23 May 2024

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (24 - 30 May)

| Dione David
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Tree draped in lights at The Enchanted Forest light and sound spectacle at Shellharbour's Blackbutt Forest Reserve

Tickets are selling fast to Enchanted Forest – The Lost Astronaut. Photo: Laservision.

There’s a big, sometimes fun, sometimes wondrous, other times important week ahead.

The long-awaited second instalment of Laservision’s Enchanted Forest hits Shellharbour with a cosmic theme and medieval fun comes to Berry for the Celtic Festival.

Nature lovers won’t want to miss the Wollongong Botanic Gardens Day, or the chance to learn how to become a beekeeper.

On a more serious note, Women Illawarra has made a call to action for a community-led cultural revolution to stop domestic and sexual violence against women, which will descend on Lang Park on Sunday.

In between there’s live music, creative pursuits and the Benevolent Society is hosting a night for carers to connect and learn over yummy food and drinks.

Here are our top nine picks for the week.

All week

Banner for The Enchanted Forest Lost Astronaut event at Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Laservision’s latest creation in Shellharbour is out of this world. Image: Laservision.

The Enchanted Forest – Lost Astronaut

When: Friday 24 May to Sunday 16 June, various times from 5:45 to 10:15 pm
Where: Blackbutt Forest Reserve, 53 Blackbutt Way, Barrack Heights
Cost: Adult $14, child three to 17 years $9.50, under 2s free, family $38.50, book here.

Over three magical weeks, Shellharbour’s Blackbutt Forest awakens with The Enchanted Forest – Lost Astronaut. The second instalment of the event by innovative creators Laservision takes audiences on a journey through a spectacle of light and sound in the heart of the Blackbutt Forest Reserve. Follow the “Lost Astronaut” as they embark on a mission to rebuild their ship and escape this otherworldly forest pulsing with dazzling laser effects, interactive projections, custom soundscapes, celestial holograms and much more.


An Evenning with Vika and Linda

When: Saturday 25 May, 7:30 pm
Where: Anita’s Theatre, 264-270 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul
Cost: $79, book here.

Beloved Aussie vocal duo Vika & Linda are at the top of their game, and they’re bringing their intimate, stripped-back show to Anita’s Theatre. Inspired by many wonderful band room singalongs and soundcheck experiences, it’ll be just the sisters and the beautiful sounds of long-term collaborator, producer and musical director Cameron Bruce on grand piano. This design showcases the rich beauty of their voices like never before – don’t miss out.

Banner for Berry Celtic Festival

Jousting, market stalls, music and artisans – a full day of entertainment comes to Berry. Image: Rotary Club of Berry.

Berry Celtic Festival

When: Saturday 25 May, 9:30 am to 4 pm
Where: Berry Showground, corner Alexandra and Victoria streets, Berry (Grand Street Parade starts at Apex Park, 10 Prince Alfred Street, Berry)
Cost: Adults $15, children under 15 free, book here.

Expect all the knights, all the bands, all the clans, medieval villagers, singing and dancing when the Berry Celtic Festival returns for a day full of entertainment. Stepping off at 9:30 am at Apex Park, the Grand Street Parade will proceed down the main street of Berry and on to the Berry Showground where the rest of the day’s activities are held. There will be jousting, market stalls, a Scottish soldiers’ camp, Celtic musicians, spinners, weavers and artisans galore, games, tea, coffee and scones, crafts, a steam engine and more.

Banner for I am Power Summit at The Sebel Kiama

Image: IAmPower Events Facebook.

IAmPower Summit

When: Saturday 25 May, 10 am to 4 pm
Where: The Sebel Kiama, 2 Minnamurra Street, Kiama
Cost: $189, book here.

The IAMPower Summit is a day filled with inspiration, practical knowledge and actionable tools as industry experts share their insights on a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing. Designed exclusively for women by women, the event features expert keynote speakers specialising in women’s health and wellbeing topics. Besides access to the full program, your ticket includes morning tea and lunch, a goodie bag, workbook and more.


An abused woman sits on floor and holds her hand out in a stop gesture

Are you angry about the terrible rates of violence against women and children? This is your call to action. Photo: File.

Women Illawarra “Stop Gender-Based Violence” Call to Action

When: Sunday 26 May, 12:30 to 3 pm
Where: Lang Park, 1 Marine Drive, Wollongong
Cost: Free.

As Women Illawarra general manager Michelle Glasgow put it – “we’re experiencing a national emergency, generations in the making, reach horrific levels of violence against women, children and communities”. Now the organisation has put out a call to action. Join them at Lang Park this Sunday in starting a community-led cultural revolution to stop domestic and sexual violence against women.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact 1800RESPECT, which is the national domestic and sexual violence support service by calling 1800 737 732 or by visiting its website. There is also assistance available at:

  • Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support line – 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 or kidshelpline.com.au
  • MensLine Australia – 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au
People walk through Wollongong Botanic Garden

Make thyme for Botanic Gardens Day this Sunday. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Botanic Gardens Day

When: Sunday 26 May, from 10 am
Where: Wollongong Botanic Garden, 40 Murphys Avenue, Keiraville
Cost: Free.

Pioneered right here in Wollongong, this national day celebrates the role of plants in our lives and the work botanic gardens do to conserve and protect for future generations. Billed as a smorgasbord of free, nature-focused tours, talks and activities, Wollongong Botanic Garden curator Felicity Skoberne has promised an overgrown program for nature lovers young and old. This will include new activities like Tiny Forest T-shirt painting, a rare plants walk ‘n talk and the unique “Dear Tree” experience, which will see participants lay under a canopy of trees and listen to a collection of recordings of local people sharing their thoughts and reflections about trees and nature.


Beekeeper holding bees

That Local Honey lady Laura Patmore is set to share her knowledge and expertise. Photo: That Local Honey Facebook.

Green Thumb: Keeping Bees, Creating Honey

When: Wednesday 29 May, 10:30 am to noon
Where: Oak Flats Library, 61 Central Avenue, Oak Flats
Cost: Free, book here.

Bees are essential to our survival and under threat. If you’ve ever thought of doing your part to help regenerate these hardworking (and adorable) insects, join That Local Honey lady Laura Patmore as she takes you through the ins and outs of keeping bees and creating honey. Everything is provided for this free workshop, but please note it is best suited to adults.


Banner for Carer Connections event

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow carers, relax with light refreshments and gain insights from the guest speakers at the event. Image: The Flagstaff Group.

Carer Connections

When: Thursday 30 May, 5 to 7 pm
Where: Wests Illawarra, 1 Hargreaves Street, Unanderra
Cost: Free, book here.

Carers’ responsibilities often leave people feeling isolated and overwhelmed, but there’s strength in solidarity. That’s why The Flagstaff Group and The Benevolent Society will host this night for carers to connect and learn over canapes and mocktails and gain insights from the guest speakers at the event.

This includes from The Flagstaff Group CEO Rod Von Clark and Tracey Hobbs from The Carer Gateway (The Benevolent Society), who will explain the supports their organisations can provide to carers and link them to other services; and The Happiness Lab director and psychologist Carlie Belancic, who will share valuable advice on self-care, managing carer fatigue and wellness strategies.

Banner for Life Drawing Liberation event at cSpace in Bulli with Tegan Georgette and Lisa Hughes

Illawarra artist Tegan Georgette has teamed up with cSpace for a life drawing workshop with a difference. Image: cSpace.

Life Drawing Liberation

When: Thursday 30 May, 7 to 8:30 pm
Where: cSpace, Unit 5/177B Princes Highway, Bulli
Cost: $35, book here.

Billed as an amazing opportunity to indulge in a night of “self-discovery, empowerment and pure joy”, you’re invited to join local artistic legend Tegan Georgette and the cSpace team in a life drawing workshop with a difference, with performance modelling from Lisa Hughes (co-owner of cSpace). Spaces are limited so book soon to avoid disappointment.

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