25 July 2023

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (28 July - 3 August)

| Dione David
Start the conversation
Black steam train

All aboard for a fun week in the Illawarra. Photo: Kiama Picnic Train/Facebook.

Baby, it’s cold outside, but a busy social calendar beckons us out of our homes this week.

The Kiama Picnic Train has returned to whisk us away on a journey of bygone charm, offering spectacular coastal views courtesy of a distinctive 1950s locomotive.

Both Dovecote and Five Barrels Brewing are taking advantage of winter-specific culinary delights to tempt the tastebuds of the Illawarra, and Georgia Rose is putting on an epic Christmas in July spread in support of Barnados.

As always in our artsy region, there’s a wealth of workshops for anyone looking to pick up a new skill. But for those who simply wish to kick back and be entertained, there are live music concerts and a show including expert impressionism from a veteran of variety.

Here are our top nine picks for the week.

All Weekend

Half crustacean dish from Dovecote

Don’t miss the winter instalment of Dovecote’s seasonal fine dining series. Photo: Dovecote.

Dovecote – Dine in Design Winter Series

When: Friday 28 July, 5:30 pm, Saturday 29 July, noon and Sunday 30 July, noon
Where: Dovecote, 27 Princes Highway, Gerringong
Cost: $380 (tickets sold as tables of two, four, six or 10), book here.

Dovecote is halfway through its “Dine in Design” seasonal dining series. Next up, they’re set to host the winter instalment at The Headland. Crafted by world-renowned chef Alex Prichard, diners will take a tour-through-taste, enjoying canapes and five courses made with the best winter produce on the South Coast and Southern Highlands, served with complementing cocktails, beer and wine.

Black steam engine makes its way over a bridge

The ever-popular Kiama Picnic Train is back. Photo: Kiama Picnic Train/Facebook.

Kiama Picnic Train

When: Sunday, 30 July and Saturday 29 July, 11:43 am departure Wollongong station (arrival 12:38 pm) and 4:28 pm departure Kiama station (5:16 pm arrival)
Where: Wollongong train station, Station Street, Wollongong
Cost: Private compartment $500 per group, four-seater booth $320 per group, classic duo $260 for two people, first class classic duo $260 for two people.

As always, tickets are selling fast for the Kiama Picnic Train, hauled by locomotive 5917, which was built by Baldwin in Philadelphia and entered service for the NSW Government Railways in 1953. The iconic steam-hauled journey stops in Wollongong for a thrilling roundtrip to Kiama. Settle back in your heritage carriage as the train snakes along the tracks, taking in spectacular views of the coastline on its way to Kiama where you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the charms of a picturesque seaside town. Don’t forget to pack lunch to enjoy in comfort on board.


A group of people seated at a table painting

Pick up a new skill and a new piece of art for your home at this creative workshop. Photo: Hobbysew Figtree/Facebook.

Alcohol ink workshop

When: Saturday 29 July, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
Where: Hobbysew, rooftop level Figtree Grove Shopping Centre, cnr Princes Highway and The Avenue, Figtree
Cost: $175pp, to book call 0447 68 3344.

In this blissful three-hour workshop you’ll learn techniques used in the mesmerising medium of alcohol ink to create four of your own unique A3 and A4 artworks. Participants will see live demonstrations from an expert artist and be guided through the process of creating art with fluid inks in vibrant colours and shiny metallics. No experience is needed and all materials are supplied, along with a glass of pink bubbles and sweet treats.

Flyer for Trufflepalooza featuring two people walking in a field with a truffle hunting dog

Get set for a truffle taproom takeover. Image: Five Barrel Brewing.

Trufflepalooza: beer launch

When: Saturday 29 July, from noon
Where: Five Barrel Brewing, 318 Keira Street Wollongong
Cost: Free entry, book here.

Does truffle hunting season bring out the fun-guy in you? Don’t miss the much-anticipated launch of Five Barrel Brewing’s mushroom beer on tap. For one day only there will be mouthwatering truffle-loaded burgers, specially designed to complement the flavours of the truffle lager. Along with live music, entertainment and games to round it all off, there won’t be ‘mushroom’ for boredom.

Flyer for Christmas in July lunch for Barnados Australia with red background and festive foliage

All profits from this dinner event will be donated to Barnados Australia, to help empower Australian children to reach their full potential. Image: Barnados Australia.

Georgia Rose Christmas in July charity event

When: Saturday 29 July, 6 pm to 11 pm
Where: Georgia Rose Shell Cove, 1/9 Marina Drive, Shell Cove
Cost: $169, book here.

If you think Christmas (in July) is a time of giving, this is the event for you. Georgia Rose’s inaugural Christmas in July Charity Event supports Barnardos Australia and their family home, Stansfield House Shellharbour. The event aims to raise much-needed funds for the organisation’s local family house and raises awareness about the need for foster carers in our community. The event will include a three-course menu created by executive chef David Beus, a five-hour beverage package, live music by Platinum Duo, silent and live auctions and raffles with fabulous prizes to win – all while giving to this worthy cause.

Flyer featuring impressionist Robert Pearson and a collage of characters such as Homer Simpson and Jack Sparrow

Robert Pearson’s one-man show is highly entertaining. Image: Robert Pearson.

The Four Kinsmen’s Robert Pearson – The Impressionist

When: Saturday 29 July, from 6:30 pm
Where: Sorrento Room, Centro CBD, 28 Stewart Street, Wollongong
Cost: Show only $49, dinner and a show $78, book here.

Robert Pearson was part of one of Australia’s leading entertainment groups The Four Kinsmen, a comedy-variety group that became the first Australian act to ever have a residency as a headline act in Las Vegas. Having developed a passion for comedy, variety and of course impressions, Pearson is headed to the Illawarra with his solo show, “The Impressionist”. Promising something for everyone, watch as Pearson makes jaw-dropping switches between personalities and celebrities such as the Bee Gees, Donald Trump, Ozzie Osbourne, Robin Williams, David Attenborough, Bryan Adams, David Bowie, James Blunt, Rod Stewart, The Simpsons, Sting, Tina Turner and many more, all while singing, dancing, performing with magic and puppets – you name it. Make the night extra special by pairing the show with dinner, but book in advance to avoid disappointment.


Gerringong 5×5

When: Sunday 30 July, from 7:45 am
Where: Gerringong Bowling Club, Pacific Avenue, Werri Beach
Cost: Free, book here.

This series of five weekly 5 km walks seeks to promote good health through physical activity and the proven mental health benefits of connection with nature. It’s a partnership between Healthy Cities Illawarra and local fitness legend Korin Koutsomihalis from Soul Fit Co, who says people appreciate a little bit more support and camaraderie through the cooler months of winter to keep active. The track was designed to be suitable for everyone, from toddlers to centenarians of all backgrounds and fitness levels – all you need to do is register, dress appropriately and bring water. The dates are as follows:

  • Sunday 30 July
  • Sunday 6 August
  • Sunday 13 August
  • Sunday 20 August
  • Sunday 27 August


People watching a performance.

This emerging artists’ concert series brings the community together to see talented musicians cut their teeth on the performance scene. Photos: Chelsea Caligari.

Music and Tea at Wollongong Art Gallery – Clarinet Recital with Emily Liston and John Martin

When: Thursday 3 August, 11 am to 12:30 pm
Where: Wollongong Art Gallery, 46 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Free, book here.

Emily Liston on clarinet and John Martin will present music by Mozart, Poulenc, Horovitz and Brahms in the latest instalment of this emerging artist concert series held in a stunning space upstairs at the Wollongong Art Gallery. Come at 11 am, grab a cuppa and a bickie, have a chat with like-minded, classical music-loving folk before enjoying an hour of music by talented musicians as they gain experience. Open to audiences of all ages.

Flyer for Coledale RSL Sketch Club featuring a sketch of a faceless girl with dark hair and a white shirt

Grab a drink and indulge in this casual, creative and social session at Coledale RSL. Image: Coledale RSL.

Sketch Club

When: Thursday 3 August, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Coledale RSL, 731 Lawrence Hargrave Dr, Coledale
Cost: $15, payable upon entry.

Held on the first Thursday of the month, sketch club is a casual, low-pressure, high-fun event at the beloved Coledale RSL. Grab yourself a drink at the bar and sketch a live model for two unstructured hours, with guidance from a qualified artist as needed. Don’t forget to bring your own materials – pencils, rubber, charcoal sticks, cartridge paper, drawing board or sketchbook and tape or clips if using a board. All abilities and ages are welcome.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.