Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area

South Coast NSW

Spectacular rainforest hugs the edge of the ever-eroding sandstone cliffs of the Illawarra Escarpment, a 30-million-year-old feature that rises to 534m at Mt Kembla's pointed summit. A winding, 15-minute drive from Wollongong, through knotted tunnels of trees, leads to the dramatic Mt Keira Lookout (464m) across Wollongong and the coast.

Signs point to the 5.5km Mt Keira Ring Track; it's steep with many stairs, so allow up to 4½ hours for the full loop.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby South Coast NSW attractions

1. Science Space

2.48 MILES

Buoyancy, inertia, the Stroop effect and other scientific laws and phenomena are explained with cranks, bubbling tubes and even a mechanical elephant at…

2. Wollongong Botanic Garden


In a region already awash in scenic spots, Wollongong's botanic gardens still delight visitors with their attractive lily ponds, manicured lawns and…

3. Bellambi Point

3.22 MILES

Eight kilometres north of Wollongong, this fine-sand headland – formerly a tool site and burial ground, with a large shell midden – was legally recognised…

4. North Beach


Stretching north from the harbour, North Beach is an excellent all-rounder: shallows for kids to splash in, breaks suitable for various levels and…

5. Breakwater Lighthouse

3.81 MILES

Presently more of a landmark than an attraction, this heritage lighthouse on the harbour was built in 1871 (and switched on the following year). It was…

6. Belmore Basin

3.86 MILES

The basin, cut from solid rock in 1868, is a good place to orient yourself in Wollongong. The harbour beach is great for young children, with sand and…

7. Wollongong Art Gallery

3.96 MILES

The work of local creators, including Aboriginal artists, is displayed in this attractive four-floor gallery. Much of the permanent collection centres on…

8. Wollongong Head Lighthouse

3.98 MILES

The larger and newer of Wollongong's two lighthouses, this 25m concrete tower is still active. Picnic benches close by on the grassy headland, and…