Kiama is a lovely beachside town full of attractions that is located 80 miles south of Sydney. Here you can visit the largest blowhole in the world, swim in the picturesque Kiama Rockpool, relax on the beach or go surfing, or walk the scenic Kiama Coastal Walk. There is certainly lots to do in Kiama and it makes a great weekend escape from Sydney or the perfect stop off on a NSW South Coast road trip. Read on for the best things to do and attractions to see in Kiama!
How to get to Kiama
Kiama lies on the South Coast of NSW and can be reached by car in 2 hours if coming from Sydney. Make sure to turn off the Princes Highway and onto Lawrence Hargrave Drive at Helensburgh so you can drive along the Grand Pacific Drive and over Sea Cliff Bridge for stunning views!
If you don’t have a car, fear not as Kiama is easy enough to get to on public transport! Take the SCO (South Coast Line) from Bondi Junction, Town Hall or Central all the way to Kiama. Be sure to check the train does actually stop at Kiama as some services have limited stops and terminate at Port Kembla. Make sure your train terminates in Kiama. Trains take around 2 hours from Sydney to Kiama.
Train times are pretty sporadic and the stops vary considerably, so make sure you check the train timetable beforehand.
Kiama train station is right in the centre of Kiama and you can reach all the sites in Kiama by foot as the town is fairly compact.
Surf Beach (Kiama Main Beach)
Kiama’s closest beach is Surf Beach which is just south of the main centre. It is a pretty beach and is popular with surfers. The South Coast of New South Wales is known for having some really great surf and stunning beaches and Kiama’s Surf Beach is no exception. If you’ve never tried surfing before, why not give it a go in Kiama?!
Or if you prefer you can just sunbathe and relax on the sand! There are toilets here if you need. Alternatively if you want a nice view of Surf Beach and fancy sitting on the grass and using the bbq facilities, stroll south to Kendalls Point for a lovely view.
If you walk to the north of Surf Beach and follow the coast around you’ll reach Kiama Blowhole. There are nice views back across to Surf Beach at Church Point which is by the Pavilion.
Kiama Blow Hole
Without a doubt the most famous attraction in Kiama is it’s blow hole! This is because Kiama is home to the largest blow hole in the world! For over 100 years people have been coming here to witness the sea water powerfully ‘whooshing’ up 20 metres or so up through the rocks into the air. It generally happens a couple of times a minute, depending on waves entering the sea cliff cavern and the wind blowing in a south-easterly direction.
The blowhole is created as ocean waves rush inland and the water is forced under great pressure through a cavern in the base of the cliff. The water sprays high into the air through a weathered opening in the cliff face, creating a ‘whooshing’ sound. It is free to visit the blow hole and there are always crowds here but there are a couple of viewpoints from where you can watch this natural beauty. Please be careful and never go over the barriers – they are here for your safety as there have been accidents in the past.
Kiama Blow Hole is located right beneath Kiama Lighthouse (built in 1887) and along the Kiama Coast Walk at the end of Blowhole Point Road. There is free parking here if you need. After you’ve seen the Blow Hole from the different viewpoints, wander around the Blowhole Walkway and admire the coastal views and interesting rock formations before heading to the rock pool.
Kiama Rock Pool
A couple of hundred metres from the blow hole is Kiama Rock Pool. It is a really nice natural rock pool and is quite big. The views are nice and the waves often spill into the pool from the sea as the tide is coming in.
As it is a natural rock pool the floor is quite rocky and uneven so be careful. I also saw quite a few big black sea slugs in the rock pool which did freak me out! They are totally harmless of course, I’m just not a fan of accidentally touching one! On a sunny day there can be lots of people here but it never feels too crowded.
There are toilets right next to the rock pool if you need to use them.
Continue walking around from the rock pool to the northern part of Blowhole Point and you will come to Kiama Harbour – another one of Kiama’s attractions. Kiama Harbour was built almost 150 years ago, at a time when it was hard to access Kiama by land. Stroll around from Kiama Harbour and you’ll come to the beautiful Black Beach – so called because of the black sand here. There is also a large rock pool here too.
KIAMA COAST WALK (NORTH OF KIAMA)
The Kiama Coast Walk is a massive 22 km long, going from Minnamurra River which lies north of Kiama, all the way down past Kiama to Werri Beach in Gerringong. The walk north of Kiama includes the sights of Kiama as well as Bombo Beach and Headland, Cathedral Rocks, Jones Beach and Minnamurra Headland and is about 8km long.
To start the trail at Minnamurra you can always take the train from Kiama to Minnamurra and then walk back to Kiama via the coast walk. If you continue the walk all the way to Gerringong, again just take the train back to Kiama from here. It is the same train line you use to get back to Sydney, just make sure to check the train timetable so you’re not waiting too long!
If you are in the car and prefer not to do so much walking, just drive to each attraction!
If you are coming by car, park at the end of Eureka Avenue and make your onto the grassy Minnamurra Headland. You’ll see Jones Beach below you on your right, as well as a whale watching platform.
Keep walking to your left and you’ll get the most stunning views out across to Minnamurra River and the sandbar at Boyd’s Beach from the lookout.
Stroll south to Jones Beach which is another popular spot for surfers. On the northern end of the beach you’ll find a small shop and some toilets, and the southern part is an off-leash dog area. Do be careful not to walk in the long grassy dunes behind the beach as snakes can often be in there (you will see a sign telling you to watch out for them). If you walk all the way to the south end of Jones Beach you will see the Cathedral Rocks.
If you don’t want to walk all the way along the beach (as it is almost 1km long) you can also reach the rocks by walking on the street then turning off at Cliff Drive. You’ll see a pathway down on your left hand side after the houses that will lead down to the beach and you’ll be able to see the rocks.
The Cathedral Rocks are really unusual vertical rock columns that lie on the southern end of Jones Beach. The rock formations are the remains of lava flow that was eroded by the sea and there is a really picturesque cave at that you can access from the beach where you can get some nice photographs of the formations. Just make sure to check the tide times and only visit at low tide so you’ll be able to walk all the way around the rocks and into the cave. The waves are really powerful here so do not attempt to go inside the cave at high tide as it will be too dangerous.
You can also park your car on Cliff Drive and view the rocks from above. The view from up here is really nice but do be careful if you go onto the grass at the top of the cliff behind the houses as there is no barrier. If you walk a little further along the road you’ll also see a really nice view of the Cathedral Rocks as well as an information board that shows a famous painting of it by Augustus Earle in 1827. Ever since he painted the Cathedral Rocks tourists have been coming here to witness them for themselves.
Before you get to Bombo Beach you’ll pass by Bombo Quarry and the Boneyard at Bombo Headland. The views from here are really stunning. Head down to Bombo Beach which is just a couple of kilometres north of Kiama. The beach is a lot quieter than Kiama’s main beach but is nevertheless equally stunning. On the northern end of the beach there is a small parking area and some toilets here. From here just walk along the coast to Kiama.
KIAMA COAST WALK (SOUTH OF KIAMA)
If you want to continue the costal walk south of Kiama it is about 12km until you reach Gerringong. You’ll pass by Kendalls Beach and East Beach before ending in Gerringong. It is a lot of walking, so if you prefer you can always drive or take the train to Gerringong from Kiama.
Gerringong is another quaint seaside town, a little smaller than Kiama. The Hill Bar and Kitchen here has sweeping panoramic views overlooking Werri Beach and is the perfect place to stop for a coffee or cold drink!
If you fancy visiting one of the local breweries to taste some beer or cider, head to family run Stoic Brewing. Sunday is the best day to visit when there is live music and food trucks here too! If wineries are more your thing, head to nearby Crooked River Wines. The views overlooking the rolling hills and vineyard is superb.
From Gerrigong you can then get the train back to Kiama. Gerringong is the next stop on the train line from Kiama.
Where to go for food in Kiama
When you’re ready for a spot of lunch or dinner head to Kiama’s quaint main streets (Terralong Street and Manning Street) where you’ll find several cosy cafes and restaurants. There are also some really nice beach boutique shops here for you to browse around.
If you are looking for a really unique experience head to Bouquiniste – a small independent bookshop and cafe in the day and a wine bar by night!
Accommodation in Kiama
PLACES TO VISIT NEARBY KIAMA
Sea Cliff Bridge
The Sea Cliff Bridge is a suspended bridge that makes up part of the Grand Pacific Drive: one of the most scenic roads in Australia. There is also an epic ‘secret’ lookout you can get to to see the scenic bridge from above. Click here to read how to find the Sea Cliff Bridge secret lookout!
If you are coming via train and want to visit the Sea Cliff Bridge on your way back to Sydney from Kiama you will need to change trains at either Wollongong or Thirroul to take the slow train. The stop for Sea Cliff Bridge is Scarborough. Again make sure to check the train timetable as trains are not so regular, especially at the weekends when trains stop at Scarborough once every two hours! Also make sure to check where the train terminates – most of them terminate at Bondi Junction but some trains terminate at Waterfall, in which case you will need to change trains and take the T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra line back to Central or Bondi.
Illawarra Fly Tree Top Adventures
If you are looking for something more adventurous and adrenaline filled, head to the Illawarra Fly Tree Top Adventures about 15 km from Kiama. Their 1.5km treetop walk goes through the canopy of trees and then you can take the zipline, which also happens to be Australia’s highest zipline! Definitely a fun day out!
Jervis Bay is an hour further south of Kiama and is home to Hyams Beach – which supposedly has the whitest sand in the world! The whole area is surrounded by beautiful beaches and it feels very tropical here! A visit to Jervis Bay is high on many people’s NSW bucket list, so often they will stop off in Kiama en route to Jervis Bay.