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Best Family Day Trips from Wollongong & the Illawarra. Get Inspired!

Looking for amazing things to do with the kids around Wollongong, Illawarra and down the NSW South Coast? The weekend or school holidays arrive, the kids are whiney and you need to GET OUT! But where to go for the best family-friendly fun, an easy hour of Wollongong?

So here are your best family friendly options for day-tripping from the ‘Gong…. Make the executive call yourself. Or, if your kids can read, get them to choose the best family adventure!

You may also like the Best Guide to School holidays activities, fun and programs in Wollongong & the Illawarra

Or click to read the Top 26 Fun Things to do with Kids Wollongong & Illawarra

Day Trip Ideas and Best Kids Activities – within 1 hour of Wollongong

1215 Jamberoo Road, Jamberoo.

Jamberoo Action Park – the water theme park kids LOVE

It’s hard to go beyond Jamberoo Action park as a number one choice for locals and tourists.

NSW’s largest family owned and operated water theme park, offering world class rides and attractions in an impeccably maintained, natural setting between the mountains and the sea.

There’s something for everyone at Jamberoo…where you control the action! Book online and save on entry, or even better get a Jamberoo season pass and save HEAPS!

Jervis Bay Wild

15 Field Street Huskisson New South Wales 2540

Jervis Bay Wild – adventurous sight-seeing FUN for the whole family!

Jervis Bay Wild offers a range of breathtaking Whale Watching & Dolphin cruise options for you, your family and your friends to enjoy all year-round.

Whale watching and Dolphin spotting with them in Jervis Bay is a fantastic way to experience the local wildlife along pristine white sandy beaches, towering cliffs and clear turquoise water. Their most popular cruises are the dolphin and whale watching cruise which are some of the highest rated and most beloved experiences in Jervis Bay.

Jervis Bay Wild proudly showcases the beautiful ecosystem and marine life including Dolphins, Whales & Seals of Jervis Bay Marine Park in Huskisson, South Coast of New South Wales.

They also offer other fun activities throughout the year, which can be found below or on their Cruise Options page.

  • Whale Cruise – May – November: Our cruise offers an unforgettable experience to spot majestic Humpback Whales during their annual migration set against rugged cliffs and ancient sea caves.
  • Dolphin Cruise – all year round: Cruise through the clear turquoise waters of the Jervis Bay Marine Park and spot our resident Bottlenose Dolphins all year around. Watch the Dolphins play and race on our bow while passing beautiful white sand beaches.

Learn more about their cruises and book online with them here.

23 Rock Hill Rd, North Nowra, NSW 2541

Treetops Adventure Nowra – outdoor aerial fun along the Shoalhaven River

With over 80+ challenges and 15 flying foxes, Treetops Adventure Nowra is an experience that all Illawarra families will remember!

Treetops Adventure Nowra is Australia’s first tree ropes and cliff edge park (and only one hour from Wollongong and so worth the drive!).

Sessions run for 2.5 hours (including gearing up), where participants will choose to navigate their way through the treetops. Designed for all ages from 3 years old and up, the challenging courses will give something for the whole family can enjoy. Book online here now

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.

Bundanon – a destination for art, nature, workshops, concerts and more

170 Riversdale Road / 533 Bundanon Road, Illaroo, NSW 2540

Bundanon – a destination for art, nature, workshops, concerts and more

Bundanon is many things. An art museum embedded in the landscape. A wildlife sanctuary set on 1000 hectares. A gift to the Australian people. The vast array of experiences at this South Coast art destination means every visitor’s journey here will be different.

What’s to see at Bundanon?

Bundanon’s opening hours and admission prices are here. Members and Children under 12 FREE. Bundanon is located across two sites, the Art Museum site and the historic Homestead site, both within twenty minutes of each other. Bundanon is twenty minutes from Nowra, on the Shoalhaven River, and one hour from the Southern Highlands and Wollongong.


Enjoy the old world village, a pub lunch, the amazing Robertson Pie Shop and the Cheese Factory. Plus explore the stunning waterfalls and nature walks. Let us not forget the infamous Robertson Big Potato. Drive by and acquire another tick off the Aussie oversized sculpture list 😉

The Macquarie Pass drive to get there is stunning. Its hair pin bends are only mildly alarming but pack a spew bag if your kid gets car sick! It’s notorious. Belmore Falls is a short drive from Robertson and well worth the effort, especially after heavy rain (plus, a short walk from the car park, so good for young un’s or teens who eye roll at ‘bush walk’). Trainspotters will love the Heritage Railway Station that is open on weekends.

Robertson, Big Potato Sculpture. One not to miss!!

Seven Mile Beach, Gerroa

Got toddlers? The lagoon like shallows of the Crooked River are fun for little splashers (they are tidal and deep at times, so stay close!)

Older kids and parents will love the surf and the gorgeous expanse of Seven Mile Beach. Pack a picnic or beach snacks and find serenity as you walk your worries away. Just a 14mile return beach walk for those with a lot on their mind 😉

Stop off at the cutesy town of Gerringong for cafes, dining, shops, ice creams if you need some bribery or buy in. Plus, you’ll find regular weekend markets and exhibitions. Something for everyone, right?

The Royal National Park, Sydney

Wind your way through Sea Cliff Bridge, stop off at Bald Hill for those sweeping Illawarra views, snap the awkward family pic selfie and continue your way via Otford (amazing pie shop there too!) and into the epic Royal National Park.

Best to avoid on public holidays unless you rock up super early. Parking is an issue by the key beaches and walks. Here are your family friendly highlights:

Wattamolla Beach – it gets super busy but so worth it, we will let the picture do the talking:

Wattamolla Beach in the Royal National Park, a family fave. Image curtesy of Destination NSW

There are no dining or water options, so bring all you need. The toilets are in the car park. There are bbq’s but they get nabbed early! Come early and come prepared, plus the steps and windy 250m path to the beach means no pram access. Mobile phone reception is also patchy. Ha, you’ll get your teen off their screen at least!


Explore the cutesy village for cafes and dining options before heading to anyone one of these beaches (or even jumping on a ferry from Bundeena to Cronulla if you fancy a family sailing adventure!):

Gunyah Beach is east of the ferry wharf. It is a small and gentle beach great for younger kids. Explore the many rock pools or try snorkelling if your kids are older. Horderns Beach is another great choice, again next to the Ferry Wharf. If you want more surfing / beach walking action, try the longer expanse of Jibbons Beach.

Fancy an easy family bush walk at Bundeena? We vote for the Jibbon Loop Track, an easy 1.5-2h loop walk. Treat yourself to lunch in a cafe after!

Cataract Dam (near Appin)

Apparently one of the oldest and most picturesque dams in Sydney! Other than being old and pretty it’s a great family friendly mini trip because it’s a mere 25min drive from Bulli, there is a decent playground, a picnic area and a swooping grand walk down the dam. Take bikes and scooters and actually ride across the dam wall, it’s damn fun dammit! Get each family member to take a guess about how full the dam will be on arrival (click here to reveal how full Cataract Dam is currently)

Cataract Dam – family friendly trip and close to Wollongong

Minnamurra Rainforest

So pretty! Squint and you could almost be in the tropical rainforest paradise of Cairns. Drive to Minnamurra via Jamberoo and incorporate a classic pub lunch and enjoy the old style village.

Minnamurra is a National Park and parking fee’s apply but the two rainforest walks are stunning. The flora and fauna is gorgeously diverse. The shorter Minnamurra rainforest walk is toddler and pram friendly. Let your baby to be soothed by the sounds of nature as you push them along the elevated boardwalk.. You may even relocate your parenting zen again in this magical place!

Listen out for Lyrebirds who mimic some crazy sounds. The last one we walked past sounded like it was in Fortnight (that game your kids are addicted to). Almost disturbing but a highlight for the kids!

The Visitor Centre is cute and full of info. It has a shop with fluffy toys, plus a little cafe for young child bribery purposes / adult caffeine requirements. All needs met here!

Lyrebird Loop Walking Track in Minnamurra, Ideal for young kids and prams. Image c/o of NSW National Parks

Bushrangers Bay – Aquatic Reserve

Sssshhhhhh, DO NOT tell your kids that they will snorkel or swim with sharks here. It’s ok, they are only the gentle Grey Nurse sharks. There is a school of them that inhabit the bay. Bloody amazing hey! The Illawarra has it all!

Walk the 250 steps down to the sheltered Bushrangers Bay, it’s a rocky stony beach, so not for relaxing or sun baking, Bring swimmers and snorkelling equipment because the marine life is abundant! Not ideal for toddlers however. Try explore the wider reserve of Bass Point (where Bushrangers is located) and find the easy ocean paths instead.

Bushrangers Bay – the best snorkeling in the Illawarra. Image curtesy of Visit NSW.

Drive back via the Shellharbour Marina and enjoy the cafes and the spanking new Marina Tavern (the beer was so cold and so good and the seafood looked great). Or Shellharbour Village has an array of shops, dining options, a pub by the ocean and a decent kids playpark down by the ocean too.

The Shellharbour Club is on the drive back to Shellharbour Stocklands and has soooo many dining options for all the fam-bam.

Need MORE ideas – click here for Fun Places to take the Kids Illawarra!

Need Kids Birthday party ideas and venues? Click here to find the best kids party options Wollongong wide!

Finally, make the most of family life in our stunning Illawarra – Subscribe to the ultimate guide to family living weekly email by Parents Guide. Say NO to bored kids and get inspired! Click and sign up for our Parents Newsletter here. Get all the local inspo!