Located on one of Australia’s most picturesque coastal strips, Wollongong is the country’s tenth largest city. It is quite close to Sydney, and actually if you are not careful, you may have a difficult time really getting to know where Sydney ends and where Wollongong starts.
The distance between the two cities is, to be sure, some 82 kilometers, but that whole distance is occupied by buildings and other things that make it hard to know exactly where Sydney ends and where Wollongong starts. The thing about Wollongong is that although there is a main Wollongong city, there are also many other towns on the way to that particular city, and these too are regarded as part of Wollongong. That is what make the distinction between where Wollongong starts and where Sydney ends hard.
One of the most notable things about Wollongong is its geographical setting: it being right on a thin coastal strip, with the Pacific Ocean on the one side and an escarpment known as the Illawarra Escarpment on the other side. The said escarpment and the geographical features in it, including its amazing rainforest and mountains, make for very nice viewing.
The fact that Wollongong is a seaside city also confers certain things to it: including its pristine beaches that are in an amazing chain formation and that are known to be particularly good for surfing.
Almost 10 percent of the people in Wollongong are students in its internationally acclaimed University. This huge student population gives the city a certain youthful energy, enriching, among other things, Wollongong’s entertainment scene and Wollongong’s nightlife.
Though a highly industrialized city (one which is better known for its heavy industries), Wollongong is also an important tourism center: and it definitely has much to offer those who tour it.
One would imagine that the biggest Buddhist Temple in the southern hemisphere would be somewhere in Asia, but as a matter of fact, it is to be found right in Wollongong: and it is quite a sight.
Getting around Wollongong
If you are in the northern part of Wollongong, you can use the train to get around the beaches and the suburbs. For instance, the popular Austinmer beach is served by a train. So are others like Stanwell Park and Coledale.
You can go to the offices of car rental companies like Hertz, Avis or Europcar, and get a nice vehicle to drive yourself in.
The actual Wollongong city center enjoys a free bus service, and you can use that to get around that particular loop.
While in Wollongong, you can also go the place called Thirroul, and hire a bike to rotate around the city on. Thankfully, Wollongong is one of the progressive cities that have put some effort into the design, development and protection of cycle tracks.
While the outlying towns that make up Wollongong are far away, the city center is actually quite a small affair: a CBD that can be walked through. If, for instance, you are at the main train station and you want to head to the city beach, you can just walk. The distance from the train station to the city center (Wollongong CBD) is also one that can be quite easily walked.
Things to see and do
One of the things you can really get to enjoy doing while here (if you fancy it) is surfing in one of the extensive beach chains. Another related activity is that of swimming. Yet another one is boating.
You will also want to see the breathtakingly steep mountains that surround the city on the escarpment. There are lookouts to facilitate such sightseeing, those being Mount Keira and Mount Kembla lookouts respectively.
You also don’t want to leave the city without seeing the biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere, namely the Nan Tien Temple.