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Ground Parrot in the Kiama Region, Photography by Lachlan Hall

Wildlife & Nature

Enjoy nature’s playground in all its bountiful beauty

With such a botanically-blessed backdrop, it’s little wonder that it’s not just humans that enjoy this happy habitat. An abundance of animals inhabit the land, sea and air, framed (or sometimes camouflaged) by many distinctive native species of plants and trees.

Even the casual observer will find something unique in our diverse slice of coastal, swampy and rain-forested landscape. As for bird watchers and bona fide nature “frothers” — well, the Kiama area is a true garden of delights!

Flora to discover

When you come for a visit, you’ll notice either cabbage tree palms sprinkled atop the rolling hills of Jamberoo or the Norfolk Island pine neatly framing views in Kiama and Gerringong. The Illawarra Flame tree, an iconic and attractive native rainforest tree, bursts into flaming colour from November to February. Also many Moreton Bay Fig trees, another highly distinctive local native, with large branches, wide canopy and thick buttress roots, are found throughout the area. There are other types of fig trees, flowers, ferns, and much more to discover.

Learn about endangered ecological communities (EECs) and what our local council is doing to protect them here. If you plan to do the Jerrara Dam Arboretum bush walk, use this handy tree location map and discover the tree names.

Dolphins Swimming in Kiama Region, Photography by Ian Hollis

In the water

You may get lucky spotting dolphins along the coast or even find yourself sharing a wave or two out in the surf! We are also spoilt with some of the best land-based whale watching from late May to July, when humpback and Southern Right whales can be seen migrating north. From September to November they head back south again with their calves providing six months of whale watching opportunities. Check out our whale watching platforms in Minnamurra and Gerringong.

Stingrays can often be spotted around the Kiama jetty. You’ll also see an array of sea birds like oystercatchers and pelicans — which are an iconic and regular sight in Gerringong and Kiama harbours.

Short beaked Echidna - photo credit - Lachlan Hall

On the land

Did you know the cute (but not so cuddly) native Echidna is one of just two mammals in the world that lay eggs?

We have other special creatures roaming the land like the Eastern Pygmy Possum which feeds on pollen and nectar from native Banksia flowers. Others include the Swamp wallaby, the long-necked Tortoise, Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard, Eastern Water Dragon, frogs, rabbits and more.

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In the air

Over 350 different types of birds have been recorded in the area. Kingfishers, pelicans, wrens, parrots, white bellied sea eagle, laughing kookaburras, blue birds, golden whistlers, grey fantail, galah, black-shouldered kite, and many more.

Just off the coast you might see petrels, albatrosses, boobies, cormorants and other pelagic beauties. Check out the Southern Ocean Seabird Study Association (SOSSA) for bird guides and learn about their Kiama Pelagic day trips.

The superb lyrebird is a local favourite and can be found in the Minnamurra Rainforest and other areas of Budderoo National Park. You may even spot an eastern ground parrot, an endangered, shy and strikingly beautiful bird inhabiting Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. One thing you likely can’t miss are the butterflies. Discover some of the common butterflies in the area.