20 December 2023

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (22 - 28 December)

| Dione David
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Sideshow at Laurie’s Kiama Family Carnival

Tis the season to be busy, with plenty on offer to distract you from your endless errands. Photo: Laurie’s Kiama Family Carnival Facebook.

Buckle up, Christmas week is here, and the Illawarra has plenty of distractions lined up to beckon you away from that mounting to-do list.

Kiama and Gerringong libraries have organised something for the region’s little bookworms and the Illawarra Fly has a couple of new adventures lined up for visitors.

There are Christmas movie screenings at The Waterfront in Shell Cove and at Jamberoo Action Park, an exciting Hawks game and not one, but two carnivals kick off this week.

Here are our top nine picks for the week. Merry Christmas!

All week

Boy Reading Book With Torch Under Duvet

Kiama and Gerringong libraries have organised something for the region’s little bookworms. Photo: Envato/monkeybusiness.

Summer Reading Stars

When: From now until Monday 29 January, any time
Where: Kiama Library, 7 Railway Parade, Kiama or Gerringong Library, 8 Blackwood Street, Gerringong
Cost: Free.

Open to all primary school-aged children, this book reading challenge will reward your little bookworm for expanding their horizons throughout the holidays. If they can read 10 books and complete the challenge sheet, they’ll receive a bag of goodies and go in the draw to win a book voucher. Simply pick up a Summer Reading Stars challenge sheet from Kiama or Gerringong library or download it here. Once they’ve read 10 books they can go to Kiama or Gerringong library to hand in their challenge sheet, collect their goodie bag and enter the draw.

Girl practising archery aiming with bow and arrow

Move aside, Katniss Everdeen. Photo: Envato/imagesourcecurated.

Archery at Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

When: Multiple days until Wednesday 31 January; sessions every hour from 9:45 am to 2:30 pm
Where: Illawarra Fly, 182 Knights Hill Road, Knights Hill
Cost: Adult $50, child $30, book here (price includes entry to the Treetop Walk).

Ready for an “arrowing” new experience at the Illawarra Fly? This family-friendly crash course includes a brief introduction to archery and safety talk, followed by 30 minutes of fun on the range, going from target to target in the heart of the forest. The fee includes archery equipment and entry to the Treetop Walk. This activity is suitable for people aged eight years and above, and no experience is required.

Poster of children with words summer of dragons and dragon wings

Are you a dragon rider or a dragon hunter? Image: Illawarra Fly Facebook.

Summer Of Dragons at Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

When: Multiple days until Wednesday 31 January; sessions every hour from 9:45 am to 2:30 pm
Where: Illawarra Fly, 182 Knights Hill Road, Knights Hill
Cost: Adult $25.65, senior, concession or student $22, child three to 15 years $13.50, family $67.50; book here (included in treetop walk).

Not that you need more excuses to visit the Illawarra Fly, but included in your entry is this cute little activity that kids will love. Collect your map from the Information Centre on arrival to embark on the “Dragon’s Quest”. Follow the clues to discover your destiny – are you a dragon rider or a dragon hunter? Along the way you’ll practise your fighting skills at Flameforge Training Grounds, find the Dragon’s Treasure at The Serpents Grotto and more. This limited time event is suitable for all ages.


The Grinch and max

Catch the beloved classic The Grinch on the big screen. Image: Shellharbour City Council.

The Grinch on the big screen

When: Friday 22 December, 8 pm
Where: The Waterfront, 100 Cove Boulevard, Shell Cove
Cost: Free.

The animated screen adaptation of beloved children’s classic story The Grinch will hit the big screen at The Waterfront in Shell Cove. The movie follows the grumpy green man himself as he grows increasingly annoyed with the ever-growing festive cheer engulfing the village of Whoville. Teaming up with his dog, he hatches a dastardly plan to ruin the festive spirit. This is a family-friendly, alcohol-free event.


Flyer for dive in movies at Jamberoo Action Park

Kick back in your lilo and catch a movie any Saturday from now to the end of January. Image: Jamberoo Action Park.

Dive-in Movies

When: Every Saturday from 23 December to 27 January, 5 to 7 pm
Where: Jamberoo Action Park, 1215 Jamberoo Road, Jamberoo
Cost: Ages three years and under free, ages four to 12 years $64, ages 13 to 59 $74, Ages 60 and above $64; book here (additional charges if purchased at the gate).

NSW’s largest family-owned and operated water theme park offers a full day of action-packed thrills, adventure and excitement or a lazy afternoon floating about in a tube or lying on a sun lounge at Outback Bay, where Dive-In Movies will return Saturday nights throughout the summer school holidays. The movie is free with paid entry admission, with popcorn, ice cream, candy, treats or an early dinner available to purchase. The movies start at 5 pm and finish around 6:30 to 7 pm, leaving plenty of time to get the kids home, bathed and into bed.

Santa holding a bottle of Wolf and Woman gin

Wolf & Woman are orchestrating one final pre-Christmas hoorah. Image: Wolf & Woman.

Christmas Party at Wolf & Woman Distillery

When: Saturday 23 December, noon
Where: Wolf & Woman Distillery, 14/6 Bellambi Lane, Bellambi
Cost: Free entry.

Gather around – Wolf & Woman invite you and yours for one last pre-Christmas hoorah. The doors swing open at midday, when you can indulge in local delights from the food truck. From 3:30 pm you can dance to the beats of DJ Crazy Horse and enjoy exclusive discounts on bottle sales all night. Oh, and rumour has it the big man in red himself might drop by.

Logo Illawarra Hawks

If all you want for Christmas is to see the Hawks take down the Tasmania JackJumpers, get your tickets now. Image: Illawarra Hawks Basketball.

NBL24: Illawarra Hawks Vs Tasmania JackJumpers

When: Saturday 23 December, 4:30 pm
Where: WIN Stadium, 46 Harbour Street, Wollongong
Cost: From $25 to $125, book here.

Keen on a pre-Christmas clash of the Titans? Watch the Illawarra Hawks take on the Tasmania JackJumpers in a special Christmas Eve Eve clash, tipping off at 5:30 pm. Start the holiday cheer early with your Hawks as Justin Robinson and Davo Hickey defend the Sandpit against Milton Doyle and Anthony Drmic. This is a great family-friendly event with family tickets including two adults and two juniors from just $72.


Ghost train ride

This carnival offers endless entertainment for the whole family. Photo: Laurie’s Kiama Family Carnival Facebook.

Laurie’s Kiama Family Carnival

When: Nightly from Tuesday 26 December to Sunday 7 January, nightly from 6:30 to 10 pm
Where: Black Beach Reserve, Kiama
Cost: Free entry.

Kiama comes to life from Boxing Day through to January with carnival vibes. Expect rides, sideshow alley, carnival food, giveaways and entertainment. Rides range from little-kid-friendly to adrenaline-pumping. And the best part? Entry is free, with EFTPOS facilities onsite for anyone wanting to splash out on a big day for the whole family.

Banner for Wollongong Summer Carnival

Expect the full carnival gamut from rides to sideshow alley at this family-friendly event. Image: Ace Attractions.

Wollongong Summer Carnival

When: Tuesday 26 December to Monday 8 January, Sunday to Thursday 4 to 8 pm, Friday, Saturday and New Year’s Eve, 4 to 10 pm and New Year’s Day, 2 to 10 pm
Where: Lang Park, 1 Marine Drive, Wollongong
Cost: Unlimited rides and entry $30, ride ticket $8, entry only $5, book here.

Organisers are pulling out all the stops for this family-friendly carnival. Aside from free crafts, putt-putt golf and lawn games, expect all the classic carnival rides from dodgem cars to inflatables, teacups to adrenaline-pumping rides like the “Windjammer”. The food truck lineup includes fairy floss, hotdogs, Dagwood dogs, gelato, schnitzel and more.

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