Growing up in Sydney meant Kiama was a regular holiday destination for many. However, as world travel became more accessible, the internet became a source of great information about exotic faraway places that were soon pencilled in on our bucket lists. Then 2020 happened, and for many of us, travel in our own backyard came to the forefront of many families once again, almost like we have come full circle.
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Where is Kiama?
Kiama is a town in the Illawarra area of New South Wales, South Coast of Australia. Approximately 120km from Sydney by car or just under a 2-hour drive. If you prefer to do a little sightseeing on the way, be sure to check out the Stanwell Tops area.
It is the perfect day trip or weekend getaway. The sleepy coastal town is an excellent location for families and couples alike.
A little bit of History about Kiama
The Dharawal People were first known to inhabit the Illawarra area, bringing cabbage tree palm, which can still be seen in Kiama today). The Nomadic Wodi Wodi People passed through the Kiama area to Shellharbour and then La Perouse.
One of the first camps for the Wodi Wodi People was at Jamberoo (meaning track) in the Illawarra area.
In later years (1797), George Bass sailed along the coast of Kiama and then became the first European to witness the Kiama Blowhole.
My favourite things to do in Kiama
Visit the Kiama blowhole.
You can not come to Kiama NSW without visiting this magnificent piece of nature. A few blowholes are found around Australia, but none is more well known as the Kiama blowhole. The Kiama blowhole is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Kiama; most people driving down the coast will at least stop in Kiama to see this famous blowhole for themselves; why? Because it is amazing how this natural wonder works – once described by the indigenous as “where the sea makes a noise”, and even now, hundreds of years on, the blowhole is still as it was all those years ago. If you want to know more about how blowholes work, check out the information here.
The Little Blowhole is located on Marsden Head, just off the Coastal Trail between Kendalls Beach and Easts Beach. With fewer crowds and just as beautiful, you would be silly to come all this way and not visit.
Recommendation: Stop by the whitewashed lighthouse that was established in 1887. Although there is no accessibility to the inside of the lighthouse, the outside is a great photo opportunity with a lot of history.
Enjoy the Kiama Coast walk.
There is no better way of knowing an area than walking it. The Kiama coastal walk has three main routes to choose from, so you can walk them in sections, walk a bit of them, or walk them all if you are adventurous! The entire coastal walk is 20 km, so it is doable in a day!
The north section is from Minnamurra River to Kiama Blowhole, about a comfortable 3-hour walk (or approximately 8.4km). Start at the Minnamurra train station and get to James Oates Reserve. Along the way, you could stop at Jones Beach, Cathedral Rocks, Boneyard and Bombo Headlands for some beautiful scenic shots.
The midsection from Kiama Blowhole to Loves Bay takes about 1.5 hours and is approximately 5km. Here you will start at the visitors centre and make your way south via Storm Bay, Surf Beach, Kendalls Beach, Easts Beach and Loves Bay. All great places for a beautiful photo opportunity.
And finally, the South section from Loves bay to Gerringong will take approximately 2 hours or 6km. Start at Loves Bay and head down to Gerringong, where you will find the most challenging leg of the journey. This stretch of the coastal walk is unpaved and steep in parts.
Recommendation If you would like to try a different walk, the Minnamurra Forest Walk, I would highly recommend it as it is only 4.2 km for the entire circuit. Found in the Budderoo national park, breathtaking views will reward you if you deviate from the path and take the Falls walk (approximately 2km). Ensure you stop by the Minnamurra rainforest centre before starting your walk; they are open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.
Shop in Kiama
Who doesn’t love a little bit of shopping when on vacation? Better still, who doesn’t love shopping for local products unique to the area? So whether you choose to browse the many beautiful boutiques or you would instead like to take a peek at the many markets around the area, either way – shop local!
Kiama Seaside Markets: Block Beach from 9 am to 3 pm every third Sunday of the month.
Kiama Makers and Growers Market: block beach from 9 am to 2 pm every fourth Saturday of the month (10 am to 3 pm during winter).
Kiama Farmers Market: Coronation Park, Surf Beach, from 3 pm to 6 pm (2 pm to 5 pm during winter every Wednesday.
Recommendation – if you do not have time to visit the market but would love to shop locally, try The Collective Beat, a great little store selling local products from the area. There are lots of hidden gems that are all under one roof.
Visit the Historic Cottage Houses
I do love a town with a little bit of history at your doorstep, and these historic houses on Collin Street are just that! It feels like you had gone back in time when these terraced houses were built for the quarry workers in the area. Now they are great little shops and cafes for everyone to enjoy.
Have a little wander behind the terraces, and you will find the sandstone Walk (many are occupied with small businesses) are a significant little part of Kiama’s history.
Recommendation: Try eating at The Amaki Cafe, the oldest building in the area. Opening time is 7.30am to 4.30 pm daily.
Recommendation near Kiama
Jamberoo Action Park
With or without kids, Jamberoo is fun for all ages. This waterpark has come a long way since 1981 when it built its first-ever waterslide, and at the time, only the third made in Australia. You can easily spend an entire day here with so much to do.
Private Tour of the Southern Highlands and Coast
If you would like to see a little more of the area or you would like to visit Kiama on a day trip from Sydney, consider taking a private tour with a knowledgeable guide where you will stop at all the popular tourist destinations along the way. From wineries to Kiama blowholes and everything in between.
Kiama Harbour Cabins
Location Location Location: The Kiama Harbour Cabins is located 600 metres from Kiama Blowhole and have great views of Kiama Lighthouse; these convenient little 1 and 3-bedroom Cabins have everything you need. Air conditioning, wifi and a fully equipped kitchen.
The Sebel Harbourside Kiama
The rooms are comfortable, the staff are friendly, and the location is perfect. The Sebel Harbourside Kiama is a family-friendly favourite and is ideal for young and older families. There is a restaurant at the hotel or a leisurely stroll to cafes and restaurants.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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