Where to live: Kiama?

We’re planning on leaving Sydney in the next year or so, due to starting a family and needing a 4-bedroom house. But where to move to? The choice is overwhelming. In this series of posts, I explore a plethora of possible places – many of which we’ve visited – in an attempt to reach some sort of conclusion. Next up – Kiama.

Kiama is a reasonably large coastal town about 1 hour 40 minutes south of Sydney. It’s famous for its blowhole – a hole in the rocks where the sea crashes through, sending spray high into the air. (It’s been known to claim a few unfortunate souls who stood too close to it!)

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In theory, Kiama should be the perfect place for us. It’s not too far from our friends and the attractions of Sydney; it’s by the sea, and has some reasonably nice beaches; it’s a decent size. But there’s something about Kiama that doesn’t quite gel for us. It feels very suburban and, indeed, is almost a suburb of Wollongong these days. The shops and cafes don’t seem particularly nice or welcoming, and the town seems to have a bit of a down-at-heel vibe to it somehow. People don’t seem as friendly as they do in many other small towns in New South Wales. It doesn’t seem to have much of a sense of community. Maybe this is just subjective stuff – who knows?

It’s also pushing our budget somewhat; we’d have to wait a while to find a 4-bed house in our price range. We did actually look at a house that we could afford – I think it was $430,000 – and it seemed OK, but not many come up at that price. It was also suspiciously near the main highway, so I suspect trucks at night could have been a problem. (Always worth visiting potential houses late at night if they’re near big roads, just to check!)

On the plus side, Kiama is pleasant enough as a place to visit, with attractions such as the blowhole, feeding pelicans, a lighthouse, and lovely scenery to the west. I’m just not sure it’s the right place for us to settle down.

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