Kiama is the beachside city in the Illawarra region, south of Wollongong. With the area established with farming, it has been a tourist destination for day trips and weekends from Sydney for over a century.
Just over 90 minutes south of Sydney by car, or just over 2 hours by rail, it's famous for its spectacular coastline and surrounding rural scenery. With a population of more than 20,000, the local government area covers 256 sq km; the main urban centres are Kiama, Gerringong, Jamberoo, Gerroa, and Kiama Downs / Minnamurra.
Kiama has a rich heritage based on dairy farming and quarrying. Today's economy remains strongly supported by rural activities as well as a burgeoning tourism industry. The area has a vibrant arts sector and a strong sense of community.
To get to downtown Kiama, catch a train from Sydney or Wollongong. Trains run every hour or so, but it's worth checking the timetable before your trip. Kiama is part of the suburban network, and no reservations are possible or necessary. It's an easy walk from the train station to the beach, the blowhole, and the shopping centre.
Use your Opal card or contact-less credit card for the trip. The usual caps and rewards apply, with the off-peak trip from Sydney to Kiama costing just a little more than $10 off-peak, and $2.70 on Sundays.
A stopover on the way is to get off at the station before Kiama—Bombo Beach—the only railway station on a beach in the whole of Australia. You can walk from Bombo to Kiama over the headland in about half an hour. The train tunnels straight through the headland to do the trip in a couple of minutes.
A bicycle route stretches from Bulli in all the way down the coast to Kiama, with only a short stretch on the main road. The route from Dunmore station down to Kiama is all off-road or quiet road. There are a few steep hills going over the headlands as you come into Kiama, with the final one probably the steepest. The cycleway follows the rail line for large parts of the final section. The rail route includes tunnels through the headland, leaving the cyclist to ride over it.
Kiama is located on some of the most picturesque and beautiful coastline of the Illawarra.
- 1 Kiama Blowhole and Lighthouse. In the right tide and surf conditions, especially with a south-easterly wind, the blowhole sprays water high into the air. Probably the most visited attraction in Kiama, sunny weekends see lots of people eagerly awaiting each spout. Free.
- 2 Little Blowhole (A little further south of the main blowhole. You can walk down from the suburban streets). You can get closer to it, and it blows more frequently than the main blowhole, but as the name suggests, it is much less impressive in size.
- 3 Saddleback Mountain Lookout (7km SW of Kiama, turn off Saddleback Mountain Road). A winding scenic drive through dairy country gets you to the top of Saddleback Mountain, with panoramic views of the surrounding foothills.
- Fishing. People fish from the wharfs—a picturesque area adjacent to the main blowhole—and from the rocks. Fishing charters available.
- Swimming. Patrolled beaches are just to the north and south of Kiama town. Central Kiama doesn't really have a beach, more a harbour. There is a tidal rockpool next to the blowhole and harbour for swimming.
- Kiama Leisure Centre. Swimming pool and fitness centre.
- Boating. Publicly accessible boat ramps.
- Jamberoo Golf Club, ☏ , , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jamberoo Recreation Park (A short drive from Kiama town. No public transport access.). Chute toboggan rides, water slides, including the tianpan, a 5 person tube in darkness. Mush of the water isn't heated, so it is best on a hot day. Extensive picnic facilities, as well as food vendors.
- 1 Kiama Seaside Markets. On the 3rd Sunday of each month from 9AM-3PM.
- Dragon Garden Chinese Restaurant, 113-115 Terralong St, ☏ .
- 1 The Sebel Harbourside Kiama, 31 Shoalhaven Street, ☏ . Contemporary South Coast NSW hotel offering Kiama accommodation only 90 minutes from Sydney. Kiama accommodation overlooking Kiama Harbour and walking distance to the famous Kiama blow hole.
Kiama Municipal Library has free Internet access.