Things to do in Kiama, NSW (surprising beauty!)

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Kiama, NSW.

I had it in my head there would be lots of concrete, busy roads, and scurrying people. Don’t ask me why. Maybe because its so close to Sydney?

I hear so much about it I guess I just thought it would be a largish town.

Kiama Blowhole

Of course I knew about the Kiama blowhole, the infamous spouting water drawing visitors from across the globe. Well maybe not that many, but it should considering the type of place that Kiama is.

I thought the Kiama blowhole would be far out from the town, not a five minute stroll from the main street on the headland.

And I mean THE main street.

‘Kiama’ means “where the sea makes a noise,” accurately describing the Kiama Blowhole. It’s the most popular attraction in Kiama.

Under certain conditions, the blowhole can spray 50 litres of water up to 25 metres (82 ft) in the air. Prepare for the possibility of getting drenched.

There is a second, less famous blowhole in Kiama, known to the locals as “Little Blowhole” It’s smaller, more narrow shape makes it more reliable than the Kiama Blowhole, and can be just as spectacular. I

It’s located at the Little Blowhole Reserve, Tingira Crescent, Kiama, 2km south of the main blowhole.

Sometimes, the famous Kiama blowhole just might be a hole. Like it was for us.

A close up of a rock
The blowhole becomes a hole

It all depends on nature folks.

We got a glimpse of it the next morning. It was spouting a bit of a puff, enough for Kalyra to scream “It’s blowing!!”

We saw the blowhole blow.

I didn’t really care.

I just really enjoyed Kiama.

It was completely unexpected. A little quiet dose of serenity in a different side of Australia coastal life.

You won’t be overrun by tourists when you arrive. You could even possibly have the whole place to yourself.

Enjoy the Relaxed small-town vibe of Kiama, NSW

flowers and colorful bushes on a sidewalk
Old terrace homes turned into cafes and restaurants

I was surprised when after researching places to stay in Kiama it didn’t return much.

“What do you mean there are not that many places? It’s Kiama, the home of the famous blow hole. There must be streets full of holiday units, caravan parks and B & B’s.”

Thank goodness there isn’t.

A little girl standing in a field
Kalyra at the Kiama lighthouse

Kiama is a sleepy, seaside village on the south coast of New South Wales. The kind of place you expect to see on the coastline of Wales or Ireland.

It’s black and rugged and the headlands and rolling green hills somewhat remind me of Ireland.

But instead of the hills rolling into bare, craggy mountains like on the Emerald Isle, here they move into the escarpments so familiar of the Australian bush.

It’s bloody beautiful.

It’s quiet, it’s lazy, it’s simple and laid back.

people sitting on a bench
relaxing on the headland

If you like an evening stroll and a day spent whiling away in cafes then Kiama is for you.

If you love spending the day at pristine beaches with plenty of sand for you to lay on, then the surrounding beaches are for you.

Coastal Walk in Kiama

Surf beach kiama
A relaxing Kiama coastal stroll

If you are a surfer, I doubt you’ll have to fight for waves. Kiama is for you. As we walked from the blowhole to Surfers Beach we could hear the surfers yahooing as they rode a wave into shore – a wave they did not have to fight to get.

Surf beach kiama (1)
Surf Beach- the waves all to yourself

If you like heading off into the bush for cool, relaxing walks or scaring yourself over steel walkways on top of the canopy then Kiama is for you.

Visit the nearby Minnamurra Rainforest

Head out to Minnamurra rainforest to see the Minnamurra Waterfall and walk in the shades of the towering trees and ferns.

Minnamurra Rainforest Kiama (3)
Love in the Minnamurra rainforest

The Minnamurra Rainforest is in the Budderoo National Park in NSW. It’s a short day trip from Sydney and an easy visit from Kiama.

You can wander the network of elevated walkways through the rare remnant rainforest that once reached throughout the Illawarra.

There is an easy, hour-long rainforest loop walk includes suspension bridges, viewing platforms and interpretive signs along the way.

It’s an ideal shady escape in summer. You’ll have a bird’s eye view over this primeval world as you wander the elevated walkway.

Minnamurra Rainforest Kiama (3)
Minnamurra Rainforest

The Falls walk starts halfway through the Rainforest loop at Minnamurra Rainforest Centre.

It is an elevated walkway and paved track which passes streams, moss-covered rocks and feathered ferns. It offers breathtaking views over the rainforest canopy and canyon and has viewing platforms at the lower and upper Minnamurra Falls.

Illawarra Fly for Valley views

Illawarra Fly Kiama
Views over Kiama from Illawarra Fly

The Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk is a 500 metre steel walk in the treetop canopy about 30 metres above ground. It ends at a spiral tower, rising 45 metres above the forest floor and giving beautiful views from the escarpment over Illawarra, the valley farming lands and the ocean.

We say go to the rainforest or find some views from the escarpment that come for free.

The Illawarra Fly was good, but way overpriced

Illawarra Fly Kiama
Illawarra Fly Kiama

The Illawarra Fly also has the highest zipline tour in Australia.

The Illawarra Fly Zipline Tour involves flying on a series of elevated cable spans and navigating suspension bridges from one tree platform to another, 35 metres above the forest floor.

Where to stay in Kiama

Need a car for your Kiama visit is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

Other South Coast NSW destinations to enjoy

Have you been to Kiama before? Do you know any other great things to do in Kiama?

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