Booming surf and long walks on the beach are highlights in this NSW South Coast spot.
There’s no escaping the sound of the surf in this seaside town. Locals say Kiama means “place where the sea makes a noise,” and when you’re standing beside the Kiama Blowhole—the largest blowhole in the world—getting soaked by the 30-metre-high jet of spray, you’ll understand why. Beyond the blowhole are sandy beaches renowned for their surf, ocean swimming pools, lush rainforests, waterfalls, farmland scenery, and wineries. Camping and caravanning has always been a favourite way to holiday in this part of the world, and the beach holiday parks are almost all overlooking the sea.
Drive 15 minutes west of Kiama’s golden beaches and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a classic old-school chocolate box decorated with rustic scenes of cows and green pastured hills. Highlights include Budderoo National Park and the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre with its family-friendly walk to Minnamurra Falls, the cantilevered lookout at the Illawarra Fly, and Jamberoo Action Park—the largest water-based theme park in NSW.
You could spend hours browsing the boutiques and antiques stores in this historic inland village, but the real reason to go is for the food and nearby wineries. The original Berry Bakery has a cult following, but the other two bakeries in town are just as good. Don’t leave without buying a sugary treat from the hot donut van.
A quieter version of Kiama, the small town of Gerringong is just a short drive south, but you can also walk—the Kiama Coast Walk is a spectacularly scenic, 20-kilometre coastal walk that links the two towns. (It’s broken up into three sections so you don’t have to do the whole thing.) There are several good beachfront holiday parks and a whale watching platform on the headland.
There’s no prizes for guessing how Seven Mile Beach National Park, just south of Gerringong, got its name, but a beach this long is never going to feel crowded. Swim, surf, have a picnic or barbecue, watch the birds, (and whales in winter) and hit the bushwalking trails.
If you want to see Kiama’s blowhole at its most impressive, go when there’s southeasterly wind blowing. Winter can be a bit cool and wet, although that’s the best time to see whales. The best swimming and camping weather is found in summer and autumn, but it gets very busy during summer and Easter school holidays, when you’ll need to book ahead.
- Take care when driving the Jamberoo Mountain Road between the coast and Robertson in the Southern Highlands. It’s very steep and winding, and not suitable for caravans. - Stock up with fresh produce from the Kiama farmer’s market, held every Wednesday afternoon in Coronation Park next to Surf Beach. - Kiama’s visitor centre is beside the blowhole.