Whether it’s the coast or the escarpment, our natural playground provides the perfect recipe for a lifestyle of fun.
As you may have heard, a small part of Lawrence Hargrave Drive has temporarily closed for some much needed stabilisation work, but that doesn’t mean that visiting Wollongong’s Northern Villages is out of the question!
Detours will be in place via the M1 Princes Motorway and Princes Highway (Bulli Pass) until work is complete. Start your coastal adventure via the Southern Gateway Centre for some visitor information, coffee, gelato-or just to enjoy the magnificent view, before descending down Bulli Pass to Lawrence Hargrave Drive to experience Wollongong’s Northern Villages.
Whether you have big kids looking for the perfect surf break or young ones who would prefer the calmness of a paddle pool or playground, Wollongong’s Northern Villages have you covered with rock pools, beaches and parks. Don’t forget to bring your fur babies with you to enjoy our dog friendly beaches at Stanwell Park, Sharkey’s, Little Austinmer and McCauley’s beach.
With an eclectic mix of Australia’s favourite native animals as well as rare and endangered exotics, Symbio Wildlife Park offers one of the most diverse line ups of any zoo in NSW. Directly across the road there’s more family fun to be had at Helensburgh Putt Putt Golf and Driving Range.
A short 10 minute drive you will have you at Darkes Glenbernie Orchard, where you can pick your own fruit on a 5th generation family owned farm. While you are there, make sure you head across the road for an easy bush walk to view the waterfall at Maddens Falls. Or visit Darkes Forest Riding Ranch or Otford Farm Horse Riding both offering trail rides for all abilities from complete beginners to the more experienced.
Are you ready for an adventure, an escape with world class coastal views? Of course you are, and the Wollongong Northern Villages with its picturesque towns, golden beaches, headlands and natural reserves has so many options when it comes to experiencing nature and the great outdoors.
Start your day right with a walk along the iconic and very photogenic 665 metre Sea Cliff Bridge. Shared walking paths offer breathtaking views over the South Pacific Ocean. Be sure to keep a look out for migrating whales between May and November. Continue along the Sea Cliff Bridge onto the Grand Pacific Walk which hugs the magnificent coastline to Stanwell Park. If you have the energy don’t miss the Wodi Wodi bush walking track at Clifton where you will get a bird’s eye view of the Sea Cliff Bridge and the South Pacific Ocean. Local’s tip (go mid-week and experience the magnificent views all to yourself). Grab a cool drink and some lunch at Stanwell Park Shopping Village and head to Stanwell Park Beach for a refreshing dip and relax.
Now that you’re all relaxed, get ready for more outdoor fun and adventure with a chauffeured trike tour with Just Cruisin’ Harley Tours into the Royal National Park or step outside your comfort zone and take that leap of faith with a tandem hang glide and enjoy spectacular views from Bald Hill.
Exploring this region sure build’s up an appetite. Thankfully Wollongong’s Northern Villages has something to suit all palates with many restaurants & cafes sharing their love of sustainable practices, local and organic produce.
Earthwalker & Co in Coledale is the perfect example of this, don’t forget to try their Farm House Breakfast roll that will have you pumped for the day ahead!
Walk off brekky over the Sea Cliff Bridge and drive up to Stanwell Park, grab a coffee or fresh juice at Loaf Kitchen and explore the galleries and boutiques. To taste the world’s best cider (awarded at the World Cider Awards), take a short drive up the Illawarra escarpment to Darkes Forest and Darkes Glenbernie Orchard.
Perched directly on top of the Headland at Austinmer, enjoy lunch and a cleansing ale with panoramic ocean views at Headlands Hotel. Or visit South Sailor for the freshest seafood and relaxed coastal vibe.
Here are some highlights along the Drive for you to shop, stay, play and eat as you experience Wollongong’s Coastal Villages.
Articles Fine Art Gallery
Boho Chic Boutique
Stanwell Park Cellars
Earth Walker & Co
The Pantry Stanwell Park
Bald Hill Ice Cream
The Palms Café
For more Things to do and see in Wollongong, please click here.
Please note: Lawrence Hargrave Drive at Stanwell Park (between Lady Wakehurst Drive/Otford Rd and Chellow Dene Avenue) will be closed in both directions for road work, effective Monday 15 June until 7pm Sunday 9 August.
For more information on the Lawrence Hargrave Drive road closure (incl. changes to transport), please click here.