Bombo Quarry - Kiama
*Images updated on 30/12/18
Since I first got into landscape/seascape photography, Bombo Quarry has always been on my list of favourite places to shoot. And to be honest, I don't see that ever changing. It has so much to offer landscape photographers at all times of the day, whether it's the huge swells, dramatic basalt columns or just the overall 'epic' feeling that overwhelms you just being in a place like this.
ABOUT THIS LOCATION
Just South of Cathedral Rocks, the headland that is 'Bombo Quarry' situates itself between Kiama Downs and Kiama. As the name may suggest, this headland was once a thriving quarry. It's been closed for some 70+ years and is now home to arguably one of Australia's most well known seascape locations.
Over the last year or so, it has become very popular to not only local photographers but to photographers from as far as North Sydney (about 2 hours drive). It's now to the point that international photographers have travelled to Australia and made a point to shoot at the ol' quarry.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Apart from the obvious landscape photography essentials, ie. tripod, camera, filters etc. Some of the following items/gear may come in handy:
Although this is a seascape location, the chances are you won’t actually be walking in or even near the water (depending on how adventurous you are). So waterproof reef or rock shoes are not essential. But I would recommend wearing comfortable, supportive and tight fitting shoes as there is A LOT of rock hopping to be done that just can't be avoided.
This has got to be the location at which I've taken the most hits from a wave, so I’d definitely suggest bringing something to cover your camera from crashing waves. This is especially true during medium to large swell. And maybe a little something to cover yourself, if you want.
BEST TIMES TO SHOOT
Unlike most seascape locations on the East Coast, Bombo Quarry can really be shot at both sunrise and sunset (depending on your composition and intended result). Most of the shots you will see online either by myself or other photographers will be during sunrise, as the majority of compositions benefit from facing East. But as the quarry is so large, it does offer many other angles that can make a sunset shot just as successful.
One thing I’ve always had trouble with is shooting seascapes at night, mainly when shooting the milky way. It might be a combination of my poor ability to light paint mixed with my occasional dislike of super long exposures. Having said that, Bombo Quarry is probably one of my exceptions to seascape milky way imagery. The reason being that there are so many compositions that allow you to hide the ocean and focus more on the tremendous basalt columns that rise from the sea.
I’ve never really paid too much attention to tide charts before visiting Bombo Quarry as there is always access to the entire quarry during high and low tides. It also doesn’t seem to look all that different. Swell on the other hand plays quite a large role in my decision to shoot here. One of the best times to shoot at Bombo Quarry is during a large swell. It’s also a little dangerous, so, as I’ve said in the past, know your limitations!
Bombo Quarry is quite easily accessible, no matter what the tidal conditions. From either of the 2 parking locations, it's only a short 15 or so minute walk to some of the prime shooting spots. The first, and my preferred place to park is practically anywhere in Darien Avenue, just off of Riverside Drive. The second is just a little further South on Panama Street. There's actually a car park here, but it's occasionally closed, no matter what times the sign says - that's why I'll always park along Darien Avenue.
From Darien Avenue, make your way to the end of the street and pass the gate. Then basically follow your way down this road until you see a very small and unobvious path to your right, just toward the bottom of the hill. At the end of that bush path you'll reach a staircase, once at the bottom you'll head left and before you know it, you're in the heart of the quarry.
If none of that made any sense, check out this map below. I'd definitely recommend checking the quarry out for a sunset shot first, that way you'll arrive during the day and have more opportunity to explore before you shoot.