Wollongong in 1-2 days

Day one

You’re probably going to be heading south from Sydney, so take your time getting down there. Maybe stop off in Cronulla en route.

The descent into Wollongong is pretty spectacular, so soak up whatever you can, but don’t get caught staring out the window

Once you’re in the Gong, you’ll find it’s an easy town to cruise around on foot. Keira St is the best strip for restaurants. Take a stroll up to the lighthouse on Endeavor Drive. There are a few options in terms of pubs – there’s the Harp, the Glasshouse, and the Hotel Illawarra on the other side of the mall. But the best bet in the North Wollongong Hotel, which is about five minutes drive further north.

If you’re a punter, head out to the Dapto dogs on a Thursday night. They’re an institution.

Day two

Definitely take a drive through the northern suburbs. It’s impossible to get lost. Take the Princes Highway straight out of Wollongong and then get onto Lawrence Hargrave Drive. This will take you through Thirroul, Austinmer, Coledale and Scarborough. Watch out for speed cameras. It’s very easy to give it a bit too much gas.

There are great beaches all through these spots, but if you push on, you’ll get to the national park, which is the highlight. Take the winding Lady Wakehurst Drive and enjoy the ride. Take a picnic or a few beers.

In 3-5 days

Day three

Well, a weekend in Wollongong is probably sufficient, so jump back in the car and head south.

It takes a little while to get out of Wollongong, but by the time you get to Shellharbour, there’s plenty to look at. Get all the way out to Bass Point, or drive along the Minnamurra River.

You’ll come through Bombo, Kiama, Gerringong and Berry. All these towns are nice enough to stop at. Kiama offers a beautful little village built around a harbour, and Gerringong has the picturesque Seven Mile Beach.

Day four

Take Gerroa Rd further south – it will take you through the Seven Mile Beach National Park. You’ll then find yourself passing through the Shoalhaven, and then arriving at Jervis Bay.

You’ll probably want to base yourself in Huskisson or Vincentia.

Once you’re settled in, go for a walk along Hyams Beach, or drive further along the coast into the Booderee National Park. Sussex Inlet is also great – fantastic beaches, and St Georges Basin is nice for a picnic.

Day five

Make sure you get up to Jervis Bay National Park. It would be a waste to come so far south without checking it out. Culburra Beach is fairly close by, so stop off for a dip. If you’re keen to trek further afield Yerriyong Stae Forest is further inland but, once again, it’s a spectacular journey.

If you’re in Jervis Bay at the right time of year, make sure you ask around about going out on a boat to spot the whales. Driving along the coast is all well and good, but getting out on the water is unbeatable, and the scenery is breathtaking.