Travel

Kiama NSW – Definitely worth the drive

Kiama is a small town 120 km south of Sydney in the Illawarra, NSW.

It is a lovely seaside township which has surfing beaches, caravan parks and many sidewalk cafes and restaurants. On weekends the town comes alive with people, many who are visitors from Sydney, as it is such a short drive.

Kiama’s great ocean climate means that it has warm summers and mild winters.

With areas for safe viewing, the Kiama Blowhole is a major attraction. There is a coastal walking track which currently allows people to walk from Minnamurra to Easts Beach, past the Blowhole and also a smaller blowhole, called the Little Blowhole. The Little Blowhole is situated between Easts and Kendalls Beach, being on a headland south of the central part of Kiama.

It is now possible to walk along the cliffs, all the way to Gerringong. It took years to construct the Kiama Coast Walk. This walk is a 22 kilometre track which extends from the mouth of the Minnamurra River at Minnamurra, north of Kiama, to Werri Beach, near Gerringong, south of Kiama. Some of the land was previously private property and was declared public reserve to enable the public to access the walkway. The walk wanders past headlands, rivers, beaches and Kiama’s town centre, to Blowhole Point and then on towards the Little Blowhole, and passes more beaches and bays before it ends.

Bombo is a few kilometres north and has a famous rock formation known as Cathedral Rocks. There are other rock formations on the headlands and cliffs, as well as walk going along the Kiama coast. Bombo Beach is a well-known surfing beach.

It took 17 years of hard labour to hollow out Kiama Harbour. This was flooded in 1876 and enabled large steamers such as those from the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company to enter. This resulted in an incomparable sea trade. The Harbour still houses many fishing and other boats and the wharf has a popular seafood cafe and seafood market where it is possible to buy local fish.

In 1881 the Kiama Pilot’s Cottage was completed, and this historic building is now a local history museum and tourist information centre, which is open on weekends. In 1887 Kiama Lighthouse was built, originally with an oil burner, and in 1969 the light was electrified and connected to mains electricity, with a battery back-up. The current light source is a 120V, 1000W quartz halogen lamp. The tower is closed to the public, but the general site is accessible by road with plenty of parking available. The Kiama Lighthouse is on Blowhole Point and is close to the Kiama Blowhole. The point also has a fascinating rock pool and there are seaside cabins close by.

The Kiama Post Office is one of many historic buildings in Kiama. On nearby Terralong Street there is a war memorial, an historic fire station which is used for exhibits and a shopping centre. This street has a mall of cafes, restaurants and art galleries.

Saddleback Mountain and Noorinan Mountain provide a dramatic backdrop to the township.

Further attractions are Jerrara Dam, west of Kiama, which was built in the 1800s to supply water to the area and is now a reserve. Jamberoo Park is a water-ride theme park which is very popular among both locals and tourists and is about 10 minutes inland, at Jamberoo. Also, just north of Minnamurra is Killalea Recreation Area, a nature reserve on Bass Point.