Here’s our ultimate guide to the best things to do in Kiama, one of the most beautiful coastal towns in New South Wales.
Located just 2 hours south of Sydney along the Grand Pacific Drive, Kiama is a tranquil seaside town set amongst some of the most incredible beaches and coastal vistas in all of New South Wales.
If you love hanging out by the ocean, you’ll be in absolute heaven. The coastline is jaw-dropping, with a mix of picturesque beaches and jagged cliffs and headlands.
Heading inland you’ll start to find the magnificent forests and native bushland that New South Wales is most famous for. With countless outdoor activities and natural attractions, there are many opportunities for adventure.
Lush hiking trails lead to towering waterfalls, with kangaroos, wombats, and ample birdlife waiting around every corner.
The list of what to do in Kiama doesn’t stop with outdoor activities though. This region will keep art lovers, food connoisseurs, history buffs, and photographers buzzing in delight.
We recently travelled to the Kiama area for a week on our way to Jervis Bay, and quickly extended our stay to over a week as we completely fell in love with the place.
We packed our days with plenty to do to help bring you this epic list of the best Kiama activities and attractions.
READ MORE: See what else has made our list of the best places to visit in Australia!
The Top Things to Do in Kiama
From the gorgeous beaches like Seven Mile Beach and Kiama Surf Beach, to the iconic Kiama Coastal Walk, to the magnificent Kiama Blowhole, there are so many cool things to see and do in the area.
So let’s get into it – here’s our guide to all of the amazing things to do in Kiama, Australia on the New South Wales south coast.
Walk the Kiama Coastal Trail
Stretching for 22km, this coastal trail is truly spectacular, and shouldn’t be missed when visiting Kiama.
It offers stunning views, ancient rock formations, and beautiful beaches along the way.
Split into 3 sections, which you can complete in one go or over a few days, the Kiama Coast Walk starts at Minnamurra River in Kiama Downs and finishes up at Werri Beach in Gerringong.
Some of the highlights are Minnamurra River, Bombo Headlands, Kiama Blowholes (big and small), and Werri Beach.
The Kiama Coast Walk curves around beaches and cliffs, and has a mixture of sealed paths and grassy tracks. It is suitable for all ages and all fitness levels.
From May to November, watch out for humpback whales as they will put on a magnificent show for you if you are lucky. Nothing like a free whale watching show on the Kiama coast!
Visit the Amazing Beaches
The Kiama region has so many beautiful beaches to choose from along their coastline, that it can be difficult to choose just one to visit.
So why not go for them all?
It all depends on what you’re looking for. You could walk the Kiama Coastal Walk and visit all of them if you are super keen, or pick one or two to check out.
Our personal favourites were Bombo Beach, Surf Beach, Werri Beach, Seven Mile Beach, and Kendall’s Beach. So if you’re wondering what to do in Kiama, start at the beaches!
Kiama’s Main Beach and Easts Beach are good options as well.
And don’t miss our brand new guide to the best Kiama beaches!
Watch the Sunrise at Bombo Quarry Headland
Bombo Quarry Headland is one of the most impressive parts of the New South Wales south coast you’ll ever see.
This natural attraction includes huge waves slapping against the basalt walls and columns, a legacy of blue metal quarrying from the 1880s through to the 1900s.
It’s also a fantastic place to watch sunrise between the jaw-dropping basalt columns.
Don’t worry – if you’re not an early riser, visiting the Bombo Quarry is great at any time of day.
To get there park up at the north end of Bombo Beach and take a short walk along the path to get there.
If you keep walking you’ll eventually end up at the Boneyard, another beautiful beach in the Kiama area.
Smell the Native Plants at Bonaira Native Garden
If you are at Kendall’s Beach do not miss the Bonaira Native Garden. The garden is just around the corner, off Allambie Crescent.
Once you get to the end of the road, you will come to a path that passes through an area that is dedicated to the Wodi Wodi people, a local Aboriginal tribe.
If you want a bit of me-time, this is a beautiful place to enjoy some peace and quiet. With towering trees and the sounds of birds, this is a great spot to listen to nature.
This Native Garden can be explored by bike or on foot, and the short walk around the grounds will take about 30 minutes.
This is one of the best outdoor activites in the region and is definitely one of the top things to do in Kiama.
READ MORE: Don’t miss our complete guide to travelling in Australia!
Go Back in Time with the Kiama Historical Walk
The history in this area is quite rich, so why not immerse yourself in it on the Kiama Historical Walk?
Along this walk, you’ll dive into the local Indigenous culture, as well as the history of European settlement.
You can get the self-walking guide from the Kiama Visitors Centre near the Kiama Harbour, or you can download the Kiama Library My Place: A Digital Tour of Kiama app, which has audio guides and will show you the 15 points of interest. Don’t forget your headphones.
It is fascinating walking through the Kiama town centre looking at the heritage buildings and learning more about what they were used for.
The Kiama Family History Centre is another resource in town to visit for historic information about the area.
Check Out the Kiama Lighthouse
No trip to the Kiama area is complete without a visit to the lighthouse. It’s one of the most iconic points of the town and can be seen from many points along the coast.
The Kiama Lighthouse was built in 1887 and featured an oil lamp that was visible up to 9 miles away.
As time went on and improvements in technology and electricity made their way down the coast, they switched to modern tools.
You can get up close to it when you go to visit the Big Blowhole. Speaking of the Big Blowhole…
Be Amazed by the Kiama Blowhole
Keep walking a little past the lighthouse you will come across the Big Blowhole, the top Kiama attraction that put the town on the map.
In fact, it’s the one thing that most people who are on a day trip from Sydney come down here for.
This natural blowhole was known to the local Indigenous people as “Khanterintee” which means mysterious noise.
The Kiama Blowhole is one of the world’s most powerful sea-cave blowholes and is quite a sight to see.
How does this work you may ask?
When the ocean rushes into the sea cave that is located underneath the rocky headland, the water completely blocks the cave entrance and forces compressed air and water to fire out through the blowhole.
When all the pressure comes together at just the right amount, it sprays up through the hole in the rocks in an impressive burst.
When you are visiting the Kiama Blowhole, do pay attraction as you can get wet. Depending on the seas and the winds, the lower viewing area can be drenched in water from the blowhole.
Nearby on the same headland is the Kiama Blowhole Point Rock Pool if you want to go for a dip after viewing the natural show.
Don’t Forget About the Little Blowhole
Surprisingly, many tourists will head straight to the big blowhole and think that’s it. But trust us, don’t miss out on this little gem!
Kiama’s Little Blowhole is located between Kendalls Beach and Easts Beach, just off the Coastal Trail, and you may be the only one there when you visit.
There is a viewing platform where you can view the sprays from the blowhole, or you can walk right up to it (just be very careful).
If the seas are from the northeast then you will really get a great show. As this attraction is secluded and a little hard to find, do not hesitate to ask the friendly locals that you may pass.
We actually got chatting to one who said that the Little Blowhole has been getting bigger and bigger in recent years. So maybe it’ll be larger than its more famous sibling one day.
Go to Cathedral Rocks
The coastline in Kiama is, as you’ve already seen, spectacular. And one of the most stunning spots is Cathedral Rocks, a true gem of New South Wales.
Cathedral Rocks is a bunch of jagged rock formations that are scattered just off the headland, formed after thousands of years of erosion.
You can see the rocks safely from the top of the headland, but if you want to check them out from the ground, you’ll need to walk around from Jones Beach.
Check Out the Kiama Art Scene
Kiama has a vibrant arts scene that has been growing in recent years, so do yourself a favour and spend some time seeking out the cool murals, paintings, and sculptures.
Here are some of our favourite spots.
This old fire station is a great place to pop into and see what is happening with the local artists in the area.
Every Friday to Wednesday, there are new exhibitions to discover. You will find art exhibitions from photography to pottery to music to woodwork.
There is something that will interest everyone. Oh and say hi to Daisy the Decorated Dairy Cow.
Also check out the Kiama Ceramic Art Studio, and one of the other many galleries run by local and small businesses.
Kiama Street Art
There are so many amazing local galleries and studios in town, and there is even art to be found on the streets.
When you’re walking around town, just keep your eyes peeled for any street murals or designs made by local artists.
Grab a Bite to Eat (and a Coffee of Course!)
There are so many amazing cafes and restaurants in town, most of them located near Kiama Harbour in the centre of town. Grab a coffee or lunch and enjoy the views of the coastline.
The dumpling shop on the main road was a favourite of ours. And the wood-fired pizza from Centrepoint Pizza was divine.
Shop for Souvenirs
If you are a souvenir shopper and love picking up local unique items from destinations you go to, make sure you leave an afternoon to do this as there are so many places to buy some trinkets in Kiama.
Pick up a framed photo of the area or a beautifully crafted ceramic bowl. Whatever it is, it will be unique.
If you are lucky and are there on the third day of the month, do not miss the local Kiama seaside markets.
Check out the Views from Saddleback Mountain Lookout
To get a real understanding of just how beautiful Kiama’s coastline and surrounding farmlands are, make sure you head up to Saddleback Mountain for the best views in town.
On a clear day, locals say you can see all the way to Cronulla in the north and Milton in the south.
You can drive right to the Saddleback Mountain Lookout, but you’ll have to walk a few hundred metres to see all the viewpoints.
If you are up for a little adventure, check out the 6km Hobbles Track. Starting from the Saddle Mountain Lookout car park, follow the green markings west.
This is one of the area’s best outdoor activities, though there are some steep areas that can be slippery when wet.
Do wear appropriate hiking shoes. Watch out for all the different birds and all the beautiful views.
Bonus – Day Trips from Kiama
While it’s easy to spend all your time in Kiama, it’s worth getting out a bit and visiting some of these other amazing spots on the NSW South Coast.
The rolling green hills and rainforests of Budderoo National Park are just west of Kiama, so there are lots of beautiful day trips into nature and outdoor activities available here.
Here’s our list of the best Kiama day trips around the South Coast.
Wander the Old Streets of Berry
This little heritage town on the NSW South Coast is so beautiful and has so much charm. With the main street lined with historic terrace houses and lots of boutique stores, you could spend all day exploring and shopping.
The Berry Produce Market is on twice a month along Queen Street, but if you happen to be here on a different day, don’t worry – Berry is great at any time.
Do not miss getting yourself a delicious donut from the famous Berry Donut Van!
Be warned though, Berry gets extremely busy, especially on weekends and school holidays. Get to town early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
The next town south of Kiama is Gerringong, which is well worth spending a day (or more) exploring.
Stop off at Stoic Brewery or Crooked River Wines for some tasty drinks. These are both family-owned businesses with a passion for beer, cider, and wine.
The beaches in Gerringong are long and gorgeous, perfect for bringing the family. Seven Mile Beach is near Gerringong as well, so stop by here if you haven’t already!
Also consider checking out the magnificent Gerringong Falls in Budderoo National Park.
This little quaint town has a number of 19th-century buildings lining the streets. Stop in for a coffee or lunch and go for a walk.
On the last Sunday of the month, there is the Jamberoo Arts and Craft Fair, which is a fun and interesting attraction.
The famous Jamberoo Action Park is located close to town and is a fantastic spot for kids and adults. Or head over to Illawarra Treetop Walk and try a thrilling Illawarra Fly Zipline Tour.
Do not miss the Jamberoo Lookout on your drive. It has great panorama views of the rolling hills and paddocks with the ocean in the background. Great at the end of the day when the lighting is soft.
Minnamurra Rainforest Centre
Just up from Jamberoo is the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, which is one of the best day trips from Kiama when you want to trade in the coastal views for some rainforest vibes.
There is a picturesque hiking trail that leads you right to Minnamurra Falls, and the new educational centre that is being built is a great place to learn about all the unique flora and fauna in the area.