This is a question that we asked locals, on a recent visit to Kiama on the south coast of NSW. Kiama is popular tourist village located 35 minutes south of Wollongong and it has a very interesting natural attraction - which draws in over 600,000 visitors to it every year. The Kiama Blowhole is a hole in a rock platform that juts out over the ocean, which shoots up large plumes of water high into the air when the wind and surf conditions are just right. The name Kiama is derived from a local aboriginal word meaning "place where the sea makes a noise"....and it certainly does! But when is the best time to see it in all it's glory?
The spectacular Kiama Blowhole. Image: Destination Kiama Facebook
Our family were curious to visit this unique attraction on a recent holiday and we asked around, to find the best time to view this natural spectacular. Was it better at high tide? In certain winds? According to the locals and tourist brochures, it doesn't matter what the tide is, however the water shoots higher if there is a south-east wind. (If you would like to view the Little Blowhole further south, that is suited better to a north-east wind!)
On our visit, it was a particularly blustery, rainy afternoon, with high seas and even higher winds, so we weren't sure what to expect. When we stood above the viewing platform, the sight and sound of the water was powerful. The wind was coming from every direction, not just the south-east, so the spray shot up high and it was unpredictable in where it was going to land. It may not have had the blue skies like the tourist brochures, but it certainly didn't disappoint!
If you are feeling daring, you can walk down along the lower viewing levels and get a unique perspective of the height of the water shooting up in the air. Although this appeared to be the most popular option, there was also a larger chance of getting wet!
For more of a birds-eye view, there was also a higher lookout around to one side, which had the best view of looking down the hole itself. There was also signage at the lookout which explained how there is an underground volcanic tunnel that goes underneath the rock platform and how a section of the platform collapsed in over time, creating a hole and an opportunity for the water to "escape" from its compressed area. Escape it does, with a loud "whoosh!" as the pressure builds up underneath and shoots water high up in the air, in a show of the force of nature like no other.
Signage at lookout explaining how the blowhole was formed
Although it appears that the best time to view the Kiama Blowhole is in a south-east wind, I believe that any time is a good time to visit the blowhole and learn about how it was created. From the headland, it is a particularly attractive coastline to admire in both directions, where the rolling green hills of local dairy farms reach all the way to the sea.
Why not stay for awhile and enjoy a picnic on the grass or take the binoculars and look for whales swim past the headland between May and November? The south coast of NSW is a beautiful part of the country, with many areas left untouched and pristine. Even if the Kiama Blowhole isn't blowing water to its highest point, you can still enjoy the stunning scenery from this natural attraction, on one of the regions prettiest headlands.
The Kiama Blowhole, lighthouse and headland - views all year around and whale watching between May and November. Image: Destination Kiama Facebook
Our family ended up staying for quite awhile at the top of the lookout enjoying the water spectacular - as well as the antics of the tourists, below. Many people arrived at the viewing platform, camera at the ready, unaware of the ferocity of the water that was soon going to blow their way. With a plenty of laughter and cries of "It's so cold", everyone enjoyed their visit to the Kiama Blowhole - although some left wetter than others!
Have you visited the Kiama Blowhole and found there to be a "best" time to view it? Please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your reasons. Perhaps if you are taking photos, it has nothing to do with the wind and more about the angle of the light, with sunrise sure to be a spectacle with the first rays of light shining through the spray. Whenever you visit, stay awhile (and perhaps take a raincoat!) - it is an attraction not to be missed when exploring the rugged beauty of the south coast of NSW.