©Robyn Wheeler
Something unusual's rolling this way .... and it wasn't the bowls at Scarborough Bowling Clubs near Wollongong yesterday.

Nature can be truly awesome. But then, so can a game of bowls.

As a huge water spout sucked up the sea south of Sydney yesterday, and the light suddenly dimmed, two players at the Scarborough-Wombarra Bowling and Recreation Club remained glued to their game.

The moment was captured on camera by Robyn Wheeler, from Redfern, who had driven to the Illawarra coast with her husband yesterday when the natural phenomenon occurred about 1.30pm.

"Aren't those guys hilarious?" Mrs Wheeler told Sydney Morning Herald. "The sky's closing in and they are still bowling.

"It was pretty wild. We just dropped by the Scarborough bowling club and the locals were fairly nonplussed. They said it was just another water spout. We were amazed."

She said the water spout lasted for more than 20 minutes and continued to change shape.

"[At first] it was narrow, like a pin pointing down. Within about 15 mins it had widened and you could see the water being sucked up."

Robert Nugent, who was marking the bowling pair's game, said it was not until after the water spout had vanished, and rain had begun bucketing down, that they finally called the game off.

"We've seen them before of course but this one was rather large," Mr Nugent said.

"It would have been half the [size of the bowling] green, probably a few hundred metres off the beach. It was quite impressive."

Coalcliff resident Trevor Kemper was another person who captured the water spout on camera.

"It was like a bit of a tornado happening. It was whipping up the water furiously at the base," Mr Kemper said.

Severe weather meteorologist Jake Phillips said water spouts, which usually take place in rainy or stormy weather, were not uncommon, but often went unnoticed by humans because they occur out at sea.

"Although they might have the broad appearance of tornadoes, they are generally a lot weaker than them," Mr Phillips said.

"People in boats are advised not to go near them because they could flip you over."

He said a water spout was reported near Botany Bay three weeks ago and late last year one went onto land and damaged a rooftop in the Sydney area.