Cathedral Rocks - Kiama Downs

*Images updated on 30/12/18

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the East Coast of Australia has some of the best seascape locations not only in Australia, but arguably, in the World. Cathedral Rocks has been captured time and time again not only by photographers but by fine artists, too.

ABOUT THIS LOCATION

Cathedral Rocks is located just a few kilometres North of the coastal town, Kiama. For at least the past 100 years artists and photographers alike have been capturing the rock in all it’s glory. Some historic images online date back to as late as the 1890’s. Just like them, I’ve been trying to capture the best image I can of this amazingly rugged coastal rock formation.

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:

  • Footwear is always important when out shooting, especially by the sea. While this location is home to some extremely rough and rugged terrain, it’s still a good idea to wear shoes that have a decent amount of grip. Especially when navigating across the various small inlets to get in between the two main rocks of Cathedral Rocks. They can be quite slippery.

  • Something that is practically essential on all seascape shoots is some sort of, lets say, “raincoat” for your camera. You never know when an unexpected wave will make an appearance.

  • If you're shooting during summer, or at least the warmer months, I can't stress enough how much you're going to want mosquito repellant; especially if you choose to shoot in 'the cave!'

BEST TIMES TO SHOOT

Like all seascape locations on the East Coast, the best time, and my preferred time to shoot, is at sunrise. Generally, the 30 minutes before and after sunrise also provides some great colour and shooting opportunities.

Sunset is probably the next best time to shoot. While you won’t get the same fiery and dramatic skies that can be had during sunrise, you will hopefully be able to capture the soft, subtle pastel colours that are often visible on the opposite side of the sky (East), during sunset.

Shooting at night can also result in some awesome photographs. Though, being so close to the town of Kiama, you'll have a fair amount light pollution to contend with.

The tide and swell conditions are definitely something to consider when shooting at Cathedral Rocks. Access to some of the best spots i.e. the cave and in between the two main rocks, is really only possible at low tide. Unless, like me, you are willing to get very wet. Most of my readers know that I can’t resist shooting during big swell, Cathedral Rocks is no exception to that rule. That’s absolutely the most exciting and rewarding time to shoot seascapes. This image below shows some of the action I captured during 6-8 foot swell.

GETTING THERE

Kiama is just a short hours drive South from Sydney's South (allow an extra 30 minutes if coming from Sydney's CBD). Access to Cathedral Rocks is super easy. There’s parking just a few hundred metres North of the rock and it’s generally pretty easy to navigate your way around the rocks, as long as it’s not peak high tide, though still possible.

Parking is at the northern end of Jones Beach along North Kiama Drive, just opposite Moona Avenue.