Bombo Beach House, Kiama review: Braving the river mild

Read our writer's views on this property below

Mags King finds the great outdoors is sometimes better experienced from a room with a view.

A muscular Meryl Streep showed how it's done in the film The River Wild as she battled the white-water rapids of Montana and the grip of a criminal, played by Kevin Bacon. Strangely, it made me yearn for the great outdoors. The rest of my group were not as easily convinced and, though kayaking on the Minnamurra River could hardly be described as challenging, it was the comforts of Bombo Beach House, our cocoon for a weekend, that swayed the less gung-ho among us.

The house is on a slip road off the Princes Highway at Kiama, which one can easily miss (we did). There are no signs but we knew the house faced the ocean so we relied on the sound of crashing waves to direct us.

Perched above Bombo Beach, the contemporary, split-level house has north-facing, uninterrupted views the length of the beach, invites in sunlight and has a wraparound veranda. Three of its four bedrooms are below, on the second level, with a communal bathroom. The main bedroom is at entrance level and has a spacious ensuite.

As with the other bedrooms, the main enjoys immediate ocean views. It also opens out on to a second deck, which is set for outdoor dining complete with barbecue.

The large, open-plan living arrangement's high ceilings and wall of glass sliding doors create an airy, light space but with the electric blinds pulled down and a crackling fire going, the living area is transformed into a warm winter bolthole, ideal for playing board games and reading.

A nook beside the kitchen is where the children catch up on some dance moves from their latest television obsession. The well-equipped kitchen becomes the perfect arena for the evening's main event: a non-calorie-burning, all-indulgent food-fest ending with a deadly home-made sticky date pudding. As the evening goes on, kayaking begins to look like redemption.

Waking up to a household still locked in slumber is perfect for watching a sunrise in peace. Although the beach house has two decks upstairs and one below, it's the main deck that offers incredible ocean views. The less-impressive view of the Princes Highway is easy to ignore. Dressing for kayaking, however, proves difficult as the weather warms up unexpectedly. Paul and Sarah from South Coast Safaris have been taking groups on kayaking and canoeing adventures for more than 10 years and though one couple bails out to visit Kiama's antiques and boutiques, the rest of us start to feel the adrenalin pumping as we fasten our life jackets and head for the river.

A small creek is the humble start of the Minnamurra River. Paul gives us a concise briefing on how to paddle effectively and bids us farewell. Our group is made up of the quietly confident, the show-off, the responsible and a laughing, crying, hysterical pair of mismatched novices – my sister and me.

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Our decision to stick with a canoe literally brings tears to our eyes. Steering becomes a farce from the word go, resulting in pure comical moments followed by sheer frustration. As we watch the others skim the surface effortlessly in their nimble kayaks, disappearing gracefully into the distance, we use up precious energy zigzagging the width of the river.

The midday sun is beating on our furrowed brows and I'm having multiple up-close and personal moments with mangroves. We stop several times to rest our arms and enjoy the gentle breeze; it is beautiful and serene. We imagine swimming; we imagine going straight.

In a short-lived moment, we get to see the clear waters of the river flowing ahead of us, past lush mangroves and finally reaching the mouth at Minnamurra Point. It's time to head to shore for lunch and the chance to relive the agonising tale of our unique canoeing skills, complete with a video recording.

After a 10-minute drive, we're back at the beach house, under a hot shower and into the comforts of our weekend bolthole. The weather changes as soon as we walk in – grey clouds gather over the swell and the prospect of reading by the fire and grazing on leftovers is delicious.

The writer was a guest of Bombo Beach House and Tourism NSW.

TRIP NOTES

WHERE

Bombo Beach House, Gipps Street, Kiama. Phone 4234 2065, see southcoastholidays.com.au. PSouth Coast Safaris, phone 0404 895 379, see kayakadventures.com.au.

HOW MUCH

From $300 to $750 a night, depending on the season. Minimum two-night stay. Sleeps up to eight people.

BEST THING

It's within walking distance of Kiama's shops — which means fresh seafood and a visit to the Ice Creamery for wicked sundaes and waffles.

WORST THING

The steep stairs down to the beach house's second level may challenge the old knee joints.

LOCAL SECRET

The official opening of the extension of the Kiama Coast Walk from Kiama Heights to Gerringong's Werri Beach is today. The walk stretches up as far as Minnamurra.