Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
The average American walks less than 400 yards a day. In Australia expect to be averaging at least several miles a day. Figure in about a mile for every schooner you drank the night before and you’ll come out even!
Wollongong’s CBD is pedestrian friendly, with sidewalks and crosswalks at every light. Most of Crown Street, where the main shopping mall is located, is pedestrian only. You may be surprised to see many people roaming about the shops in bare feet, a definite sign of the laid-back culture. I embraced this freedom myself too, until I cut my foot open and had to get a tetanus shot. So if you’re feeling obliged, lose the shoes, but be wary; otherwise find some cheap thongs (more commonly known in the States as flip-flops) in any of the numerous colors and styles to fit your feet fancy. Thongs are key in the surfer/punk Aussie style that is so tempting to copy, as it seems to exude the kind of cool, carefree confidence most associate with the surfer lifestyle. To check out the local style, or the numerous wanna-bes, head to Crown street or Kiera Street, where most of the shops and restaurants (and therefore people), are located.
The neighborhoods immediately surrounding Wollongong’s city center are Gwynneville, Kieraville, and Fairy Meadow to the north. Mostly residential, Gwynneville and Kieraville each have a small shopping strip with a post office, convenience store, pharmacy and several take-away restaurants. Fairy Meadow is slightly larger, with a Woolworth’s and several other larger businesses.
The South Coast train line services all of the Wollongong suburbs, making these areas easily accessible with trains running in both directions about every half-hour.
There are also plenty of taxis in the city, such as Wollongong Radio Cars (4229 9311). Tipping is not required.