Just 120 kilometres south of Sydney, the small and picturesque coastal town of Kiama is famous for its blowhole, green grassy cliffs, spectacular beaches and ocean rock pools.
Because of its location, Kiama is a perfect weekend getaway for Sydney-siders, but it’s also very popular with Victorians holidaymakers. For us, it was another stopover on our road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane; we decided to stay three nights in Kiama.
As with Narooma, the previous town we visited, Kiama did not disappoint and, in fact, three days could have easily turned into five or more. There are so many great things to do in and around Kiama that it’s impossible to be bored.
If you are planning a trip to this stunning part of New South Wales, here is a quick guide to what to do in Kiama. I am sure you will love Kiama as much as we did.
Take a walk on the Kiama coastal walk
The Kiama coastal walk stretches for 22 kilometres and is divided into 3 sections. This trail offers some spectacular coastal views and it was our favourite part of Kiama. The trail takes you past some of Kiama’s highlights, such as the big blowhole, the cathedral rocks and the breathtaking Bombo Headlands. You will also traverse stunning beaches where, on a hot day, you can stop for a refreshing dip.
The entire trail can be done over a few days as we did or, you can just tackle the sections that interest you. They are all beautiful, so no matter which one you pick, you are bound to enjoy the views. If you happen to visit in the winter months, (June to October) keep an eye out for Humpback whales who might decide to put on a show on the horizon!
Visit The Blowholes
There are two blowholes in Kiama, the big blowhole and the small blowhole. The big blowhole is New South Wales’ most famous blowhole and therefore attracts the most tourists. It is situated a very short walk from the main street right next to the lighthouse.
The blowholes are formed by air pressure building up as the waves crash into the sea cave. When the waves come rushing into the cave, the water spurts out of the hole and it’s showtime!
However, nature does what it pleases and sometimes if the sea is calm you may not get much of a show. It was the case for us the first two times we visited the big blowhole. Thankfully we had three days in Kiama and managed to see the blowhole in its full splendour on our third visit.
The small blowhole is a lot less popular and I’m not sure why; it’s quite a sight as well. This one is a bit more out of the way but it’s not far if you have a car. It is also just off the Kiama coastal walk, so if you are walking that, you should take the small detour to check it out.
And the lighthouse …
You can’t miss the iconic lighthouse because it’s right next to the big blowhole and can be seen from many points along the Kiama coastal walk. It was built in 1887 and is still being used today.
Take a swim in one of the ocean rock pools
If you find the Kiama beaches a bit too rough for you, or if you have young children, don’t miss out on taking a dip in one of the ocean rock pools. Once again, there is one just a short walk from the main street and the big blowhole. This is the most popular of the rock pools in Kiama of course.
We quite liked the rock pool in the nearby town of Gerringong. A 50-metre walk from the Boat Harbour Reserve in Gerringong, this rock pool is a little quieter and pretty spectacular as well.
Head to the beach
Kiama has so many spectacular beaches to choose from that it might be hard to pick one. The good news is, no matter which one you pick, you can’t go wrong.
Kendall’s, Bombo and Jones beaches are all close to town. A bit further south you will find Seven Mile Beach, stretching from Gerroa in the north to Shoalhaven Heads in the south.
If you love surfing, you’ll have a blast at Jones or Bombo Beach.
Take a drive up the Saddleback Mountain Lookout
Yes, Kiama has some breathtaking coastal scenery but that’s not just it. If you drive a few minutes inland you’ll find another type of breathtaking scenery. This time it will be green rolling hills as far as the eye can see.
Take the winding, scenic drive up to the Saddle Mountain Lookout for an awesome view of the surrounding farmland and the best views over Kiama.
Check out the Cathedral Rocks
South of Jones Beach (along the Kiama coastal walk) you will find some funny shaped rocks called the Cathedral Rocks.
Thousands of years of erosion have detached these rocks from the cliffside and you can see them very well from the top of the headland.
Watch the waves crash at the Bombo Quarry Headland
This heritage-listed former quarry is an impressive sight! With powerful waves crashing against its unusual basalt columns, it’s a jaw-dropping experience. It feels a bit like you’re walking on the moon.
If you are a keen photographer, it is best photographed at sunrise, but it’s great to visit at any time of day.
Visit Jamberoo and the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre
If you want a day out of Kiama, head to the small town of Jamberoo and visit the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre. At the centre, take the four-kilometre hiking trail that leads you to Minnamurra Falls. Some parts are steep but it is a pleasant walk through the rainforest. If it is too much for you, you can also do the shorter 1.6-kilometre rainforest loop walk.
The old Jamberoo Pub is a good place to grab lunch and a drink before or after your hike. Be sure to stop at the Jamberoo lookout on your way there.
Visit the historic town of Berry
Another great place to visit outside of Kiama is the small town of Berry. This charming little town is dotted with historic buildings turned into quaint boutiques and cafes. Try to visit early morning as it does get busy and it might be hard to find parking.
Where to stay in Kiama?
Located right near Kendall’s Beach, this holiday park offers a choice of luxurious holiday cabins in a beautifully landscaped setting. Each cabin includes a private balcony and free parking. Check their prices here.
Sea Whispers has stunning ocean views to wake up to and enjoy from your private patio. It’s a 5-minute walk to the beach and 10 minutes to the blowhole. Check their prices here.
Just off the town’s main street, Kiama Shores is walking distance to the blowholes and the rockpool. There is a saltwater pool and free parking is provided. Check their prices here.
If none of those are available or take your fancy, search across all the major accommodation websites using HotelsCombined and the search box below.
Where to eat?
Penny Whistler Cafe
Great views paired with great food.
Harbourview Thai Restaurant
Good quality and very reasonable prices. This little Thai restaurant is nothing fancy on the inside but the food is good and the staff are friendly. It is also BYO with no corkage fee which makes for a cheap night out!
Olive & Vine
Great pizzas, eat in or take away. Make sure to book if you wish to eat in.