Kiama

Over the weekend we decided to visit Kiama, which is about two hours south of where we are staying in Sydney. We were able to take the train all the way down there and were able to see some really beautiful sights along the way. We wanted to see the Blowhole that the town is famous for. Upon arriving, we saw the quaint town that Kiama is known for. It is populated by beautiful scenery and little cafes and stores that gave it a homey feeling. We stopped off at café that was very populated got probably one of the best meals we have found in Australia so far. After we decided to go out and find the blowhole that was supposedly the main attraction of the area. It was pretty crowded even though the town is kind of a hike from where most people in New South Wales live. Depending on how the wind blew the water shot out of the rocks at different heights. Although, the blowhole was pretty cool to see, I think the best part of Kiama had to be the views you were able to see by climbing out on the rocks. It was pretty steep, but we were able to climb to the top edge of the rocks and look out over the ocean. I can honestly say that it was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen. We spent about an hour or so just climbing the rocks and taking in the views. Considering Kiama was one of my favorite places I’ve seen, I decided to look more into the history of the town.
The name Kiama comes from the aboriginal word Kiarama, which is supposed to mean “where the sea makes noise”. This is meant to be a reference to the famous Blowhole. The first reference to the town was in 1797 when George Bass dropped anchor there. The first permanent, white settler was David Smith when he built up his residence in 1832. Many of the buildings that were built in the 1800s still stand today, making it one of Australia’s most authentic areas. Some of the most famous buildings that still stand are the post office, which is known for its pinkish color, and the historic fire station. Kiama was settled by wheat farmers because of the soil in the area. However, the wheat died and the colonists switched dairy farming. They became the home of Australia’s first dairy industry with the first dairy factory. After the farming was set into place, the population was increase by its quarries. There was two volcanic eruptions that provided blue metal that was then used to pave Sydney’s roads and utilized in the railways. This was very profitable and useful for those in Kiama, which helped the town thrive during this time. There are still active quarries in Kiama today. One specific quarry is the Bombo Headland. This quarry is valuable scientifically because it is of the longest known geomagnetic polarity interval. This is called the Kiaman Reverse Superchron and was discovered in 1926. Overall, Kiama has a rich history that meshes very well with its geographic features.
Kiama was the home of two very strong volcanic flows, more specifically known as the Gerrigong Volcanics, which are now considered a collapsed volcanic vent. The Kiama Blowhole is a result from erosion of rocks in this area. If the wind is strong enough, the water can spray up to 25 meters (82 feet) into the air. Saddleback Mountain, the source of the Gerrigong Volcanics, has views over the plains in the area, and visitors can view the city from a cool vantage point known as Saddleback Lookout. There is also a less famous blowhole in the area commonly called the “Little Blowhole” by locals. They sometimes call it the big blowhole’s “annoying little cousin”. Per year, 600,000 tourists a year visit Kiama to see the attractions. In addition to the blowhole, the town has the Kiama Lighthouse that was built in 1887, which is located right before the blowhole. The area also contains a pilot’s cottage where there is tourist information. There is also Kiama Harbour which is full of fishing boats and seafood markets where one can buy fish from the local area. Also, there is a local phenomenon of Australian Pelicans in the area. The pelicans are honored with a metal statue near the harbor. During summer and warmer times, visitors can also enjoy the beach for surfing and swimming.

Sources: http://www.kiama.com.au/ & http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/kiama-area/kiama/map

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