Looking for the best things to do in Kiama?
You’ve landed on the right travel guide because I live in New South Wales, not far from Kiama, actually. In this article, I’m going to tell you about all the best things to do in Kiama and the surrounding area.
Kiama is an attractive coastal town that lies around 120 kilometres south of the New South Wales capital and just 40 kilometres north of Wollongong. It is famous for its record-breaking blowhole, but there is so much more to do in Kiama than see the blowhole!
Besides all the unmissable things to do in Kiama, this article also contains a Kiama Travel Guide that answers all your FAQs, like how to get to Kiama, where to stay in Kiama, and more.
It’s at the end of the article, so don’t miss it after you discover what to do in Kiama and its surrounding area!
15 best things to do in Kiama
1. Kiama Coastal Walk
Looking for things to do in Kiama this weekend? I highly recommend the Kiama coastal walk!
Spanning an impressive 22 kilometres from the Minnamurra River to Gerringong, this exceptional coastal walk features a picturesque blend of stunning beaches and dramatic rock formations.
Not only does the path lead you to the renowned Kiama Blowhole, but it also provides access to a host of other must-see spots. These include the Cathedral Rocks, Bombo Beach, the Little Blowhole, and the tranquil Werri Lagoon.
Though tackling the entire Kiama Coast Walk in one day is an option, most prefer to digest the experience in smaller portions, typically divided into three manageable stages:
→ The first section takes you from Minnamurra River to Kiama Blowhole, an 8.4km trek (approximately 3hrs).
→The second stretch runs from Kiama Blowhole to Loves Bay, a journey of 5km (around 1.5 hours).
→ The final leg bridges Loves Bay to Gerringong, covering 6km (roughly 2hrs).
If you’re wondering about how to get back to Kiama at the end of your walk, don’t fret! The Gerringong Bowling Club offers a Walk + Eat + Ride lunch deal that includes a complimentary lift back to Kiama when you spend at least $20 at the club.
However, should the vastness of the trail feel somewhat daunting, rest assured, you are under no obligation to conquer the entire 22km. There’s flexibility in exploring the parts that most pique your interest.
❗️If you fancy staying nearer to Kiama, it is suggested to traverse the distance between the Kiama Blowhole and Loves Bay.
It’s worth mentioning that parts of this trail serve as a shared pathway for both pedestrians and cyclists.
For those who have an affinity for cycling, consider embarking on the Thirroul to Kiama route, a popular 60km ride that is guaranteed to invigorate your senses.
2. Kiama Lighthouse
The whitewashed tower of Kiama’s 19th-century lighthouse, soaring to a height of 16 metres, is an emblematic fixture of the NSW South Coast landscape.
This lighthouse, situated just south of Kiama’s harbour and perched more than 136 metres above sea level, is an unmissable sight. While the tower itself is off-limits to visitors, the quaint assistant keeper’s cottage is open to the public, now serving as the Pilots’ Cottage Museum.
Managed by the Kiama Historical Society, this museum offers visitors a captivating peek into Kiama’s storied past.
It illuminates aspects such as the town’s shipping history, the early cedar industry, and the basalt quarries that have profoundly shaped the region. Known as either Kiama Light or Kiama Harbour Light, this active lighthouse also hosts a tourist information centre alongside the museum.
Situated on Blowhole Point, just south of Kiama Harbour and only moments away from the Kiama Blowhole, the lighthouse’s prime location makes it a key feature on any Kiama itinerary. As you plan what to do in Kiama, don’t miss the opportunity to delve into its heritage at this iconic landmark.
3. Bombo Headland Quarry
Just a brief drive north of Kiama, you’ll find the unique and breathtaking Bombo Headland Quarry. This geological marvel, with its distinctive basalt walls and columns, resembles a moonscape.
As its name implies, the site was once a quarry, and the captivating rock formations you see today are a testament to the blue metal quarrying operations of the late 19th century, complemented by centuries of continuous erosion.
Listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register, the Bombo Headland Quarry shares a resemblance with the Cathedral Rocks, offering an ideal setting for photo enthusiasts. Particularly during the sunrise, when the day’s first light bathes the quarry in an ethereal glow, it’s a photographer’s dream come true.
Whether you’re considering what to do in Kiama or looking to dive into its history at the Pilots’ Cottage Museum, make sure to carve out time for a sunrise visit to the Bombo Headland Quarry.
This striking site provides a fascinating glimpse into the area’s industrial past and natural beauty, and it’s undoubtedly a highlight of the Kiama region.
4. Cathedral Rocks
Just north of the Bombo Headland Quarry Geological Site are the distinctive rock formations of Cathedral Rocks.
These towering basalt formations have been sculpted over millions of years and are a photographer’s favourite, particularly at sunrise!
The Cathedral Rocks can be visited along the Kiama Coastal Walk but if you’re serious about your photography, we recommend getting there early to capture the magnificent changing colours as the day breaks.
5. Enjoy a scenic drive
For those who prefer the thrill of a scenic drive over a hike, we highly recommend embarking on Official Tourist Drive No. 9. This picturesque route carves a path from Kiama to the Southern Highlands via Jamberoo Mountain Road, offering breathtaking views and an array of attractions along the way.
Here are some highlights you can expect on this journey:
📍The quaint Jamberoo township, is a charming locale that captures the essence of rural Australia.
📍Minnamurra Rainforest & Waterfall, is an unspoiled natural wonder where you can explore verdant landscapes and marvel at cascading waterfalls.
📍Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, an elevated walkway that offers panoramic views across the Pacific Ocean.
📍Carrington Falls, a mesmerizing waterfall that is among the many hidden gems of the Southern Highlands.
📍Robertson, a town famed for its delectable pie shop and its peculiar landmark, the Big Potato, is perhaps one of the country’s most unconventional “big” attractions.
Your journey can either loop back to Kiama via Macquarie Pass and Albion Park or, for an alternative route, you could venture further south to visit the enchanting towns of Gerringong, Gerroa, and Berry before returning to Kiama via the highway.
Whether you’re stopping to hike to the waterfalls of Minnamurra and Carrington, taking a leisurely stroll through Robertson’s antique stores, or simply enjoying the drive, the Official Tourist Drive No. 9 provides a unique experience and a compelling answer to the question of what to do in Kiama.
6. Kiama Blowhole
Looking for things to do in Kiama with kids? The Kiama Blowhole is a surefire hit.
Known as the world’s largest blowhole, it’s one of the town’s most beloved attractions and has enthralled visitors for over a century. When conditions are right, seawater can spurt more than 30 metres into the air from its 2.5-metre-wide opening, creating a spectacle that captivates both kids and adults.
The blowhole was first identified by explorer George Bass back in 1797, and it continues to be a magnet for visitors today.
The blowhole is easy to find; simply head towards the Kiama Lighthouse. It’s within walking distance from the town centre and offers several viewing points to witness this natural wonder. With picnic tables and public toilets nearby, it makes for an easy and enjoyable outing.
Interestingly, Kiama boasts not just one but two blowholes. While the Big Blowhole gets most of the limelight, the Little Blowhole often provides an even more exhilarating display.
Predicting the best time to witness the blowholes in action can be tricky; sometimes they may leave you a bit underwhelmed. However, according to local experts at the visitor centre, your best bet is to visit the Little Blowhole during a northeastern wind and the main Kiama Blowhole near the lighthouse in a southeastern wind.
Visiting the Kiama Blowhole is undeniably one of the most popular things to do in Kiama, especially for families. Don’t miss the chance to see this unique natural spectacle in action!
7. Kiama Ocean pool
If you’re searching for romantic things to do in Kiama, consider a tranquil sunrise swim in one of the town’s beautiful ocean rock pools. Sharing the serene early morning with your loved one, before the hustle and bustle of the day begins, is an experience that’s both peaceful and invigorating.
Kiama is home to four stunning rock pools, each with its own unique charm. The Blowhole Point Ocean Pool, located near the famous Kiama Blowhole, is a favourite among locals and visitors alike. On the opposite side of the harbour, you’ll find the 50-metre-long Continental Pool, ideal for a few leisurely laps amidst breathtaking views.
For a more secluded experience, head to the Ourie Ocean Pool at the southern end of Werri Beach or the Boat Harbour Ocean Pool in Gerringong. The latter even features a sandy beach at its shallow end, perfect for a relaxed picnic after your swim.
These four picturesque spots are well worth adding to your Kiama itinerary, whether you plan to spend time in the water or simply enjoy the beautiful views.
With ample facilities, including children’s change rooms, picnic and barbecue areas, and ample parking, these rock pools offer an idyllic setting for a day out in Kiama.
8. Minnamurra Falls and Rainforest
When you’re in need of a cool retreat, consider a visit to the stunning Minnamurra Rainforest. Despite the name, it’s actually located in Jamberoo, not Minnamurra Village, but don’t let that dissuade you. The area is known for being a few degrees cooler, providing a refreshing escape, especially during warmer days.
A standout feature of this verdant paradise is the magnificent Minnamurra Falls. Situated within the Budderoo National Park, this two-tiered waterfall is a sight to behold as it cascades along the Minnamurra River.
A four-kilometre round trip from the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre will lead you to several viewing platforms that overlook both the upper and lower cascades.
Even in wet weather, the dense canopy of the rainforest ensures a comfortable journey, so if you are looking for things to do in Kiama when it’s raining you should definitely add Minnamurra Rainforest to the itinerary.
But the waterfall is just one part of the allure. The walk itself is an immersive experience that will bring you closer to nature.
9. Kiama beaches
One of the best things to do in Kiama is relax on its beautiful beaches, which include popular surf breaks and family-friendly stretches of sand. If you’re travelling with kids, we recommend the shallow waters of Kendalls Beach or sheltered Easts Beach, which can easily be combined with a visit to the Little Blowhole. While Kiama’s Surf Beach is renowned for its northern break, “The Wedge”, it also features calm waters that are ideal for swimming or a splash about with the kids.
If you’re looking to brush up on your surfing skills or even take a lesson, then Gerroa’s Seven Mile Beach is the place to head. More experienced board riders won’t want to miss Minnamurra Beach, which forms part of Killalea State Park’s National Surfing Reserve.
If you’re in need of a day away from the coast (or the weather demands it), then head to charming Berry. This historic town is just 20 minute’s drive from Kiama and is a great place for shopping, dining and weekend strolls beneath an umbrella. You can delve into the past at the Berry Historic Museum, discover treasures at one of the numerous antique stores or just admire Berry’s heritage buildings, such as the Railway Station, the Courthouse and the Gate House of the David Berry Hospital.
When it’s time to eat, Berry is a foodie’s paradise, with everything from traditional tea shops to winery estates and dessert bars to choose from. If possible, coincide your visit with the Berry Markets, which are held on the first Sunday of the month at the Berry Showground.
11. Wine and beer taste
If it’s raining outside, then head indoors to sample some of the region’s finest drops at the local wineries and breweries. Stoic Brewing in Gerringong has made a name for its pale ales and offers tasting paddles of its handcrafted beers and ciders. Coincide your visit with a Friday afternoon when local food trucks set up shop.
Also a short drive from Kiama is the cellar door of Coolangatta Estate, which was one of the first wineries to be established in the Shoalhaven region. Guided tastings are offered of their Semillons, Cabernet Sauvignons and Tempranillos while the alfresco restaurant offers sweeping views across the surrounding farmland.
12. Kiama Seaside Markets
On the third Sunday of every month, the Kiama Seaside Markets ignite the waterfront, with more than 100 stalls selling everything from local handicrafts to collectables and fresh produce. You can grab a bite to eat from one of the food stalls before settling in to listen to the live music being performed by local buskers. The Kiama Seaside Markets are open from 9 am to 3 pm.
If you’re specifically after fresh and organic produce, then we recommend the Kiama Farmers Market, which takes place each Wednesday afternoon at Coronation Park.
13. Bonaira Native Gardens
While we love a romantic beach stroll in Kiama, we also recommend a visit to the Bonaira Native Gardens to walk arm-in-arm with your lover. This gorgeous oasis is planted with a variety of native species and towering trees, all of which are detailed by information plaques. An easy, 30-minute trail meanders through the garden, which is also the perfect spot for a romantic picnic in Kiama.
14. Whale watching
The coastline surrounding Kiama is famed for its whale watching, particularly during the months of June and July when these giants of the ocean are migrating north, then again from September to November when they head back south. It’s possible to spot humpback whales from several points around Kiama but there are two purpose-built whale-watching platforms if you’re serious about catching a glimpse. Just north of Kiama’s town centre is the Minnamurra Whale Watching Platform while to the south is the Gerringong Whale Watching Platform.
15. Jamberoo Action Park
Just 15 minutes’ drive from Kiama is the Jamberoo Action Park, a sprawling water park where kids can let loose on hot, summer days. It’s a great alternative to the beach, with all-inclusive admission that lets them brave thrilling water slides, play miniature golf or splash around at the Billabong Beach playground. You can kick back in a tube to ride the Rapid River, test your skills on the bobsledding course or soak up the views across the park from the chairlift.
Hidden gems near Kiama
Looking for more things to do in Kiama this weekend? Here are a few of our favourite destinations that lie off the beaten track.
Barren Grounds Nature Reserve
Barren Grounds Nature Reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise that lies directly west of Kiama. It’s almost completely encircled by rocky cliffs and features a heathland that ignites with wildflowers in the spring. There are walks to suit all abilities, with a highlight being the 4.5-kilometre-long trail that leads to Drawing Room Rocks with its rock-shaped tables and chairs.
Buena Vista Farm
This family-run estate nestles in scenic farmland near Werri Beach and is committed to growing and rearing in a sustainable manner. In addition to a kitchen garden, laying hens and honey bees, they also keep free-range pigs and grass-fed cattle. Join one of their guided farm tours to learn about the organic practices used here or attend a hands-on cheese-making class.
Not far from Carrington Falls in Budderoo National Park is this idyllic watering hole where you can swim or picnic before hitting the surrounding trails. It’s framed by magnificent eucalypts that provide habitat for a variety of species, including the satin bowerbird. Nellie’s Glen is best avoided on summer weekends when it can get very busy.
Where to eat in Kiama
This iconic yellow shack at Kiama Harbour sells fish straight from the trawlers and is the place to head for a feed after visiting the Kiama Blowhole. You can opt for traditional battered fish and chips, fresh tiger prawns or oysters to slurp down straight away.
Drawing on locally sourced and homegrown produce, Silica is positioned overlooking Kiama’s Surf Beach. It’s a fine dining experience that is all about showcasing what the South Coast has to offer, with the menu featuring dishes such as braised octopus, hot smoked duck breast and salt-baked potato gnocchi.
The Hungry Monkey
The Hungry Monkey is a brunch favourite and is located in the heart of all Kiama’s action. Begin with a cup of White Horse Coffee before feasting on gourmet burgers (or a burger slider), bao buns and hearty salads. There’s a good kids menu available during the day and The Hungry Monkey is open select nights of the week for dinner.
Best places to stay in Kiama
Located in the heart of Kiama, these award-winning apartments offer a touch of “The Hamptons” while being close to everything the community has to offer. It boasts six one-bedroom apartments featuring wrap-around balconies, full kitchens and private bathrooms, accompanied by gorgeous views of the surrounding gardens or the harbour. You can check it out here.
With its stunning beachfront location, this BIG4 is one of the best options for budget-seeking campers to base themselves on. In addition to ensuite and powered sites, there’s a wide choice of stylishly designed lofts, retreats and villas if you’re willing to splurge a little. The on-site aqua park, playground and swimming pool will appeal to kids and there’s a well-equipped camp kitchen where you can prepare meals. Click here to book.
Offering easy access to all of the shops and cafes on Kiama’s main street is this two-bedroom apartment, which has been beautifully decorated and comes with everything you need. Aside from the fully-equipped kitchen (complete with a coffee machine), there’s a flat-screen TV and a balcony offering sea views. Click here to book.
Plan your Trip to Kiama
How to get to Kiama
Drive: Kiama is around 90 minutes drive south of Sydney or just 40 minutes from Wollongong. There are a few different route options available; the motorway via Campbelltown (M31) or the coast road (A1), which includes the scenic Grand Pacific Drive.
Premier Motor Service connects both Sydney and Melbourne to Kiama or you can take advantage of the buses that travel from Sydney to Kiama with Greyhound Australia.
TRAIN: Regular trains also make the 2.5-hour scenic journey from Sydney’s Central Station to Kiama Station along the South Coast railway line. The train passes through Sutherland, Thirroul and Wollongong.
If you are a first-time visitor to Kiama, consider making Kiama Visitors Centre (located near the Blowhole) your first stop.
Kiama NSW: Frequently Asked Questions
How Far Is Kiama From Wollongong?
Kiama is approximately 37 kilometres south of Wollongong along the coast. By car, it takes about 35 to 40 minutes to travel between the two towns via the Princes Highway and the M1, depending on traffic conditions. It’s a beautiful drive along the coast with plenty of picturesque views. Please note that travel times may vary depending on your specific starting point in Wollongong and your destination in Kiama.
Is Kiama worth a Visit?
Absolutely, Kiama is worth a visit. This seaside town in NSW offers diverse attractions for all. It boasts natural wonders like the Kiama Blowhole and Minnamurra Falls, historical sites such as the 19th-century lighthouse, and picturesque coastal walks. The Bombo Headland Quarry and the charming rock pools are perfect for photography and relaxation. Whether you’re on a family trip, a romantic getaway, or an adventure excursion, Kiama has something to offer everyone.
What is Kiama Famous for?
Kiama, a coastal town in NSW, Australia, is renowned for its Kiama Blowhole, one of the world’s largest. It’s also recognized for beautiful beaches, the scenic Kiama Coast Walk, unique geological formations like the Cathedral Rocks and Bombo Headland Quarry, and its historic lighthouse. Additionally, it’s popular for its ocean rock pools, local culture, fresh seafood, and proximity to attractions like the Minnamurra Rainforest.
Before you go…
Before you embark on your Kiama adventure, there are a few more things you might want to consider. Given Kiama’s proximity to other noteworthy destinations on the NSW South Coast, expanding your itinerary can enrich your overall experience.
One such gem is Wollongong, a vibrant coastal city situated just north of Kiama. Wollongong and the broader Illawarra region are renowned for their stunning nature walks, making them a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
We have carefully curated a list of 15 Stunning Walks in Wollongong and the Illawarra in another blog post, which we highly recommend you check out. These walks range from tranquil bush trails to spectacular coastal paths, offering breathtaking views and a healthy dose of fresh air.
Incorporating some of these walks into your travel plans can provide a deeper appreciation of the region’s natural beauty and diverse landscapes, thus enhancing your trip to Kiama NSW and beyond.