With so much variety it’s hard to choose where to go and what to do across September 23 and 24.
Here’s my plan, taking in the best of the Illawarra and some of the top food and entertainment.
8am – Park Run from Stuart Park in North Wollongong.
Park Run are free organised group 5km timed run/walk events for everyone of every ability.
This route goes from Stuart Park through Puckeys Estate and back.
Just register once before your first ever timed run at www.parkrun.com.au
9:15am – Eggs Benedict at Diggies.
The bench seats inside look out to North Wollongong Beach at this cafe. Everything on the menu is tasty though my pick is the Eggs Benny.
If you’d prefer something takeaway, head to North Beach Kiosk next door.
Diggies is next to the surf club. Gluten-free options available.
10:58am – get the South Coast Line train to Kiama.
Kiama boasts a beautiful coastline, dozens of restaurants and cafes plus the Folk By The Sea festival is on with dozens of local, national and international musicians.
The train departs North Wollongong Station (a 15 to 20 minute walk from Diggies) at 10:58am and arrives in Kiama at 11:47am.
Get a window seat on the left of the train to take in the magnificent views.
Trains run once an hour – for more details visit www.transportnsw.info
Take a stroll from the Kiama Train Station down to the historic harbour then further around to the famous Blowhole (at Blowhole Point Road) and Little Blowhole, not far from the folk festival.
Folk By The Sea venues:
- Kiama Showground Pavilion - Norfolk Room, Saddleback Room, Kendall Room and The Verandah - 4 rooms - 10am to Midnight
- Kiama Rugby Clubhouse - 11am to 10:30pm (Saturday)
- Kiama Uniting Church Hall - 2pm to 9pm (Saturday)
5pm – Early dinner at the Hungry Monkey.
The mouth-watering burgers these guys produce probably led them to being voted Business of the Year at the Illawarra and South Coast Business Awards.
“You can have like a super healthy salad and be nice. Or you can be naughty and create a burger or whatever you want to do to be on the naughty side of things,” co-owner Taylor Hudson told the Mercury.
Find them at 5/32 Collins Street in Kiama.
5:56pm – Get the train back to Wollongong.
The train from Railway Parade in Kiama arrives in Wollongong at 6:39pm.
Here are two options for Saturday night – comedy or a production mixing acrobatics and dance.
Landscape With Monsters by performance troupe Circa at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre at 32 Burelli Street, 7:30pm (see video above for a taste).
Or you could catch two middle-aged women poking fun at the world with their ‘Women Like Us’ show from 7pm at the Wollongong Builders Club basement (61 Church Street).
8am – Take in the sights around Wollongong Harbour
Temperatures are predicted to hit the mid-20s this weekend so a stroll – or jog – around the harbour and the iconic Wollongong lighthouse will put a spring in your step.
9am – Breakfast at the Lagoon Restaurant
Walk to the northern end of Stuart Park and you’ll find the Lagoon Restaurant, now serving breaky from 7:30am on the deck bar.
Gluten-free options available.
1pm – What A Life! Tony Mott’s rock photography exhibition.
A major retrospective on Australia's premier rock photographer Tony Mott at Wollongong Art Gallery on Burelli Street.
The exhibition collectively tells the story of rock n' roll life in Australia over the last 30 years, including the enormous changes to the live music scene from the 1990s and the impact of digital on the art of rock photography.
For more information: www.wollongongartgallery.com
2pm – Late lunch at Levelone
Grab some tapas and a cocktail or beer at this bar and grill on the middle of Wollongong Harbour, Levelone.
4pm – Gates open at WIN Stadium for Elton John and his Band
Support act Busby Marou starts at 5:30pm and the big man at 6:30pm.
Pass-outs ARE available, while food and beverage outlets (including bar) with EFTPOS facilities will be stages around the venue.
For your complete guide to Elton John’s Wollongong concert CLICK HERE.
DON’T HAVE TICKETS TO ELTON?
My suggestion is to grab yourself some take-away fish and chips from Bombora Seafood at Wollongong Harbour or buy a few things at Woolworths on Burelli Street for a picnic at City Beach.
Either on the sand or in Lang Park you’re bound to hear the mega-star’s sounds waft through the air during his twilight spring concert.
9pm – Post-Elton beverage at The Steelers Club’s car park party
From midday until late, the club across the road from WIN Stadium will turn its car park into a party venue with bars, food trucks and live music.
The party will continue until at least an hour after Elton jets off home in his helicopter.
10pm – Karaoke at The Harp
Wait for the traffic to die down by recreating some of Elton’s hits with karaoke at The Harp Hotel around the corner on Corrimal Street.
The venue is not The Ritz, but karaoke with your friends is always a laugh.