There is no denying the Illawarra is one of the best places in the world to raise a family, we have so many fun places to play and explore. Beaches, walks, playgrounds, bike tracks and the list goes on. This article will highlight some of the great things to do around the Illawarra with young children recommended by local parents, either free of charge or at a low cost!
Little Beach & Seven Mile Beach Gerroa
Location: Entry and parking is via Burke St
Fun: Beach, exploring and picnic grounds.
Werri Beach Gerringong
Location: Pacific Ave
Fun: Beach, long flat path for bike riding.
Location: Entry and parking is via Charles Ave
Fun: Large sandbanks and shallow water at low tide, playground, exploring.
Location: Down the stairs at the end of Cliff Dr
Fun: Ocean bay with no waves, shallow water, grassed area, exploring.
Surf Beach & Playground
Location: Manning St
Fun: Beach, large playground, picnic area, large grass area, takeaway and a short walk up to the headland and Kiama Blowhole.
Location: Blowhole Point Rd €€_€€
Fun: Water spouts out of a natural rock formation (best when winds are coming from the South East).
Location: Minamurra Falls Road
Fun: Walk through the rainforest, listen and watch for wildlife, picnic area. Entry fee $11 per vehicle.
Shellharbour/ Albion Park
Maquarie Pass National Park
Location: Illawarra Highway
Fun: Easy walking track, see plantlife, wildlife, waterfall and creek and picnic area.
Location: John St
Fun: Beach, 50m saltwater pool, shaded children's pool, BBQ and picnic facilities, cafe's and takeaway and children playground.
Blackbutt Forest Reserve
Location: Entry via Shellharbour Rd, Blackbutt Way or Wattle Rd
Fun: Explore and play, walking tracks, bike tracks, playground, BBQ and picnic facilities.
Bass Point Reserve
Location: Bass Point Tourist Road
Fun: Heritage and nature walks, Bushrangers Bay, picnic areas, swimming, snorkelling and more.
Illawarra Light Rail Museum
Location: Tongarra Rd
Fun: Museum (open Tues, Thurs and Sat), train rides (2nd Sunday of each month), BBQ & Picnic areas and a kids playground. Small fee for train rides.
Park & Play
Location: Parks around Albion Park & Shellharbour
Fun: Free mobile play session visiting different local parks Monday to Friday for children 0-5 years and their carers.
Dapto to Figtree
Location: Parks around Dapto area
Fun: Play Ranger is a free roaming park based playgroup with toys, arts & craft and activities on Tuesdays 10am to 12pm during school terms.
Integral Energy Park
Location: Darkes Rd Dapto
Fun: Large playground, picnic tables, bike and walking path, large open grassed area, natural bushland, shaded area and amenities.
Location: Parrish Ave, Mt Pleasant
Fun: Open on weekends and public holidays. Lush green parkland, BBQ & picnic facilities and a rainforest walk. $2 entry fee.
Location: Off Princess Hwy (near community cnt)
Fun: Large children's playground, large open grassed area and shaded area.
Warilla to Wollongong
Lake Illawarra Foreshore
Location: Reddall Pde
Fun: Playgrounds, bike paths, swimming & fishing in the lake, BBQ and picnic areas.
Pelican Park West & Bike Path
Location: Reddall Pde
Fun: Large kids playground with ramps, bike path around the Lake.
Port Kembla Beach & Pool
Location: Cowper St
Fun: Beach, large outdoor saltwater pool (not open in winter), playground across the road.
Junior Groovers Disco
Location: Friday nights 6pm at Club Windang
Fun: Free weekly disco for ages 2yrs and up with child friendly music, games and dancing fun.
Stuart Park & Nth Beach
Location: George Hanley Dr
Fun: Beach, bike path, playgrounds, large grassy area, miniature train rides (4th Sunday of each month), BBQ & picnic areas.
Location: Church St
Fun: Large children's playground, large open grassed area and bike path.
Wollongong Botanic Gardens
Location: Murphy's Ave
Fun: Large enclosed playground, walking & bike riding paths, large grass area, natural beauty and wildlife and coffee cart (for Mums & Dads).
Location: Endeavour Drv
Fun: Boats & lighthouse, playground, beach, walking and bike path, large grass area at Flagstaff Hill, outdoor saltwater pool, cafe's, takeaway and icecream.
Location: Various locations
Fun: Free playgroups around the North Wollongong area. Visit the Big Fat Smile website under Include Me > Playgroups.
Towradgi Beach Park
Location: Towradgi Rd
Fun: Beach, large playground, rock pools, BBQ & picnic facilities and large grassy area.
Thirroul Beach Reserve
Location: Bath St
Fun: Beach, large playground, large grassy area, picnic areas, outdoor 50m saltwater pool and wading pools.
Location: Lawrence Hargrave Dr
Fun: Beach, playground, grassy shaded area, picnic facilities, rock pools, cafe's & takeaway.
Maddens Falls - Darkes Forest
Location: Darkes Forest Rd
Fun: Easy walking track, lookout to waterfall, see & hear frogs, birds and other wildlife.
Kelly's Falls - Stanwell Tops
Location: Off Lawrence Hargrave Dr
Fun: Easy five minute walk from the roadside to waterfall, bush tracks offering scenic walks, BBQ & picnic areas.
Kiama to Helensburgh
Babies & Kids Storytimes
Location: Local Libraries
Fun: Local Libraries have regular storytimes for children 0 to 5yrs. Visit your local Library or visit the Parents Guide Illawarra website for more information on storytime sessions.
Location: All over the Illawarra
Fun: Kids love catching a bus or train to the shops or park. Sundays are Family Fun Day and you can travel on public transport all day for only $2.50 per person 4 years and up.
This article was put together by local Mum Nicole Davies using information given to her from local parents and information from local websites. If you know of any other low to no cost fun for families in the Illawarra, please contact us with your suggestions.