Home » A weekend in Stanwell Tops area in 2024

A weekend in Stanwell Tops area in 2024

seacliff bridge

Where is Stanwell Tops?

Stanwell Tops is just over an hour’s drive south of Sydney. Be warned that if you are planning to drive from Sydney to Stanwell Tops this weekend and then go exploring, the Lawrence Hargrave Drive is closed from Bald Hill Lookout to the Scarborough Hotel until September 2020. 

Stanwell Tops NSW is a beautiful coastal suburb in the Wollongong area of New South Wales, Australia. It is the perfect day trip from Sydney or a sneaky weekend away as the driving distance is not that far. 

A little bit of History about Stanwell Tops 

Matthew John Gibbons received the farmland area (once named Little Bulli) of Stanwell Park and Coalcliff back in 1824. There are no records of why he changed the name in 1824. however, Bulli still exists as a suburb north of Wollongong. 

In 1871 Campbell Mitchell bought Bald Hill and Stanwell Park and leased it to the father of Lawrence Hargrave (to which the area pays tribute to this day). With streets named after Lawrence Hargrave and a monument, he is the reason this area is best known as an excellent spot for paragliding. Justice Hargrave then purchased the land when Campbell Mitchell went bankrupt. 

Bald Hill Lookout stanwell tops

Stanwell Tops weather  

The weather in Stanwell Tops is so closely monitored because of the wind needed for the many hang gliders found at Bald Hill. Rated as one of the many top places to hang glide in New South Wales, you can see why when visiting this area, where the view is spectacular, and the weather in Stanwell Tops is just right.

Para gliding at stanwell tops

My favourite things to do in the Stanwell Tops area

Bald Hill Lookout Stanwell Tops

You really can’t beat the view at this Stanwell Tops lookout. Head towards the Lawrence Hargrave monument is standing in the best location overlooking the water’s edge. Stanwell Tops Lookout is busy during every season of the year as it is one of the most popular tourist spots in this area. 

Besides a spectacular view for tourists, it is also one of the best places to hang glide in New South Wales. Bald Hill is a great place to visit as you watch the many hang gliders take off over the cliff. If you think you might like to try, click here for Stanwell Tops hang gliding.

You can also find Lawrence Hargrave’s monument, which takes pride on the lookout. Here the pioneer of hang gliding has the best view in the region.

Stanwell Tops lookout

Sea Cliff Bridge

Sea Cliff Bridge opened in 2005 and swerved from Coal Cliff, not far from Bald Hill. You can drive over the 665-metre bridge or park your car and walk across it.

There is a (makeshift) lookout from across the road. You will see a small parking lot for two cars only; besides, there, you will find some bushes that have been pushed away, walk through there and climb up to the top for the most magnificent view. Unfortunately, not safe for little kids, and the path has just been formed over time. 

seacliff bridge

Stanwell Park beach

  Stanwell Tops Beach in Stanwell Park at 44-36 Stanwell Ave. This beautiful spot off the Grand Pacific Drive has plenty of areas to park for the day and enjoy a picnic, as it also has barbecue facilities.

There is plenty to do at Stanwell Tops Park; you could go for a horse ride at Otford Farm or book an apple-picking tour at Darkes. If not, you can always stop by and grab some delicious fresh fruit for the journey.

  Thinking of staying the night? If so, The Stanwell Beach Glass House is an excellent option for your Stanwell Tops Vacation as all activities are close to the accommodation. The Stanwell Beach Glasshouse can accommodate ten people, has a swimming pool, and is within walking distance of the beach. A perfect place to park you, your family and your friends for the weekend.

Simbio Wildlife Park

You will love Simbio Wildlife park because it isn’t like the more prominent zoos you find in significant cities. Here you will experience a cuddly with a koala and a pat from a kangaroo. This petting zoo is fun for all ages, so don’t think you can’t go if you don’t have children.

Whether you go behind the scenes or sit and watch the shows, this wildlife park has a lot happening, buy your tickets here or check out the showtimes before you go. It will save some time when you get there.

simbio wildlife park

Sri Venkateswara Temple

This Hindu temple is one of the most visited in the Southern Hemisphere. The Sri Venkateswara Temple is not far from Simbio Wildlife Park at 1 Temple Rd Helensburgh. 

If you wish to visit the temple, check out the opening times here and remember it is a place of worship, so there is a dress code. Remember to be respectful and do not wear shorts, short skirts or singlets. 

Helensburgh temple

Kelly Falls Stanwell Tops

Kelly Falls is between Helensburgh and Stanwell Tops in the Garawarra State Conservation Area. Not far from the Sri Venkateswara Temple. You can spend the day there as there is a picnic area on the way to the two waterfall lookouts. This walk is suitable for children (not toddlers). 

You can also join up with one of the walking tracks that link to Stanwell Tops Australia. Unfortunately, this walking trail is in a National Park, so you will not be able to bring the pooch on this one.

Scarborough Hotel

The Scarborough Hotel has been high on my to-do list for a long time, as many people have highly recommended it. And now I see why! The beer garden has a view overlooking the sea, where in summer, it is the perfect place to chill with a great meal (I highly recommend the cold seafood platter). However, in winter (if you are lucky), you can see the whales frolic while enjoying the seafood pasta – it’s a must!

Scarborough hotel

Recommendation for Stanwell Tops area

Suppose you want to spend the day in this region but do not want the hassle of taking your car or catching public transport. Then I highly recommend the wildlife waterfalls and wine small group tour.

Stanwell tops

Accommodation near Stanwell Tops


Headlands Austinmer Beach

Headlands Austinmer Beach is only a short distance away from The Scarborough Hotel. The self-contained apartments with ocean views are ideal for a weekend away at any time of the year. So whether you choose to Netflix and chill or head to the bistro for the night’s meal, it has it all. 


Thirroul Beach Motel

Thirroul Beach Motel is in a great little location. Although it is situated in Wollongong, it is only a short distance drive to all the places listed in this blog, with the convenience of all the things Wollongong can provide. The rooms are clean and airy, and there is ample parking.

Scarborough hotel


Bulli Beach Tourist Park

Bulli Beach Tourist Park is a great place to bring the family (especially those with little kids). There are ample things to do in this tourist park, from bike riding to beach activities. The cabins have self-contained kitchens and a great little patio. There is a garden with a barbecue and loads of space to run around, which comes at an affordable price.

Something a little different

Heart and soul retreat

If you want something different, why not try the Heart and soul yoga retreat? With wellness getaways all year round, this is a perfect way to get out of the hustle and bustle. Step into a retreat that is not only at a slower pace, with delicious healthy food but also surrounded by nature. If taking care of yourself is essential, look at Heart and Soul here.

Would you like to read about weekend destinations in New South Wales?

Where to spend this weekend in NSW

Fun things to do around Jindabyne when the sun is shining

A weekend away in Hyams Beach – Shoalhaven

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!

Other things you need to know

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stanwell tops


  • Paula Barreca Barnes

    So 17 years ago, my husband and I set off with our little family in tow, embarking on a short-term assignment in Taiwan. Although without any knowledge of expat life or the Taiwanese culture, we took the chance and decided this would be an exciting little adventure; little did we know it changed the direction of our lives forever.

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