From the mountain escarpment, through the hinterland and all the way out to the coast, a weekend in the Kiama area means 48 hours of pure nature indulgence.
The Kiama area is a great place to spend the weekend. But if it’s adventure you’re after, you’ll have to venture beyond its pine-tree-lined streets. Driving inland, away from the coast, you’ll wind along narrow roads, through the vibrant hills and farms of Jamberoo and up the rainforest cloaked Jamberoo mountain. Heading south to Gerringong and Gerroa, you can leave the crowds behind, and claim a stretch of sand all for yourself.
Hikes Around Kiama
Starting from the top of Jamberoo Mountain and making your way towards the coast, you can hike through three different landscapes in just one weekend.
Just before descending down Jamberoo Mountain, take a right hand turn to Barren Grounds. It’s a gorgeous heathland nature reserve that absolutely bursts with native and rare wildflowers in spring. The tracks are mostly flat and wide (with some short, steep hills) and feature spectacular lookouts over Kangaroo Valley.
Descending down Jamberoo Mountain Road to the base of the mountain, you’ll find yourself amongst the lush and lovely Minnamurra Rainforest. Make your way to the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre where you can start the Rainforest loop (1.6km) and add on the Falls walk (4km return). Both tracks follow elevated boardwalks and suspension bridges that put you into the heart of the rainforest. Listen out for lyrebirds and keep your eyes peeled for birds nest ferns in the trees, colourful orchids and butterflies.
Kiama Coastal Walk
Now, make a beeline for that salty sea and the 20km Kiama Coastal Walk. Broken into three sections;
- Minnamurra to Kiama Blowhole (8.4km),
- Kiama Blowhole to Loves Bay (5km)
- Loves Bay to Gerringong (6km)
You can either take on a bite-size piece, or rip off enough to keep you satisfied all day. Cool off along the way at Kendalls and Surf Beach. If you’re hiking during the humpback migration, there’s a viewing platform on the Minnamurra Headland, which makes a great vantage point for whale spotting. You’ll either want to organise a car shuffle or time it right with the trains to make your way back to where you started from.
Mountain Biking the Crooked River Trail
If you’re keen to work up a sweat before diving into the ocean, take a pedal along the Crooked River Trail in Seven Mile Beach National Park. It’s an easy 4.5km (or 9km return) ride through a forest of blackbutt trees and over scrubby sand dunes that runs parallel to the epic Seven Mile Beach. The track starts at the north end of the beach near Gerroa and the finish line drops you about halfway down the beach.
Zipline Through the Rainforest Canopy
Want to feel your heart flutter as you fly amongst the treetops? I thought you might. The zipline at the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk is the highest in all of Aus, reaching up to 35 metres above the ground. You’ll zoom between tree-mounted platforms and take in views of the forest floor, treetop canopy and even the coastline. Tickets are $75 per adult (and even less if you book online).
Where to Stay
Close to Kiama
If you want to stay somewhere close to town (we know that’s code for the beach), or just somewhere cosy and comfortable, check out the wide-range of options available from Minnamurra all the way down to Gerroa.
Carrington Falls Campground
If you’re keen to forgo the luxuries and pitch your tent instead, you’d be a duffer to look past Carrington Falls Campground in Budderoo National Park.
The campground lies next to the meandering Kangaroo River, meaning you’ll wake to the babbling of the brook. There are plenty of swimming holes perfect for a morning dip, and the views of Carrington Falls are just a stumble away too.
The campground has six sites available, which need to be booked online in advance. At just $12 a night for the first two adults ($6 extra per adult and $3.50 per child per night) and toilet facilities available, these sites get gobbled up fast. Camping here will put you just a short drive from both the Illawarra Fly and Barren Grounds.
Where to Eat
A weekend of adventure just wouldn’t be complete without a satisfying feed to top it off. If you’re feeling peckish, or just downright ravenous, there’s no more suiting place to fill your tum than the Jamberoo Pub. Bursting with sporting memorabilia, Jamberoo locals and country charm, Jamberoo Pub is the heart of the village. Treat yourself to a schooey and some chippies in the courtyard on a sunny afternoon.
If a pub feed doesn’t tickle your fancy, Kiama, Gerringong and Gerroa are all a short drive away with an abundance of pickings to keep everyone stoked and satisfied.
There’s more to the Kiama area than just a blowhole and ice-creamery. The area’s packed with gorgeous and varying landscapes, each with their own adventures. The hard part is choosing which one to take on first.
Feature photo by @jonharris_photography