Heading to Wollongong
Wollongong is a coastal city in the Illawarra region of New South Wales Australia, located only 80km from Sydney Airport’s International and Domestic terminals. The journey to Wollongong from Sydney is straightforward and simple. The scenic route travels along the Grand Pacific Drive where sea views and stunning scenery are plentiful. Alternatively, there is the option to jump on the M1 motorway from Sydney to arrive into Wollongong within 60 minutes by car. Click below to view transportation options.
1.5 - 2 Hours
The quickest route to get to Wollongong is to travel by car via the Westlink (M7) motorway that can be accessed via Macarthur in Sydney’s west.
Another straightforward and easy option when travelling by car is to take the M1 motorway from Sydney central that will take approximately 80 minutes to arrive into Wollongong.
If you’re looking to take in some of the glorious coastal scenery then it might be of interest to take the scenic route via Grand Pacific Drive which starts just 45 minutes south of the Sydney CBD.
The drive travels from the Royal National Park alongside glorious tropical rainforests; from mountains, onto the incredible coastline that travels all the way into Wollongong.
Hire cars are available from the airport Cheap Car Hire Sydney Airport – Rentalcars.com
2 hours from Sydney Airport and @$30AUD
Go to the Airport station’s Platform 2. Catch the train to Wolli Creek Station and change to Platform 4 for your train to Wollongong (The South Coast line) or
Go to Sydney Airport Domestic or Sydney Airport International Train Station. At either of these stations go to Platform 1. Catch the train to Central Station and change to the South Coast Line from the Country Platforms (1-13) at Central Station.
*Please note that not all trains to the South Coast stop at Wolli Creek Station, so check transportnsw.info OR if in doubt, we recommend you travel to Central Station.
The Transport for NSW Trip Planner provides scheduled train times. Search for a journey from the “International Airport” or “Domestic Airport” to “North Wollongong Station”.
2 hours $18AUD
Airport Shuttle Services Sydney SYD Airport Shuttle Service
Premier Motor Service operates a regular bus that travels from Sydney to Eden with a stop-off in Wollongong. Tickets and timetables can be found at premierms.com.au Once in Wollongong there is are free shuttle buses from the CBD to the UOW campuses or other bus services are available.
Taxis & Private Transport
Taxis do not generally operate between Sydney Airport and Wollongong. Several private transport companies provide airport pick up services using small buses or hire cars. Some rideshare companies also operate between Sydney and Wollongong.
Handy UOW Getting to Wollongong Transport Access guide
Staying in Wollongong
There are many accomodation options in Wollongong, a short drive to the conference venue at the University of Wollongong. You can easily find these options through a simple Google search, however here are some of our recommendations.
SAGE Hotel Wollongong
SAGE Hotel Wollongong is a 3-star hotel located just 15 minutes from the University of Wollongong and 2km from Wollongong Train Station. Just one block from the beach, SAGE Hotel is situated opposite WIN Stadium, the home of the St George Illawarra Dragons Rugby League and the Illawarra Hawks Basketball teams. If you fancy a round of golf on your trip to Wollongong, SAGE Hotel is conveniently located right next to the Wollongong Gold Club, with some rooms even overlooking the green. With six different room types available, SAGE Hotel offers a range of accomodation types to meet your needs.
We have partnered with SAGE Hotel Wollongong to provide all conference delegates a 15% discount for their stay between the 22nd – 25th November 2022. Delegates can receive this discount on two room types:
Deluxe Room (from AUD$200): The rooms feature a Queen bed, 40-inch flat screen TV, cable internet & Wi-Fi, mini bar and tea & coffee making facilities. For more info: https://www.nexthotels.com/sage/wollongong/room/deluxe-queen-room/
Executive Balcony Room (from AUD$250): The rooms feature a Queen bed, 40-inch flat screen TV, cable internet & Wi-Fi, mini bar and tea & coffee making facilities and balcony. For more info: https://www.nexthotels.com/sage/wollongong/room/executive-balcony-room/
To take advantage of this discount, please use the rate code SPSYWOL when booking via email and phone ONLY. Online bookings are not able to use this code.
Email bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone bookings please call: +61 02 4201 2111 extension 4
Novotel Wollongong Northbeach
Novotel Wollongong Northbeach is a 4-star located in North Wollongong, overlooking North Beach (a.ka. the Tasman Sea). If you’re looking for accomodation with a little more luxury, Novotel Wollongong Northbeach is the place for you. Just a quick 10 minute drive to the University of Wollongong, or a short 2km walk from North Wollongong Train Station, Novotel Wollongong Northbeach is conveniently located so you can make the most of your time in Wollongong. Novotel Wollongong Northbeach offers spacious modern rooms, many with stunning ocean or mountain views. With the newly refurbished Palisade Kitchen + Bar, or the popular Pepe’s on the Beach, Novotel Wollongong North Beach has everything you want plus more.
Whilst we do not have a deal with Novotel Wollongong Northbeach, you can find out more about their room types here (from AUD$307): Novotel Wollongong Northbeach
Best Western City Sands
Situated within the Wollongong Gold Club, the 4-star Best Western City Sands Hotel is located only a short 5 minute walk to Crown Street Mall, 2 minute walk to WIN Stadium and South Beach. It is also only 4.6km from the University of Wollongong, meaning travel to and from the conference venue will be cheap. The Best Western City Sands offers 20 contemporary one- and two-bedroom apartments with panoramic views of ocean and escarpment, situated on an 18-hole links-style golf course. The Best Western City Sands is also home to the Deck, a relaxed restaurant in idyllic surrounds which offers delicious lunch and dinner options.
Whilst we do not have a deal with the Best Western City Sands, you can find out more about their room types here (from AUD$225): Best Western City Sands Rooms
Located in the heart of Wollongong CBD, Quest Wollongong serviced apartment style hotel rooms offer guests a relaxed and comfortable Wollongong accommodation experience perfect for short stays. Quest Wollongong is close to all of the main attractions in Wollongong, including being just a short 1km stroll from WIN Stadium and South Beach. The beauty of Quest Wollongong is its proximity to many of the delightful restaurants, bars and cafes that Wollongong has to offer. Similar to the other accommodation options, Quest Wollonging is only a 10-minute drive to the University of Wollongong, meaning a Taxi or Rideshare service will only cost you spare change.
Whilst we do not have a deal with Quest Wollongong, you can find out more about their room types here (from AUD$256): Quest Wollongong Rooms
Wollongong is situated along the Grand Pacific Drive south of Sydney. The shoreline is lined with surfing beaches and rock pools. The Illawarra mountain range, which encompasses the city, is framed by trails that surround the woods and steep cliffs of Mt. Keira. Hang gliders take off from Bald Hill to the north. The Buddhist temple of Nan Tien is to the south, as is Lake Illawarra, a huge lagoon with boating and fishing opportunities.
Currently, there are no COVID-19 related restrictions in New South Wales, including Wollongong. There are also currently no vaccine related restrictions to enter Australia from overseas. To keep up-to-date with current health guidelines, please visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe/rules
Wollongong Harbour and Lighthouses
Wollongong Harbour’s Breakwater lighthouse has been inactive since 1974 (a decorative light is displayed on special occasions). It stands 12 metres (40 feet) high and has a tapered round wrought iron tower with lantern, painted white. The lighthouse was seriously deteriorated before a restoration in 1978 and 1979 stabilised its condition.
In 2000 to 2002, a complete restoration returned the lighthouse and its lighting equipment to its original configuration, and the light was relit in connection with an international lighthouse conference in Sydney. The Flagstaff Hill lighthouse is active. The white light spends 4.5 seconds on and 1.5 seconds off. The red lights are displayed over shallow water to the north and south. The entire structure is painted white. It is located at Flagstaff Hill on Wollongong Harbour.
Wollongong is the only point on the eastern coast of Australia which has two lighthouses.
Sublime Point Walking Track
Sublime Point walking track is one of the iconic treks of the Illawarra escarpment, and a challenging walk through lush coastal rainforest to the plateau above with incredible scenic views. The steep climb is ideal for experienced bushwalkers and a great nature escape only 20 minutes north of Wollongong.
Starting near Sublime Point, the track descends steeply from Sublime Point lookout down the escarpment cliffs, through dense forests dotted with tree ferns and palms. Stop for a breather for some great birdwatching, and look out for yellow-tailed black cockatoos or raptor birds such as falcons and kestrels.
A series of ladders and a giant staircase allow you to rock-hop your way down to Austinmer. Enjoy lunch at the picnic facilities or nearby cafe before heading back down. If the hike up is enough for you though, you can organise a pick-up at the bottom of the track, or catch a train home from Austinmer Station.
Symbio Wildlife Sanctuary
Splash into Symbio Wildlife Park and get closer than ever before to some of the most amazing animals from Australia and around the world – such as koalas, kangaroos, wombats, possums, cheetahs, lemurs, red pandas, meerkats, monkeys and so much more.
Set amongst 16 acres of manicured gardens and complete with a huge new splash park, adventure playground and an abundance of picnic areas – Symbio provides the ultimate day of family fun.
Cuddle up to a koala for that once in a lifetime iconic Aussie selfie, feed and interact with our kangaroos and wallabies, or head down to feed and pat all our farmyard animals. With free daily interactive presentations, ‘Happy Snap’ photo opportunities with koalas, alligators or snakes, exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences, kiosk and gift shop, there is something for everyone at Symbio.
Grand Pacific Drive
The Grand Pacific Drive is a 140 kilometre award winning coastal drive beginning 45 minutes south of Sydney’s International Airport in the Royal National Park.
Follow the directional signage. The Grand Pacific Drive signage creates a more interesting and meaningful experience guiding you through the significance of each region along the drive. The reassurance signs provide a list of key locations and distances along the drive ensuring drivers don’t miss the iconic spots along the way.
Wollongong is also a great place to stay with a huge mix of options from international hotel brands to quaint and unique bed and breakfasts to backpacker accommodation – Wollongong has something to offer any traveller.
The drive then takes you through to the beautiful coastal towns of Shellharbour and Kiama and ends in the spectacular Shoalhaven region.
Royal National Park
A day trip or school excursion to Royal National Park in Sydney’s south, will offer plenty of opportunities for barbecues, fishing, bushwalking, birdwatching and whale watching.
Sydney’s heritage-listed Royal National Park is affectionately known to locals as the ‘Nasho’ or just ‘the Royal’. Established in 1879, it’s the world’s second-oldest national park. It features unique heritage attractions, along with fascinating plants, birds and animals. Perfect for bushwalking, cycling, surfing, picnicking or whale watching, this diverse park offers everything from beaches to rainforest.
Located within an hour’s drive from both the Sydney CBD and Wollongong, the 16,000ha Royal National Park is like a big beautiful backyard. Whether you come for a morning jog or a week-long camping holiday, you’ll discover something new each time.
Wollongong Botanic Gardens
Immerse yourself in nature at the Wollongong Botanic Garden (rated #1 on Trip Advisor by travellers of things to do in Wollongong!), with their excellent network of paths to explore and hidden treasures to discover.
Open daily and free, this spectacular 30-hectare space is a serene and beautiful place to relax, celebrate, and learn more about plants and horticulture. Overlooking the city of Wollongong from its highest point at the Gleniffer Brae Manor House it features an impressive collection of native and exotic plants from around the world.
The Garden is also home to a range of native wildlife including Bower Birds, Ring Tail Possums, Kookaburras, native bees, and more. Escape with a walk through one of the largest rainforest collections in Australia, featuring a range of Illawarra rainforest species.
Hyams Beach offers beautiful views towards Point Perpendicular, Bowen Island and the Navy base at HMAS Creswell. It is a beautiful beach for swimming, snorkelling and long beach walks.
Like all beaches in the bay, it is unpatrolled. At the north end of the wide two kilometre shoreline is a rock platform with its own sandy beach – and a top snorkelling spot.
There is very limited parking in Hyams Beach village and as a result is often parked out in busy periods so as an alternative it is recommended to park at Greenfield Beach and taking the stunning White Sands Walk to Hyams this way you will get to see more of the area including Chinamans Beach.
Kiama Coastal Walk
The spectacular 20 kilometre Kiama Coast Walk hugs the edge of the continent as it guides you from Minnamurra River in the north to Gerringong’s Werri Beach in the south, passing through the Kiama township – make sure you don’t miss the blowhole!
The route is a mix of sealed paths, grassed tracks and beach walks – however the hills are gentle enough for most levels of fitness. And the views – did they mention the views? Simply breathtaking.
The Kiama Coast Walk is split into three sections of roughly equal distances, but vastly different experiences; do one, two or all three – the choice is yours. Just don’t forget your camera and your intrepid sense of wonder.
You will find route markers and interpretative signs along the way. The last six kilometres between Loves Bay and Werri Beach is particularly blessed with their own rugged and untouched natural beauty. Keep an eye out for whales (May to November), and sea eagles and hawks all year round.
Nan Tien Temple
Visit or stay at Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Nan Tien is very different from most tourist attractions because there is so much on offer. The visual delights of grandeur architecture, art and culture including unique exhibitions and festivals, Buddhist festivals, vegetarian culinary delights, educational and healthy lifestyle classes and retreats, accommodation, top-class conference and auditorium facilities. There is also the spiritual and religious experience that is unforgettable and even life-changing for some.
Situated in Berkeley, which is only 10 minutes south of Wollongong City and famous beaches. Come and be inspired.
Days Spent in Sydney
Whether you have some extra time before or after the conference, we encourage you to check out everything the Sydney has to offer. Within the same day you will have time to visit the famous Sydney Opera House, walk through the beautiful Royal Botanical Garden, take a short trip on the ferry to Manly or Taronga zoo, visit the iconic Bondi Beach, or climb the Harbour Bridge.