Thanks to Wollongong Tourism, I got to spend some time down on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, just so I could tell you, dear polka dotettes, what it has to offer. My first stop was Tumbling Waters Retreat (which you can read about here) and then I made my way around to Wombarra Sculpture Gardens, Wollongong Botanic Gardens, Nan Tien Temple and the Chifley Hotel Wollongong. Here is a summary of what I saw and learnt, but please feel free to post a comment if you’d like to know more!
Perfect for smaller weddings, these gardens are oh-so tranquil and very private. Owner Gaby Porter has created many of the sculptures in the gardens that give the place a spiritual and unique feeling.
What I like about Wombarra is the flexibility they allow you – you can choose from a variety of different spaces to hold your ceremony and it’s completely up to you how you set it up. Being surrounded by amazing native plants is pretty special too, and your guests will have lots of fun roaming the gardens, looking at all the sculptures that bring it to life.
If ‘colourful garden wedding’ is your theme, this will excite you! The Rose Garden is the main ceremony location and its gorgeous white gazebo is the jewel in the crown! It seats up to 150 guests, so it’s definitely the way to go if you’ve got lots of friends and family coming along to celebrate your big day. But if you’d prefer something simpler or smaller, there are five other popular locations within the gardens, all with distinct styles and seasons best used in.
The Temple Garden was a favourite of mine with a formal water feature and a vine covered trellis. So beautiful!
Culture, vibrancy, fantastic photo ops… you can’t over look Nan Tien Temple if you’re looking for somewhere fabulously different to say ‘I Do’. You don’t have to be Buddhist to get married here, but they do offer traditional Buddhist ceremonies if you are. The inside of the temple is a feast for your eyes and the temple grounds are stunning and uplifting.
There are a few lovely ponds – the best one (in my opinion) being towards the front of the temple; it has a couple of dainty bridges crossing it where the bride and groom can stand to take their vows, while the guests look on from the shade of the trees on the banks.
Now it’s time to talk receptions! If you choose the sparkling new Chifley, I’m very certain you’ll have an amazing time. The staff are ultra knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating – that’s always a plus! The Chifley also has some great packages including room options for the Mr and Mrs, so you won’t have to travel far when the party ends!
You can also use it to get ready with your bridesmaids before the ceremony. As for reception rooms, the Grand Pacific Ballroom is the largest and can cater for a sit down for up to 280 people or 500 for cocktail. The Waters Edge Room was my favourite though – it’s very light, airy and modern, looks over the hotel’s pool, has access to an outdoor terrace and seats up to 120 guests. Incredible on a warm, summer’s night, don’t you think?
I had such a fun time discovering the wedding wonders of Wollongong and its surrounds for our readers! Let us know where you’d like us to explore and report on next!
Wombarra Sculpture Gardens images courtesy of Wombarra Sculpture Gardens, Wollongong Botanic Gardens images courtesy of Wollongong Botanic Gardens Nan Tien Temple images courtesy of Wollongong Tourism, Chifley Wollongong images courtesy of Chifley Wollongong