Looking for fun things to do in Wollongong that won’t break your budget? Here’s how you can make the most of your next visit to Wollongong, free of charge!
So that everyone can enjoy our city, we are asking you to support and adhere to Government advice when visiting public spaces.
For public health orders on what you can and can’t do, visit the NSW Government website.
Explore the Wollongong Botanic Garden
Did you know that the Wollongong Botanic Garden has one of the largest rainforest collections in Australia?
Located beside the University of Wollongong, Wollongong Botanic Garden is a place of natural beauty where people can relax, celebrate and learn about plants and horticulture. This is the perfect destination for your next weekend picnic or afternoon stroll.
Explore the network of twisting paths that stretch across the Garden as you learn about the collection of local plants and plants from around the world. With plenty of open green spaces, regular outdoor events, gardening workshops and a duck pond, this is one free Wollongong attraction that is worth visiting year-round.
Visit Mount Keira Summit Park
Located at the top of the Illawarra escarpment, Mount Keira Summit Park offers jaw-dropping views of the Wollongong region. A natural annex to the Wollongong Botanic Garden, the park contains many important plant species of the Illawarra region and is a must visit on your list of things to do in Wollongong.
On your next visit, take a short 15 minute walk along the edge of the escarpment to enjoy views of the Wollongong CBD, Royal National Park, Port Kembla, Five Islands and Lake Illawarra.
Take your pet for a walk
Even man’s best friend needs to get out of the house every once in a while! If you’ve got a pet that thinks there’s nothing better on earth than a walk, then Wollongong is the place for you.
Wollongong boasts some of the best dog-friendly beaches and parks in NSW so there are plenty of places for you and your furry friend to visit. To help make your next trip outdoors simpler, visit the Wollongong City Council website to learn more about off-leash and on-leash parks and beaches across Wollongong.
Discover Wollongong’s History
Our city has a long and important history starting with the Dharawal people who originally inhabited the area we know today as Wollongong. Traditional Custodians live and care for Country here in the Illawarra, as they have done for thousands of years.
Today the knowledge and dreaming stories of our Traditional Custodians has been layered with a more recent history of timber-getting, farming, mining, industry, tourism and building.
The Wollongong Heritage Trail is a free, downloadable self-guide resource that provides information on the historical sites in the Wollongong CBD. It includes a map of some of Wollongong’s most significant and historic landmarks post European settlement including the Old Wollongong Court House, Former Council Chambers and Market Square.
For those stuck at home, visit the Wollongong Heritage and Stories Virtual Museum to learn more about our city’s history.
Drive along Sea Cliff Bridge
Sea Cliff Bridge is easily one of the most scenic drives in the Illawarra! The 665 metre long Sea Cliff Bridge is a highlight along the Grand Pacific Drive – A drive which takes in 140 kilometres worth of coastal scenery from the Royal National Park, Loftus down to Nowra.
Enjoy breathtaking coastal views and take a moment to pause at one of the many towns and beaches along the way. Sea Cliff bridge is also a great viewing platform for migrating whales as they head north to warmer waters from late April to August and return southwards from around September to November.
The Sea Cliff Bridge is accessible via public transport. Catch the train to Coalcliff station or ride the bus and get off at the bus stops located on either side of the Sea Cliff Bridge.
Enjoy the view at the Wollongong Harbour and Lighthouse
Wollongong is the only point of the east coast of Australia that’s home to two lighthouses! Flagstaff Point Lighthouse and the old Wollongong Harbour Lighthouse overlook Wollongong Harbour and make for a beautiful photography spot.
Wollongong Harbour Lighthouse has been inactive since 1974 but is lit with a decorative light on special occasions. The Flagstaff Hill Lighthouse is still active and in the evening you can see the red lights that are displayed over shallow water to the north and south.
Walk (or bike) along the Blue Mile
The Blue Mile is easily one of Wollongong’s most recognisable features and it’s well-loved for a good reason. Stretching from Stuart Park in the north to Wollongong Golf Club in the south, this walk is a must-do for both locals and visitors to the region!
It’s a shared pathway for both pedestrians and bike riders, with many places to stop and enjoy a coffee at a local café while taking in the stunning sea views. When you visit, keep an eye out for public art and local history signage to learn more about the fascinating past of this area.
Spend a day at the beach
There’s no better way to spend your day then with a trip to the beach. Here in Wollongong, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches and stunning coastlines.
During swim season, Wollongong has 17 patrolled beaches from Stanwell Park in the north to Windang in the south. For those brave enough to take a dip in the water during winter, North Wollongong Beach is patrolled all year round. Always remember to stay safe when swimming and look out for the red and yellow flags before you decide to get into the water.
If swimming sounds a little too cold you can still enjoy your time at the beach. Instead treat yourself to fish n’ chips, a hot cup of coffee or even a cocktail from one of the many local cafés, restaurants and bars that overlook the beach.
Swim in the Gentlemen’s Rock Pool
While you’re at North Beach, why not visit the one of Wollongong’s nine rock pools? The North Wollongong Rock Pool – otherwise known as the Gentlemen’s Pool – is a step back through Wollongong’s history.
The Gentlemen’s Pool was once a segregated swimming pool back in a time when men and women were not allowed to swim together. Today the pool is now a community space for everyone to enjoy!
Take in the view from Sublime Point Lookout
Sublime Point Lookout offers one of the best vantage points to take in the beauty of Wollongong’s coastline, beaches and rainforest. This is one of the few walks that link the coastal foothills to the Illawarra escarpment.
The Sublime Point walking track is a challenging one, stretching a total of 850 metres. The difficulty rating for this track is hard, with a suggested walk time of 45 minutes. Once you get to the lookout, enjoy your stay by making use of the BBQs, picnic shelters and the Sublime Point Cafe (check the website for opening hours).
Learn a new skill
This is one activity you can start right now! Wollongong City Libraries’ members can unlock a world of free online courses on the go, at home or using one of the libraries computers.
Whether you want to improve your employability by learning a new skill, want to keep your mind active or want to learn a new language, there are a range of free courses available online 24/7. All you need is your library card and password!
It’s free to become a library member. Visit the Wollongong City Libraries website to learn more.
Tour the Wollongong Art Gallery (while at home)
Although you can’t visit the Wollongong Art Gallery just yet, you can get your daily arts and culture fix without leaving your home. The Wollongong Art Gallery has embraced the digital world with a new virtual gallery.
Take the online tour and explore the Wollongong Art Gallery collection to learn something new. Or if you’re feeling creative, check out their free online art workshops run by Art Gallery staff and local artists.
Visit your local library
Today there are so many more things you can do at your local library beyond borrowing a book! Wollongong City Libraries has become a community hub that offers events, workshops and group activities for people of all ages and interests.
Why not try your hand at sewing by joining one of the sewing and knitting groups? Or enjoy a game of trivia at the adult-only evening events. Join a book club and discuss your favourite books. Or watch a free movie with your friends at one of the movie nights.
Wollongong City Libraries has seven different library locations, so visit your local branch to discover a range of free activities.