Drive for just over 1 hour south of Sydney along Grand Pacific Drive and you’ll come across the seaside city of Wollongong. Sitting on a narrow coastal strip between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, Wollongong is known locally as ‘the Gong’. Its 300,000 population makes it the third largest city in New South Wales behind Sydney and Newcastle.

Wollongong has a long history of coal mining and industry with a steelwork being started in the region in 1928. This steelwork today has grown to become a world class flat rolled steel produced with a production of around 5 million tonnes a year.

Even though Wollongong is known for its industry, it still attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. The University of Wollongong is also a big attraction in the area with over 37,000 students and is internationally recognised.

The municipal of Wollongong has a unique layout. It lies on a slender seaside plain bordered by the Tasman Sea on the eastern side and a precipitous sandstone cliff recognized as the Illawarra Escarpment on the western edge. The seaside plain is broadest in the south and thinnest in the north, with the town centre situated around halfway. South of the city centre but in the built-up zone is Lake Illawarra, a big lagoon.

The central business district is a key commercial hub comprising numerous department shops and speciality stores, offices, and venues for entertainment. It is centred on the Crown Street Mall and Wollongong Central, and approximates the zone bounded by Market, Corrimal, and Burelli streets and the train line. All around the central business district lies an assortment of gardens, reserves, light commercial property, houses and multi-story housing units. Multi-story residences are obvious chiefly on Smith’s Hill north-east of the central business district, reflecting the acceptance of uniting city living, seaside views and a beach-side lifestyle. With many local landmarks for tourists, this area is becoming increasingly popular.

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