Out & About

WHEN FRIENDS COME TO STAY // A Weekend With The Girls In The Illawarra

A 48 hour guide for indulging eyes, ears, taste buds and wardrobes!

By Hannah Castelli


Nothing gets us charged like an amazing weekend with our chicas. Whether it be your local girl gang or your hunnies from out of town coming to visit, we’ve put together an itinerary packed with fun that will have you wanting to do it all over again [once those cocktails and bubbles have worn off]. 

And if you’d rather avoid pulling out the blow-up mattress and doonas for the couch, we’ve got a  Places To Stay guide on The Fold Illawarra, full of perfect places for visitors to rest their heads. Why not book a room yourself? Staycation for the win!



Nothing screams Friday like pizza and wine, but not on the couch in our leggings and messy bun, no ma’am.. the ladies are going out! Franco Pizza Bar in Thirroul is a fab place to unwind, chat, sip and eat the night away. With over 80 wines to choose from and a mouth-watering selection of sharing plates and pizza, you’re sure to start the weekend off on the right foot.


Wanna keep the night going? Papi’s is just a few doors down and has that cool dive bar vibe that will give you instant hip-chick cred. Need a bit of roof-top action? Continue to The Fitz in Bulli, around a 5 min taxi ride away and grab a space on their adorable roof-top – cocktails are a must, naturally!


Rooftop cocktails at The Fitz Cafe & Bar.




Ah, we love the smell of retail therapy in the morning! Wollongong Central and Crown St Mall is a local shopping hub  and is an ideal spot to hit up to get all the things you need [or don’t need but just really really want]. There’s the big names you expect from a shopping hub but also loads of adorable boutique stores like PonyBoy Vintage Clothing, The 3RS, Jam Woman and Shangrila Collections to suit all tastes.  


Quirky homewares at 3RS.


You’ll probably want a caffeine fix to go with your retail one and there are plenty of options to choose from.  Quay Canteen will sort out your brunch and caffeine hit needs. Get a balcony seat for fresh air feelz. 


Quay Canteen


Once you’re shopped out [is that even a thing?] you deserve a little pampering – yay! Arabella Day Spa in Shellharbour Village is a sweet spot for total indulgence. Book yourself and your ladies in for one of their heavenly services. With options like facials, body treatments, massage and mani- pedis all you have to do is sit back, relax and let the super helpful staff treat you like the goddess you are! 

Day spas in the Illawarra.


Arabella Day Spa


If your girl gang is looking for another type of indulgence, head to Coastal Float in Kiama which offers floatation therapy and an infrared sauna. Their job is to help you relax to the max and we’re sure you’ll all be only too happy to help!





High tea is the ideal girl’s trip treat and luckily Sugar Butter Eggs in Woonona is here for us. Scones with jam and cream, tea, sandwiches and petit fours…oh my! The interior is cottage-core realness and if you choose the ‘Pretty Fly’ specialty tea you get the added joy of watching it change colour right before your eyes – so fun!



Alright, you’ve been pampered, you’re full of tea, now it’s time to get your hair fancy before heading out tonight. Toscani & Blow Bar in Wollongong is a dream come true – literally a blowout salon WITH a fully kitted out bar –  woah somebody pinch us. Sipping a cocktail, snacking on a cheese board and getting your locks looking luscious and fresh – hell yeah!






GURRRRLSSSS…you look fab, let’s show you all off! Steamers Bar and Grill on City Beach foreshore is an ideal destination for dinner and an atmosphere that is as good as you babes look! Their menu is great for sharing and has some tasty wines and cocktails on offer  to get the night started.


Steamers Bar & Grill is a vibe.


To keep the good times rolling head to Humber for a rooftop cocktail or two and The Icon for some funky tunes. End the night at the popular Illawarra Hotel where you’ll dance the night away. Flat shoes may be the way to go for tonight……or chair dancing.


Party time at The Illawarra Hotel


If you’re feeling a little dusty from last night, that’s ok – we got you! It’s brunch o’clock and Penny Whistlers in Kiama is calling.  Malted Buttermilk Hotcakes with a side of sea views – yes please. Kiama is also a great spot to do some last-minute shopping. The village streets are lined with cutesy craft and boutique stores, one of our faves is The Collective Beat which hosts lots of local businesses and artisans all in one space.


Hotcakes at Penny Whistler’s…..droooool


Maybe your gals are the more adventurous type and prefer to walk it off. The Wodi Wodi Walking Track is one for the experienced hikers and once you’ve made the blood-pumping trek to the top you’ll totally understand why. But you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Northern Illawarra coastline. Please remember to bring plenty of water and check with the national parks website before you head off as yucky weather can sometimes cause the track to be closed.





Wow, all that trekking [or not] is thirsty work – thank goodness for wineries. Crooked River Wines in Gerringong is STUNNING, and we recommend this is where you end your trip. Spend the last few hours together wine tasting, strolling around the gorge surroundings, chillin’ on the hill and getting that piccy all together, posing in front of the vines. I mean, did you really have a weekend with the girls if you didn’t post a picture on the socials? They also have a fantastic restaurant on-site and live music every Sunday….lush! Don’t forget to book ahead and stock up on plenty of bottles to take home. 

What a perfect way to round off a wonderful weekend with friends – good job, ladies!


Sunday fundays at Crooked River Wines

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