Kiama /kaɪˈæmə/ is a township 120 kilometres south of Sydney in the Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia in the Municipality of Kiama. At the 2011 census, Kiama had a population of 12,817 people. One of the main tourist attractions is the Kiama Blowhole. The seaside town features several popular surfing beaches, caravan parks and numerous alfresco cafes and restaurants. Its proximity to the south of Sydney makes it an attractive destination for a large number of day trippers.
The beaches around Kiama offer a large range of surfing conditions. Many surfing competitions are held here every year. These include Boyds Beach – Kiama Downs, Bombo Beach – Bombo, Surf Beach – Kiama, Easts Beach and Caravan Park – Kiama Heights, Kendalls Beach – Kiama and Mystics Beach – Minnamurra River.
The name "Kiama" is derived from the Aboriginal word "kiarama", which means "Place where the sea makes a noise". Kiama is also known as the place where the mountains touch the sea. This is in reference to the Kiama Blowhole which attracts a large number of visitors each year. The "Little Blowhole" is a lesser known blowhole as it does not share the same central location or the scale associated with the larger Kiama Blowhole. The Little Blowhole is on a headland south of the central part of Kiama between Easts and Kendalls Beaches.
Both have areas for viewing, though the Kiama Blowhole attracts more tourists. A coastal walking track currently allows people to walk from Minnamurra to Easts Beach, past both blowholes. A 7 kilometre southern extension to this path has been opened to allow people to walk along the cliffs to Gerringong.
A few kilometres north at Bombo is Cathedral Rocks, a formation well known and visited, with a walk/cycleway going along the Kiama coast. There are other rock formations on these cliff headlands of moderate renown.
The Kiama Post Office, one of many historic buildings, is known for its history and pink colour, although it was repainted in 2012. It is situated near Black Beach.
Kiama has a strip mall of cafés, restaurants, art galleries and shops on Terralong Street. Also on this street is a war memorial, an historic fire station used for exhibits, and a small shopping centre. There is a strong arts following and interest in cultural events in Kiama, and in 2013 an arts trail was introduced to showcase the work of individual artists, together with regular arts events in the area. Food and wine trails are also becoming more popular in the area.
Kiama Lighthouse, on Blowhole Point, was built in 1887 and is situated close to the Kiama Blowhole. The point also contains a heritage pilot's cottage and a tourist information centre. North West of the Blowhole is Kiama Harbour, home to fishing boats and seafood market where you can buy local fish. The point also contains seaside cabins and a wonderful rock pool.
A locally famous phenomenon is the local group of Australian Pelicans. The pelicans have been honoured with a metal statue at the harbour.
Seven kilometres southwest of the town is Saddleback Lookout atop the 600-metre high Saddleback Mountain with views over the Illawarra Plains and escarpment and south to Nowra, Pigeon House Mountain and Coolangatta Mountain. Saddleback and Noorinan mountains provide an impressive backdrop to the city.
The Jamberoo Action Park, a mainly ride-orientated water-themed park, is situated 10 minutes inland of Kiama in the small town of Jamberoo.
West of Kiama in the green hills lies Jerrara Dam, built in the 1800s to supply water to the area. It is now a reserve.
North of the Minnamurra River is Killalea Recreation Area, a nature reserve on Bass Point. It is south of Shellharbour.
Kiama Council spent eleven years preparing the construction of the Kiama Coast Walk, a six-kilometre track extending from Loves Bay, north of Kiama, to Werri Lagoon, near Gerringong, south of Kiama. Some coastal land was declared public reserve to allow the public to walk through what was previously private property. The track was scheduled to open in October 2009 and was expected to be a popular drawcard for the public.