From my blog you can probably gather that I love to travel. I love to get away from my hometown and explore new, exciting places around the world. But this Summer I realised that there are so many incredible things to do and see without having to travel very far at all!
I was lucky enough to have one of my dear friends from U.S. come to visit me here in Australia and when you have someone from the other side of the world staying with you, you see your backyard from a whole new perspective. You get to play the tourist and the tour guide in your hometown! For me that place is the Illawarra. We are around two hours south of Sydney in a beautiful coastal region that includes the City of Wollongong.
I thought I’d share a list of my favourite things to do in the Illawarra & South Coast region. Whether you’re visiting or you call the Illawarra home, you will definitely find something to suit you on this list!
To Eat & To Shop
Kiama is one of my favourite places in the Illawarra! This beautiful seaside town has something to offer everyone, whether it be the beach, cute cafes, boutique shopping, the stunning countryside (horses, cows and all) or simply amazing costal views. My go to coffee/lunch spot in Kiama is always Milk+Honey but I could spend an entire day wandering around Kiama, which I often do! It’s also my first stop when I’m playing tour guide because its truly one of the best places the Illawarra has to offer.
Berry is another small town that I could spend an entire day wandering around and eating far too much food. It has a country town vibe which I absolutely love and so many unique shops ranging from antiques to clothing, home wares to speciality foods. My favourite store is The Berry Tea Shop. They have a large collection of speciality teas and beautiful teawares and after you’ve made your purchases you can sit down to enjoy a cup of tea and slice of cake in their lovely store!
Located in Budderoo National Park, Carrington Falls is a beautiful place for some relaxed exploring. Not only are there amazing views of the waterfall from the various lookouts, but you can wade through the waterholes and rock pools at the very top and look directly over the edge where the cascading water plunges down 50 metres to the gully below, which is actually pretty exhilarating!
Minnamurra Rainforest & Waterfalls
If you’re up for a walk or hike, then spending the morning at Minnamurra Rainforest is the perfect way to start your day. Not many people realise that the Illawarra is home to some pretty incredible rainforests because they are very well hidden, but Minnamurra should be on everyone’s to do list whether you’re local or visiting. And it doesn’t even need to be a beautiful day! My friend and I hiked to the top of Minnamurra Rainforest together in the pouring rain! Not only was it fun and refreshing, but the sight at the top was well worth it! The amount of rain we had that day only made the waterfall flow faster and look more amazing.
I’ve actually written about Minnamurra on my blog previously, take a look at the difference a day of heavy rain can make to a waterfall!
Swim, surf or just lay on a beach
The Farm – Killalea State Park
The Illawarra is home to more beaches than I can count, we are really spoilt for choice here. However my favourite is a secluded beach in Shellharbour known by locals as ‘The Farm’. Located at Killalea State Park, this beach is hidden at the base of a steep hill far away from any roads or carparks, and its just the beautiful landscape that surrounds you. It’s a popular beach among surfers but isn’t patrolled by lifeguards, so keep that in mind if you’re not a strong swimmer. I think what I love most about this beach is it’s size. Even on the busiest beach going day of the year in Australia, New Years Day, it didn’t feel crowded. Everyone had a space of their own to lay out and relax without over hearing the conversations of the group set up next to you.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the Illawarra & South Coast region of New South Wales I definitely recommend you include these places on your bucket list! Let me know if you’ve found some amazing places that make you feel like you get to be a tourist in your own backyard!
All photos by me.
This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.