Salty air, sunshine, surf and long stretches of sand – Kiama epitomises everything great about the NSW South Coast. Life here revolves around the water, whether you’re trekking coastal cliffs on the lookout for dolphins and whales (May through November), tackling waves on a surfboard, enjoying a dip in calm ocean pools, or watching the sea rush high into the sky at one of the region’s blowholes.
Towns & villages
The pretty town of Kiama is the largest in the area. It’s flanked by beaches and ocean pools, and the bustling main street is lined with cafes and shops. Further down the coast is the village of Gerringong, perched on a hilltop overlooking two headlands. The tiny enclave of Gerroa is a favourite of surfers. Inland, Jamberoo is the place for lush rainforest and heart-pumping adventures.
Take a day trip and explore the surrounding areas of Minnamurra, at the mouth of the river, you can find the perfect spot for snorkelling, fishing , stand up paddleboarding and kayaking. Or take a hike in the Minnamurra Rainforest.
Another great must see are the rock formations at Bombo Headland, the rock formations are a product of the region's rich mining history and blue metal quarrying in the 1880s and 1900s, along with centuries of exposure to the powerful ocean forces.
There are plenty of calm bays for family swimming, paddleboarding or kayaking – try Kendalls or Easts beaches – plus ocean pools carved directly into the rock. Further from shore, the area’s waters are ideal for deep-sea fishing expeditions, particularly in warmer months (September through May), Kiama Charter Service offer award-winning reef and deep-sea fishing trips.
On the edge of the park, heart-starting experiences await at Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures – whether from ziplines (the highest in Australia) or suspension bridges, you’ll gain a bird’s-eye view of this lush setting. Cool off at the nearby Jamberoo Action Park, where waterslides will thrill the whole family.
If you’re looking for somewhere to have a nice bite to eat, try Jamberoo Pub, there’s plenty of interesting memorabilia to view on its walls and it serves top-quality tap beer.
Walk this way
The Kiama Coast Walk is about 20km and could take all day, however it’s split into three sections (north, mid and south), so you can manage your wandering as time permits. The trail (across sand, sealed paths and grassy tracks) starts at the Minnamurra River in the north, traversing the windswept Bombo Headland, past shimmering bays and beaches backdropped by volcanic rock formations, around both of Kiama’s blowholes (little and big) and finally to Werri Beach in the seaside town of Gerringong.
Another spectacular site is Minnamurra Falls. Starting at Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, along The Falls walk, enjoy spectacular views over the rainforest canopy and cascading waterfalls. If you don’t have much time, a walk to Illawarra lookout is a must. Starting from Barren Grounds picnic area, this short trail moves along beautiful woodlands, arriving at Illawarra lookout, perched on the edge of the escarpment looking down across the hinterland, rolling green hills, and the stunning coastline.
The grass is greener
Coastal views, rainforest backdrops, rolling green fields – all are on display when you tee off at one of the region’s three courses: Kiama Golf Club, Gerringong Golf Club and Jamberoo Golf Club. Each comes with its own scenic appeal, plus bonus attractions, like a 19th hole for a refreshing beverage, or even a Footgolf course.
Getting there & where to stay
Just getting to the Kiama Area from Sydney is exhilarating, a 120 km/two-hour journey south on the epic Grand Pacific Drive. Take in national parks, wild coastal scenery and the thrilling Sea Cliff Bridge, snaking out over the ocean. Having your own transportation is ideal, as plenty of attractions await en route. Public transport options are also available, including a scenic train trip and buses. There are also flights available to Shellharbour, which is 22 km north from Kiama.
Kiama’s accommodation channels the surrounds – think laid-back, barefoot luxury hotels alongside beach cottages, self-contained cabins and architecturally lavish holiday homes. Many places come with ocean views, just steps from the surf.
Fly into Shellharbour Airport
Shellharbour Airport is located at Albion Park and is the gateway to Shellharbour City.
Flying to Shellharbour is the fastest way to enjoy everything the region has to offer from surfing at a National Surfing Reserve or enjoying a round of golf, to spectacular beaches, beautiful scenery, bush walking and more.
Link Airways operates direct flights from Shellharbour to Melbourne five days a week and Shellharbour to Brisbane five days a week.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the traditional owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.