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Just a Drive Away

After a short drive through Albion Park, past Shellharbour and with the crashing waves of Bombo beach in the rear-view mirror, Wollongong’s sibling, Kiama, is the final stop and is a destination well worth visiting – and not just to see the blow hole.

Why visit Kiama? Why not.


Wollongong has a lot to offer right now, sure – with cafes, bars and eateries making it a very happening heart of the Illawarra. However, Kiama is growing up and is now a place worth visiting on a day off.

Once upon a time and not all that long ago, a trip down to Kiama from the ‘Gong was seen as a tourist attraction you would take visitors to, with the Blowhole being the main drawing card. Not anymore. Kiama is an ever-growing and consistently happening town. Markets, cafes, the beach and the nice locals hold down the fort and make for a delightful time.

A smaller town, with the population of just under 13,000, Kiama has a always community feel in the air. Families flock from the many suburban houses that surround the harbour of Kiama, which is where it’s all happening.

Kiama sure loves its markets and hosting them. Each Wednesday afternoon, it’s the Famers Markets at Black Beach, or on the third Sunday of each month the Seaside Markets, and then there is the Kiama Makers and Growers Market on the fourth Saturday of each month at Black Beach. Think fresh veg, meat, cheese, bread, arts, craft, and some of the most delicious pho around. There happens to be live music, too, and activities for the kids. It’s a nice enough atmosphere to simply stroll through  and take in the surrounding culture and the all-around great vibe oozing from the people of Kiama, created by the friendly nature of the town put on show with the many stalls set up.

If you don’t get down to Kiama for the markets to purchase your bread, you needn’t worry, as Flour Water Salt, an offshoot of Berry Sourdough, will surely have some tasty baked goods, including organic bread baked by Joost Hilkemeijer and his team in Berry.


When it comes to that caffeine beverage we all cherish so much, the fairly new but already ever-present Penny Whistlers is a cafe certainly worth checking out. The highly recommended avocado and dukkah on toast is a must, of course with the obvious option of adding some poached eggs. Even kids get a menu, featuring organic Weet-Bix, kids eggs, hotcakes and the “Kids Plate”. Campos coffee is on offer and being slung from the none other than the workhorse machine that is the custom white La Marzocco Linea PB, accompanied by an array of grinders including an EK43, a Mazzer grinders. In other words, a lineup that any barista would love to work with. It’s the view that tops off what is the space of Penny Whistlers. Just look out to the ocean, contemplate life and sip on that batch brew, single estate Tea Craft tea, or whatever happens to be your drink of choice. Don’t sleep on the house made sweets either.


The Kiama cafe scene doesn’t end there. The Hungry Monkey, housed in a quant terrace, is also a pit stop that needs some attention while in Kiama and looking for a warm brew and a feed. You can expect White Horse coffee and brunch style food as well as delicious burgers, accompanied by sweet potato fires (who doesn’t love sweet potato fries?!).

So when you think Kiama, don’t jump straight to the Blowhole or those stickers we see on the back of everyones car who lives there. Rather, think sun, delicious food and coffee and a picturesque scenery with nice people to going along with it.

Why not visit Kiama? It’s just a drive away.

Samuel Findlay

Co-host of classic crack-up podcast In Jeans & Joggers, curator of culture for Primo! Magazine and wizard of the latte arts, Sam Findlay. From a very young age, Sam had dreams of becoming a professional basketball player hoping to one day outshine MJ. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out. So, after coming to the realisation that he more than likely wasn’t going to make it to Jordan’s level, let alone the big leagues, his career path somewhat shifted. Seeing that he couldn't quite jump like the pros, Sam figured he could still know everything about them and wear the same shoes as them too.

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