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Best Family Day Trips from the Illawarra. Get Inspired!

Seven Mile Beach Gerroa – just 40 min drive from Wollongong. Image curtesy of Visit NSW

NO MORE Family Groundhog Day!

The weekend or school holidays arrive, the kids are whiney and you need to GET OUT! But where to go within an easy hour of Wollongong? You need our ‘Gong day trippin’ inspo….

Here at Parents Guide Illawarra, we shortcut you to knowing the best local intel.

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!

Day Trip Ideas and Best Kids Activities – within 1 hour of 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. It’s 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 curtesy 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 cafe’s 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!

Parents Guide Illawarra is here to make your parenting journey a little easier – visit our website here 🙂

Thanks for reading, please share this article, get your parenting friends to join you on a daytrip!