If you’re in need of a weekend escape away from the cold inland city Canberra, then why not pack up the car and head to Wollongong? Among all of our abundant coastal options, Wollongong is located just over two-and-a-half hours away, making it a decent road trip and the perfect destination to escape to that isn’t too far away from home, yet far enough to feel like a well-deserved getaway.
Wollongong exudes that laidback lifestyle that Australia is known for… Whether you’re at the beach, walking along the beautiful scenic tracks or checking out the attractive nightlife, this is the perfect place to flee from the Canberra craziness for a few days.
Eat and drink
Like most of our coastal towns, you can expect to find an expansive range of fish and chip vendors throughout town, but how do you know which one is best? Well, there’s nothing fishy going down at Levendi Fish & Chippery, except their amazing seafood dishes! Everything served up on the menu is fresh and locally sourced. Located on the Wollongong Harbour, you get the best of both worlds with amazing food and a beautiful scenery that is perfect any time of the day.
Fish and chips are an absolute Aussie classic, but if you’re like us and love to expand your palate, head over to Lower East Café. With house-baked delicacies, exceptional coffee and an all-day menu to graze from – this is one of our top café picks when in Wollongong for the weekend. The venue has a seasonal menu, so expect to be able to try something new every time you dine. These guys have won us over for their locally sourced menu stacked full of healthy options. Try the Soul Bowl that combines quinoa, baked sweet potato, radish, pickled red onion, baby spinach, poached eggs and dukkah. Doesn’t that sound phenomenal?
For our fancy feasters out there, do we have a treat for you?! Nestled in the heart of Wollongong’s dining precinct is a sophisticated French restaurant that is bound to send you into a very content food coma. Caveau is a white tablecloth establishment, like a diamond in the rough, nestled among an abundance of takeaway shops along the Wollongong food strip. Treat yourself to caviar, Spanish-style crab or compressed apple, parsley and brown butter ice cream.
For breakfast, look no further than Bull & Bear. Boasting an impressive menu, you’re able to find café favourites such as pancakes, or one of their Spanish-inspired breakfast dishes.
We’re strong believers of the ‘When in Rome’ complex. To have a proper Wollongong nightlife experience, you have to go where the locals go. The Little Prince is a favoured watering hole of many residents in the Gong, so head over there and treat yourself like royalty. Or, check out the three level Humber bar in the heart of the CBD, serving as another favourite for locals and visitors alike.
Dive into your weekend with a refreshing swim. From Port Kembla, to Corrimal and Bulli Beach, Wollongong is home to some beautiful ocean swimming options. Port Kembla beach is a go-to option for all people headed east for the weekend. Not only does the Port have one of the nicest beaches on the Gong, it also has a beautiful beach-side pool and café. With a gentle decline into the waves and lifeguards present, it even provides a family friendly environment.
Get sky high on your weekend away and leave the world behind with the Wollongong skydive to the beach. With 15 drop points available along the coastline between Sydney and Wollongong, this tandem skydive is an unforgettable scenic experience whether you take in a bushland or beach view.
Walk off your Canberra worries with coastal tracks that will take your breath away. Lining the city these tracks take you through semi-rainforests, over sand dunes and to the edge of cliff faces that drop away to reveal the expansive coastline of the New South Wales. The Kiama Coast Walk is the ideal way to take in these coastal views. Taking approx. three hours to complete, this scenic walk is 22km long beginning at Minnumurra and winding up at Werri Beach. Depending on the time of year, these coastal walks set you up at perfect vantage points to see whales, sea eagles and hawks in the area.
For our fitness lovers out there, have you ever thought about doing yoga on the sea? Guided by a trained yoga instructor, Supfit is a wonderful amalgamation of rejuvenation and challenging your body. Taking paddle boarding to the next level, this way of exercising is a new coastal sensation.
Add a cultural element to your stay and discover the beauty of the Nan Tien Temple, where you can enjoy guided temple tours, Buddhist and meditation retreats and overnight Buddhist Awareness excursions. These services give you a wonderful experience that will help you relax and unwind by embracing the peaceful atmosphere of the temple and its hosts.
If you enjoy a gorgeous view, the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach is located beside coastline and is the best option for uninterrupted views of the ocean. Looking out over the vast big blue every day can help anyone forget about the hustle and bustle of city living.
For an unconventional experience, the Nan Tien Temple also offers overnight accommodation for their visitors. Wake up to see the rolling hills of the Illawarra setting a backdrop to the serene gardens, lotus pond and peaceful Buddhist Temple.
If you love camping or glamping, the Wollongong City Tourist Parks offer a range of options. Whether you’ll be in a tent, caravan or a self-contained cabin, these parks are able to provide a unique weekend away experience. These tourist parks are ideal for our down to earth readers who love being close to the beach and other entertainment.
Adina Apartment Hotel in Wollongong is a great option for accommodation at an affordable price for a simple weekend escape. Located just a short distance away from the beach, Adina is also within walking distance of cafés and bars along the strip.
When you need some time out from Canberra, migrate east and relax with any of these laid back, stress relieving activities and adventures.