Nestled between the epic cliff faces of coastal Bouddi National Park is the cosy beach haven of Maitland Bay, just made for solo swimmers, drifters and dreamers.


  • Ocean views from giddying heights  
  • A quiet, uncrowded beach 
  • The stunning colours and textures of native bushland

Cliff Top Hike to Maitland Bay

Putty Beach to Maitland Bay is a 3.5km section of the Bouddi Coastal Walk, a hike totalling 8km one-way along the coast from Putty to MacMasters. 

The walk begins on the sand of Putty Beach. There are plenty of stairs on the way to the bay, but the reward for working up a sweat is a leisurely wallow in the gentle waves – not to mention the grandeur of views south to Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Depending on the tide, keep your eye out for rocky platforms around 100 metres from the shore that throw up spectacular sea spray. Enjoy the tortoise-shell texture of the wind-eroded cliff tops as you pass above Bullimah Beach.

You’ll know you’ve reached Maitland Bay when you see a beach dotted with driftwood teepees and lean-tos. Time to drop everything and swim.  



Drip-drying on a rock with a good book is my preferred method of preparation for the return walk. Take in the native blooms in all their splendid array, and plenty more of that beautiful, variegated sandstone.  



The Coastal Walk track is well-maintained and clearly signposted. Timber staircases and railings,  plus fenced viewing platforms at some especially breathtaking spots, make this a safe hike –  though one that will definitely elevate your heart rate. 

I enjoy doing walks like this one on my own because I can choose my own pace, take in all there’s to see – narrow bush tracks aren’t that conducive to conversation anyway! 


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

Essential Gear

  • Walking shoes
  • Swimmers
  • Towel
  • Book to read
  • Water
  • Camera

How To Get There

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

The Putty Beach 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, 1km walk from the beach itself. 

Skill Level


Distance Covered / Time Taken

7km return / Around 1.5 hours walking time plus time to swim and lounge by the bay