Wollongong, or The Gong as it is affectionately known by most of us, is an ideal weekend getaway destination for Sydney families, being roughly 90 minutes’ drive from the city and bursting with kid-friendly attractions.
Mother of three and avid traveller Deborah Dickson-Smith, blogs about last weekend... (oh, and "us" this weekend includes me, my partner and our combined offspring)
The main drawcard for us this weekend is Jamberoo – the weather this Autumn is still hot and steamy and by the time we’ve made it through Sydney traffic with no carsick-casualties I’m ready to leap into the first patch of water within sight.
But when we arrive the choice of rides has everyone in a quandary and so follows a huge discussion about which rides to tackle first, who wants to do what, etc. The logical conclusion is to do the dry rides first (toboggan, go-karts) but we only manage one ride down the toboggan before we give up and plunge down the closest waterslide.
And so the rest of the afternoon goes, with every ride being ticked off the list until our fingers begin to resemble prunes and it’s time for dinner.
We’re staying at the Medina Executive Wollongong apartments – ideal for large families like ours – with two adjoining apartments providing plenty of room for four kids and enough privacy for us. When we get back to our apartment the kids decide that actually, they haven’t spent enough time getting wet and so head for the pool while we make dinner.
20 minutes becomes an hour and when they finally emerge they wolf down dinner faster than I’ve ever seen before falling asleep watching the in-room movie.
First on the agenda for Sunday is the Illawarra Fly, which the kids are excited about because it means they can have a great laugh at my fear of heights. The 106 steps to the top of the tower do present a challenge to me (a vertigo challenge - not a fitness challenge, thank-you very much) so they're not disappointed, but the view from the top is spectacular and well worth the climb.
It’s definitely worth mentioning that the staff here are really friendly and helpful, and if you feel like splurging on lunch – the menu looks pretty damn good.
Our afternoon activity is at another attraction designed specifically for kids – the Science Centre and Planetarium, which is jam-packed with buttons to press, magnets to test and levers to pull. Not to mention the rather cute animatronic dinosaur display and the planetarium show which manages to keep the kids interested for 30 minutes – no mean feat.
All in all, a success. The kids had an AWESOME time and everybody's happy.
Deborah’s first trip with a bub of 4 months involved a 26-hour flight with no sleep, which is exactly when she realised travelling would never be the same. This has only been further confirmed as her family has grown. She’s lived in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, London and is now reasonably settled in Sydney’s northern beaches with her three children — who are now all seasoned travellers.