Did you know that Wollongong is the only spot in eastern Australia with two lighthouses, one built in 1871 and the other in 1936?
Or that Captain James Cook attempted to land on the Illawarra coast in Woonona the day before landing at Botany Bay in 1770, only to be hampered by bad weather?
These are two of the stories that cycle tourists will be able to discover more thanks to the launch of a new app in conjunction with an international cycling event coming to Wollongong this month.
With GPS technology, the bike lanes audio feature of the Yesterday Stories app will tell cyclists about the region’s rich cultural heritage as they ride part of the UCI road championship route.
Yesterday Stories Director Sandra Pires said the cycling event represented a unique opportunity to share Wollongong’s rich indigenous, colonial and migrant past with thousands of international spectators.
In early 2021, Wollongong also became Australia’s only cycling city, recognized for its long-term commitment to cycling.
Ms Pires said the app, co-funded by the UCI Road World Championships partnership program, will allow visitors to get a general idea of the region’s history.
“We want the world to understand Wollongong’s story and not just think it’s just beaches and fun.”
The app, launched as part of History Week, brings 10 historical stories to life as attendees ride the 36-kilometer Sea Cliff Bike Trail from Bald Hill to Wollongong Lighthouse.
“From the Sea Cliff Bridge to the Wollongong Lighthouse, this is a beautiful bike path, probably one of the most beautiful bike paths in the world,” said Ms. Pires.
“So, they’re riding their bikes, and that story automatically pops up and plays as they go through beautiful landmarks around Wollongong.”
Free to download, people can also upload their own stories and with more than 300 stories on the app, many focusing on Wollongong and the surrounding area.
Terry Wall has been pedaling for nearly 50 years, so he fits his role as president of the Illawarra Cycling Club.
He also tested the cycling app.
“I was really surprised at the amount of information the app contains about certain historical areas. I wasn’t aware of that,” Wall said.
“Now I am, and I thought it was great.”
He tested the Yesterday Stories cycling app along the coastal road bike path that runs in front of Sandon Point in Bulli.
After locating the route in the app, he hit play and then listened to various tales as he traversed significant historical areas.
“I don’t have to look for the information. It’s right there in the app,” he said.
“It is not necessary to be on a bicycle, but the motorcycle is the best way for me.”
Wollongong’s “Olympic moment”
Destination Wollongong CEO Mark Sleigh said the cycling event will focus the world’s attention on the city.
“There is no doubt that welcoming the UCI World Championships in Wollongong in September 2022 will be Wollongong’s Olympic moment,” Sleigh said.
“When you think of the group starting from Sea Cliff Bridge and the images that will travel around the world, all the way to the port of Wollongong … and this event has never seen a beach in its entire 101-year life.”
Mr Sleigh said the expected UCI audience would be delighted with the opportunities provided by the Yesterday Stories app.
“We know that tourists now want to travel and hear authentic stories. They want to understand the unique places and things of the places they go to,” he said.
“Being able to collect stories along the way, understand what you’re driving past, make decisions about staying and learn more about it, what a great thing to be able to do.”
#app #reveals #Wollongongs #history #cyclists #city #prepares #goldmine #international #sport