Illawarra is a coastal region south of Sydney with a population just under 300,000. Wollongong is a principal city in this region and is home to a university and industrial ports. The region contains diverse topography made up of a narrow coastal plain that has the Pacific Ocean to the east and a nearly impassable escarpment to the west. In the center is Lake Illawarra. The main industries are coal mining and steel works. Commerce is increasing in importance here.