Attractions and Things to Do in Wollongong, Australia
Wollongong is home to the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere | © graham jepson / Alamy Stock Photo
Once named Australia’s happiest city, there’s no shortage of things to smile about in this playful seaside town. In search of an adventure? We’ve asked our local insiders to root out the best places The Gong has to offer.
Symbio Wildlife Park
While you can’t cuddle koalas in NSW, you can get a selfie with one at Symbio. The award-winning wildlife park prides itself on its Happy Snaps encounters, which will fill your feed with Aussie icons including koalas, alligators and snakes. Next up, a different kind of feed. Purchase a bag of animal food at the entrance, and you’ll have kangaroos quite literally eating out the palm of your hand. Finally, tuck into your own lunch at the park’s lookout for one of the best views over Wollongong. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones
Jamberoo Action Park
You can’t get much more Aussie than naming a water park ride after one of its deadliest spiders – except, perhaps, whizzing past a giant model of the arachnid at 30km/hour while on a water slide eponymously named the Funnel Web. This family-friendly action park is filled with rides to get the blood pumping, like zero-gravity multi-sensory experience ‘The Perfect Storm’ and the eight lane-strong racing slides at Surf Hill. Need to dry off? Calm your heart rate by reclining on the chair lift and surveying the surrounding tranquil hills. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones
Nan Tien Temple
Buddhist Temple, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
One of the more surprising of Wollongong’s accolades is that it is home to the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Set among a soothing expanse of greenery and drooping willow trees, Nan Tien is a calming place to switch off and explore the resplendent pagodas even if you’re not a practicing Buddhist. Photography is not permitted, but you can swap technology for tai chi by either booking onto one of the focused weekend retreats or dropping into a daily class. Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith
Science Space Planetarium
The stars feel a little closer at this interactive planetarium – and not just because of the giant moon replica suspended over the atrium. Located at the University of Wollongong, the museum aims to bridge the gap between students and stars through 100 or so interactive exhibits and live science-themed shows hosted by experts. Throw in five robotic dinosaurs and plenty of crafting activities, and you’ve got a brilliant day out for aspiring astronauts (and their accompanying adults). Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith
From the western serrated folds of the Illawarra Escapement to the yawning coastline hugged by Grand Pacific Drive in the east, Wollongong has eye-watering views on tap – and one of the best ways to drink them in is from the air. Hang gliding is the favoured way to see the local area for the team at HangglideOz, who have over 150 years of flying experience between them. Beginners can opt for a 30-minute tandem flight that marries stupendous views with a hefty dose of adrenaline (and a sprinkling of Aussie humour to calm any jangling nerves). Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith
These recommendations were updated on July 22, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.