Wollongong is made up of the stuff that world roamers dream of. Geographically, the area can’t be beat—the city is surrounded by gorgeous beaches and rugged mountain range. Culturally, the city is rich, as it has historically attracted people from all over the world searching for work, and presently continues to have an international draw, with a large population of students coming to study abroad. Luckily, for anyone planning on spending some time in this aboriginal-community-gone-city, pronouncing the name will likely be the hardest part. Yes, the living is easy in The Gong (as the locals call it). Its beachfront location provides laid-back surfer vibes, and the people are warm and welcoming. There are plenty of outdoor activities to dive into, and just as many cool cafes to relax at afterward. It’s also incredibly easy to hop a bus to Sydney, if you are craving the bright city lights, but I would venture to guess that Wollongong will dig its claws in deep, and you’ll hardly have the need or desire to leave this wonderland. For those who prefer to travel the unbeaten path, Wollongong is the perfect place to explore for a while.
What is the Cost of One Month of Housing?
Wollongong Backpackers Keiraleagh House is nice and centrally located, and has shared dormitory rooms starting at $24/night. There are also a couple of budget options that are owned by the University of Wollongong, including Keiraview Accommodation, which is a YHA member. Keiraview is more of a hostel-meets-motel situation, but you get a lot for the price. Small dorms are available for $31/night, or a private double can be booked for $69/night. These rooms are air conditioned, and come equipped with a TV and kitchenette.
As with most of Australia, hotels do not offer the most affordable nightly rates. The cheapest ones start at about $75/night, so if you’re trying to save a little cash, this might not be your best option for an entire month. If you have a nice cushion of savings, or are coming to work abroad and have a well-paying gig, it might just be worth it to treat yourself with a week or two in a spot like the gorgeous Hotel Novotel, where $158/night will get you a spacious and clean room with huge windows overlooking the coastline, plus breakfast.
AirBnb accommodations are currently scant, but seem to be growing in popularity. There are a couple of inexpensive private rooms in shared households, starting at $715/month, with the average price hovering around $1,250/month.
What is the Cost of Transportation for One Month in Wollongong?
Getting around is no problem, especially if you are cost or emissions conscious. The main bus that services the city does a free loop around the most central area. There are some alternative busses that can be taken around Wollongong, and to neighboring towns and suburbs, that will cost you per trip. Premier Illawarra is the main regional transit provider. Ticket info and schedules can be found online. If getting around is more about the journey for you, there is a large cycling community. The city has an excellent system of maintained bike trails and lanes, for both on and off-road riding.
What is the Cost of Food for One Month in Wollongong?
Wollongong happens to be a city that people representing more than 80 different cultures call home, so there is always something exotic to try. From Vietnamese to Mexican, and everything in between, you can take a world tour of cuisine, visiting a new country with every meal. There are tons of casual dining establishments, where you can eat in or order take away, with prices starting around $7-$12 per entree. This beach town has so much fresh and delicious seafood to choose from, and you should certainly hit a local fish-n-chips shop from time to time, or take a date to the award winning and very classy Lagoon Restaurant. The Lagoon has indoor and outdoor seating, with stunning views of the beach, serving top notch seafood set menus.
What is the Cost of Entertainment for One Month in Wollongong?
Being nestled between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean provides the inhabitants of Wollongong with a huge, beautiful, natural playground. Go for a bike ride on one of the city’s stretches of trail, or head out of town to see the marine life at Coalcliff Beach. The area surrounding Wollongong is popular for skydiving, and your very own free fall can be experienced for about $279. If you prefer to keep your downtime easy and urban, there are plenty of bars and pubs. A .05 liter glass of domestic draught will typically cost close to $6.50. Taking in a movie will set you back $15.50.