A beachside suburb north of Wollongong, Thirroul has a relaxed and casual vibe. With Thirroul Beach to the east, the Illawarra escarpment to the west, and a busy main road lined with awesome shops to explore, and cafes and restaurants to try, there is plenty to keep you busy.
Here’s The Fold’s guide to this awesome beachside town in the Illawarra.
Much of the outdoor activity revolves around the fab Thirroul Beach, which is one kilometre long and patrolled during the summer. If you need a break from the waves, Thirroul Pool is right on the beach, protected from the wind by a large wall. If you prefer to spend your time on two wheels, there is a bike path that runs for 16 kilometres from Thirroul to Wollongong. It’s actually part of the NSW Coastline Cycleway, which runs along the coast, but we love this bit because it’s a trail for bikes and pedestrians (you’re not riding on the road with cars).
There is a huge range of shops offering up homewares, fashion and more running along both sides of Lawrence Hargrave Drive, the main road that cuts through the middle of Thirroul. Start at the southern end by popping into the gorgeous Luca Luna to get your flower and plant fix, and Cocoon Trading for homewares. Noel & Gladys is a feast for the eyes with a gorgeous mix of funky fashion and must-haves for the home.
Once we were over the railway bridge, we loved the lifestyle stores of Nest Emporium and the Thirroul Collective, and a trip to Thirroul isn’t complete without a treasure hunt – you can forage at Wombat or the Thirroul Antique Centre for vintage finds. And be sure to pop into the independent bookstore, Collins Booksellers to support local!
WINING + DINING
From funky cafes to fun places to catch up with friends for dinner, Thirroul has got plenty of options to choose from for wining, dining, caffeinating and carb-loading! Head to Thirroul Beach Pavilion for casual beachside dining with a view. Grab a healthy veggie burger at Honest Don’s or load up on Filipino style pork knuckle at Old South. Order a cheeky (and delicious) baked treat with coffee at Wilde. If you love your seafood, load up on traditional fish & chips at Jolly Roger Seafood (you had us at potato scallops) or head to South Sailor for some kickarse fish taco’s, sushi, dumplings and more. Seriously amazing food and cocktails – a great venue for a fun night out with friends.
There’s stacks more wining and dining options in Thirroul, so here’s a list of cafes, pubs and restaurants for you for when you get a little peckish (and thirsty!).
STEP BACK IN TIME
The super-famous Anita’s Theatre has been around since 1925. Originally called the King’s Theatre, it’s right in the town centre and has quite the interesting background! Built originally as a place to stage plays and musicals, it’s also been a cinema and a roller-skating rink! Renamed Anita’s Theatre after local businessman John Comelli purchased the theatre and refurbished it, naming the theatre after his late wife, it’s now a well-known live music venue in the Illawarra region.
Literary buffs can also get their history fix in Thirroul – the famous writer D.H Lawrence lived in town for four months in 1922 when he wrote the novel ‘Kangaroo’. There is now a park and monument celebrating D.H Lawrence and his book that put Thirroul on the map! The D.H Lawrence Reserve is on Craig Street. The house where he lived ‘Wyewurk’ is a private residence so can’t be viewed, but you can always buy the book from Collins Booksellers in Thirroul instead.
JUST FOR KIDS
Thirroul Beach Playground behind the surf club is a great spot for kids to run off some energy, if a day in the surf hasn’t yet worn them out! Here’s a list of other playgrounds in the area too, as this one can get quite busy during the summer holidays. Thirroul Pool is popular with kids and if they’re keen to up the ante in the ocean, Australian Surf Tours Surf School offer surf lessons for older kids.
The Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival is an annual event, held in April to celebrate fabulous art in this gorgeous seaside town. A full weekend program of entertainment, exhibitions, food stalls and markets keeps everyone entertained, busy and full! Sadly, COVID meant the cancellation of the 2020 festival and the postponement of the 2021 version – watch this space for updates on (cross fingers!) a date being announced for late spring / early summer.
The beautiful, tiny seaside town of Austinmer is north of Thirroul. We love the enclave of quirky cafes, shops and cottages on tree-lined Moore Street. The Headlands Hotel is also worth a visit for Friday night cocktails, dumplings served up from an Airstream, or kicking back in the beer garden (with a cracking view) with a cold brewski and delicious schnitty! If you need to walk off all the dumplings and carbs, the Sublime Point Walking Track (it’s a gluteburner!) is accessed from Foothills Road on the westside (near the bush) of Austinmer.
Supporting Local Biz
There are so many amazing local businesses in Thirroul, and our Business Directory is the place to find them! From mechanics to medical centres, landscapers to legal services, beauty salons to builders… The Fold’s Business Directory has got you covered.