You may have been to Port Macquarie.
Nice enough place, way up the coast, well served by roads and keen for tourist dollars. Birthplace of Nick "The Honey Badger" Cummins. Population about 47,000, which swells during holiday breaks.
Now picture the scene if another Port Mac was plonked just up the road from Wollongong, with our region's beaches being used in promotions as a major attraction for an anticipated 16,000 new homes.
This is precisely what the near future holds for Wilton, which eight years ago was 600 homes surrounded by farmland just 30km from the Illawarra coast.
A town that size arriving is a significant change to a region, particularly in summer when they visit their nearest beaches. And the 50,000 figure could be an underestimate - once the Greater Macarthur growth strategy comes to fruition it could quickly pass 100,000.
That would be an Albury-Wodonga lobbing on our doorstop, a Bendigo, or a plus-sized Rockhampton.
With Wilton set to become the fastest growing place in NSW, the employment prospects are no doubt appealing - thousands of houses could be a boom for Illawarra tradespeople, although the tradies of Western Sydney would also be optimistic.
But with rezoning underway, the first stages of South East Wilton approved last year, and voluntary planning agreements signed with developers, authorities are being asked whether the appropriate infrastructure will be in place.
If Port Kembla were to succeed in its push to become a container port, the level of heavy vehicle traffic between Wollongong and Wilton, as the entry to Sydney, would be even greater.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Picton Rd already saw 21,000 vehicle a day, the interchange at Wilton was problematic and needed work, and the Mt Ousley interchange was already congested.
"When they get here - day trippers utilising out beaches - that's putting big demands on council in terms of expectations of managing those beaches, the cleanliness of it, we put in the lifesaving services for six days a week," he said.
"The [Wilton plan] is just one small portion, when you also consider the massive development that's going in Camden, Campbelltown and heading south. You're looking at a massive population expansion in the southwestern suburbs, so that impacts upon us."
He said the economic benefits of day trippers were not clear, as they spend less money than overnighters.
"It's not necessarily offsetting the wear and tear on our infrastructure, and in the northern suburbs, particularly Lawrence Hargrave Drive, it's just a great inconvenience.
"I think definitely the state's got to come to the party on [funding], as the M1, Picton Rd and the Hume Hwy are state assets, while trying to divert as many people off the roads as possible - and that's where the South Coast Line, if improved, can come into play in terms of taking pressure off the road system, particularly Lawrence Hargrave Dr.
"But when you have poor links to the southwestern suburbs, there's no other alternative but road."
The other main path from Wilton to the beach is Appin Rd, but funding promises made before the previous federal election were for the wrong part. Rather than upgrades to address safety between Appin and Bulli Tops, the money was for the road into Campbelltown.
Beach visitation numbers in the Illawarra have already increased rapidly, with a 200 per cent increase between 2009 and 2016. This year saw a dip but as motorists familiar with Bulli, Picton Rd and the single-lane each way Lawrence Hargrave Dr already know, a sunny day can already mean a five-minute trip can take half an hour in gridlock.
A planning department spokeswoman said a Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) was being prepared for Wilton to help fund priority state and regional infrastructure, including road projects.
"The draft Wilton SIC supports the delivery of state and regional infrastructure to service the new town," she said.
"The draft SIC proposes approximately $290 million in funding towards Picton Rd including widening sections to four/six lanes and upgrading the interchange at Hume Motorway."
The Department said there could be $665 million for transport infrastructure.
Thirroul Village Committee secretary Murray Jones said the tourism would be a great benefit, but the roads wouldn't cope.
"The first stage of the Wilton development is approved," he said. "We need to consider the flow on effect on Wollongong's beaches.
"With Appin Rd providing a direct link to Western Sydney, Thirroul already has, arguably, more potential visitors than any other beach in Australia. With its unique beachside Olympic sized tiled pool and grassed picnic areas Thirroul offers the best and safest facilities for young families.
"The ongoing developments in the Wilton, Appin and Campbeltown areas add pressures far beyond what local rate payers can afford. Our beaches can cater but our roads can't. Lawrence Hargrave Dr already can't cope with the added load. We need roads designed to cater for tourists. State and Federal Governments need to act to better fund roads and tourism."
Wollongong City Council said it knew day trippers from Western Sydney were "an area where we can work in partnership with all levels of government and businesses [to] deliver the best possible outcome for our community".
"The Community Strategic Plan Wollongong 2028 identifies areas including infrastructure, employment and greenspaces as key challenges to address over the next decade," a spokeswoman said.
However that plan document does not mention Wilton, Picton Rd, Appin Rd, or Lawrence Hargrave Dr.
This was despite "roads, traffic and infrastructure", parking, population growth and transport, all being top priorities nominated by the public during consultation.
"The NSW State Government is currently reviewing its Illawarra-Shoalhaven Regional Plan which may provide further opportunities for discussions around the relationship between south west Sydney and our region," council's spokeswoman said.
Increase could be a million in a decade
Wollondilly's independent mayor Matthew Deeth said when the Greater Macarthur growth plans were taken into account, plus the new airport in Western Sydney, and the areas in between, the southwest growth corridor would account for an extra million people.
His shire had withdrawn support for Wilton, but has since welcomed moves to "press reset" and develop a Memorandum of Understanding with affected councils.
"Council has been consistent with the vision for Wilton," he said.
"We understand we need to provide a level of growth for Sydney [but] we wanted one job per household provided locally, the provision of public transport, the required infrastructure to support it, plus schools and health facilities as well.
"We said we wanted a great town or no town at all. We wanted to have the certainty that the planning was going to be done on some of those aspirational aspects for Wilton."
But concerned about infrastructure planning, the council withdrew its in-principle support until those key issues were addressed.
"Back in 2017-18 we said 'right, we're not getting traction here, we're not being listened to as a local government, we're nowhere closer to having a plan in place'," Cr Deeth said.
"All up this is a massive corridor yet we were struggling to see where the vision was. If you add in all the other growth around the Camden, Leppington, Oran Park area, right up and include the airport precinct, we will see a million people in that growth corridor.
"Right now, we're planning for a million people."
Cr Deeth this month joined Wollongong's Lord Mayor Bradbery, the Illawarra Business Chamber's Adam Zarth, and MP Nathaniel Smith in a coalition demanding Picton Rd be widened and separated, but he said the infrastructure challenges go beyond that one road.