11 January 2024

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (12 - 18 January)

| Dione David
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Man on Ferris wheel at Shellharbour Summer Carnival

From carnivals to crafts, film screenings to festivals, the region has no shortage of fun this week. Photo: Shellharbour Summer Carnival Facebook.

As parts of the region groan back into some semblance of post-holiday normality, it’s clear others never slowed down over the festive season. From the Shellharbour carnival to the arts and crafts workshops, the Illawarra is not running short of entertainment options for kids and adults to celebrate the summer and school holiday break.

In between there’s a major community music festival in Wollongong, special markets, spectacles and more all down the coast.

Here are our top nine picks for the week.

All week

People ride the Waveswinger ride at Shellharbour Summer Carnival

This full-blown family carnival is the perfect way to celebrate summer and the school holidays. Image: Shellharbour Summer Carnival Facebook.

Shellharbour Summer Fun Fair

When: Daily until Friday 26 January, 6:30 to 10 pm
Where: Pioneer Park, Addison Street Shellharbour
Cost: General admission $35, four-person pass $100; book here.

The perfect way to celebrate summer and the school holidays, expect the complete carnival shebang at this family-friendly event, which includes rides, games, carnival food, and plenty of entertainment. Billed as the “best value family event on the coast”, unlimited ride wristbands will be available every night. Please note: Wristbands can be used on a different night if the event is cancelled due to wet weather. Check Facebook for the latest updates.

Books at Summer Book Sale at Wollongong City Libraries

This month, pick up a new read for 50 cents at your local library. Image: Wollongong City Council.

Summer Book Sale at Wollongong City Libraries

When: Weekdays until Thursday 25 January, 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Corrimal, Dapto, Helensburgh, Thirroul, Unanderra, Warrawong and Wollongong Libraries
Cost: 50 cents per book, payable at the library.

Wollongong City Libraries is clearing out excess books in its Summer Book Sale, providing the ideal chance to pick up your next read at a bargain price. Corrimal, Dapto, Helensburgh, Thirroul, Unanderra, Warrawong and Wollongong libraries are all participating until Wednesday 31 January 2024. Books are all 50 cents and can be purchased with cash or card at the libraries’ customer service counters. Items will be restocked throughout the sale period, and all proceeds will be donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation – a national charity working with remote Indigenous communities.


Flyer for school holiday activities at Shellharbour featuring youths running into water at a beach

Nothing says summer like beach games and barbecues. Image: Shellharbour Youth Services.

Beach Games

When: Friday 12 January, 11 am to 2:30 pm
Where: James Oates Reserve, 154 Charles Avenue, Minnamurra
Cost: Free.

With funding from Regional Youth NSW, Kiama Council and Sentral Youth Services Kiama are partnering to host a free day of summer fun and beach games. There will be fun activities, prizes and a barbecue, so grab your mates and get into the great outdoors. This event is aimed at people aged 12 to 24 years.


Flyer for Honk Oz 2024 festival

Completely free and volunteer run, HONK! Oz Street Music Festival’s main event happens this weekend. Image: Honk Oz Facebook.

>HONK! Oz Street Music Festival

When: Saturday 13 January, from 10 am
Where: Various Wollongong locations; see schedule here
Cost: Free.

This free outdoor spectacle features alternative community bands and related arts as they perform to celebrate, protest and proclaim. Some play for peace, some for activist causes and others yet for community spirit – but all of them play to have fun! The full schedule is here but the main event on Saturday includes the Grand STREET Parade for horns, bikes and feet at 12:30 pm.


Flyer for Bulli Village Markets special event

Bulli Village Market is always a firm favourite, but organisers have something a little extra in store this weekend. Image: Bulli Village Market.

Special school holidays Bulli Village Market

When: Sunday January 14, 11 am to 4 pm
Where: Bulli Showground, Grevillea Park Road, Bulli
Cost: Gold coin donation, payable upon entry.

To mark the school holidays, the Bulli Village Market will have a little extra in store for visitors. Alongside more than 90 bespoke stalls, delicious food and drink stands and live music will be fun rides for the kids (including pony rides), a face painter, LEGO, henna tattoos and hair braiding. Peruse everything from cheeses, olives, award-winning honey-mead, gin and pasta, salamis, and doughnuts to die for at this all-weather market offering an indoor and outdoor seating area and a play area for the kids to enjoy.


Craft n Create Workshop Whimsical Villages by Expressive Art Experience

Kids will be taken on a magical journey to create a whimsical mushroom village at Georgia Rose. Image: Expressive Art Experience.

Kids Create ‘n’ Craft Class: Whimsical Villages

When: Wednesday 17 January, 10 am to noon
Where: Georgia Rose, 9 Marina Drive, Shell Cove
Cost: $42, book here.

One of two Kids Create ‘n’ Craft Classes at Georgia Rose during the school holidays, the theme of this workshop is “Whimsical Villages”. Special host from Expressive Art Experience Michelle Springett will take participants on a magical journey to create a whimsical mushroom village using paint and collage. The workshop is suitable for children eight years and above, and all craft materials, aprons and a yummy morning tea are provided.


Banner for The Dino Maniacs show

The Dino Maniacs show is the must-see spectacle of the school holidays. Photo: Trybooking.

The Dino Maniacs

When: Thursday 18 January, 4:30 to 6 pm
Where: Shellharbour Civic Centre, 76 Cygnet Avenue, Shellharbour City Centre
Cost: General admission $20, kids under two free; book here.

This highly interactive energetic dinosaur spectacular is set to take the whole family back in time with Razor The Raptor, Trixi Triceratops, Ozzi & Oi! and Aussie dinosaurs Rainbow J, Shaun (The Dino Doctor) and many more prehistoric special guests. Expect plenty of surprises, songs such as the Dino Maniacs’ original Rock & Roar, jokes, dancing and exciting opportunities for audience members to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs.

Banner for Disconnect me screening and Q and A with Screen Illawarra

You will not be asked to turn off your phone during this cinema experience – in fact, you’ll be asked to use it. Image: Screen Illawarra.

Disconnect Me Film Screening with Q&A

When: Thursday 18 January, 6:30 to 9 pm
Where: Gala Cinema Warrawong, 204 Cowper Street Warrawong
Cost: Two for $10; book here.

Screen Illawarra’s first networking event of 2024 invites film buffs to a special screening of Disconnect Me – a dynamic doco-film about our smartphones that will both entertain and trigger a re-examination of our relationship with our phones. The film centres around Alex who disconnects from his smartphone for 30 days, shining a light on the social impacts of smartphones, social media, and AI while interviewing children, teenagers, adults and experts in their respective fields. Innovating the cinema-going experience, audiences are invited to interact with the film using their smartphone – rather than being asked to turn it off.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the documentary’s director Alex Lykos, co-producer Pete Maple, and editor Miriana Marusic.

Banner: learn to paint in three colours teens art workshop by Expressive Art Experience

Teens are invited to explore the power of simplicity and ignite their creativity with Expressive Art Experience. Image: Expressive Art Experience.

Teens Art Workshop: Painting Using Three Colours

When: Thursday 18 January, 2:30 to 5 pm
Where: Expressive Art Experience, 13 Newing Circuit, Kiama Downs
Cost: $45 (Kids Creative Vouchers accepted); book here.

In this Expressive Art Experience workshop, teens can take on the challenge of painting with just three carefully selected colours. Guided by an experienced host, participants will explore the impact of colour theory and learn to master the interplay between hues, shades, and tones. All painting materials are provided, as well as aprons, but participants should wear paint-friendly clothing and are welcome to bring their own snacks.

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