Just 90 minutes drive from Sydney, near Gosford on the Central Coast of NSW, lies Bouddi National Park, a park of treasures that can be uncovered over one or two days. Think stunning secluded beaches, the beautiful Bouddi coastal walk and camping just steps from the ocean.
Box Head and Tallow Beach
Box Head feels like a deserted paradise. Hidden from the rest of the world, you’ll feel as though you’ve stumbled on a secret! It’s both quiet and picturesque. To get there just drive to the end of Hawke Head Drive in Hardys Bay, park your car before exploring this incredible headland.
You have the choice of two amazing walking tracks at Box Head, both guarantee stunning coastal views. Box Head walking track starts from the locked gate at the end of Hawke Head Drive and is a medium-grade 3.1km return hike with panoramic views across Broken Bay. Along the way you can see the faint silhouette of Sydney city – Centrepoint Tower, Barrenjoey Lighthouse and Lion Island. It’s surreal to see familiar sights and yet feel so far away.
For a shorter and more pristine walk try the 2.9km Flannel Flower track, where you capture views straight across to Umina and Pearl Beach.
The crown jewel of Box Head is Tallow Beach. Tucked away on Box Head and framed by rocky headlands, this little nick in the coastline is a swimmer’s and photographer’s playground. To get to Tallow Beach it’s a 1.2km downhill hike from the carpark – however, it is a steep walk along a rocky fire trail so take care, especially as you’ll need to carry your camping equipment and water!
Want to wake up in paradise? The awesome thing about Tallow Beach is that you can camp just steps away from the sand and surf at Tallow Beach campground. The campground is intimate, grassy and has toilet amenities. Falling asleep to the ocean’s roar, waking up to kookaburras’ calls and revelling in a morning by the sea is a must-do in this sunburnt country. For the photographers, the proximity to the beach means staying up to shoot the stars and waking up for sunrise is cinch.
Tallow Beach booked out, or you’d rather not hike? Consider Putty Beach campground or Little Beach campground – both offer close proximity to the beach but with easier walks in. For all three campgrounds, reservations are needed.
The Classic Bouddi Coastal Walk
Head to Macmasters Beach to start the Bouddi coastal walk, an 8.5km (3.5 – 4 hr) one-way walk from Macmasters Beach to Putty Beach (though you can do as much or little as you like).
As you head along the Bouddi Coastal Walk, you’re in for a wild paradise treat centred around the pristine secluded beaches of Little Beach, Bullimah Beach and Maitland Bay. These unforgettable beaches boast island blue water framed by bushland, and Maitland Bay even has rock pools at both ends. On the walk, the vastness of the bush and ocean instantly puts the mind at ease and you can easily lose track of time.
Pro Tip: For an extra adventure at low tide, head to the eastern end of Maitland Bay to see remains of the PS Maitland, a shipwreck dating back to 1898. This is a 15-20 minute walk down a medium-grade track so you’ll need to allow 30-40 minutes to walk back up.
The Bouddi coastal walk finishes up at the long, sweeping sands of Putty Beach. Behind the beach is a shady picnic area with drinking water and a toilet block, making for a comfortable lunch spot. Let’s be honest, nothing beats a picnic right in front of the sand, with the waves as the centrepiece. Just be sure to take all your rubbish with you! Note: If you park at Putty Beach, parking fees apply.
It’s best to have a car at each end or make sure you leave enough time to walk back to Macmasters Beach before heading home, with shoes off and windows down, filled with gratitude to have such a beautiful corner of the world right at your door.