Of the coastal resorts south of Sydney, Kiama is probably the most attractive. A large resort and fishing town, Kiama is famous for its star attraction, the Blowhole, a five-minute walk from the train station on Blowhole Point. Stemming from a natural fault in the cliffs, the Blowhole explodes into a waterspout when a wave hits with sufficient force. It's impressive, but also potentially dangerous: freak waves can be thrown over 60m into the air and have swept several over-curious bystanders into the raging sea – so stand well back. The visitor centre, nearby on Blowhole Point Road (daily 9am–5pm; Tel:02/4232 3322, Web: www.kiama.com.au ), books accommodation and supplies details of other local attractions such as Cathedral Rocks, a few kilometres to the north, whose rocky outcrops drop abruptly to the ocean.
There's an abundance of accommodation (mostly motels) along the Princes Highway, and a few places downtown. Budget alternatives include the rather basic Kiama Backpackers, 31 Bong Bong St (Tel:02/4233 1881, Ekiamabackpackers@hotmail.com; dorms $20, rooms Price: $51-60), which is next to the train station and right near the beach, though it sometimes closes down in winter. Next door, the Grand Hotel, on the corner of Manning and Bong Bong streets (Tel:02/4232 1037; Price: $61-75), is one of Kiama's oldest hotels, with shared-bath rooms; the pub restaurant serves decent filling meals at lunch and dinner daily. There's convenient camping right in town at Surf Beach Holiday Park, Bourrool St (Tel:02/4232 1791, Web: www.kiama.net/holiday ; camping $26, on-site vans $90, cabins Price: $131-160); and swankier accommodation at Kiama Harbour Cabins, Blowhole Point Road (Tel:1800 823 824, Web: www.kiama.net/holiday/blowhole ; en-suite cabins Price: $161-200), with great views of the harbour and coast, but a two-night minimum at weekends.
There are plenty of places to eat in Kiama – Thai, Chinese and Italian restaurants and lots of cafés – with a concentration on Manning and Terralong streets. The best is 55 on Collins, 55 Collins St (Tel:02/4232 2811; breakfast and lunch daily; dinner Thurs– Sat), which is casual enough for coffee and cake in the daytime and serves very good contemporary cuisine in the evening (mains around $30).