We are darn lucky to call the Illawarra home! With the beach on one side, escarpment (and its lookouts, bushwalks, flora and fauna) on the other and a plethora of great places to explore, kids in the Illawarra have the kind of childhood that’s not always possible in the big city.
Here are five of our favourite adventures and outings that remind us why it’s a fantastic place to bring up our kids.
Family Friendly Activities in the Illawarra at Minnamurra River
Plenty of people know about the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre (and its definitely one of our faves), but not as many have visited the Minnamurra river. This Instagram worthy spot is an absolute paradise for families who love the water. The fresh water estuary is the perfect spot for paddle boarding, swimming, fishing and just lazing around, while a short walk over the sand dunes brings you out at the salt water Mystics Beach, part of the Killalea State Park National Surfing Reserve. There’s plenty of space for a picnic, public toilets on-site and even a small playground behind the water. At low tide you can even wade across and set up camp on the sandbank, in the middle of the river. Find more deets and click here
Best Place to Take Kids – The Wollongong Botanic Gardens (and it’s free!)
Wollongong Botanic Garden is a wonderful place for people of all ages to visit with many garden collections to explore, picnic spaces to enjoy, an All Abilities Playground, a duck feeding area plus a range of activities including school holiday programs, garden workshops, theatrical tours and outdoor cinema in summer.
Try not to lose your kids with all the paths to explore and hidden treasures to discover!
Your kids will rave about the All Abilities Playground (including swings, a sand pit, slippery dip, climbing net, viewing platform and a maze suitable for children aged 2 to 12 years), picnic spaces, BBQs, as well as a duck pond with a feeding area, which is popular pastime for families. Coffee and a range of delicious snacks can be purchased from the Garden Grounds Café between 9.00am and 2.00pm everyday near the main entrance.
Best Adventure for kids and families at Treetops Adventure Nowra (one hour drive south of Wollongong and totally worth it!)
If you’ve not taken the family to Treetops Adventure Nowra – you are missing out on such a brilliant experience…
Sessions run for 2.5 hours (including gearing up), where participants will choose to navigate their way through the treetops! Start with something closer to the ground or go higher and test your nerves straight away for an adrenaline kick. Designed for all ages from 3 years old and up, (KidZip sessions are for 8 years +), the challenging courses will give something for the whole family can enjoy!
We will get you ready for your adventure by fitting you into the safety equipment and taking you through our training course.
Treetops Adventure Nowra Park uses a self-locking system that ensures participants are always attached to the safety line. After this you’ll be ready to take off and up into the trees and along the cliff edge!
Why not make a day out of it? Treetops Adventure Nowra is located inside the Shoalhaven Zoo so you can be a monkey while checking out the monkeys! A discount on zoo tickets are available to Treetops Adventure customers.
Relaxing and Beautiful Family Fun at Wollongong Harbour and surrounds
Wollongong harbour is a pretty unique place. Where else does a marina butt up against the beach but in the Gong? While the harbour itself is swell, make a proper day of it by kicking off your adventures at the uber kid-happy playground, Stuart Park, with its flying foxes, slides, full sized bike track and picnic spaces. Pack your bikes/scooters or go on foot and follow the path from Stuart Park past the lagoon and around to the beach. Grab a coffee or a bite to eat from Diggies North Beach (great kids menu) and either enjoy the sand and surf or keep following the cycle path around to the rock pools or the saltwater 50m continental baths, there is a toddler pool with shade plus disabled access and a ramp. Go for a quick dip then continue on to Belmore Basin with its safe and kid friendly harbour protected sandy beach, playground and lighthouse.
Something for everyone in the family at Lake Illawarra
The gorgeous Lake Illawarra sometimes seems like a bit of a hidden gem. Loved by locals, the 33 square kilometre lake is home to plenty of great spots for fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, boating and generally frolicking in the mostly shallow stunning aquamarine water. Reddall Reserve on the foreshore is a great spot for a bike ride and picnic, thanks to its playground, bathrooms and kiosk, while Windang Beach is ideal for paddling, swimming or a BBQ. The Kanahooka playground is also worth a visit, especially for littlies. This is about a 20 minute drive from Reddall Reserve around Lake Illawarra (good for if your little ones need a nap in the car from all that activity!)