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 rockpools, 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 to the water
Surfers will be drawn to Kiama’s main beach, as well as Bombo, Werri, Jones and Seven Mile beaches. Minnamurra Beach, known as Mystics, is one of Australia’s legendary National Surfing Reserved. If you decide to brave the breaks on a surfboard, but need guidance, instructors offer lessons through Surf Camp Australia, Land’s Edge and Gerringong Surf School.
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). Jump aboard with Kiama Charter Service or AAA Kiama Harbour Game and Reef Fishing.
Leave the ocean behind, and within minutes you’ll find yourself surrounded by flora and fauna at Minnamurra Rainforest, a primeval world of waterfalls and walking trails within Budderoo National Park. Drop in on the Rainforest Centre for tips on trails to tackle.
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.
Walk this way
While the full 22km Kiama Coast Walk could take all day, it’s split into three sections, 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.
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 120km/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.
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.