The cost of redeveloping Bald Hill will top $5.3 million, Wollongong City Council has revealed.
In a report to Monday's council meeting, staff have recommended councillors adopt in full a draft master plan for the Stanwell Tops lookout, in which it was estimated the preliminary cost for site works would be around $3.8 million.
But the report says the initial price tag excluded the cost of managing the project and having detailed designs drawn up, which it was estimated would cost a combined $608,000.
The council has also built a hefty contingency just shy of $1 million into the overall estimate to cover unexpected costs associated with the development.
The master plan aims to retain the site's "bald" character while improving access and tourist facilities.
Its features include reducing the height of the northern car park slope by up to two metres, widening Lady Wakehurst Drive, installing a roundabout entry to the lookout, building a southern car park, replacing the old toilet block and retaining the food van in an enlarged pedestrian plaza.
Extra bus parking is proposed along the roadway, while the number of car parking spaces would be increased from 72 to 86.
Despite the high total price tag, staff have recommended councillors allocate only $100,000 to the project in next year's budget for the "development of a staged implementation program".
Staff have instead urged councillors to chase government dollars to pay for the bulk of the makeover.
"Given the regional tourism significance of Bald Hill, the council should explore external funding grant opportunities to pursue any staged renewal and development of this site," the report recommends.
Liberal Ward 1 councillor Leigh Colacino said he was pleased to see the master plan finally finished and hoped councillors would sign off on it on Monday night.
"I'm happy because it [upgrading Bald Hill] is going to be done and that $100,000 will at least be a starting point," he said.
"Hopefully we can attract some state and federal government funding in the near future to help us pay for it."