The suburb of Gymea Bay takes its name from the small bay on the north side of the Port Hacking estuary (also known as the Port Hacking River). Gymea is a native name, describing the gymea lily which are still seen in abundance in the area. The locality of Gymea Bay is on the southern shore of the Coonong Creek estuary where it flows into Gymea Bay and where Gymea Bay Road once reached the river (now a private road). 27 km south of the Sydney central business district, Gymea Bay shares the postcode 2227 with the adjacent suburb of Gymea.
The area has been characterised by verdant bushland. However, since the 1980s, increased subdivision with smaller lots, larger houses and increased motor vehicle ownership has decreased the number of large trees and since the 1990s, the invasions of feral deer from the Royal National Park have begun to negatively affect the ground cover underneath the tree canopy.
Gymea is primarily a low density, residential suburb. Located close to Gymea railway station, the suburb's shopping strip is known as Gymea Shopping Village. Over the last decade it has become a popular shopping and 'cafe culture' district with many cafes, restaurants, boutiques and gourmet food shops opened along Gymea Bay Road.
Gymea is home to the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, which features art galleries, art studios, a theatrette, gardens, meeting rooms, gallery shop and cafe. A number of special events are held at the gallery throughout the year.
Gymea railway station is on the Cronulla branch of the Illawarra railway line, part of the Sydney Trains network, which provides regular rail services to the city. Gymea railway station is on Gymea Bay Road, in the middle of the main shopping area. Adjacent stations are Kirrawee and Miranda. Private buses also service the local area and provide school student transport.
Gymea Baths: Gymea Bay is home to the heritage-listed Gymea Bay Baths, at the shore of Gymea Bay Baths Reserve near the intersection of Gymea Bay Road and Ellesmere Road. Gymea Bay Amateur Swimming Club has been using the baths for over 40 years. The bay and Port Hacking estuary are used extensively for watersports such as wakeboarding and water skiing.
Coongong Creek Bushland Reserve: This Reserve in Gymea Bay is an award winning remnant bushland area maintained by Sutherland Shire Council and volunteers. Its walking tracks link with the Old School Park and Gymea Bay Baths Reserve. A pleasant walking path through the reserve follows Coonong Creek as it wends its way over through the light undergrowth and over rocks on its way to Gymea Bay.
Coonong Creek Reserve
Old School Park: a recently constructed park, including playground, junior playground, walking path and dinky track, shaded picnic shelter. Wheelchair access, disabled toilet. Gymea Bay Rd, Gymea.
Grays Point: Situated on the North West Arm of Port Hacking to the south east of Gymea Bay, Grays Point abuts Royal National Park. Little of the suburb's history is known, except that it abounded in birdlife - not even the origin of its name was recorded. It may have been named after Samuel William Gray who owned land on the point, or perhaps after John Edward Gray, a resident ranger in the national park in the 1890s who was a well known local identity.