16 May 2024

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (17 - 23 May)

| Dione David
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Rear view of happy kids with finger colours and painted T-shirts

KidsFest returns to Shellharbour this week. Photo: Halfpoint.

Across the Illawarra’s eclectic social calendar there’s something for everyone this week. For adults, a musical with a dark side and belly laughs imported from Melbourne; for the kiddos, a range of activities with the launch of KidsFest in Shellharbour as well as National Simultaneous Storytime and for your furry companion, a doggie day in the park.

There’s the annual event bringing vintage motor enthusiasts together and not one, but two riding events for charity.

Here are our top nine picks for this week.

All weekend

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow

When: Saturday 18 May, 7:30 pm and Sunday 19 May, 5 pm.
Where: Main Auditorium, Wollongong Town Hall, corner Crown and Kembla streets, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $49, concession, student or group 8+ $44, book here.

Get set Wollongong – Australia’s premier comedy roadshow is headed our way to showcase the finest talents from the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival – a line-up of beloved comedy royalty alongside the freshest sensations from the festival, all in one hilarious show. Grab your friends, get your tickets and get ready for the belly laughs.


Flyer for Walk the Field

No running is allowed on this football field. Image: Walk the Field Facebook.

Walk the Field

When: Saturday 18 May, 8:30 am
Where: Ian McLennan Park, 50 Wyllie Road, Kembla Grange
Cost: $25, book here.

Wollongong’s walking football event. Walking Football is headed to Kembla Grange. This small-sided, low-impact, modified version of the game is suitable for all levels of ability and fitness, from people who want to maintain their football fitness in the off-season to those who’ve never played before. Running is not allowed, and participants must always have one foot on the ground. The ball cannot be kicked above head height in this non-contact version of the game. There will be social, competitive and women-only participation options. Nominate a team here or register here (all team players must register and pay via Playfootball).


People driving The Australian MOTORLIFE Museum vintage car

Calling all vintage, veteran and classic vehicle lovers. Photo: The Australian MOTORLIFE Museum.

National Motoring Heritage Day at the Australian Motorlife Museum

When: Sunday 19 May, 9:30 to 4 pm
Where: The Australian Motorlife Museum, Integral Energy Recreation Park, 94 Darkes Road, Kembla Grange
Cost: $5, payable upon entry.

National Historic Motoring Heritage Day, an Australian Historic Motoring Federation initiative, is supported by heritage and historic motoring clubs throughout Australia – including our very own in Kembla Grange. Owners of all types of vintage, veteran and classic vehicles are invited to come out for a drive and meet other like-minded enthusiasts. There will be ample parking, a sausage sizzle and refreshments available and discounted admission to the museum on the day.

Dog sits in the grass with a ball in its mouth

Mark your calendars, dog lovers. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Dogs in the Park

When: Sunday 19 May, 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Dapto Rugby League Football Club, 89-99 Princes Motorway, Dapto
Cost: Free entry.

It’ll be impawsible to miss this epic doggie day out in Dapto. Local businesses will showcase canine products, accessories and services and there will be a variety of food vendors for both humans and their furry friends. Doggie demonstrations will inspire and teach you new ways to bond with your furry friends as you watch skilled trainers and their canine companions showcase impressive tricks, agility and obedience. There will be competitions for local owners to show off their pups’ skills and talents – both trained and God-given.

People ride bikes around a circuit

Ride virtually or in person at this year’s Ride4Rotary. Photo: Ride4Rotary.

Ride4Rotary, Supporting Youth at Risk in the Illawarra

When: Sunday 19 May, 9:30 am to 4 pm
Where: Unanderra Velodrome, 146 Princes Highway, Unanderra (or anywhere for virtual participants)
Cost: Adult $15, child $15, family $65, under 9s free, book here.

All proceeds from this fun, family-friendly cycling charity event for all ages and abilities go to local Charity Southern Youth and Family Services to support Youth at Risk. There’s a live ride option and a virtual ride option, so people can participate from far and wide, setting their own goals (both in terms of riding and fundraising). There are also great prizes to be won.

Flyer for The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

Distinguished gentlemen shall converge to raise funds for a good cause – and to look spiffy while doing it. Image: The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

Wollongong Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

When: Sunday 19 May, 9 am
Where: Forecourt, Illawarra Brewery (WIN Sports and Entertainment Centre)
Cost: Various, register to ride or donate here.

It’s that time of year when classic and vintage-styled motorcycle riders will once again ride “side by side worldwide” to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health. The Wollongong leg kicks off with breakfast on Wollongong’s foreshore hosted by the Illawarra Brewery, and the ride will be officially launched by the Lord Mayor of Wollongong, Gordon Bradbury, at 9 am.

The colourful cavalcade of motorcycle enthusiasts, renowned for dressing dapper while riding classic and vintage-styled bikes will create quite the spectacle as they follow a route from Wollongong via Corrimal, then back through the city before heading up over the escarpment and finishing at one of Wollongong’s favourite watering holes, the Mount Kembla Village Hotel.

City Coast Motorcycles will again host, and business owner Derek Sheppard is pumped. “Over 106,000 riders globally participated in last year’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. Together, we raised over $11.2m,” he says. “Wollongong has always been one of the leading fundraisers, and this year is shaping up to be better than ever.”

Flyer for KidsFest Shellharbour

Shellharbour’s favourite free festival for kids is back. Image: KidsFest Shellharbour.


When: Sunday 19 to Saturday 25 May, various times
Where: Various Shellharbour locations
Cost: Free, book here.

The annual week-long, free not-for-profit festival for children, their families and carers is back with a jam-packed program of events held across a range of venues in Shellharbour. Expect everything from lantern parades to picnics, bowling to Indigenous culture. Children aged 0 to 12 years get to create, explore and discover through hands-on activities hosted by community service organisations and supported by local businesses to develop an increased sense of inclusion and belonging.


Banner for National Simultaneous Storytime featuring the cover of Aura Parker's Bowerbird Blues

National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Image: Australian Library and Information Association.

National Simultaneous Storytime

When: Wednesday 22 May, from 11:30 am
Where: Various Illawarra locations
Cost: Free.

This year’s National Simultaneous Storytime picture book is Aura Parker’s Bowerbird Blues. It will be read simultaneously in libraries, schools, preschools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country, to promote the value of reading and literacy.

Bowerbird Blues stars a beautiful bowerbird on the search for – you guessed it – blue. It’s a moving story of longing and connection, that unfolds as the bowerbird’s search sends him soaring across the sea, sky and city. Grab the family and head to any of the following locations:


American Psycho The Musical banner

Get ready to experience American Psycho in a whole new way. Image: Rising Arts Productions.

American Psycho

When: Thursday 23 May, 6:30 pm, Friday 24 May 6:30 pm and Saturday 25 May 1:30 pm and 6:30 pm
Where: Bruce Gordon Theatre, IPAC, 32 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $50, student, concession or group 10+ $44, book here (recommended ages 15+).

Brought to the Illawarra by local community theatre company Rising Arts Productions, American Psycho is a ruthless and daring musical rendition of the electrifying novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Like the book (and blockbuster film) it follows Patrick Bateman, a young and handsome Wall Street banker with impeccable taste and unquenchable desires. By day he and his elite group of friends spend their days in chic restaurants, exclusive clubs and designer labels – but by night he partakes of a darker indulgence.

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