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Sydney to Wollongong and back

New Jersey, USA
Level Contributor
8 posts
1 review
Sydney to Wollongong and back

Hi all

We are a group of 4 adults from the US travling from a few nights in Sydney down to Wollongong to visit our daughter who is attending the University there. Afer 3 days there, the five of us are heading back to Sydney for a side trip to Cairns. We are a bit apprehensive about a car hire as have no experience driving on the other side of the vehicle and road. Daughter is not very familiar with the trains but said it took her @ 2 hrs to go from Wollongong to Sydney. So I guess am asking for suggestions. A car may not be practical because of all of our luggage but how cumbersome is it to travel by train with luggage? Would the cost of the train for all of us from Sydney and back and then all of the other sights we travel to in Wollongong be more costly than a car? We would be heading from a Sydney hotel (not the airpot) on a Sunday evening and returning @6pm on Wednesday. Can we expect loads of traffic at this time? Your thoughts and insights are appreciated.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
753 posts
1. Re: Sydney to Wollongong and back

Going down Sunday evening and back in the evening should have you missing traffic peaks and most of the drive is on divided motorway type conditions.

Daylight saving begins in a little over a month so if it is after the beginning of October you'll likely still be in daylight for the drive and if one is a confident driver and takes it easy, adapting to the other side of car/road comes quick enough.

The two main rules you need to bear in mind [well three actually]

. keep to left on multi lanes unless overtaking.


. remember that turning right rather than left will take you across path of oncoming traffic.

. when turning out of a side street, turning right will also have you crossing traffic and if left, do not turn into it.

But you usually have either traffic lights or stop/give way signs at such streets and have time to think about it.

You might have to sueeze luggage for four in a bit but even medium size cars have reasonable size boots and some hire companies may have wagons of one description or another [a wagon not being the covered version but a sedan with an inbuilt canopy over the trunk which we here call the boot - confusing huh!]

But have a look at www.drivenow.com.au and you'll get the picture of what's available.

You could do it with the train but as you say, it'll greatly limit your local movements and for pricing comparison, a Sydneysider may know the fare but you can just go to www.131500.com.au and get an idea, possibly at a guess about $15 each way.

Som great small coastal and inland villages down past Wollongong if the daughter can take time out of Uni, to show her too, Kiama with blowhole, Berry, Jervis Bay beaches, Milton/Mollymook/Ulladalla all close and not too much further on if you wanted to stay down that way somewhere, murramarangresort.com.au/getting_there.html

And then there's a Kangaroo Valley/Fitzroy Falls/Bowral and back down to Wollongong via Robinson loop drive you could do, some narrow winding and climbing/descending roads though.

And if you do decide to drive down and back, probably on way back if you'll be earlier, get instructions for the Larence Hargrave Drive that skirts the cliffs north of Wollongong and then heads up through the Royal National Park so you can get back on to the Princes Hwy.

New Jersey, USA
Level Contributor
8 posts
1 review
2. Re: Sydney to Wollongong and back

Thanks for the info..looks like so much to do it will be hard to decide how to spend our 3 days! Glad to have the driving tips as well!!!

Level Contributor
23 posts
63 reviews
3. Re: Sydney to Wollongong and back

Hi there - i am sure you will enjoy visiting this beautiful part of the world. Yes the train from Sydney to Wollongong takes two hours and costs around $20 AU (return same day) there are lots of commuters between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm each weekday and i think you would struggle if you have much luggage. Also if you do get a train make sure you don't get one that stops at all stations as this will add at least half hour to journey. On the plus side make sure you sit on the eastern side of the train for some great views of the coast.

If you do decide to hire a car - Camry, Commodore or Falcon are large with good size boots (trunk). As the other post said if you need lots of luggage space you could look at hiring a four wheel drive (?SUV) or a station wagon (?estate car). If you are staying in Sydney CBD and drive to Wollongong it will take you about 90 mins depending on whether you hit peak hour traffic. Driving back to Sydney at 6:00 pm the traffic shouldn't be too bad as it should mostly be headibg the other way. Hire a GPS (Navman or similar) and you will be fine.

What to see - well make sure you take a drive across the Seacliff Bridge - stop for a coffee in Thirroul or Austinmer. Then head south and an hour or so drive up Macquarie Pass, through rainforest, and you should go to the Illawarra Fly at Robertson (that area is called the Southern Highlands) While you are in that area it would be worth a trip to Minnamurra rainforest for a great walk. Kiama is a lovely seaside town south of Wollongong.

if your daughter is at Wollongong Uni i am sure she will know or of heard of most of these places and i'll bet she is well acquainted with the North Gong Pub!!

Enjoy your trip

Level Contributor
7 posts
1 review
4. Re: Sydney to Wollongong and back

You may also want to stay outside of the centre of Sydney, or Wollongong. There's a lovely trail of towns/villages along Lawrence Hargrave Drive, which would take you over the Sea Cliff bridge (by car), but the train will also take you through this area, with little stations at most towns. Small places like Coledale, Wombarra, Thirroul have houses for rent, often with spectacular views, Check out stayz.com.au. I've stayed at a few places in Wombarra - beautiful, watched whales from the balcony! It's then only 30 min approx to Wollongong, or 1 hr approx to Sydney.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Family Travel
Level Contributor
9,249 posts
174 reviews
5. Re: Sydney to Wollongong and back

This is an old thread & a duplicate that was also replied to here...


The OP has been & gone..although it would be nice to hear how they got along?!

6. Re: Sydney to Wollongong and back

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