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Shae Killey3 years ago

Discover the past while getting your cafe-style food fix.

It doesn't matter whether you're a history buff and you've travelled to Wollongong so you can learn more about the heritage of this special part of Australia or if you've been living here for years and just want to know what it was like back in the day, we've got the perfect guide to discovering Wollongong that will feed your curiosity and fill your stomach along the way.

Always wondered what that old building was used for when it was first built? Perhaps you live in a Wollongong heritage-listed building and want to know what makes it so special? We’ve sorted you out with a few must-see pieces of Wollongong history, as well as some delicious meal options to accompany your trip.

#1 Wollongong Harbour

Most locals know the Wollongong Harbour as place where you can go enjoy a coffee while taking in the sea breeze and coastal views. But little do people know, it’s been a part of this town since the 1860s. In the early 1800s, population started spreading out of Sydney and the Wollongong Harbour was created to cater for the Wollongong and Illawarra regions. It’s also the only point on the east coast of Australia to have two lighthouse towers which were fully restored in the year 2000.
Where: Wollongong Harbour Wollongong NSW

Levendi

Friendly staff, Levendi - Wollongong
Friendly staff, Levendi – Wollongong

Fish, chips, burgers, coffee and cakes, you name it and Levendi will serve it to you fast and affordably. This cafe provides the perfect casual dining option for those who want to take in Wollongong Harbour’s serenity while appreciating good food and drink. Whether you’re with a fellow history buff and want to have a chat over a premium Vittoria blended coffee or you just want to feed the kids with some of Levendi’s famous fish and chips after you’ve given them a much needed cultural lesson, Levendi will make sure you’re satisfied either way.
Where: 18 Cliff Road Wollongong NSW


#2 The Bathers Pavilion

The Bathers Pavilion is as much a part of Wollongong’s historical culture as anything else in the area. Built in 1938 and opened by a minister in front of a crowd of hundreds, it was a place where both male and female swimmers would go to get dressed before and after they tackled the waves at North Beach. While beach outfits may have changed dramatically since then, it still serves the same purpose today. Recently refurbished in 2012, it has had extensive repairs and was treated for concrete cancer so the building can continue on into the distant future.
Where: North Beach Bathers Pavilion 5 Cliff Road North Wollongong NSW

Northbeach Pavilion

The pristine views, Northbeach Pavilion - Wollongong
The pristine views, Northbeach Pavilion – Wollongong

Located inside the heritage-listed Bathers Pavilion, you can experience a piece of Wollongong history firsthand as you eat your way through Italian inspired meals and coffee. Their communal style seating arrangements mean you can share a Neopolitan flavoured pizza taken straight out of the authentic wood-fired oven with all your friends while you bask in the essence of an affordable aromatic coffee or selection of tasty smoothies including selections like the North Pav Blush which has all your favourite fruity favourites like orange, apple and strawberries. If you’re all about immersing yourself in a bit of Ye Olde Wollongong as well as enjoying a mouth-watering food experience, you can kill two birds with one stone at this little gem of a cafe.
Where: North Beach Bathers Pavilion 5 Cliff Road North Wollongong NSW


#3 Wollongong City Centre Heritage Trail 

Now, this self-guided tour is a must if you want to immerse yourself in Wollongong’s rich history. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a history junkie and want to take your time exploring each location using a fine-tooth comb or you’re only in Wollongong for the day and want to see as much as you can, this little heritage trail guide will take you through everything you need to know. Starting at the Old Wollongong Court House, this tour will take you through 23 different Wollongong cultural landmarks while providing you with a brief overview on the settlement of this wonderful town.
Click here to download your copy of the Wollongong City Centre Heritage map
Where: Magistrates Ln, Wollongong NSW 2500

Sifters 

A beautiful coffee, Sifters - Wollongong
A beautiful coffee, Sifters – Wollongong

With a retro feel and a hint of hipster, Sifters is the perfect stop-off to enjoy a coffee and bite to eat while visiting the Wollongong Court House or the Congregational Church on your heritage trail trek. Arguably the best coffee in this part of Wollongong, this great little cafe hosts a cool vibe, happening music and great organic cafe-style food options. If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter then wrap your lips around the apple, cranberry and nut granola with greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and passionfruit. Otherwise their are a range of other choices that all the locals love. Make this beautiful up-and-coming cafe stop number 24 of the day, just try to avoid burning your tongue drinking the coffee too quickly.
Where: 82 Market Street Wollongong NSW

Is there a cafe we forgot to mention? Tell us where you’ll be refuelling during your historical Wollongong experience.

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