Lake Illawarra is located between the Illawarra escarpment and the Pacific Ocean on the NSW South Coast some 90 kilometres south of Sydney. Water flowing into it is both fresh (from the escarpment) and salty (from ocean tides).
The Lake is approximately 9.5 kilometres long and 5.5 kilometres wide, with an area of 33 square kilometres and a maximum depth of 3.7 metres. 13 boat ramps surround the lake and is a popular recreational location. The lake is a popular spot for fishing, prawning, and all water sports.
There is a boat and catamaran hire close by as well as several caravan parks. There is also a shared pathway that can be enjoyed by all.
Reddall Reserve on the foreshore of Lake Illawarra is a popular spot for picnics with its children's playground, amenities and kiosk.
Ideal for families, North Wollongong Beach has rock pools, wading areas, and good surf. There is plenty of grass, shade, and picnic booths. A children's playground is close by, and shops, cafes and amenities are provided. North Wollongong Beach is the only beach that's patrolled all year round making it the perfect place for a barbecue with full facilities provided. It is conveniently located along the shared cycle way.
North Wollongong Beach hosts the NSW leg of the Beach Netball Festival and a round of the Ocean Six Series in annually and its the perfect spot to watch the New Year's Eve Fireworks.
This Beach is not a dog friendly beach, however simply cross the lagoon to the north to find the off lead dog area. Dogs are permitted on the walkways and cycle tracks.
Coalcliff is located 24 kilometres north of the Wollongong city centre. This is a small beach in the northern suburbs, surrounded by rocks and cliffs. It is also a popular fishing spot.
There is a saltwater rock pool at the southern end of the beach. Explore the rocks for ocean life from this quite secluded beach.
This beach is only patrolled from the commencement of the NSW school holidays in September until the end of April school holidays.
Coalcliff beach is an on-lead dog-friendly beach during certain times. Time-sharing zone allowing access on the beach on leash in summer before 9 am and after 6 pm and in winter before 9 am and after 4 pm.
Windang Beach is located at the entrance to Lake Illawarra, 15 kilometres south of Wollongong's city centre. It offers spectacular views of the famous Five Islands off the Wollongong coastline.
The beach is very popular with families and there is accommodation nearby at the local caravan park, which has views of the lake and the ocean.
There is a large park at Windang Beach with barbecues, sheltered picnic areas, a playground, and a cycle path. Windang Beach and Lake Illawarra are good fishing areas.
Wombarra Beach is a narrow 250 m beach fronting the slopes that lead up to the small town of the same name. The sand and cobble beach is located immediately south of the southern Scarborough rocks, with rocks and boulders backing the beach. It is fronted by rock platforms, leaving only a narrow break to provide direct access to the sea. A road provides access to the southern beach with a small car park and picnic area, however, this is more for the southern rock pool, than for the beach.
Corrimal Beach is 1.4 kilometres long and backed by fenced sand dunes, grassy reserves and Corrimal Beach Tourist Park.
Holiday makers and local's alike enjoy this beach as it is long and private. A small lagoon proves popular with children for shallow paddling. Corrimal is located six kilometres north of Wollongong's central business district.
Corrimal Beach is only patrolled from the commencement of the NSW school holidays in September to the end of the NSW April school holidays. North Wollongong Beach is the only beach in the area that is patrolled all year round.
East Corrimal Beach, located to the north, is an off lead dog friendly beach. Once past the lagoon on Corrimal Beach this dog friendly area begins.
Thirroul Beach is one kilometre in length and faces east, so it picks up swell from most directions. There's little wind protection at either end, although big southerly swells or southerly winds get slowed up somewhat by the Sandon Point headland.
Thirroul Beach is patrolled September to April and there is a saltwater pool that's great for a swim.
Thirroul Beach is a timeshare dog zone. Time-sharing zone allows access on the beach on leash at certain times dependant on the season. However, McCauley's Beach is located directly to the south and an off-leash dog-friendly beach.