Wollongong is about 2 hours south of Sydney. You may not have heard of it, but it’s the the 10th largest city in Australia by population. I didn’t know that fact before heading down so I had no idea what to expect especially after my visit to Rainbow Beach. My friend had two consecutive days off and wanted to do a little road trip so I agreed. I really thought I was going to another small, one road town, but I was pleasantly surprised.
There is a train to Wollongong and I think it’s under $7 one way so that’s a good option. My friend has a car so we drove. Getting out of the Sydney area took the most time, but other than that it was a smooth ride.
On the road we saw a billboard for Symbio Wildlife Park and decided to pull off. The admission price was kind of high, which surprised us given it wasn’t a well known park (at least by us). I will say that this sanctuary didn’t feel commercialized whatsoever. It felt like the animals were very well taken care of and looked after. They also had a wide assortment of animals – kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, dingos, Tasmanian devils, wombats, meerkats, a cheetah, red panda, and other monkeys. It was a nice pit stop.
Things to Do
Wollongong wasn’t the small town we expected. There was a proper shopping area, roads, restaurants, and a beautiful beach. We tried Laksa noodle soups at Mylan Restaurant for lunch and then checked into the only hostel in town.
We went to check out a brewery by the beach that evening, but it was dead so they ended up closing soon after we got there. We were directed to go to Pepe’s On The Beach as “the place to be” on Monday nights and it was an absolutely blast.
Where to Stay – Mini Hostel Review
The only hostel in town was called Wollongong Backpackers Keiraleagh House. So if you are looking for backpacker accommodations you don’t have another choice, but don’t worry it wasn’t a bad experience. They didn’t accept credit cards so we needed cash to check in. The room per person cost was $30 AUD plus a $20 key deposit that you get back when checking out. We were in a four person female room and there were only three of us at night. The rooms were decent and the ensuite bathrooms were newly renovated and super nice. We only slept here so can’t really complain.
Wollongong isn’t a place you should go out of your way to visit, but if you need a break from the city it was a cool place to check out.