Dammit we LOVE the Illawarra!! Possibly the best place in the world to bring up the kids? At Parents Guide Illawarra, are we biased much? Noooo!
However there are certain 'unique' aspects to living in the Illawarra and bringing up your kids here - here are our 'Top 8 Things' we think you will totally
1. Life here is easier. 'WHAT', you say?! 'I'm a parent, this stage of life is never 'easy', it's the busiest, most exhausting and demanding stage of life I've ever experienced' - yup we hear you! BUT - read points 2, 6, 7 and 8 and maybe you will agree with us...
2. Everyone is within coo-eee of divine, diverse, stunning beaches. Public Holidays aside, parking is no problem (and free!) and depending on the wind conditions, we have the luxury of picking the beach to suit our mood and the weather - click here to read our family friendly beach guide to the Illawarra and South Coast!
Trust us, from a team of Illawarra mums who have lived in London, Melbourne and Sydney (um, and Alice Springs), the feel good factor of easy access, no traffic drama, no parking issues, easy beach access - is good for every family member. Plus living close to the ocean has been PROVEN beneficial for our physical and mental health - bingo!
We've snuck an image of The Farm at Killalea State Park here - sigh. Pretty much everyone in the Illawarra is within 40 minutes of this beauty of a beach... Who needs to save up for a $7K holiday to Fiji when we have this on our doorstep?
3. We tend to get up and OUT of the intense craziness of our homes early each day - because we want to get the most out of our sunny summer's mornings, before that predictable bank of 'moist afternoon cloudy fog' creeps up towards the escarpment and blots out the sun (which offers some damp relief on a scorcher of day!). Or failing that, an afternoon southerly will rip in and make being outside less enjoyable! As an aside, the downside of our foggy Illawarra microclimate of excess humidity is VAST SUMMER HAIR FRIZZ - anyone else relate!?
4. THE ILLAWARRA WINTER WINDS - it makes our kids CRAZY!!!!
Yes we have it good here but jeez those insanely strong winter winds! Notice how our kids go a little cray-cray in the windy months between May - September? Again the unique geography of the Illawarra escarpment / ocean combo delivers us some of the windiest dry months. The chapped lips and dry red cheeks and those pesky zapping electric shocks from kids slides in our Illawarra play parks - never know it as bad as in the windy Illawarra!
5. That feeling of driving back down the escarpment - when you've been away and you drive back down the escarpment and see our distinct coastline as it unfolds before us. We take a sigh of contentment and our shoulders relax again that we get to call this beautiful place 'home' - it gets us every time... Whilst we are no longer sleepy secret villages dotted together and the traffic can occasionally suck, it's NOTHING LIKE SYDNEY TRAFFIC!
6. Which leads us this point - your can take a leisurely, relaxing drive from the north of the Illawarra (Stanwell Park) or south of the Illawarra (Nowra) which is around 80 kilometres and is a delightful, picturesque drive, in less time than it takes to traverse the city of Sydney in rush hour... Smug much - yes thanks! But we genuinely believe family life is easier when you don't have to experience the simmering discontent (or rage!) that comes from sitting in congested Sydney like traffic jams when all you are trying to do is just get your kids to their Saturday sport on time...
7. Easy access to glorious nature! Whilst the HIGH cost of living / housing and affordability (particularly the northern Illawarra suburbs) is an issue - we have the best FREE playground in the escarpment - our beaches and our regions finest play parks. Easy access to let our kids play in glorious nature makes for happy families - click here to subscribe to our Parents Newsletter and get the Top 10 FREE Things To Do With The Kids in the Illawarra!
8. Our Illawarra community! LOVE!! United we stand as proudly 'from the Illawarra', but we are made up of smaller communities in which the pace of life is slower and it is so much more friendly. This helps generate a contented sense of 'belonging'. The comparative ease of meeting people and feeling connected to where we live and who we live near, is such a massive benefit of living in the Illawarra AND bringing up our kids here. It's also harder for our kids to be anonymous and 'get into trouble' when our close knit communities keep an eye out for each other. Another subtle Illawarra example of it being an easier life for parents!
To be honest we really could go on and on - we love The Gong - the most under-rated family friendly and accessible city ever! Shellharbour is another under-rated beauty of a place to live in with a modern, well organised charm (and those beaches...). Plus our ease of access to the South Coast of NSW - so much to explore!
What did we miss!?
If you love the Illawarra - share this on please!
From the Parents Guide team xx