Kiama is a township 120km south of Sydney in the Illawarra region of NSW, in the Municipality of Kiama. It is bordered to the west by rugged rainforest and to the east by golden beaches. Kiama is the first country town south of Sydney and attracts a large number of day trippers and tourists. Kiama is about 30 minutes drive south of Wollongong, with many residents commuting there, and Sydney, each day.
Kiama had a population of almost 12,300 at the 2006 census. The seaside town features several popular surfing beaches, caravan parks and numerous alfresco cafes and restaurants. One of the main tourist attractions is the Kiama Blowhole, a rocky headland outcrop that forces large plumes of water into the sky when the tide, swell and wind are just right.
Kiama is also known for its historic buildings, including the Kiama Post Office, located in the main street (Terralong Street), famous for its history and pink colour. Terralong Street is also home to a strip mall of cafés, restaurants, art galleries, war memorial, historic fire station used for exhibits, and a small shopping centre including a supermarket.
Seven kilometres southwest is Saddleback Lookout atop the 600m high Saddleback Mountain, with views over the Illawarra and escarpment, and south to Nowra, Pigeon House Mountain and Coolangatta Mountain.
Jamberoo Action Park, a ride-orientated water-theme park, is situated 10 minutes inland, just outside the township of Jamberoo. North of the Minnamurra River is Killalea Recreation Area, a nature reserve on Bass Point, south of Shellharbour. The beaches around Kiama offer a large range of surfing conditions, with many surfing competitions held each year. Kiama is also a popular fishing spot.
Kiama Council spent 11 years preparing the construction of the Kiama Coast Walk, a 6km 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 town is served by Kiama Station on the South Coast Line. It is served by road in the form of the Princes Highway and the Kiama Bypass.
Kiama is home to several schools, including Kiama High School, Kiama Public School and Ss Peter and Paul Catholic School.
Kiama is popular with retirees as Kiama Council’s aged care services are among the best in NSW. There are several retirement homes and assisted care villages within the municipality. The Kiama Hospital provides slow stream medical care, rehabilitation, aged care, several nursing home respite beds and community health services.
Hospitals offering more services are located in Shellharbour and Wollongong.