The water quality at Illawarra beaches is among the best in the state, according to a report released to coincide with the start of the summer swimming season.
All 13 Wollongong beaches monitored for the annual State of the Beaches 2012-13 report were graded "very good" or "good" in 2012-13, giving the council area a 100 per cent success rate.
That is well above the state average, with 81 per cent of swimming locations reviewed across the state achieving very good or good gradings.
Only three beaches were reviewed in the Shellharbour council area and while Warilla and Shellharbour beaches were graded as very good, the water quality at Entrance Lagoon Beach was "poor" meaning swimming should be avoided for three days after heavy rain.
However most lake/lagoon sites did not fare well in the report compared to ocean beaches, as when the entrances to the ocean are closed they can become a collection point for stormwater runoff.
The "poor" grading didn't bother visitors to Entrance Lagoon Beach over the long weekend, with the sheltered area a favourite among families and other beachgoers.
The Razov family from south-west Sydney are regular visitors to the region, and this is one of their top sandy spots.
"It's perfect for the kids as there's no big waves and it's fairly shallow so they can splash around and enjoy themselves," mum Michelle Razov said.
"I've got three boys so it's easy for me to sit back on the beach and keep an eye on them. Then, when they want a break from swimming, they can ride their bike on the cycleway or enjoy the playground.
"It's been packed this weekend, the beach is clean and the water's been absolutely fine."
Beachwatch publishes the State of the Beaches report in October each year and the results for the three local government areas have been consistent in recent years.
"The report shows excellent results for Illawarra beaches and swimming spots, despite heavy rain early in the year," NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker said.
The report revealed that the top eight beaches in Wollongong - Stanwell Park, Coledale, Austinmer, Thirroul, Woonona, Wollongong City, Coniston and Fishermans beaches - had "excellent water quality" and were suitable for swimming almost all of the time.
Bulli, Bellambi, Corrimal, North Wollongong and Port Kembla were graded as good, but it was recommended that swimming be avoided for up to one day after rainfall due to stormwater pollution.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the fact that all sites fared well was testament not only to the initiatives put in place by service providers, but to the actions of residents too.
"It's a combination of the work Sydney Water has done in terms of managing sewerage systems," he said.
"It's also the increased awareness by the people of this city that anything they put down the drain eventually finds its way into the waterways."