Event of the year in Wollongong – Australia

For a typical tourist Wollongong is most likely completely unknown because it’s not one of those popular Aussie cities that must be on your bucket list.

It’s located less than 2 hours drive from Sydney, just around the corner if we speak in Australian standards in the matter of distance.

Even many locals commute on a daily basis to their work places in Sydney while living in Wollongong, where the cost of living is much lower than in the iconic city that hosts the Opera House.

Every December Wollongong becomes a big attraction though and that’s because it’s the location of the biggest Santa Claus pubcrawl in Down Under. It happens usually on the first Saturday of the month and it attracts thousands of people, all dressed up in white and red Santas and Santa’s helpers, elf’s and whatever could suggest Christmas .

All the income of the event goes to charity and everybody is happy because the party and good vibes go on the whole day, starting midday and finishing sometime around the morning hours the next day.

All the pubs and clubs of the town are involved and every single one of them gets overcrowded once the evening starts and the party goers spread around. It’s just normal to see drunk Santa’s stumbling around or the bit more sober ones riding their bikes.

What all have in common is the Christmas spirit and the eagerness to party all day and night.

But apart from the great santa pubcrawl, Wollongong is a good destination on other days too. The beaches are nice, less crowded than Sydney beaches and the atmosphere is very laid back.

For fit visitors renting a bike for a few hours and biking along the coast is a good workout and stunning photo shooting opportunity.

The views along the coast are wonderful and with a little detour you can reach the lighthouse, one of the iconic landscapes of the town.

Plenty of nice restaurants also around there. They serve amazing see food – until recently I wasn’t at all a seafood fan – which can’t be more fresh than that as the fish market is just next door.

Wollongong area is amazing for hikers too, Mt Keira being one of the greatest lookout points offering great panorama of the town.

A few days in Wollongong is enough to explore a bit also the surroundings. Daytrips to Fitzroy Falls or Carrington Falls are quite popular and doable in a few hours.

My favorite was Carrington Falls, where it’s impossible to resist not jumping into the fresh water to cool down on a hot Aussie summer day. The water is crystal clear and refreshing.

And if all these were not enough, on the way back to Wollongong make a stop at Robertson town, where for some reason the placed a big potato called massive stone, but that’s not even so special. Where you need to go it’s just next to it and it’s the best bakery you can find, called Petite Fleur. They bake right at the spot the most delicious cakes and cookies, just perfect to reward yourself in style in Wollongong area.

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Düsseldorf – freezing, yet friendly 

I like to say that the unexpected ways of life take me sometimes to places I had no plan to go to. Surprisingly I even have friends to visit in such places. This way the long weekend was not only productive, but also a great occasion to catch up and discover a new city with the help of locals. 

Some time back I had a short layover in Düsseldorf already, not having enough time to leave the airport though. This time I wish I didn’t have to leave the airport – that was my first thought when the cold wind abbusivily blew through my body as I got out of the main train station. It was a really cold start of the journey, not the one you wish for when you are about to stride through the city. 

I fished out my warm scarf and gloves and in a minute I was prepared to win the battle against the inconvenient weather … at least for a while. 

I must admit there were not many fellows taking walks along Königsalle, so it wasn’t a hard job to take shots of the landscape without any people in them.




In the park it was pretty much the same situation, hence the pure beauty of the fall colors as they were.




As much as I cherished the lack of people in the above settings, at some point I started missing the sound of the everyday life and I decided to head towards the old town, where I knew there must be something going on with the occasion of the official Düsseldorfer Karneval opening day.

Karneval is a big deal in some German cities, Düsseldorf being one of the most important cities that hosts yearly the famous event. At 11 am of 11.11 every year the old town turned into a dance floor of the dressed up, already tipsy German ladies and gents and dozens of school kids. It’s a fun event and probably a great reason for drinking beer before midday. 


​However, it looks like it brings out the best of Germans, as they become instantly relaxed and totally laid-back, not to mention that they lose their reputation of being cold people, at least until the beer keeps flowing and the dj keeps playing their most beloved schlagers. 
Luckily the sun decided to show up on the sky for a short bit, just in time to be able to admire a blue Rhein, instead of a grey one.



A walk along the Rhein is a must while in Düsseldorf, especially if it’s a sunny day.

Further on it will look like I hopped over to Japan, because I’m just about to reveal the highlight of my trip: the stunning Japanese garden at Eko Haus. I learned that outside Japan, Düsseldorf is the city with the highest concentration of Japanese residents . I wonder what attracted them exactly to this city? I mean it’s nice city, no offense, but 11.000 Japanese it’s a semnificative number. That explains also the big number of Japanese supermarkets, book stores, restaurants and also the existence of this amazing place, EKO Haus, my favorite spot in Düsseldorf. It’s small, neat and complete: little lake, bridge, house, stones, colorful trees and above all: a peaceful piece of heaven, perfect for staying and reflecting or reading a book and relaxing – in summer ideally – my summer weekend getaway plan in Düsseldorf possibly.