Kiama Holidays & Travel Guide

The ultimate travel guide toKiama

Beaches, boutique shopping and a destination-worthy blowhole are what’s on offer in Kiama, a sprawling coastal town (population: roughly 7,700) on the NSW South Coast. See its main sights and maybe even spot a whale or two along its nearly 20-kilometre-long Kiama Coastal Walk. Or spend your time here wandering its weekly Kiama Farmers’ Markets, hopping in the car to chase its nearby waterfalls or simply kicking back with a frothy beverage and side of sea air at one of its mainly seafront pubs and restaurants. Whether you’re after a holiday to get your heart racing, or one to chill you right out, Kiama will have exactly what the doctor ordered.

Getting to Kiama

Kiama is a three-hour drive from Canberra, a 90-minute to two-hour drive from Sydney and a 40-minute drive from Wollongong. Starting in NSW’s Royal National Park, the Grand Pacific Drive will take you along stunning cliff-faces and glittering waters, as well as the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge, which offers you a chance to get out and stretch your legs. Prefer not to drive? Catch a direct train from Central that takes two hours and 12 minutes and runs regularly.

Kiama can be visited all year-round with the coolest average temperature in July being 11.5 Celcius and the warmest, in January, being 21.2 Celcius. June, July and August are the busiest months in terms of tourism in Kiama, expect accommodation to be at higher rates than usual. The Kiama Blowhole goes off all year but is most active on a windy day.

Top things to do in Kiama

Nature & Beaches

With Budderoo National Park, Seven Mile Beach National Park and Barren Grounds Nature Reserve all within a 30-minute drive of Kiama, not to mention, waterfalls Minnamurra, Carrington, Fitzroy and Belmore Falls all an easy day trip away, the town is a real paradise for nature lovers.

Walking & Hiking

Want to get a good feel for Kiama? Stroll its Kiama Coast Walk, a roughly 20-kilometre-long stretch from the mouth of the Minnamurra River through to Gerringong’s Werri Beach. Spot whales (May to July and September to November) from the Minnamurra Whale Watching Platform, watch the surfers at Kiama Surf Beach and finally, go for a sunset dip in Gerringong’s Boat Harbour Rock Pool or Werri Lagoon.

Inland, try Minnamurra Rainforest Falls Walk (a 4.2-kilometre circuit), Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk (1.5-kilometre return and requiring a ticket) or Carrington Falls Missingham Lookout Track (1.1-3.8 kilometre return). For maps and an overview of each walk, download the official Kiama Walking Guide.

Attractions & Activities

You can’t come to Kiama and not see the Kiama Blowhole. Said to be the largest blowhole in the world, the landmark was first sighted in 1797. Today, it has multiple viewing platforms and nearby picnic spots from where it can be enjoyed. A short walk away, on Blowhole Point, is Kiama Lighthouse, opened in 1887. The Little Blowhole is a 10-minute drive south.

Drive 10 minutes north of town and you’ll reach Cathedral Rocks, volcanic rocks shaped into stunning sculptural forms. Also worth visiting is the breathtaking view from Saddleback Mountain Lookout, a 10-minute drive inland. If you’re here on a Wednesday (3-6 pm or 2-5 pm in winter), drop by Kiama Farmers’ Market at Coronation Park, Surf Beach, for fresh fruits and veggies from local farmers and regional producers.

Best places to stay in Kiama

Hotels & Motels

As a popular destination for Sydney weekenders and holiday-makers, Kiama has no shortage of accommodation. On the more premium end is The Sebel Kiama Harbourside, Nova Kiama and Terralong Terrace Apartments Kiama. Historic The Grand Hotel offers a pub with three floors and a convenient location along main Manning Street, while motel-style Kiama Shores has an outdoor pool and a café-style restaurant.

Holiday Parks & Camping

Caravanners and campers are spoilt for choice in Kiama with about a dozen caravan parks along the town and surrounding area’s coastline. Big4 Easts Beach Holiday Park is steps from East Beach. Kendalls On The Beach Holiday Park sits in front of Kendalls Beach. And Surf Beach Holiday Park is a five-minute stroll from both Kendalls Beach and Surf Beach.

Holiday Homes

Visiting with a group, or want a more private experience? Consider a holiday home. Swell Kiama is equipped with two bedrooms, a breezy balcony and Instagram-ready interiors. Belle Vue is a penthouse on Black Beach with three bedrooms and access to a shared pool. And ScandinavianDesign is an entire house with three bedrooms, heated floors and a minimalist Scandinavian design. For more holiday homes in the area, check Coast & Country NSW South Coast Holidays.

For a truly special stay, look no further than Dovecote in Gerringong, a 10-minute drive south of Kiama. The 15-acre oceanfront farmland provides the ultimate luxury escape in its award-winning properties The Headland, which sleeps eight, and The Range, accommodating four.

Best places to eat and drink in Kiama

You’ll find most of Kiama’s pubs, restaurants and cafés along main drags Manning Street and Terralong Street. Grand Hotel, Jamberoo Pub and Kiama Inn Hotel all serve classic Aussie pub food in lively atmospheres. Silica uses primarily locally sourced and home-grown ingredients, Diggies features pastel-coloured interiors and seaside views and The Hungry Monkey is known for its hearty brunches and loaded burgers.

For an on-the-go sweet treat, swing by Parfait Patisserie and dig in on a park bench overlooking the sea. Or, if you have time to sit and enjoy it, Wild Patch Café, where you’ll find the likes of coconut chia jars, nourish bowls and fruit-topped waffles. Family-owned Zia’s Caffe serves authentic Italian, while Olive & Vine also has pizzas and modern Australian.

Tours and packages for Kiama

First-time visitors to Kiama should start their stay with a visit to Kiama Visitor Information Centre where you can get local tips and pick up maps and brochures. Grab a map of the Kiama Heritage Walk to learn about the town’s history and see landmarks including a post office, fire station and several terrace houses, many of them built for quarry workers in the 1880s.

Kiama Scenic Tours provides winery tours of the Shoalhaven area, perfect for work functions, hens parties and occasions when you’d rather indulge in the drink and not drive.

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