Le Tour de Kiama
D’accord. Nous avons beaucoup de similitudes entre la France et Kiama. While the language isn’t one of them, read on for how to make the NSW South Coast feel like France.
Most of us couldn’t make it France this year, so it’s a good thing that L’Étape Australia are bringing Le Tour de France to us here in Kiama – and you don’t need to be a cyclist to experience all the thrills and the beauty of the well formulated route.
All the things you love most about the world’s most anticipated cycling event can now be found across the Kiama area on the New South Wales, South Coast. We’ve put together some of our favourite ways to experience the area on two wheels – meandering (or racing) through rolling green hills as you discover our unique towns and villages, each with their own host of reasons inviting visitors like you to explore.
Just like The Race, start your day in Kiama with a French-inspired feed from Parfait Patisserie. Serving up a range of petits gâteaux that would rival any bakery in France, as well as fresh-baked breads, pies and other goodies, this is the perfect place to set the Tour de France spirit.
Coffee in hand, stroll the streets taking stock of the local boutiques – why not make like a tourist and purchase a souvenir or two to keep those holiday feelings alive even once you’ve arrived back home. With locally made jewellery, art galleries and photography studios as well as a whole host of local produce you may need a bigger bag…
For the Francophiles out there, be sure to head to the backstreet bookstore Bouquiniste. Taking their name from les bouquinistes of Paris, you can indulge in tea from Oxford, coffee from Australia, books from around the globe and Burmese spring rolls by the owner’s nanna.
From Kiama’s bustling streets, take a detour to the iconic Black Beach and Harbour, reminiscent of Bretagne’s maritime coastline, and the Grand Départ of this year’s Tour de France. If you’ve got some time to kill, climb aboard one of the many vessels moored here and take a fishing charter out to see the coastline from an entirely new perspective.
For those with more pressing time constraints, head south to the nearby towns of Gerringong and Gerroa. This is the place to let your tastebuds do the work – learn the lay of the land at Crooked River Wines, with the volcanic soils adding to their distinctive terroir. Sipping wines at their award-winning cellar door, the flavours won’t be the only thing you fall in love with. This vineyard boasts views back east over the rows of vines out to the Pacific Ocean – we know it’s not the Bay of Bisque but it’s a worthy rival.
Only 5 minutes’ drive from here, you’ll find the family-owned-and-operated Buena Vista Farm where you can tour the property and learn some of the secrets to goat raising, chicken-coop-building, cheese-making, bee-hiving and coffee-growing, and even purchase some of their produce.
The area’s creatives are once again on display at Fern Street Gallery, with rotating exhibitions from all mediums courtesy of the resident artists.
All this exploring is sure to have worked up an appetite, and there’s no shortage of places to fill that hunger. Take your pick from restaurants with sweeping ocean views, quaint cafes or simply grab a bite to go and avez-vous un pique-nique atop one of the many headlands or sandy beaches.
If you’re wanting to get into the true country feel, head west to Jamberoo where you’ll find the historic Jamberoo Pub. Sit down to a hearty home-style meal or something more gourmet, and wash it all down with a local drop.
Spend the afternoon winding up heartbreak hill (aka Jamberoo Mountain Pass), taking in the remnant rainforest of Jamberoo Mountain and natural beauty of the walking tracks and waterfalls, consider a visit to the Southern Highlands town of Robertson before heading back down the mountain and seeing out the day at one of the area’s restaurants and bars – take your culinary journey further afield with Asian, Indian, Italian and of course, French-style cuisine.