Our guide for the best things to do in Kiama in NSW South Coast will see you coming back time and time again. As one of the most beautiful drives from Sydney along the Grand Pacific Drive, you’ll be stopping by various lookout points while driving along the amazing Sea Cliff Bridge before deciding on so many natural attractions and things to do in Kiama.
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Where is Kiama?
Kiama is located on the NSW South Coast. It is a 1h30m drive from Sydney, 30 minute drive from Wollongong and just a 20 minute drive from the picturesque town of Berry. This makes Kiama an easy day trip from Sydney or a weekend getaway for those looking to escape the city.
What makes Kiama special
Kiama is actually quite an underrated part of NSW. While it’s known for having the largest blowhole in the world, there’s much more to this seaside town on the South Coast. Expect loads of things to do in Kiama including; Kiama blowhole (of course!), ocean rock pools, beautiful beaches, rainforest walks, the famous Kiama coast walk, Kiama Harbour and loads of hidden gems thrown in as well.
Set your day based not only in the coastal town but look at it with the Kiama region in mind. There are some incredible places to visit nearby that I know you’ll love from my own personal experience and exploration, after the many times I have visited.
1. Drive along the famous Grand Pacific Drive
There are two routes to drive to Kiama – you can either take the M1 the whole way, or you can detour along the Grand Pacific Drive when you reach Stanwell Tops lookout. It takes about an extra 20 minutes but is worth it.
Stanwell Tops is a beautiful lookout, where you’ll probably see the people paragliding off the cliff here.
2. Enjoy the fabulous Sea Cliff Bridge
Drive along the second most famous bridge in New South Wales and along the Sea Cliff Bridge which was named by a local school kid. There is a famous secret lookout here you can check out. Don’t take kids, and if you do go, be very careful as it’s not a maintained track and has no fencing or safety measures in place.
I recently discovered the Sandon Point Boat Sheds which is a wonderful hidden gem. You can’t see them by a car, so you have to walk down onto the beach to check them out. The walk is literally minutes so it’s not far from Sandon Point.
These boat sheds are super old and it’s kinda remarkable how they haven’t been demolished by the ocean as of yet. They are over 120 years old which is incredible and still housing boats inside. When we visited, we saw someone come down here to sit on the ramp to read – a perfect spot to do so. The views out to Sea Cliff Bridge are absolutely stunning from here too.
4. Visit the unique Breakwater Battery Museum
20 minutes down the road from the Sandon Point Boat Sheds will bring you to the unique Breakwater Battery Museum in Port Kembla. This is a really cool opportunity to see a rare sight in Australia. Wondering what it is? Built in 1939, the Breakwater Battery was a coastal defence battery during World War 2.
I remember first seeing this on social media and couldn’t believe it’s right near Kiama! A must visit on your day trip for sure.
5. Do the easy Cascade Falls walk
If you’re looking for a family friendly walk near Kiama, check out our guide for the Cascade Falls Walk in Macquarie Pass National Park. It’s a short walk which will take you into a rainforest setting and to a swimming hole. There are a few other secret waterfalls on this path, but read our guide before visiting first.
The Kiama coast walk is a must-do activity for anyone looking for things to do in Kiama. This 22KM trail takes you on an unforgettable journey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes near Sydney. You’ll experience lush rainforests, secluded beaches, and towering cliffs, all while enjoying panoramic views of the sparkling ocean during the Kiama coast walk.
The walk is divided into three sections, each with its own unique scenery and terrain so you can choose your own starting point. You can start at Minnamurra and finish at Gerringong, with Kiama as the perfect midway point. With its fresh sea air, tranquil atmosphere, and stunning views, the Kiama Coastal Walk is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and makes a great day trip from Sydney.
7. Visit the Kiama Lighthouse
The Kiama Lighthouse is a historic landmark that stands proudly on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the charming coastal town of Kiama. Built in 1887, this lighthouse has been guiding ships safely into Kiama Harbour for over a century.
Not only is the Kiama Lighthouse a functional beacon, it’s also a stunning example of 19th-century architecture. The striking white tower, capped with a red lantern, is an iconic sight and has been a popular subject for photographers and painters for years.
8. Relax in the Bonaira Native Garden
Bonaira Native Garden is a peaceful place to relax, unwind, and connect with nature. You can take a leisurely stroll through the garden, enjoy a picnic with friends and family, or simply sit and soak up the serenity. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the garden’s resident wildlife, such as wallabies or native birds.
If you’re looking for things to do in Kiama, be sure to visit this beautiful garden. It’s a perfect destination for nature lovers, garden enthusiasts, or anyone who wants to experience the beauty and tranquility of Australia’s native flora.
9. Don’t miss the famous Kiama Blowhole
The Kiama Blowhole is one of the most famous natural attractions in Australia and a must-see for anyone visiting Kiama! This spectacular phenomenon occurs when waves enter a small underground cave and pressure builds up, causing a powerful spout of water to shoot up into the air.
The Kiama famous Blowhole is a sight to be seen though, and you can experience it up close by walking along the boardwalks and lookout platforms that surround it.
But the Kiama Blowhole is more than just a natural wonder.
It’s also steeped in legend and history, with local Aboriginal people believing that the blowhole was created by a great spirit who was angry with a woman who refused to marry him.
According to legend, the spirit trapped the woman in the cave and created the blowhole to serve as a warning to others.
Today, the Kiama Blowhole is a popular destination for tourists and locals, and kids especially love this spot that it almost feels like a fairground ride. You can spend hours watching the waves and the spray, taking photos, and enjoying the stunning coastal scenery and getting sprayed by the spray itself! And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some of the local wildlife, such as dolphins or whales, who often visit the area.
10. Visit the jaw dropping Bombo Headland Quarry
I have to admit… I have only just recently visited Bombo Headland Quarry for the first time.
And you know what? I couldn’t believe the amount of times I would have driven past it and didn’t know it was hidden from the main road.
Bombo Quarry Headland is a dramatic and awe-inspiring destination that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits, just like it did for us.
This former quarry, located just a few minutes’ drive from Kiama, has been transformed into a unique landscape of towering basalt columns, shaped by the forces of nature over millions of years.
The headland offers spectacular views of the ocean and the surrounding coastline, and it’s a popular spot for photographers and nature lovers. The basalt columns, some of which reach up to 25 meters high, create an otherworldly atmosphere that’s both eerie and beautiful that makes you feel like you’re in another century.
One of the most magical experiences at Bombo Rocks is watching the sunrise over the ocean, which is easily one of the best things to do in Kiama. As the first rays of the sun illuminate the basalt columns, the headland is bathed in a warm golden glow, creating a truly unforgettable moment. Honestly, put this majestic place on your list to visit when you visit Kiama.
11. Photograph the amazing Cathedral Rocks
Located just a short distance from the town centre, and Jones Beach Cathedral Rocks stunning rock formation is one of the most iconic sights on the South Coast of New South Wales.
The Cathedral Rocks are a series of towering basalt columns that rise up from the ocean, creating an otherworldly and dramatic landscape that just around the corner from the Bombo beach at Quarry Headland. The rocks are named after their resemblance to the soaring arches of a cathedral, and understandably, they are a favourite subject for photographers and artists.
12. Visit the Minnamurra Rainforest
Did you know the South Coast of New South Wales is home to its very own rainforest? That’s right, you don’t need to go to Queensland to be immersed in a tropical paradise.
The Minnamurra Rainforest is a pristine and ancient ecosystem that is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The rainforest features towering trees, crystal-clear streams, and a lush undergrowth that is teeming with life. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, and a true oasis of tranquility and serenity.
The Minnamurra Rainforest walk is an easy and accessible trail that is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. The trail winds its way through the heart of the rainforest, offering stunning views of the trees, streams, and wildlife as well as Minnamurra Falls. Visit the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre for more information about the trails.
13. Kiama Surf Beaches
Looking for the best surf beach in Kiama? Here’s the best surfing beaches you need to know about.
One of the most popular Kiama beaches is Surf Beach. Located just a short walk from the town centre, Kiama Surf Beach offers consistent waves that are ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers. The beach is patrolled during the summer months, making it a safe and family-friendly destination.
Another popular surf spot in Kiama is Jones Beach. The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and headlands, adding to the dramatic and scenic atmosphere.
Other popular surf beaches in Kiama include Kendalls Beach, a sheltered and family-friendly destination; The Boneyard, a reef break that is ideal for experienced surfers. Killalea Beach, which used to be called The Farm is a stunning surf beach as well. Head to Seven Mile Beach nearby for a secluded beach you’ll get all to yourself.
14. Kiama Seaside Markets
The Kiama Seaside Markets are one of the best things to do in Kiama. Held on the third Sunday of every month, these vibrant markets are a celebration of the town’s coastal culture and community.
The markets are located in the heart of Kiama, next to Kiama Harbour. They feature over 100 stalls selling everything from local produce and handcrafted goods to artisanal jewellery and clothing. You’ll find a wide range of unique and high-quality products from local makers and artists, making it the perfect place to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir or gift.
16. Go whale watching in Kiama
Whale watching is one of the best things to do in Kiama, thanks to the town’s prime location. Every year between May and November, humpback and southern right whales migrate northwards to breed in the warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef. During the return journey from September to November, they pass by the coast of Kiama on their way back to Antarctica, providing an incredible opportunity to see these majestic creatures up close.
There are a number of ways to experience whale watching in Kiama. One of the most popular options is to take a guided whale watching tour, which typically lasts between two and three hours .
Another popular way to spot whales in Kiama is to head to one of the town’s dedicated whale watching platforms. These elevated viewpoints provide an unobstructed view of the ocean, making it easy to spot whales and other marine life as they pass by the coast. The Kiama Blowhole Point and the Little Blowhole are both popular spots for whale watching, as are the headlands at Bombo and Minnamurra.
17. Explore the wineries near Kiama
There are several wineries in the Kiama region that are worth visiting for their exceptional wine tastings and beautiful settings, not far from the Kiama town centre. Visitors can explore the vineyards, sample award-winning wines, and enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding countryside.
Crooked River Wines is a popular winery in the area, offering a range of red, white, and sparkling wines. The estate has a beautiful cellar door with a scenic view of the vineyards and the Illawarra escarpment.
The Silos Estate is another must-visit winery that offers a unique experience. The estate is known for its boutique wines, olive oil, and beer. Visitors can sample wines in the cellar door, enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant, or even stay overnight in one of the luxury guesthouses.
Coolangatta Estate is a historic winery that dates back to the early 19th century. The estate has an impressive range of wines that are produced on-site, including shiraz, chardonnay, and semillon. The cellar door is housed in a beautifully restored convict-built village, and visitors can enjoy wine tastings, guided tours, and a meal in the on-site restaurant.
Other notable wineries in the area include Two Figs Winery, Gerringong Wines, and Mountain Ridge Wines. Each of these wineries offers a unique tasting experience, with a range of wines and stunning locations.
18. Saddleback Mountain Lookout
The breathtaking Saddleback Mountain Lookout provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers, hikers, and photographers alike.
Standing at an impressive 600 meters above sea level, you’ll be able to see sweeping views of the Illawarra Escarpment, the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding countryside, making it an ideal spot to take in the natural beauty of the region.
19. Make a splash at Jamberoo Action Park
You have to totally visit Jamberoo Action Park! Although you might think it’s only for families, it’s a fun day out, right in the heart of the rolling green hills of the countryside in the Southern Highlands. Jump on the slides and simply spend the day having fun! We loved our trip here!
20. Wander the iconic streets in Berry
Berry is only a 20 minute drive from Kiama and is totally worth visiting. While it’s known for the Famous Berry Donut Van, there’s so much more to see. Check our Best Things To Do In Berry Guide which has all the information you need to know about where to eat, where to stay and of course the best things to do there too.
If you’re heading to Berry, you must do the Drawing Room Rocks Walk as well. This walk will take you to some of the best views of the South Coast, with views right over to Gerringong and Werri Beach and right over to the Southern Highlands. It’s spectacular, especially as you’ll find the unique rocks which look almost like tables and chairs, hence the name ‘Drawing Room Rocks’.
Love an ocean pool? Go check out the Werri Beach Ocean Pool which is a one of a kind circular rock pool. It’s an iconic pool which has to be seen on this beautiful beach.
23. Have fun at Granties Maze
If you love a hedge maze, come to Granties Maze which has over 80 attractions. The main attraction is of course the hedge maze, a perfect activity to spend the morning or afternoon here.
24. Continue your road trip into Southern Highlands
If you’re heading to Kiama, you must continue along to the Southern Highlands nearby. With loads of waterfalls in Kangaroo Valley to visit, you must visit Belmore Falls, Carrington Falls and so many more in Budderoo National Park.
Head to Kangaroo Valley, Robertson and Bowral and visit all of our favourite hidden gems that even locals don’t know about. Check out our Southern Highlands guides below for loads of inspiration!