‘Where the sea makes a noise’…
My experience in the rock pool
This is the pool I go to at the end of a long, hot day since it’s a short walk from my home in Kiama.
Although not the size of an Olympic pool, it never feels full, even with 60 tourists messing about on a summer holiday weekend. It’s not the kind of pool you’d do laps in, except on cloudy days when you get the chance to swim alone, but it is a fabulous spot to cool off and just feel the joy of being in the water in a magical place.
I tend to wear swimming shoes here because of its uneven, rocky floor, though nobody else seems to so I probably should just toughen my feet up!
When the tide is coming in there can be quite a splash over the rocks either from the east (over the higher rocks at the back of the pool) or from the south side straight over the rock pool wall. But those waves can also be dangerous and I have seen youngsters picked up and thrown down onto the sharp rocks on a stormy day. On the whole, though, this is one of the best pools for everyone – kids, adults, older regulars – just to have fun.
Fantastic views, also. Over to Bombo beach from one side, up to the lighthouse from the other, and down the coast to the south. You can’t actually see the blow hole do its thing from the pool, though.
Getting there, getting in, getting changed
There is 4 hour parking even at peak times not far from the pool on Blowhole Point. It’s a short walk down the path and then down a set of steps to get into the pool.
There are two sets of steps into the pool, one steep, one more gentle. Most kids just jump in from a ledge that stands a metre or so from the straight steps.
There are lots of natural level rocks where you can leave your things while you swim. The changing rooms, toilets and showers are 50m away up those steps and along the path. Very clean, modern facilities. And if they’re locked up for some reason, there’s a cold shower at the top of the same path.
At high tide, the waves come over the edge of the pool from the south (though that depends also on the swell); and in rough or big swell days, there can be spray over the top of the rocks into the pool.
Other practical points
Rocky, uneven floor of the pool and all natural, with no lane markings.
History and other stories about this pool
When it was first used as a swimming area in the 1880s, this was the men’s pool, while the ladies swam over the other side of the harbour in the area where Kiama’s more formal Olympic-size rock pool now sits.
The Kiama Ice Kubes keep the pool busy throughout the winter on Sunday mornings, and the nice thing about this weekly meet-up is that – unlike some similar clubs up the coast – anyone can come (it is not men only!).
What’s your story? Any memories of swimming here? Any stories to tell? Or did you just have swimming lessons in the cold of winter in the 1960s?
Whatever you have to say, however brief, I’d love to hear from you and will add any stories to this section of the site as and when I receive them. Add your comment or story under ‘Leave a Reply’ below.
Links to other articles on this pool
The Illawarra Mercury covered both Kiama rock pools in one article of its 2014 series on the NSW ocean pools.
I rather like this YouTube video by Clear Skies TV of life under the water at Kiama Rock Pool.
Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?
For tea, it’s worth a five minute walk…
Open Tuesday – Sunday 8am – 4.30pm
44 Manning Street
This tiny tea room sits at the front end of the flower shop on Manning Street. There are seats for four inside and if the weather’s OK there are more tables out the front. They do the wonderful teas from Tippity here. Really top quality tea. Owner Judith is developing a gluten free menu and she bakes it all herself, from the daily cake to the gingerbread and the biscotti. And Judith is one of Kiama’s characters. A really nice find, worth the five- ten minute walk from the Rock Pool.
Also worth that five minute walk to try the new kids on the bloc for coffee or tea:
14 Manning – 14 Manning Street
Open daily. From 7am Mon – Fri; 7.30am Sat-Sun.
14 Manning reviewed by Fancy a Cuppa website
Really great to see this new coffee shop open in winter 2015. They not only serve up the fantastic Single Origin coffees, but also do the wonderful Berry Tea Shop teas. It also just happens to have a wide, spacious décor and a friendly vibe, with great views down to the harbour if you sit outside at the front. If you’re in a group where some like coffee and others prefer tea, this is the place to go in Kiama.
If you haven’t got time for that 5-minute walk, there’s decent coffee to be had really near the rock pool:
Milk & Honey – Just above the rock pool by the tourist info office
Open Daily 8.00am – 4.00pm
They do Allpress coffee here so the quality is good. There’s a small range of nibbles to go with it (and a bigger range of breakfast/lunch savouries), like banana bread, brownies, vanilla slice (my choice) and muffins. Best thing about this place, though, is the view out over the harbour and looking north with – if you’re lucky – the chance to watch a decent game of tennis at the Blowhole Tennis Club right below the café terrace.