A force of nature
People flock to Kiama to witness the force of nature that is the town’s famed blowhole, but the region as a whole is equally awe-inspiring. Get lost in the silent beauty of rainforest, watch wondrous waterfalls, surf the region’s great breaks, amble stunning coastal walks, soar above the tree-tops, mosey through a market and get to know the locals at gorgeous spots like Gerringong and Jamberoo.
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.
Explore some of the towns many markets such as Kiama Farmers’ Market, Kiama Makers and Growers Market, Gerringong Rotary Markets and Jamberoo Village Markets.
Kiama also hosts some of the region’s best food, wine and music festivals. Explore one or more or the many festivals such as A Day on the Hill, SurfLife Music Festival Gerringong, Winter Wine Festival, Jamberoo Music Festival and Kiama Jazz and Blues Festival.
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.
Take to the water
Surfers will be drawn to Kiama’s main beach, as well as Bombo, Werri, Jones, Killalea and Seven Mile beach. Minnamurra Beach, known as Mystics, is one of Australia’s legendary National Surfing Reserves. 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), Kiama Charter Service offer award-winning reef and deep-sea fishing trips.
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.
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.
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. 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 22km north of Kiama.