There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sand between your toes and a dip in the ocean, and the Illawarra has tons of amazing beaches. Locals will tell you to head out of Wollongong to grab a beach to yourself – try Coaldale or Austinmer to the north. But most Sydneysiders would consider the ‘busy’ main beaches North Wollongong Beach and Wollongong City Beach gloriously empty. If you want to swim lengths, your best choice is the outdoor 50m salt water pool, built in the 1920s, which abuts the harbour wall south of North Beach. If you don’t want to pay for the privilege, head next door to the free rock pool. The Blue Mile is Wollongong’s training track, with runners and cyclists hogging it from North Beach, along the harbour and up to the lighthouse on the headland, but walkers are allowed.