Wollongong, population 219 750 is 80 kilometres, 50 miles south of Sydney, in Tharawal country, on the coast backed by the lush Illawarra Escarpment. The drive south from Sydney to Wollongong skirts the Royal National Park and then some impressive coastal scenery through the seaside villages of Scarborough, Wombara and Thirroul. Although Wollongong is mainly an industrial town with steel, copper, coal, electricity and grain plants, the nearby mountains have helped maintain a country town feel to the city.
Wollongong Harbour has its own fishing fleet, seafood restaurants and a picturesque nineteenth century lighthouse.
There are plenty of beaches for a swim or surf and a day in the Illawarra Escarpment provides many stunning coastal views.
If you need to relax, learn how to meditate at Australias largest Buddhist Temple, Nan Tiem.
The Wollongong City Gallery, which is the largest regional art museum in Australia features changing exhibitions that showcase local, national and international artwork.
Lake Illawarra stretches to the foothills of the Range where people can catch prawns, fishing or go sailing.
The inland mountains have some superb, rugged scenery where bushwalking and horse-riding through the forests is fabulous.
Theres also the Science Centre, the Illawarra Motoring Museum and the Mt Kembla Historic Village not to be missed.