Guest blogger: Olivia Bourke (http://greatlost.com/)
The South Coast of New South Wales is considerably underrated when it comes to weekend getaways. Great beaches, extraordinary national parks and lots of wildlife, this makes for the perfect way to escape the city lifestyle.
Also known as the gateway to the South Coast located just south of Sydney, Wollongong is the perfect place for a weekend away.
Saturday | 9 am
If you are traveling to Wollongong from Sydney you absolutely must go via the Grand Pacific Drive, a spectacular route following the coastline through the Royal National Park.
Once you arrive in Wollongong it’s the perfect time to grab some breakfast. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so you want to make sure you grab something delicious ahead of your big day exploring all that Wollongong has to offer.
Head down to The Green Room City Beach cafe for a delicious beach side breakfast. Located along South Beach, you’ll be able to sip your coffee whilst listening to the waves crash on the shore.
There are plenty of options in terms of breakfast, a little something for everyone but I highly recommend getting your lips around their famous bacon and egg roll. This breakfast delight is made up of two eggs, bacon, tomato, chili jam, cheese and rouquette - a must for all burger lovers.
Saturday | 11 am
After you’ve indulged in breakfast with a view, head to the Wollongong Art Gallery for a culture fix. The leading regional art gallery has many different exhibits, and a constantly changing events calendar for plenty to see and do.
Spend an hour or two admiring the permanent art collection of Aboriginal, Asian, colonial and Contemporary artworks and learning about the history of the area.
Saturday | 1 pm
Next up you’re heading to the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, Nan Tien Temple. You can just simply visit for a couple of hours, or you can choose to stay here for the duration of your trip at Pilgrim Lodge.
At Nan Tien Temple there is plenty to see and do, so make sure you plan your time here. I would recommend staying for at least two or three hours. Your afternoon will be filled with grand architecture, culture, art and many different exhibits that explore Buddhist festivals, vegetarian and vegan food options, health and lifestyle retreats and educational classes.
Check out the Dew Drop Inn for lunch and grab one of the delicious vegan options. There’s lots to taste, but apparently one of the most popular dishes is the veggie mince and ham noodle soup. Perfect to warm you up during the winter months.
Saturday | 7 pm
You’ve worked up an appetite after a big day of playing tourist, so it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy some great food. It’s a Saturday night so there’s a lot happening in and around Wollongong.
If you are after some fine dining then look no further than Caveau. The Sydney Morning Herald Food Guide has awarded this popular South Coast restaurant with a ‘hat’ and has continued to do so every year since 2005.
Mixing French culinary techniques with local produce, the staff at Caveau aim to provide quality fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere at reasonable prices. It’s highly recommended that you try the seven-course degustation menu, that way you can sample multiple dishes in one sitting.
Sunday | 9 am
This morning you are heading just out of the city in order to devour yet another great meal on your weekend away at The Shack Cafe Thirroul. Whether you're interested in a green smoothie or a black coffee, The Shack Cafe has something to fulfill everyone’s morning routine.
If you decide to bring the kids along, there is a little something to satisfy their sweet tooth. Grab them the waffles with homemade berry coulis and cream or a milkshake to get them on board.
It is Sunday, so you might have spent the morning rugged up under the covers and that's okay! Luckily for you, you can grab a muesli and yoghurt to go with your take away coffee from The Shack Cafe!
Sunday | 11 am
If you’re feeling a little sluggish after all that food then perhaps a little physical activity will get you going. Make your way to the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures to have a fun and exciting morning at one of Australia’s best treetop walk and zipline experiences.
You’ll need a little over 2 hours here to completely immerse yourself in all it has to offer. With great views, a visitors centre, a cafe and guided tours, this could be perfect for the whole family.
Experience the 1.5 km return walk that includes a steel walkway, swaying cantilevered arms and a central tower, all 50 metres above the ground. From here you’ll able to see the most spectacular views.
Sunday | 3 pm
All that ziplining and adventuring amongst the trees must have got you a little thirsty. Not to worry the next stop is the Illawarra Brewery, a bar and grill opposite Wollongong’s City Beach perfect for winding down after a big weekend.
As the name suggests, the brewery offers a large selection of hand crafted beers, most of them brewed locally. So take a seat outside or inside depending on the weather, relax and get taste testing.
After a couple of local beers, grab a bite to eat from the grill. This family friendly venue has plenty to choose from, specializing in modern Australian cuisine. There is a menu full of all time favorites, you’ll find the perfect meal to sit and enjoy the last few moments of your weekend.
About The Author
I'm Olivia, an adventurous traveler who just wants to explore all the world has to offer. I'm an American who has slowly made my way to the beautiful land down under, Australia and I'm loving every minute of exploring this ever so scenic country, one state at a time. With my feet moving and my fingers typing, I love sharing all the gems that I discover with the world (http://greatlost.com/), so they can enjoy them as well!