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, this guide recommends some great outdoor activities to make the most out of a sunny weekend in this NSW gem.

About Wollongong

Welcome to Wollongong, where outdoor enthusiasts can satisfy their cravings for adventure! From surfing along the stunning coastline to hiking the scenic escarpment, this bustling coastal city offers plenty of exciting activities to explore.

But with so many options, planning your itinerary can be overwhelming. That’s where this guide comes in handy! Let me help you make the most of a weekend in the Gong by highlighting some of the best outdoor activities and scenic spots.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

Wollongong History

The history of Wollongong is rooted in the rich cultural heritage of the Wodi Wodi and Dharawal nations and we acknowledge their ongoing custodianship.

The colonial history of Wollongong is also significant as the steelworks and coal mining industry played a major part in the city’s development.

This itinerary aims to highlight the natural beauty and outdoor activities that Wollongong has to offer while also recognizing the important histories and ownership of the land.

How to Get to Wollongong

Wollongong is only 1.5 hours south of Sydney, making it a very easy and accessible weekend destination.

By Car

There are two ways to get there by car. The first is to take the direct route down Princes Highway. The second is to take the scenic route through Royal National Park. Keep in mind that there’s a car fee to enter the park, even if you’re just passing through.

By Train

Wollongong is accessible from Sydney via the South Coast Line that leaves from Central Station. The train trip takes around 1.5 hours, however a car is recommended to make the most of this adventure itinerary. For those taking the train, check the NSW Transport website for schedules and fares.


Wollongong Weekend Getaway Guide, Sharmali K. sea cliff bridge, grand pacific drive, south coast

The famous Sea Cliff Bridge

Where to Stay in Wollongong

You can find plenty of accommodation options around Wollongong on, however I recommend choosing a spot near the city to make the most of the itinerary.

If you prefer to camp or stay right on the beach; Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort, Corrimal Beach Tourist Park, and Bulli Beach Tourist Park are excellent accommodation options.


Where to Eat in Wollongong

  • Buck Hamblin in Thirroul – This little cafe has tasty toasties, good coffee, and friendly service
  • Resin Brewery in Bulli – For a great pub feed
  • Two Sisters Garage in Bulli – Has a beautiful outdoor courtyard serving delicious food and great coffee and cakes
  • Mylan in Wollongong – For fresh Vietnamese in the heart of Wollongong
  • Amigos in Wollongong – Massive servings of tasty mexican favourites
  • Diggies in North Wollongong – A great cafe right on the beach; the best place for breakfast and a view
  • Opus Coffee in Wollongong – Great bagels and an extensive coffee menu
    K.Malu Kitchen and Bar in Wollongong – Fancy dining and really great cocktails


Wollongong Weekend Getaway Guide, Sharmali K, resin brewing, bulli, south coast

Things to do on a Weekend in Wollongong

Read more: 10 Best Walks & Hikes Around Wollongong & Illawarra


Wollongong Weekend Getaway Guide, Sharmali K, the wodi wodi track, person walking along bush trail

Skill Level

Beginner – Intermediate

This itinerary features a range of moderately challenging outdoor activities, including hikes, beach visits, and cycling adventures.

While intermediate skill levels are recommended, Wollongong offers plenty of activities for all ages and abilities.

However, keep in mind that phone reception may be limited on some of the hikes listed and there are no water sources available on the trails. It’s important to be well-prepared and to inform someone of your movements if you choose to go alone.

Distance / Duration

184km / 2 days

Essential Gear for Wollongong

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Comfortable hiking clothes
  • Sun protection
  • Water bottle
  • Swimmers and a towel
  • Surf gear
  • Camping gear

What it’s Like to Explore Wollongong

Day 1 – Sydney to Wollongong

7am – Sydney to Bald Hill Lookout

Distance: 57km
Time: 1 hour 20min

Good morning! The sun is shining and adventure is calling your name. The first leg of this itinerary takes you to a cute coffee spot with a serious view.


Wollongong Weekend Getaway Guide, Sharmali K, view from bald hill lookout, view down to beach and ocean

The view from Bald Hill Lookout

Flying High Cafe at Bald Hill is open from 8am on weekends and is the most perfect start to a Wollongong adventure.


9am – Mt Mitchell via Wodi Wodi track

Drive distance: 3.3km
Drive time: 5 minutes

Hike distance: 4.3km
Hike time: 1hr 40min

Get ready for a challenging hike up the Illawarra Escarpment! This track is a serious leg burner, but trust me, the views at the top are absolutely worth it. Even the way up is picturesque, so you can focus on nature rather than your burning calves!


Wollongong Weekend Getaway Guide, Sharmali K, wodi wodi to mt mitchell track sign, stanwell park

The Wodi Wodi track is a challenging but fulfilling hike

The easiest way to find the trailhead and nearby parking spots is by searching ‘Forest Walk to Sublime Point Track’ in Google Maps.


11:30am – Sea Cliff Bridge

Drive distance: 3km
Drive time: 4 minutes

I know you’ll be driving south over Sea Cliff Bridge, but why not take the time to walk over it too? It only takes 15 minutes each way and you can find street parking on the south side of the bridge.


12pm – Lunch Time

Drive distance: 8.5km
Drive time: 11 minutes

There are lots of cafes lining the streets of Thirroul, but I love Buck Hamblin for its tasty toasties and the super friendly staff. It’s the cute little standalone cafe next to Anita’s Theatre; can’t miss it!


2pm – Bike Ride from Fairy Meadow to Thirroul

Drive distance: 10km
Drive time: 14 minutes

Ride distance: 12km
Ride time: 40 minutes (one way)

Wollongong is lined with beautiful coastal bike trails, so head on over to Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort to hire a bike and go for a ride.

The northern bike path goes all the way up to Thirroul and back. Pack your swimmers and a towel as there are plenty of gorgeous beaches and ocean pools to stop and swim at on the way; my favourite is Bellambi Rock Pool!


Wollongong Weekend Getaway Guide, Sharmali K, cycle path between Fairy Meadow to Thirroul , person on bike


6pm- Takeaway Dinner at Flagstaff Point Lighthouse

Drive distance: 4.5km
Drive time: 8 minutes

Ready for a perfect end to your day? I absolutely recommend getting your dinner to takeaway and heading over to Flagstaff Point Lighthouse for a sunset picnic.

Nothing quite says Wollongong like a sunset by the ocean, the glowing escarpment, and the Steelworks churning away in the background. You can even finish your night with a cheeky nightcap over at K.Malu in the city, their cocktails are awesome!

Day 2 – Wollongong to Sydney

7am- Breakfast at Diggies

You can’t go past a bekky at the iconic Diggies Cafe at North Wollongong beach. Try and grab a spot inside at the ocean facing bench for the best view.


9am- Surf at City Beach

Drive distance: 1.6km
Drive time: 5 minutes

Conditions permitting, it’s time to grab a board and head out for a wave! If you’re new to surfing, Pines Surf Academy is open from 9am-4pm offering board hire and lessons.


Wollongong Weekend Getaway Guide, Sharmali K, drone shot of person paddling out on surfboard in ocean

Grab a board and head out!

North Gong can be a great spot in the right conditions, otherwise head to City Beach on the other side of the harbour for a south facing option.


12pm- Lunch Time

Drive distance: 11.5km
Drive time: 19 minutes

Within a two minutes walk from each other, Resin Brewery and Two Sisters Garage are two delicious lunch options. Choose one or do both and have lunch at the brewery and a coffee/cake at the garage after.


3pm- Walk at Kellys Falls

Drive distance: 21.5km
Drive time: 18 minutes

This short but challenging trail will require some scrambling and sturdy shoes… But stick at it

because you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking waterfall and natural pool at the end of the trail; perfect for a refreshing swim!


Wollongong Weekend Getaway Guide, Sharmali K, kelly's falls track, stanwell tops, lady standing in rainforest in front of waterfall

Kellys Falls

With multiple route options available, be sure to do some research beforehand to determine which path is best for you.  This is a perfect way to round off the day before heading back to Sydney.

Tips for a Weekend in Wollongong

  • Surf conditions can be misleading: with lots of strong currents below the surface, always make sure you surf within your skill level and respect the locals. If unsure, book a surf lesson at a local surf school
  • The hiking trails listed can get slippery when wet, so take extra care, or change plans after heavy rainfall. It’s also common to find leeches in wet conditions
  • The listed campsites are very popular and should be booked in advance to avoid disappointments, especially on public holidays

FAQs Wollongong Weekend Itinerary

Where is Wollongong located?

Approximately 1.5 hours south of Sydney.

How do you get to Wollongong?

The best way to get to Wollonong is by car, however trains to Wollongong run regularly on the South Coast Line.

Are there marked bike paths in Wollongong?

Yes there are lots of bike paths in Wollongong, check out Wollongong Council’s Cycling Guide and Map for more info.

Is the Wodi Wodi Trail good for beginners?

The Mount Mitchell to Wodi Wodi track is considered a moderately challenging route. There are less challenging walks around the area, including the 15 minute walk across Sea Cliff Bridge.

Are Wollongong beaches patrolled?

Most beaches in Wollongong are patrolled. Check the local Surf Life Saving Club hours of operation before going for a swim or surf.

Is the Royal National Park free?

No, you need to pay a car fee to enter the park, even if you’re just driving through.