Things to do in the Illawarra this weekend

THIS WEEKEND’S PICK: Aquathon, Saturday

Australia’s favourite swim and run turns 14 this year and is set to welcome thousands of participants for an active and fun Australia Day. For walkers, there is a new three kilometre Walk for Charity.

Expect 2000 competitors and hundreds of spectators to converge on the Blue Mile from Belmore Basin to the lagoon along North Beach, Wollongong from 8am.

The Australia Day Aquathon kick-starts the festival, followed by a full day of activities, carnival, events, shows, stalls and much more. A brilliant family day out, and a fun Australia Day experience.

A spectacular fireworks display at 9pm will cap off Australia Day activities at Wollongong Harbour.

YOUR GUIDE TO AUSTRALIA DAY

Map of events in Gong, Shellharbour and Kiama

Wollongong Yacht Club's Regatta

Warning to play it safe in the surf

Australia Day to be a stormy affair

ON THE STAGE

Firetree, Sunday

Dale Buchan and  Josie Cubis make up this folk duo which is predominantly guitar-based but aiming to produce a bigger band sound. They play at the Jamberoo Pub from 2pm. It’s an all-ages gig and entry is free. Read more.

Fiona O'Loughlin, Saturday

Wollongong Comedy Club welcomes one of Australia’s best known comics with club stalwart Marty Henchion as MC. Not to be missed if you like a laugh. Venue: The Basement at The Builders Club, Wollongong. Doors open 7.30pm, show starts at 8.30pm.  Tickets: $15. Bookings: wollongongcomedy.com.au. Read more.

Celtic Thunder, Sunday, February 3

Having sold out venues across the country earlier this year, the world’s most popular Irish band Celtic Thunder are back. Venue: WIN Entertainment Centre. Time: 5pm. Tickets: $99-$299. Details: wec.org.au. Read more.

TRAINS

Illawarra Light Railway, Saturday

Take a train ride  at the museum’s monthly open day (pictured) at 48a Tongarra Rd, Albion Park Rail. Time: 10.30am-4pm. Covered footwear to be worn.

Illawarra Live Steamers, Sunday

Bring a picnic lunch and take the kids on a miniature steam train ride, Virginia Street, North Wollongong. Trains run from 10.30am. Rides: $1.50. Enclosed footwear essential.

Trainworks, Sunday

Experience a train ride of 35 minutes from historic Thirlmere to Picton and return aboard a heritage train. Rides depart 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.45pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Details: trainworks.com.au

OUT & ABOUT

Woodcarvers, all weekend

Carvings on display from members of the Shellharbour Woodcarvers with skills demonstrated all weekend and until Tuesday. Venue: Shellharbour Village Exhibition Centre, corner of Addison and Wentworth streets, Shellharbour Village. Admission is free.

Hawks, Saturday

Enjoy some sporting action on Australia Day watching the Hawks play the NZ Breakers at WIN Entertainment Centre. Tickets: range from $15 to $130. Bookings: ticketek.com. 

Kiama Show, Saturday

The 165th Kiama Show will be held at the showground in Bong Bong St. There will be displays of cookery, flowers, arts and crafts, and a grand finale tonight of fireworks. Admission: adults $15, pensioners and children $5, family $35. Details: online at kiamashow.com.au or phone 42331597.

FOR THE DIARY

Game fishing, weekend starting February 9

Last year the event attracted the largest number of  entrants in the club’s history. Briefing for anglers on the Friday night at  Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club. Details online at: shellharbourgamefishing.com.au.

Food and wine fair, Sunday, February 10

The only festival of its kind in the Illawarra, held at the Towradgi Beach Hotel. Free entry. Guest speakers,  stalls, kids’ cooking classes, with focus on local, fresh produce. Time: 11am-5pm.

Stomping the grapes, February

Get your feet sticky at the Stomping The Grapes Festival over the last three weekends in February at Crooked River Wines, Princes Highway, Gerringong.  Stomping is $10 per person with proceeds going to Westmead Children’s Hospital. Details online at: crookedriverwines.com

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