Every girl needs a short break every now and then! So why not escape to the Illawarra region? Just over an hour from Sydney
and two-and-a-half from Canberra
, it’s perfect for a weekend road trip! Whether it’s with your besties or your man, there are oodles of beaches to ‘lax by – and with New South Wales’ third-largest city, Wollongong, you won’t have to go without your creature comforts either. Hallelujah. Start designating drivers and come book your Illawarra accommodation with us.
One of the unique things about the region is that it sits sandwiched between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, creating a dramatic mountainous backdrop for the narrow coastal strip that you can even admire while treading the water or surfing the waves in some parts. Pack your sunhat and sun cream because, with over 15 beaches to choose from, you’ll be flat out trying to relax on them all. If you love the sea water, but not necessarily the sea, sit back and chill out knowing your bikini won’t get knocked askew by a wave in one of ocean rock pools sprinkled along the coastline. Now if you see one really giant pool of water near the sea, don’t be mistaken! That’s Illawarra Lake, where you can admire both the beach and the sea at the same time from atop the new rock wall.
If relaxing on a beach all day long sounds more boring than it does rejuvenating, get high on adrenalin with some paragliding, hang gliding or abseiling – or sky dive! It’s the only place in NSW where you can actually land on the beach. If you want to get the blood pumping but not quite so fast, a walking track through the Eastern Escarpment will wind you through rainforest-lined gullies and creeks, past open gum forests and to the fantastic views near Mount Cotton’s summit.
For the kind of thrills that come in the form of fashion, Crown Street Mall will deliver that rush. The largest shopping area in Wollongong, it’s got your mainstream faves and boutique buys that’ll have your friends asking where you bought it for months. Every Friday the mall is also home to the Wollongong Markets, where you’re sure to find something unique to take home. Throughout the Woolloongong centre you’ll love the alfresco eateries for coffee and long chatty lunches, and if you like your beer, then you may just love The Illawarra Brewery.
A local attraction you wouldn’t expect is the Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Nan tien means ‘southern paradise’, and its location overlooking the mountains makes it just that. Experience true Buddhism with an overnight stay, or simply take a guided tour and wander through the gardens.
So, feeling like a short break away would do you good? Of course it will! With a ribbon of fantastic beaches to chillax on and all kinds of outdoor activities for the adventurous, the modern shops and dining scene is the icing on the cake! (Did someone say cake?) Check out our range of Illawarra hotels below.
Image credit Tim J Keegan