Seaside towns, eucalyptus forests and expansive plains are dotted throughout this beautiful coastal region, where dramatic sandstone escarpments meet the Tasman Sea.

Explore the region of Illawarra to find a diverse landscape of coastal plains, magnificent mountain ridges, forests and urban areas. Beginning at Sydney’s southernmost border, Illawarra contains the beautiful Royal National Park, Lake Illawarra and Shoalhaven River to the south. New South Wales’ third-largest city, Wollongong, is located in Illawara, as well as a collection of charming coastal towns.

Spend several days exploring Illawarra’s magnificent coastal areas. From secret coves hidden by fragrant eucalyptus forest to open, sandy beaches with excellent surf breaks and sea baths, Illawarra has the diversity of coastal destinations to suit many pursuits. Spread out a towel or wax up your surfboard and check out the breaks at Austinmer or Wollongong’s North Beach. Follow a section of the unbeatable Coast Track in Royal National Park, a beautiful reserve filled with coastal forests of gum trees and palms, as well as historic beach shacks, stunning rock formations and secret swimming holes.

Wollongong is a relaxed city beneath the rugged Illawarra Escarpment. Find casual cafés, traditional pubs and fine dining establishments serving fresh local seafood. Discover rare and native plants at the Wollongong Botanic Gardens and take in sweeping vistas from atop the Bulli Pass or nearby Mount Keira.

Head south to find the magnificent Illawarra Lake, as well as the raging Kiama Blowhole and pretty Jamberoo. Check out the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre to enjoy relaxing forest walks, see a waterfall and learn about the ecology and local Aboriginal heritage of Budderoo National Park. Camp amid peaceful natural surroundings in Kangaroo Valley or go fishing from the wharves of Shellharbour.

Illawarra’s Royal National Park is a 45-minute drive from Sydney. Reach Wollongong via the scenic Grand Pacific Drive in 90 minutes. The South Coast Railway Line connects Sydney to several destinations in Illawarra. The region has year-round mild temperatures; however, summers can become quite hot. Explore the region via a coastal road trip combined with exciting visits to beautiful national parks.

Guide to Exploring Illawarra

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