24 January 2024

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (26 January - 1 February)

| Dione David
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Kids at Kiama Show

The Kiama Show kicks off this Friday, but Saturday is the main event. Photo: Kiama Show.

As the summer school holidays wind to a close, there are plenty of opportunities to ensure they go out with a bang in the Illawarra.

Kicking off with the highly anticipated Kiama Show and finishing with an epic and environmentally conscious craft day, there are plenty of highlights.

And if you want to mark this Friday 26 January with an Australia Day or Invasion Day event, we have you covered.

Here are our top nine picks for the week.

All weekend

Kiama show banner showing a montage of carnival pictures

The Kiama Show turns 176 this year. Image: Kiama Show Facebook.

Kiama Show

When: Friday 26 January, 9 am to 6 pm and Saturday 27 January, 9 am to 10 pm
Where: Kiama Showground Pavilion, Bong Bong Street (off Manning Street), Kiama
Cost: Adult $15, concessions/seniors $10, child $5, under fives free, family (two adults and two children) $35, book here.

The longest-running community event in the area, held on one of Australia’s most picturesque showgrounds, brings together business, agriculture and the community. The Kiama Show includes traditional agricultural events including cattle, horses, showjumping and wood chopping, the pet show, a wonderful array of more than 2000 pavilion exhibits and a good selection of food venues also provided on-site.

Notorious Ship in a harbour

Grab the kids and head to Shellharbour Marina for your last chance to see Notorious Ship this weekend. Photo: Notorious Ship Facebook.

Notorious Ship at Shellharbour Marina – Final Days

When: Saturday 27 January and Sunday 28 January, 9 am to 3 pm
Where: Shellharbour Marina, Marina Drive, Shell Cove
Cost: Adult $6, children $4, payable upon entry.

This globally unique achievement, built by amateur boatbuilder Graeme Wylie from salvaged timber, is a marvel worth seeing and is open at Shellharbour Marina for only one more weekend. Having opened for public inspection at more than 40 ports along the eastern Australian seaboard, it has enthralled thousands of visitors who’ve taken the chance to explore the magnificent 1480s Portuguese or Spanish Caravelle, both onboard and below deck.


Close-up of Grevillea flower

Mark Invasion Day by caring for Country at Gilmore Park. Photo: Envato/SundryPhotography.

Invasion Day Bushcare

When: Friday 26 January, 9 to 11 am
Where: Gilmore Park, Reserve Street, West Wollongong
Cost: Free.

Commemorate Invasion Day by caring for Country. All are welcome to mark the day with a bit of Bushcare on Dharawal land. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, enclosed shoes and sun protection, and bring gloves and any garden hand tools you might have and meet in the park on the corner of Reserve and Gilmore streets (next to the tennis courts). You’ll pitch in along the Fairy Creek Catchment corridor, between Reserve and Fisher streets.

Bushcare acknowledges that Aboriginal people have cared for this land for more than 60,000 years, that this is, was and always will be Aboriginal land.

People ride the Waveswinger ride at Shellharbour Summer Carnival

Last call for carnival rides at Shellharbour. 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.

Friday 26 January is your last chance to soak in the carnival vibes at this family-friendly event. With rides, games, carnival food, plenty of entertainment, and unlimited ride wristbands available every night, this event is billed as the “best value family event on the coast”. Check Facebook for the latest updates in the event of inclement weather.

Australia Day at Kiama Beach

When: Friday 26 January, 7 to 11 am
Where: Jones Beach, Kiama
Cost: Free entry.

Kiama Council is bringing a refreshed line-up of local events to the beach this Australia Day. The event will feature a breakfast barbecue, Welcome to Country, Australia Day address, citizenship ceremony, flag raising, smoking ceremony, Indigenous dance performance, beach games and activities.

For neighbouring suburbs, Jamberoo’s Australia Day celebrations are at Kevin Walsh Oval, with a barbecue, live music and activities from 9 to 11 am and in Gerringong, there’s an Australia Day barbecue in front of the Bowling Club at Werri Beach from 7 to 11 am.

Banner for Australia Day Breakfast By The Lake

Reddall Reserve will be transformed for this free family-friendly event. Image: Shellharbour City Council.

Australia Day Breakfast by the Lake

When: Friday 26 January, 8 am to noon
Where: Reddall Reserve, Reddall Parade, Lake Illawarra
Cost: Free entry.

Grab your picnic blanket, hat and sunscreen – Shellharbour City Council is turning Reddall Reserve into the ultimate hotspot on 26 January with a morning of free family-friendly fun. With the aroma of sizzling bacon, eggs and pancakes (cooked by Oak Flats Scouts and Jamberoo Junior Football Club volunteers) wafting through the air from 8 am, the scene is set for an incredible line-up of musical acts, free activities, (including slip ‘n slides and water play for the littlies) and an array of food stalls to satisfy every taste bud.


Wollongong City Council is organising a family-friendly community event at Wollongong Harbour this Australia Day. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Australia Day Community Event

When: Friday 26 January, from 5 pm (concludes with fireworks at 9 pm)
Where: Wollongong Harbour, Endeavour Drive, Wollongong
Cost: Free entry.

This Australia Day community event kicks off with a smoking ceremony at 5 pm, followed by a Welcome to Country. Expect activities for kids in Osborne Park including jumping castles for all ages and craft activities, plus enjoy a range of roving entertainment, music, food and street shows. Aboriginal dance group Djiriba Waagura will perform a traditional dance and the evening will finish with fireworks over Wollongong Harbour at 9 pm.


Dice on a Dungeons and Dragon character sheet

This DND event for young people is suitable for beginners aged 12 to 18. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

School Holidays: Dungeons and Dragons

When: Saturday 27 January, 10 am to noon
Where: Warrawong Library, Level 1, 67-71 King Street, Warrawong
Cost: Free, book here.

Ever wanted to try Dungeons and Dragons but haven’t had the chance. In this beginner’s workshop, you will learn the basic rules of DND, create a character, and participate in a campaign with an experienced Dungeon Master. The event is for young people aged 12 to 18, and no experience is necessary.


Banner for free school holidays craft day by Yes2Renewables

These three sessions will unlock creativity and awareness of our environment. Image: Yes2Renewables.

School Holidays Craft Day

When: Wednesday 31 January, 10:30 am to 4 pm
Where: Wollongong Art Gallery, 46 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Free, book here.

From building life-sized melting ice creams to solar-panel inspired sunshades, Yes2Renewables has organised three creative workshops for young people. The sessions include:

  • Life-sized melting ice cream statues with Liv from 10:30 am to noon
  • Solar-inspired sunshades with Martin from 12:30 to 2 pm
  • Pinwheels galore with Coco from 2:30 to 4 pm

Each session is limited to 18 young people so book early. These artworks will be on display at the Family Fun Day on Sunday 4 February, hosted by the Friends of the Earth’s Yes2Renewables campaign in alliance with the Australian Conservation Foundation, Electrify 2515, Hi Neighbour, Sail 4 Sanity, Good for the Gong, Rewiring Australia and other local organisations and businesses.

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