This is the first post of our new weekly series: A Tourist in Your Hometown! This is where every Wanderlust Wednesday different travel bloggers share their hometown pride with us! This series is dedicated to people who want to explore more of their hometown, and also for those who are planning to visit at some point. Today, in honor of Australia Day which was celebrated yesterday, we are discovering the hidden gems of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. We interviewed A Pal from A Pal’s Corner Blog.
What’s your hometown best known for?
What’s the best time of the year/season to visit?
Anytime really but if you prefer the heat come in summer but not in school holidays.
What is your biggest annual holiday or tradition?
Australia Day and Anzac Day.
What is the currency in your country?
What’s the best form of travel to get around your hometown?
Wollongong CBD is not very spread out but to really see Wollongong you have to have a car.
Any recommendations for packing essentials?
If you are into swimming you must bring your swimmers but remember to swim between the flags our beaches can be dangerous. Also, bring your walking shoes whether it is for bush walking or strolls along the coastline we have amazing views.
Any hidden gems and/or foodie spots? (Top 3-5)
- The Lagoon, North Wollongong (on the beach) – seafood restaurant.
- Mylan, Wollongong CBD – Asian, Vietnamese.
- Vespa Cucina, Corrimal – best pizza.
- Kurtosh, Wollongong CBD – desert
- Gelato Emporium just before Bulli Pass for the best gelato around.
Mention top three main or traditional dishes/drinks that people must try (including location).
We don’t really have traditional dishes or drinks. The best place to enjoy fish and chips is on the beach or by the beach but watch out for those seagulls (Anywhere is good but near Wollongong Lighthouse is amazing at night). My favourites would be the fish and chips from Balgownie fish shop, pizza from Vespa Cucina and steak roll from Nutrition Super Sandwich in Wollongong CBD.
List the top 5 things to do.
- Walk the Blue Mile,
- Go to a beach (Austinmer, Towradgi or North Beach are really nice)
- Nan Tien Temple, Berkeley
- Drive along the Grand Pacific Drive from Stanwell Park to at least Kiama,
- Check out the Wonderwalls in the CBD
Any outdoor or nature related activities?
We have plenty of outdoor things in Wollongong, We are in between the mountains and the sea, here are a few: Illawarra Rhododendron Gardens, Botanical Gardens, bush walks in the Escarpment, we have a few waterfalls around, Minnamurra Rainforest, and riding the walking track along the beach. You can sky dive the beach or hang glide off Bald Hill. We also have the Royal National Park just up the road from Bald Hill which has lots of walking tracks and water activities.
Where can someone best have an authentic local experience?
We don’t really have a unique thing in Wollongong but to feel like a local you have to go to at least one beach, a bar and I would go to the Eat Street Markets for a good range of cuisines. Scarborough Pub has awesome view and a good meal.
Mention family-friendly vs. adults-only activities.
Wollongong is very family-friendly I think the only thing that isn’t are the bars/nightclubs but don’t be fooled we have a lot of bowling clubs and RSL clubs that are very family-friendly with most clubs now having playground equipment. But if you want the real bar feel with children around Towradgi Beach Hotel is the place to go.
If you are into sport you should try and check out a basketball game with the Wollongong Hawks, the Hawks are our only national team that we own and it is also the oldest team in the -National Basketball League.
We have a number of movie theatres in Wollongong CBD, Warrawong and Shellharbour. We also have arrange of live music venues and theatres some are Illawarra Builders Club, Humbar and Ipac Theatre.
Jamberoo hosts our only theme park being Jamberoo Action Park which is mainly water but is fantastic
Describe the nightlife and best places to go. Best Dance clubs to kicking up your heels!
It depends what you like the Harp Hotel is for Karaoke, Illawarra Hotel is good, Mr Crown, but there a bars everywhere in the CBD e.g. Humbar, Dagwood, Adlingtons and Howlin’ Wolf Whisky Bar.
Best shopping spots and places to get souvenirs.
Crown Street Mall is pretty good shopping. We don’t have many souvenir shops but look out for local photography galleries like the Warren Keelan gallery on Keira Street. The mall has a shop called Total Expression that sells postcards and a few other little souvenirs. We do have heaps of shopping centers though. The next best and possibly the biggest in the region in Stockland Shellharbour.
Any tips for solo travelers?
Like most places don’t walk alone at night. It is a safe place but you always have to take care and look after yourself first.
Thanks to A Pal from A Pal’s Corner Blog for sharing her hometown pride with us! Are you planning to visit Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia? Or have you been there already? Share your experience with us – Leave a comment below!