Nestled between the epic cliff faces of coastal Bouddi National Park is the cosy beach haven of Maitland Bay. With expansive ocean views, kick back and relax at a quiet, uncrowded beach set against the background of stunning native bushland. Oh, but first you have to hike there. The best way? Via the Bouddi Coastal Walk.




  • Ocean views from giddying heights  
  • A quiet, uncrowded beach almost all to yourself 
  • The stunning colours and textures of native bushland
  • Spot whales and their calves migrating

Pssst: if you’re going to hike this beautiful trail, please leave no trace. Take out what you pack in and leave all the flora and fauna in the original state you found it.

Read more: 10 Tips on How To Tread Softly in Our Wild Places

The Best Hike on the Central Coast?

Located only a stone’s throw away from Gosford and just 1.5 hours from Sydney, Maitland Bay can be accessed a couple of ways, but the best way (in my humble opinion) is via the spectacular Bouddi Coastal Walk in Bouddi National Park (one of the best NSW national parks, FYI). The entirety of the Bouddi Coastal Walks is 8km long, starting at Putty Beach and heading all the way to the gorgeous MacMasters Beach (or vice versa).

However, to get to Maitland Bay, it’s just a relatively easy hike of 3km from Putty Beach that will take you less than an hour. Don’t let the low kilometres fool you, however – it can be a bit of an uphill and steep schlep, but the reward of frolicking in the gentle waves coupled with grand views of Sydney’s Northern Beaches is oh-so worth it.


Trek to Maitland Bay Along The Bouddi Coastal Walk, Steph Henderson, Palm Beach, ocean, view


The Bouddi Coastal Walk is one of the most beautiful central coast walks and is known for its next-level views, knee and ankle-friendly boardwalk, beaches, and birdlife. It’s a great walking track for some whale watching, picnicking, and of course, swimming at some of the best beaches the Central Coast has to offer.

What’s great about the Bouddi Coastal Walk track is that it’s a very well-maintained and clearly signposted track. Timber staircases and railings, plus fenced viewing platforms at some especially breathtaking spots, make this a safe hike – good for people of all ages and skill levels.

Not to mention the park and surrounding area contain numerous Aboriginal sites, with over 100 significate sites being recorded. You’ll likely stumble upon rock shelters adorned with engravings and Aboriginal art, grinding grooves and other archeological wonders.




The Bouddi Coastal Run Is An Epic Trail Running Race on the Central Coast, photo by Outer Image Collective, bouddi national park, central coast, nsw, trail running, coast, boardwalk,

Photo thanks to Outer Image Collective

Putty Beach to Maitland Bay via the Bouddi Coastal Walk

Alright, so as mentioned you can either complete the whole hog 8km walking track from Putty Beach to MacMasters, or you can hike a section of it, starting at Putty Beach and hiking 3km to Maitland Bay.  

Most of this walk is via a boardwalk, which is great news for ya knees and ankles. There are some steep steps to tackle as you get closer to Maitland Bay, so just be mindful of that.


Bullimah Beach and Gerrin Lookout

From Putty Beach, you’ll walk past the small and isolated Bullimah Beach. Bullimah Beach is a west-facing 80m long beach at the western tip of Gerrin Point. It can only be reached on foot from Maitland Bay or Putty Beach, or by boat – if you’re lucky enough to own one of those. It is bordered by steep and wondrous cliffs that rise up to 30m.

Depending on the tide and when you go, keep an eye out for rocky platforms around 100 metres from the shore that throw up some pretty spectacular sea spray. Meanwhile, enjoy the tortoise-shell texture of the wind-eroded cliff tops as you pass above Bullimah Beach.

Then, continue on to Gerrin Lookout which offers impressive sweeping views of Maitland Bay and the ocean. With the Bouddi Grand Deep rainforest behind you, the views from Gerrin Lookout are incomparable.  Also, there’s a comfy bench built into the lookout fence, so if you need to rest your legs and breathe in the fresh sea air, you can. 


Spotto! Plants and Animals and Other Cool Things You Might See

There’s literally a  photo opp around every corner on Bouddi coastal walk, so be sure to bring your camera (or phone). You might see wildflowers or migrating whales from Gerrin Point lookout, along with the Bouddi National Park Marine Extension and the PS Maitland shipwreck at the eastern end of Maitland Bay (viewable in low tide).

In terms of the local fauna, keep an eye out for the White-bellied sea eagle (identifiable by its white tail and dark grey wings), the Superb Fairy wren featuring striking blue and black plumage, or the sugar glider – a tree-welling Aussie native marsupial found in tall eucalypt forests. 

If flora is more your thing, the Wonga Wonga vine is a sight to behold – it’s a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. You’ll also come across the Smooth-barked Apple gums, an Australian native plants found along the NSW coast. Growing to dizzying heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured trees shed their bark in spring to reveal gorgeous new salmon-coloured bark.


The Return Hike

Once you’ve spent a decent time in the clear waters having a splash and cooling off, spend an hour or two drip-drying on a rock with a good book in hand. Then, pack up your gear (leave no trace, please) and head back the way you came back to Putty Beach, taking in the native blooms in all their splendid array, and plenty more of that beautiful, variegated sandstone.  

Or, if you’re feeling up to it, continue north to MacMasters Beach (but just remember, you’ll then need to hike all the way back to Putty Beach to get your car). 

To make the experience that much sweeter, I’d recommend an overnight camp at Putty Beach Campground before or after your hike (but book ahead, this campground can book out months in advance). 



Camping at Putty Beach you’ll wake up to birds serenading you, before starting your day off with a dip in the Tasman Sea. Then, start your hike to Maitland Bay, checking out the interesting rock platforms in the area, or enjoy a spot of fishing or barbecue. Oh, and don’t forget to say g’day to the area’s resident bush turkeys!

Is the Bouddi Coastal Walk Dog Friendly?

Sadly because the walk is located in a NSW national park, no section of the walk is dog friendly. However, fear not. Check out this article here that has a list of the best dog-friendly walks in and around Sydney.

Where Does the Bouddi Coastal Walk to Maitland Bay Start?

The walk begins on the sand of Putty Beach. There’s a carpark where you can park your car all day for $8.

You’ll know you’ve reached Maitland Bay when you see a beach dotted with driftwood teepees and lean-tos. At this point, it’s time to drop the gear, get ya kit off and head for a refreshing dip in the bay.

Bouddi Coastal Walk Parking

Putty Beach car park is 1.5 hours north of Sydney. If your destination is Maitland Bay car park, add another 5 minutes to the driving time.

The car park has ample space, though parking is metered ($8 for the day).

If you’re short on time, there’s also parking at the Maitland Bay car park which is next to the Maitland Bay Information Centre, just a 1km walk from the beach itself.

From Putty Beach, it will take you less than an hour to reach Maitland Bay (depending how often you stop to take in the glorious surroundings).

How Long Does the Hike to Maitland Bay Take?

The hike is 3km and will take you just shy of one hour – around 50 minutes. If you want to hike all the way to Macmasters Beach, it’ll take you about 2-3 hours. I’d highly recommend doing the whole walking track at some point, it’s truly one of the most beautiful central coast walks.


Bouddi Coastal Walk Options

Here are your other options when hiking the Bouddi Coastal Walk:

  • Putty Beach to Maitland Bay (3km)
  • Maitland Bay to Little Beach (3.5km)
  • Little Beach to MacMasters Beach (1.7km)

Essential Gear

  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimmers
  • Towel
  • Water
  • Camera

Skill Level


According to NSW National Parks, this coastal walk is a Grade 3 (intermediate). Most people could do this walk pretty comfortably, but just be wary of some steep steps along the way. If you’re prepared for that, then you’ll be golden.