29 February 2024

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (1 - 7 March)

| Dione David
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Kids sit on parents' shoulders and watch planes fly

Airshows Downunder will be a spectacle you won’t want to miss. Photo: Mark Jessop.

From high intensity death-defying motorcycle tricks to mindful guided birdwatching, the Illawarra has a diverse range of options on the to-do list this week, with something to suit every vibe.

Airshows Downunder Shellharbour (formerly Wings Over Illawarra) is finally here, sure to be a crowd-pleaser for all ages, and the fabulous Ocean Film Festival is hitting Wollongong on its world tour.

In between is a good old-fashioned school fete, discount plant shopping, author talks, live music and a tour of our fantastic ocean pools to raise money for a good cause.

Here are our nine picks for the week.


Banner for Freestylle Kings tour featuring motorcycle stunts

Don’t miss your chance to witness the explosive action-packed show. Image: Freestyle Kings Facebook.

Freestyle Kings Live Stadium Tour 2024

When: Saturday 2 March, 6:30 pm
Where: WIN Stadium Wollongong, corner Crown and Harbour streets, Wollongong
Cost: From $60.10, book here.

Double backflips and fire breathers are par for the course in this death-defying spectacle that the whole family can enjoy. Coming to Wollongong for one night only, this epic two-hour experience features the world’s best Freestyle Motocross & BMX riders putting on a show that will leave you and the entire family on the edge of your seats.

Airplane on tarmac surrounded by crowds

Airshows Downunder Shellharbour (formerly Wings Over Illawarra) is finally here. Photo: Mark Jessop.

Airshows Downunder Shellharbour Airshow

When: Saturday 2 March, 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Shellharbour Airport, Airport Road, Albion Park Rail
Cost: From $40, book here.

Australia’s largest regional airshow is here with two action-packed days of flying, aerobatic performers, static aircraft displays, carnival rides and much more. See ground displays and flying demonstrations of historical, military, modern and aerobatic aircraft, children’s rides and aviation and technology-related exhibitions.

Child eats fairyfloss

Good old-fashioned fete vibes with profits going to school upgrades. Photo: Puhimec.

Holy Cross Helensburgh Family Fun Day

When: Saturday 2 March, 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Holy Cross Helensburgh, 1 Mcmillan Street Helensburgh
Cost: Free entry.

Expect all the school fair favourites at this one-day event – fabulous sweet treats, tasty barbecue, market stalls, rides for the kids, a sideshow alley, plants, books and much more. Don’t miss the ever-popular chocolate wheel, with great prizes waiting to be won. All profits will be going towards continuing sustainable upgrades to the school.

Plants for sale

Pick yourself up a bargain for the garden. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Super Saturday Plant Sale

When: Saturday 2 March, 7:30 am to 2:30 pm
Where: Botanic Garden Nursery, 65 Northfields Avenue, Keiraville
Cost: Free entry.

The Wollongong Botanic Garden Nursery has an extensive range of local trees, shrubs, ground covers and grasses for sale, and this Saturday, they’ll be 25 per cent off. Expert horticulture staff will provide plant advice on the day, and you can visit the Botanic Garden Nursery web page ahead of time for a list of species available and prices. You can pick up a printed copy of the Growing Illawarra Natives or Edible Plant guides and the council’s verge guidelines from the nursery during the day.


People play in an ocean pool

Raise funds for the Cancer Council NSW and swim in the Illawarra’s beautiful ocean pools while at it. Photo: Clearsafe Great Ocean Pool Crawl Facebook.

Clearsafe Great Ocean Pool Crawl 2024

When: Sunday 3 March, 8 am to 2:30 pm
Where: Towradgi Beach Hotel, 170 Pioneer Road, Towradgi
Cost: Adult $50, youth eight to 17 $30, child seven or under free, family of four $140, book here.

This annual charity event raises much-needed funds for Cancer Council NSW. Don your favourite swimming outfit, meet at Towradgi Beach Hotel and then hop onto buses that will shuttle you from pool to pool. Enjoy two laps in each of the five incredible ocean pools of the Illawarra – Coalcliff, Wombarra, Austinmer, Bulli and Towradgi.

An after-function at the Towradgi Beach Hotel will include lunch, entertainment and the auction and raffle draw. Prizes will be given to the person with the best outfit, the highest fundraising individual and team, and one pool crawler will receive a lucky door prize.


Black and white photos of Mai Nguyen-Long and Kon Gouriotis OAM

Kon Gouriotis OAM has been following Mai Nguyen-Long for decades, lining up a fascinating conversation. Photo: Mai Nguyen-Long photographed by Silversalt, Kon Gouriotis photographed by Stephen Oxenbury.

Artist Talk – Mai Nguyen-Long: From Pho Dog to Vomit Girl

When: Wednesday 6 March, 11 am
Where: Wollongong Art Gallery, 46 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Free.

In this artist talk, Mai Nguyen-Long is in conversation with Kon Gouriotis OAM who has been following Mai Nguyen-Long’s practice since the 1990s, curating her first group exhibitions in Australia. Through a broad lens into her practice – including her controversial Pho Dog (2006), they will discuss how their CPAC Palanquin project is a continuum in Gouriotis’ curatorial commitment to Nguyen-Long’s practice and a future evolution of Vomit Girl.


Man on stage with guitar

Whether you’re a die-hard Clapton fan or simply a lover of great acoustic blues, you won’t want to miss this show. Photo: The Little Image Company.

“Unplugged” – The Album & Music Of Eric Clapton

When: Thursday 7 March, 7:30 pm
Where: The Music Lounge Wollongong, IPAC, 32 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Standard $35, premium $40, book here.

Experience the acoustic virtuosity at this brilliant show, paying tribute to Eric Clapton’s iconic “Unplugged” album alongside some of his greatest hits. Matt Arthur captures the essence and emotion of Clapton’s timeless classics with a soulful voice and mesmerising guitar skills. He will be joined by his band, The Lazybones – Sam McNally on keys, Michael Vidale on bass, and Dave Egan on drums.

Ocean Film Festival World Tour – Wollongong

When: Thursday 7 March, 7 to 10 pm
Where: University Hall, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Keiraville
Cost: Adult $32, child $24, groups 10+ $29 per person, book here.

This festival brings together a fascinating selection of films of varying lengths and styles, covering topics such as ocean adventure and exploration, the oceanic environment, marine creatures, ocean-related sports, coastal cultures, and ocean lovers. Whether you’re into boating, (free) diving, surfing, snorkelling, or just enjoy ocean stories, get ready to be inspired.

In each tour location, the Ocean Film Festival World Tour works with local ocean charities to support them in their crucial work conserving the oceans.

Green bird in the wild

Bird lovers will be flocking to the Botanic Gardens for this experience. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Bird-spotting Walks

When: Thursday 7 March, 12:30 to 1:30 pm
Where: Botanic Garden Discovery Centre, 29 Madoline Street, Keiraville
Cost: Free.

Join the passionate Illawarra Birders for a free one-hour lunchtime bird-spotting walk in the garden. Beginning at the Education Centre near the Madoline Street entrance, you will discover the region’s local avian residents under expert guidance. Don’t forget your cameras as you’ll encounter a variety of beautiful birds during the walk. Share your bird-spotting photos via the hashtag #WollongongBotanicGarden on social media.

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