Last Wednesday, a friend of mine mentioned that she was going to visit Wollongong, the third largest city in New South Wales, for the day to visit her childhood friend who is studying over there. We were initially planning to spend a weekend there with our group of friends but those plans fell through so she invited me and another friend to join her for the day trip to Wollongong. We didn’t really plan what we were going to see, I figured her childhood friend would have an idea of what to show us, and it was set to be a warm day with lows of 22°C and highs of 26°C so if all things failed we could always go to the beach.
So the three of us took the two-hour train journey to Wollongong and arrived around 1pm. The first thing we noticed was it was not 22°C. It felt more like 16°C and the sky was overcast. But that wasn’t too bad; it was dry and we were planning on walking around so I thought I would warm up anyway. The second thing I noticed was that Wollongong seemed to have a higher population of flies. What I mean by this is usually in Sydney during summer, when you’re walking down the street you are usually followed (attacked) by one or two flies; in Wollongong, you are followed (attacked) by 4 or 6 flies. I was not pleased to discover this because I hate any insect that flies. But again, I thought this was okay because I brought insect repellent so I thought I would be fine.
First, we decided to take a short bus journey to the harbour where we took pictures overlooking City beach and took in the view. It was quite windy and the sky seemed to be getting cloudier but we didn’t think too much of it. I knew it was expected to rain but much later in the afternoon so I thought we were safe.
Wrong. We were not safe.
Minutes later on our way to get food it started pouring down with rain. I was already drenched by the time I could get my umbrella out and the wind made using an umbrella very hard anyway. By the time we got to the bus stop, we were drenched, cranky and still very hungry.
We decided to swing by the University of Wollongong before we got some food and from what I can remember, the University did look quite nice. When we were outside I wasn’t really focused on what the campus looked like because the insect repellent I had put on had been washed off by the rain so the flies were really coming for me so all I cared about was getting inside more than anything. But inside was quite nice, they had a mini supermarket in what we would call the student union – I don’t really know what they would call it – but I thought that was really good thing to have. They also had some food outlets and a UniBar which was cool too.
Across the road, they had a Botanical Gardens which was alright. My friends complained that there was not a lot of colour, I think they expected to see more flowers than plants but I thought it was okay. The botanical gardens in Sydney looked a lot nicer, however, when I went to the Sydney Botanical gardens the weather was warmer and brighter and I wasn’t being attacked by what felt like hundreds of flies so that could be a reason why I picture it to be better than the Wollongong Botanical Gardens. If you do end up in Wollongong I would suggest you visit the Botanical Gardens and form your own opinions.
Once we had enough sightseeing we figured it was time for food. By this point, the weather had brightened up and it was warmer however this just made it very humid. We decided to eat at a bar called ‘His Boy Elroy’ which served American burgers for a reasonable price. We all ordered the Fat Boy burger which came with chips and a drink for only AU$15 which wasn’t bad. It tasted nice although I felt the burger patty could’ve have been fatter but I enjoyed the meal none the less.
Around 3pm, our ‘tour guide’ had to go to a meeting and left us to fend for ourselves while we were still enjoying our meal. Around 3:20pm, we decided we had enough of Wollongong for a day and decided to catch the next train home in time for our catered dinner.
I’m sure under better weather conditions, I would’ve enjoyed Wollongong and in all honestly the trip wasn’t all bad – every bus that I caught was free.
I still want to go back and visit the Nan Tien Temple, which is the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere so hopefully next time I go, the weather will be a lot better.