KARA Mack and Matt McBain's opinion of Kiama as one of their favourite spots on a recent driving odyssey quickly changed when the contents of their van were stolen at Blowhole Point rock pool earlier this month.
On Friday, January 17, on their way back south from the Sunshine Coast, Ms Mack and Mr McBain took the opportunity to stop in Kiama for a swim.
The couple spent five or so days here in November on their way north.
About 6.30pm the couple parked in the carpark near the pool, locked the 2007 white Mitsubishi van and went for a 15-minute swim.
Afterwards they sat on a picnic bench overlooking the carpark for a while, unaware that just about everything in the van had been stolen - an estimated $6000 to $7000 worth.
The couple had planned to drive from Merimbula to Darwin looking for work and a new home town along the way, so had a van full of personal belongings.
The thieves made off with jewellery, a suitcase, backpack and duffle bag, esky, camera and laptop.
They also stole Mr McBain's phone and wallet. Ms Mack said fortunately they didn't find her wallet and phone.
"We didn't have anything on us," she said,
"Everything was in the van. Luckily they didn't find my phone or wallet or it would have been a disaster - we would have had no way of telling anyone what had happened, no money and we were out of fuel."
Ms Mack said the thieves even stole a dress and her pressure stockings from the front seat.
She said expensive kayaks and a paddleboard on top of the van probably highlighted them as a potentially lucrative target.
"Obviously since it happened we have not stopped thinking about it and we think we were followed," she said
In the three months of their travels, they had nothing else stolen and were not insured.
"In some cases the van was not even locked when we'd go for a swim but we locked it there," she said.
"We weren't insured. When you're travelling in your own country I don't think many people think of it.
"Kiama had been one of our favourite places on the way up but having something like that happen changes your mind quickly."
Lake Illawarra Local Area Command crime prevention officer Acting Sergeant Mark Scott said there had not been any other similar incidents reported at the time.
"From a bad guy's perspective this type of crime is very opportunistic," he said.
If anyone noticed anything suspicious in the car park on that date, they are urged to contact Lake Illawarra Police on 4232 5599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.