Planes, Trains and Biker Boys in Wollongong


Hop on a train south from Sydney Airport, Bondi Beach or anywhere in Sydney and you’ll be in Wollongong in a couple of hours.

It’s a scenic train trip with beaches, seaside villages and distant container ships popping into view. If you’re in a hurry you can drive from Sydney to Wollongong in 60 minutes on the highway but, even if you prefer to go by car, the slower scenic coastal route will make getting to Wollongong more fun.

I opt for the fun train trip (make sure you site on the left to catch the views) and the free Wollongong shuttle bus delivers me from Wollongong train station to Novotel Northbeach hotel in ten minutes.

I check into a suite on the 10th floor with massive views across the sea, beach and inland mountains plus a spa bath nearly as big as the bed. I love it but I want to explore Wollongong and stretch my legs so I grab a  hire bikes from right outside the hotel and pedal north as far as Bellambi Lagoon.

Wollongong travel tips - bellambi lagoon

It’s a 30 minute bike ride from Wollongong North Beach to Bellambi Lagoon

I’ve barely touched the miles of coastline stretching north and south from Wollongong but it’s getting dark so I head back to the hotel for a long soak in that bath.

My first full day in Wollongong starts by jumping out of a plane for an ear popping, terror inducing parachute jump. Stay tuned – I’ll be covering my skydive in detail later this week as part of the 52 Exercises quest.

Wollongong travel tips - Skydive the beach

Ready to skydive (eeeek!) with bronzed goddess Holly Galbraith

Safely back on terra firma we head to the Harbour Front restaurant for a slap up seafood lunch which involves me scoffing two of the biggest prawns I have ever seen followed by a ginormous fillet of crispy skinned snapper.

Wollongong travel tips - Harbour View Restaurant -starter

Lunch at the Harbour View Restaurant

Despite my swelling belly I’m looking forward to sampling the desert tasting platter to feed my sugar addiction but it is not to be. A man in a leather jacket with a splendid fluffy grey handle bar mustache and wiggly grey plait creeping down his neck approaches our table. Never mind desert, it’s time for us to head out of town on a Harley Davidson.

Steve the biker boy lends me a leather jacket and I stretch my legs out in the side car as we zoom out of town to Symbio Zoo. Steve is a true gent and succumbs willingly to all my photo requests (see above) as does his equally handsome clean-cut biker friend.

Wollongong travel tips - Just cruisin biker boy

Just another handsome biker boy from Just Cruisin Harley Davidson Tours

Symbio Zoo is small but perfectly formed. We fall in love with the koalas, steel ourselves to hold a boa constrictor and roar with laughter as we hand feed the kangaroos.

We’re bubbling over with excitement in the minibus on the way back to town but the chatter dies down when we see the ocean views from Bald Hill.

It’s so worth hopping on that train to experience a perfect day in Wollongong.

Wollongong travel tips - symbio zoo koala

Koala time at Symbio Zoo

Wollongong Travel Tips on Video and More Photos

I visited Wollongong for the Social Media Tourism Symposium and, along with some other speakers, was a guest of Destination Wollongong on this special day out. Destination Wollongong made this fun video compilation to give you a great idea of the scenic joys and thrills that await you in Wollongong. It’s overlayed with the #soMeT13au hashtag but don’t worry about that.

My Wollongong Travel Photos


Wollongong travel tips - Novotel Northbeach

Definitely very happy with my suite at the Novotel Northbeach

Wollongong travel tips - harbour sunrise

Sunrise at Wollongong Harbour

Wollongong travel tips - Just cruisin sidecar

Another first – cruising in a Harley Davidson side car

Wollongong travel tips - Just cruisin steve

View from the back of Steve’s Harley

Wollongong travel tips - Just cruisin steve and annabel candy 2

Posing at the beach with Steve on his big bike

Wollongong travel tips - symbio zoo kangaroo

Handsome kangaroo asking for food at Symbio Zoo outside Wollongong

Wollongong travel tips - symbio zoo snake

Boa constrictor necklace at Symbio Zoo

Wollongong travel tips - bald hill views

Views south from Bald Hill

Wollongong travel tips - pool

Sunrise views over the pool, harbour and lighthouses

Looking for More Wollongong Travel Tips?

Check out Just Cruising ToursSymbio Zoo and Skydive the Beach when you’re in Wollongong or visit the Destination Wollongong site for more travel tips. You can also send them a tweet @wollongong_nsw for the latest travel tips and use the hashtag #welovethegong to share your Wollongong, activities, photos and travel experiences on Twitter.

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  1. Leon Noone July 22, 2013 at 8:54 am - Reply

    G’Day Annabel,
    We moved to Sydney from Melbourne way back in 1969. One of the first things we noticed was that “Sydney looked north.”

    Quite by accident we started exploring the south coast and found many wonderful places that most Sydneysiders just ignored. Although we’ve holidayed for years at Hawks Nest, north of Newcastle, the south coast and hinterland are still very special to us.

    Thamks for the reminder.

    Best Wishes


    • Annabel Candy July 22, 2013 at 9:18 am - Reply

      G’day Leon,

      That’s a brilliant perspective. That Wollongong coastline is certainly very special and now you’ve made me wonder what the hinterland is like too :)

  2. Andrew Musgrove July 22, 2013 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Hey Annabel,

    What a great read! Sometimes it takes someone else to put it all in perspective for us residents to remember that we live in a great location.

    Next the you come back, come for a fly with us at Southern Biplane Adventures – we’ll take you out over the beaches in our stunt plane for a bit of fun!

    Good luck for the rest of your travels!


    • Annabel Candy July 22, 2013 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Hi Andrew,

      I’d love that – it would be amazing to fly with no hood! I have looped the loop once many years ago which was fun. Hope to see you Wollongongies(!) again soon.

  3. Stefanie De Santis July 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    Thank you all for visiting Harbourfront Restaurant – we are thrilled you enjoyed your time with us but we apologise you didn’t get to sample the dessert tasting plate…it’s a goodie! You will have to return and enjoy another meal with us, when you have more time to sit back and enjoy the food, beverages and that view! Amazing :)

    You can post any of your photos from your lunch on our Facebook page – or tag us on Twitter too – @_harbourfront_

    We hope you enjoyed your time here and thank you for allowing us to show you the Gong! Safe travels!

    From all of the Harbourfront Restaurant team.

    • Annabel Candy July 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm - Reply

      Hi Stefanie,

      Lol, I will definitely have to come back then!

      • Steve melchior July 23, 2013 at 2:59 am

        Annabel it was a pleasure taking you and the group along my office. Any time you are back in Gods country give me a call and I can show you the rest of my office.

  4. Steve melchior July 23, 2013 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Annabel it was a pleasure taking you and the group along my office. Any time you are back in Gods country give me a call and I can show you the rest of my office.

    • Annabel Candy July 23, 2013 at 10:28 am - Reply

      Hi Steve,

      Haha, you’re funny. It is a dream job you have there. Would love to spend another day with you in the “office” any time!

  5. Charles July 23, 2013 at 6:17 am - Reply

    Is it a rule in Australia to make sure your city’s name is absolutely fun to say? Loved this blog! Keep up the super job.

    • Annabel Candy July 23, 2013 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Hi Charles,

      Wollongong is hard to pronounce confidently but fun to say and I love the way they abbreviate it to the Gong too :)

  6. Hannah Coomber July 23, 2013 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,
    Love the entry – it really does make me feel lucky to live in “The Gong”.

    All of us here at The Novotel Wollongong Northbeach enjoyed hosting yourself and the delegates of the Social Media Tourism Symposium. We LOVE to hear that you enjoyed your time with us and are so pleased that you were indeed happy ;)

    From all of us here at the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach, thank you for staying with us and all the positive feedback, we can’t wait to welcome you back!!

    • Annabel Candy July 23, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Hi Hannah,

      You are lucky. I have to say I’m kind of hoping I might be able to send the Candy kids to Wollongong University – that will give me a chance to visit and I know they’ll be living somewhere beautiful, fun and friendly :)

  7. Steve July 26, 2013 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Great pics, Annabel. I’d love to visit there. I have a question. In the top photo, you’re the one without the mustache, right?

    • Annabel Candy July 26, 2013 at 11:24 am - Reply

      Hi Steve,

      Lol, actually I am growing a beard – so I might look like you soon;)

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