With the evening twilight getting longer, and ocean currents getting warmer, Friday afternoons in the office feature far more fidgeting to get out amongst it. Bouddi National Park is filled with potential to ease that fidgeting – for both day and overnight trips.
- Pure immersion in mother nature – hiking, cycling, surfing all within the national park
- Morning surf and a trail run with views of Sydney’s coastline
- Whale watching (in season) from the lookouts along the coastal walk
- Hot coffee and breakfast just over the hill at the Surf Life Saving Club
- Preparation (or lack thereof) meets opportunity – you can walk this one in, or park closer to your campground by the beach
Escape to Bouddi National Park
Bouddi National Park caters for all Explorers – from the prepared and time-savvy with pre-planned walks and thoughtfully packed bags, to the mad-rushers, who hurl armloads of supplies into the car at Friday knock-off and drive like madmen to be as far removed from the office as possible. This was how I arrived at Bouddi National Park. It was Friday the 13th and a full moon – no wonder the city was restless – and Mother Nature didn’t disappoint in her ability to reset the senses!
Beached As Bro
Camping within Bouddi is available at three campgrounds – Tallow Beach, Putty Beach and Little Beach. All are set up with environmental toilets and BBQ facilities. My pick is Little Beach – it lives up to its name with room for only five other campers.
You sleep right on your own secluded beach where you can roll straight from your sleeping bag to its refreshing waves for an early morning wake up. Civilisation is nowhere in sight.
Little Beach is at the northern end of 8km of trails that lead to the south (also home to Tallow Beach) of Bouddi National Park. These trails take you past abundant native flowers in full bloom, the breathtaking cliffs of Sydney’s coastline, wind through pockets of rainforest, across the sands of Maitland Bay, and pop out at spectacular lookouts.
Alternatively, having arrived at the beach, breathed in a lung-full of calming salt air, realigned the senses and grounded the soul, you could hike the convenient 1.5km to the Surf Life Saving Club of Macmasters Beach over the northern headland, to appease any hunger pangs.
Get Your Feet Moving
Now that you’ve pitched your tent by the beach, explore the area at low tide, including the rock walls and protected beach area. A short trail will take you north to Macmasters Beach, or head south on the Bouddi Coastal Walk.
Wake in the morning to a glorious sunrise peeking over the headlands and let a morning surf blow away any last remaining city-dwelling cobwebs. Alternatively, head south and walk the coastline til your hearts’ content.
- Swimming/surfing gear
- Sneakers/hiking boots
- Food and camping essentials
- Plenty of water
How To Get There
Public transport can get you all the way to each end of the national park. To walk it in from Putty Beach, hop off the northern train at Woy Woy and take the bus to Ettalong Wharf. The ferry will hop you to Wagstaffe Hill where you can get a bus to drop you a 10 minute walk from the beach. From here, the Bouddi Coastal Walk is around 8km of boardwalks and fire trails leading to your beachside campground.
Alternatively, continue on the northern train to Gosford station, and a bus will take you to The Scenic Road. It’s a 1.5km walk to Little Beach from there. If you don’t have time to take the train, the drive to The Scenic Road Gosford is around 1.5 hr from Sydney CBD. From here you can park your car 700m from Little Beach campground and hurtle down the hill for a night under the stars.
- Trail running/bushwalking
- Mountain bike riding (on select trails)
- Surfing – Little Beach is protected and doesn’t offer a large swell. Pop over the hill to the northern beaches of Gosford area if the surf is flat
- Nature watch! Birds, whales and native flowers (seasonal)
Beginner-Intermediate – The coastal trail is well built and caters for all fitness levels. For those wanting something a little more lung-busting, additional trails are available that branch out from the coast. All are well signposted.