'Like A Local' is a new blog series I am launching to offer travelers and explorers a deeper insight into a new destination. More and more individuals are wanting to incorporate exciting, newer elements into their journeys. However, how can you get off the beaten path if you don't know where you're going? Needless to say, a local's advice or suggestion is an invaluable tool that can go a long way towards delivering you with this experience.
To kick off the series, we're getting a closer look at the Australian city of Wollongong, with the help of local resident and blogger, Courtney Steltenpool. Courtney moved to Wollongong ten years ago from the small town of Eden. Initially excited to move to an area with traffic lights and chain stores, she quickly fell in love with the beautiful coastal city.
"Wollongong has that small town feel, but with everything you need from a city," says Courtney.
Through her tapestry of local knowledge, Country offers some hints and tips for anyone visiting the city.
What sights should tourists take the time to see in Wollongong?
"There are so many beautiful coastlines to visit in the Wollongong area. I'd recommend taking the time to drive from the northern suburbs right down to the southern suburbs, stopping at all the beaches along the way."
"The area is full of great hikes as well, such as the Mount Keira track and Sublime Point, both of which offer incredible views of the coastline and city."
Where are some of the best places to eat in Wollongong?
"My favourite places in Wollongong are Diggies Cafe and North Kiosk - both of which are located at North Wollongong Beach."
"I also love Lee & Me, Sakura, Kinn Thai, Kneading Ruby, Opus Coffee Brewers, Bali Spice Magic and Amigos - all incredible dining options within the city centre!"
"If you don't try the coffee at Opus Coffee Brewers, then you're insane!"
Where should you go for night-life in Wollongong?
"Wollongong's Crown Street is where most of the best little bars are located. I love having a drink at Howling Wolf, Dagwood or the Throsby."
"Pepe's on the Beach, located under the Novotel North Beach is also a great spot for an afternoon beer overlooking the water."
How long should a visit to Wollongong last?
"You can easily do Wollongong as a day trip from Sydney. If you stay in the area, there's plenty to do and see, especially if you use it as a base to do a day trip down the coast. If you want to try and fit in a bit of everything, then you can see it all in three to four days."
What's the most important thing to know before visiting Wollongong?
"It gets very, very busy in summer, especially on the weekends. If you want the place to yourself, visit in late autumn or early spring when the weather is still gorgeous but there are fewer people around."