In Sydney, ‘peak hour’ extends to the salty peaks of the east coast swell. If a beach break’s working it’ll be as packed as the ocean is with microplastics. Gross. Luckily you can escape to Kiama, Gerringong and Gerroa for cruisey surf town vibes in less time (probably) than the average Sydney commute.


Fancy yourself a bit of a waxhead? Like the old Point Break better than the new one? Absolutely love getting out in the water, but finding Sydney beaches just too crowded? Well jump in the car and in under 2 hours, you’ll hit Kiama (closely followed by Gerringong and Gerroa) on the unspoilt South Coast.

Don’t have a car? Don’t have a worry – Kiama and Gerringong are on the train line! Get on the train in Sydney with your bike and board and you’ll have your pick of the breaks.

Sound like too much hard work? Quit your whining, these guys did a surf ‘n’ bike lap of Tassie.

I moved to Gerringong just over five years ago, and the first thing I did was learn to surf. We chose Gerringong ‘cause the whole area just oozes chilled, coastal surf vibes, and I constantly pinch myself to check I ain’t dreaming!

The Breaks

It takes less than 20 minutes to drive between Kiama’s northern beaches down to Gerroa, and you’d be hard pressed not to find a wave most days along this wicked stretch of coast. Here’s a breakdown of the 9 best spots.

Kiama

The Boneyard

Located in a delightfully picturesque little bay just south of Cathedral Rocks, The Boneyard sounds a little scary… but in the right conditions you get a nice, consistent right-hand break.

Break type – Reef break

Swell and tide – NE swell; mid-tide and rising

Best Wind – WNW

Experience level – Intermediate to expert

Bombo Beach

Bombo is popular among the Kiama crowd. It’s decent-sized beach with plenty of room for everyone. In the right conditions it can be a great beach for beginners. There’s also a great headland carpark to chill out in and watch the shredders.

Break type – Beach break

Swell and tide – SE swell; all tides

Best Wind – W

Experience level – Beginner to expert

Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Bombo Beach, Kiama, Surfing

Bombo Beach

Jones Beach

Sometimes called Boyds Beach, this tidy little beach is home to the Jones Beach Boardriders club. Banks break left and right, just watch out for the rocks at the southern end towards Cathedral Rocks.

Break type – Beach break

Swell and tide – E swell; all tides

Best Wind – WSW

Experience level – Beginner to expert

Kiama Pool

This is a ripper break to watch when it’s going off, you can get pretty close to the action. It’s even better to surf when it’s pumping! A right-hander, it breaks just off the Kiama rock pool (quite near the Lighthouse and Blowhole). Make sure you know what you’re doing before jumping in here – mess up and you’ll get a pummelling on the breakwater.

Break type – Reef break

Swell and tide – E swell; all tides

Best Wind – SW

Experience level – Expert

Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Kiama Pool, 7 Apr 2019.

Kiama Pool

Kiama Wedge (aka Surf Beach)

This short little beach in the heart of Kiama is a primo spot for bodyboarders, with some nice, sucky little barrels to tuck into. It’s quite rocky on both ends, so you can pick the reliable reef breaks if they’re working, or just stick with the peaks mid-beach.

Break type – Reef and beach break

Swell and tide – E swell; all tides

Best Wind – NW

Experience level – Beginner to expert

Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Kiama surfing, 6 Apr 2019, the wedge

Kiama Wedge

Gerringong

Werri Beach

Werri beach has a mint location on the northern end of Gerringong and it’s a decent length, so you’ll have no trouble finding a peak to yourself. It can get quite dumpy in the shallows and a bit rippy, so if you’re less confident then I’d be waiting for a smaller day and a higher tide.

Break type – Reef and beach break

Swell and tide – NE swell; mid tide

Best Wind – WNW

Experience level – Intermediate to expert

Werri Point

At the south end of Werri, you’ll find one of the more popular breaks in the area – The Point. It’s a right-hand reef break that provides some sensational rides all the way into the beach in the right conditions.

Break type – Reef break

Swell and tide – ENE swell; all tides

Best Wind – SSW

Experience level – Intermediate to expert

Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Werri Pt - big surf, 25 May 2016.

Werri Point gettin’ big

Gerroa

Black Point

Right out on the headland at Gerroa you’ll find Black Point. Stunning views down the beach make for a very scenic surf spot! Black Point is a left-hand reef break and there’s a decent bommie which breaks in bigger swell here too.

Break type – Reef break

Swell and tide – SE swell; all tides

Best Wind – NNW

Experience level – Intermediate to expert

Seven Mile Beach

This is one of my favourite beaches, and one of the best longboard spots I’ve ever seen (although I’ve had plenty of wicked sessions on the shortboard too). I love Seven Mile Beach because no matter what the conditions, you’ll always find a wave on this beach. It’s also ideal for beginners, this is where you’ll find our three surf schools.

Break type – Beach break

Swell and tide – SE swell; all tides

Wind – NNW

Experience level – Beginner to expert

Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Kiama surfing Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach

Kiama, Gerringong & Gerroa – A Local’s Perspective

For me, it’s pretty bloody clear why this is such an amazing stretch of coastline to explore with your board – I did choose to live here! But I thought I’d gather the opinion of some ‘true locals’ for a different perspective.

Christie and Chiara are both born and bred here in Gerringong. They’ve grown up with the salt and sand in their blood, been surfing for as long as they can remember, and can definitely surf better than I could ever hope to!

Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Kiama surfing Seven Mile Beach Christie and Chiara surfing, 12 Apr 2019.

Christie and Chiara

Enough To Go Around

While having a chat over a beer at Gerringong’s newest hangout – The Hill Bar – we mulled over why this area is so appealing for the surf crowd. Christie immediately hit on the community spirit, which lends the area the friendly, chilled-out vibe that’s apparent to anyone who stops in.

The sisters have noticed an increase in tourism and the number of surfers at the local breaks over the years – and I’ve noticed the same thing. Visitors to the towns pretty quickly realise that we’re an easy-going bunch, and happy to share what we have here, but it can be hard to break old habits. To put it simply – don’t be a clown out in the water. Leave those aggressive, selfish surfing vibes at home… once you chill out and show a bit of respect for the locals and the place, you’ll soon realise there are enough waves for everyone.

Women On The Waves

Christie and Chiara are also stoked that the number of women getting out there in the surf is increasing. From being two of very few girls in the surf as youngsters, to now competing alongside three heats of female surfers in the local boardrider comps, you can tell they’re proud of how women’s surfing is progressing.

Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Christie Surfing, Kiama

Christie tearing up a local wave

And you don’t have to go far at all to find some incredible local talent in women’s surfing… the region is proud to be the home of international legends Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright, who are killing it on the World Surf League.

So, we know the breaks are fully froth-worthy and the locals are legends… but surely there’s more than that?

Surf Schools To Get You Shredding

If you’ve never surfed before, or maybe you just want to take your skills to the next level, then definitely check out one of the three awesome surf schools in the area. The waves at Seven Mile Beach are a beginner’s dream, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get up (and get addicted).

Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Gerringong Surf School, 16 Jan 2019.

Gerringong Surf School

Where To Fuel Up

This is probably a whole article in itself! The Kiama region is overflowing with quality produce and wonderful places that serve it. From caffeine hits and feeds for those ravenous, post-dawn surfs, or something a little classy once the sun goes down – we’ve got you covered. Here are my tried and tested picks:

Kiama

Gerringong

Gerroa

Where To Get Wax

Run out of wax? Need a new wettie? Dinged your board? As you’d expect, there’s a few surf shops in the area. Check out these legends:

  • Natural Necessity – this well-known surf shop is massive, and definitely worth the drive!
  • Wave Creations – a local shaper and surfboard repairer – great guys, great value.
Coastal Surf Town Vibes Under 2 Hours From Sydney Jon Harris Werri Beach Coast walk sunset, 12 Sep 2017.

Werri Beach at sunset

Sweet Events To Check Out

By now you’ve probably already hit the group chat to lock in a cheeky surf mission… but before you start looking at your calendar, check out these dates to throw some events in the mix:

May 3rd – 5th // Gerringong Surf Life Festival & Werri Slash

A weekend of music, surfing, food, fun and good times!

May 4th – 5th // 2019 NSW Bodyboard State Titles

Held at The Wedge (Surf Beach) in Kiama.

June 8th – 9th // Crooked River Winter Wine Festival

Live music, local produce, and plenty of excellent wine!

Jul 12th – 14th // Kiama Skatefest

A united event from a number of different skateboarding organisers across the state.

Jul 20th // Jamberoo Music Festival

Over 100 musicians at four intimate venues – a boutique festival in the picturesque town of Jamberoo.

Aug 30th – Sept 8th // Kiama Bodyboard King Pro

The 3rd stop on the APB World Tour, bringing over 100 world class competitors to Kiama.

 

We Are Explorers is proud to have produced this article in partnership with KiamaNSW. Get exploring and remember to tag @kiamansw #kiama #gerringong #gerroa #jamberoo

 


Live A Salty Life

Sunset To Sun-Up // Gerringong (NSW)

Surf ‘N’ Swag Introducing The New BoardSwag

Finding Your Happy Place (An Ode To Indo Surf)

From Kalbarri To The Kimberley – How To Drive Through North West Australia