An ice skating rink backdropped by the harbour and seaside dine-in igloos to indulge in Eat Like A Local fare will be centrepieces of the Kiama Winter Festival – Ice Skating By The Sea on the Kiama Harbour foreshore from 7-12 July.
Destination Kiama tourism and events manager Sally Bursell said the ice rink was part of last year’s Ignite Winter Festival, but this year it is instead enclosed within a transparent marquee, offering all-weather skating.
Sally said the key objectives for the winter festivals were to level out seasonality.
“We would like to fill up the beds, restaurants and attractions outside of peak times and show the world that Kiama in winter is really beautiful – and not that cold,” she said.
Last year the tennis court at Blowhole Point was turned into an ice skating rink at the last minute due to flooding, but this year the rink will return to its intended location at Old School Flat on the harbour waterfront.
“We learnt that the notion of ice skating by the beach is very popular and think that the new positioning in the centre of Kiama overlooking the harbour will add to the appeal,” she said.
“We have a cover over the rink this year and igloos to protect not only from icy winds and rain, but also the sun which can warm the ice in the heat of the day and cause the ice to puddle.”
Adding to the polar vibe, attendees will be able to keep warm in pop-up, dine-in igloos while enjoying the harbour views and a range of Kiama fare from the Eat Like a Local tent.
“The igloos are adding to the theme, but also provides people the opportunity to go and sit in there out of the wind to eat their food,” she said.
“We’ve got two food trucks and then the Eat Like A Local pagoda tent will be set up where people can purchase food from the local area.
“As a local council, supporting our business community is key and we are doing all we can to get them involved.
“Every night from 5 pm we’ve got different themes and we’ve tried to get entertainment and food to suit where we can as well.”
The themes for the activities, entertainment, food and skating will include Freaky Friday, Superhero Saturday, Retro Sunday, Onesie Monsie, Taco Tuesday and the Frozen Finale.
Food with a little more history will be provided through A Taste of the Dharawal tent.
Led by Aboriginal cultural experience and education company Gumaraa, it will deliver authentic Indigenous experiences based on the traditions of the Dharawal and Yuin Nation through bush tucker talks, learning about the artefacts and stories that accompany them, and a live mural being painted.
“I feel like it’s a local story that we don’t talk to enough, and people are interested and want to know more,” she said.
Gerringong craft beer brewery Stoic Brewing will offer the limited edition Kiama Winter Brew, which has been specially created for the festival.
It will be available at the pop-up Festival Bar from 4 pm to 8 pm daily and at licenced venues around Kiama.
An illuminated projection show by Illawarra production company R & R Productions will showcase mapped artworks in partnership with Kiama’s Seven Marks Gallery spotlight artists.
In addition, South Coast local Luke Turk will stage Incirrata each evening, an illumination element seen at Sydney’s Vivid Festival.
Silent and low-sensory ice skating sessions will be available and the ice rink is also wheelchair accessible.
Kiama Winter Festival will take place at Kiama Harbour on 7-12 July. The ice skating sessions are every hour from 10 am to 4 pm and themed evening sessions are 5 pm to 8 pm. It is recommended to pre-book ice skating tickets to avoid disappointment.
The full program of events is available on the Kiama Winter Festival website.