The best way to explore your surroundings is to walk, right? I do like a bit of walking, both for its physical benefits as well as the opportunities it offers in terms of discovery. There is something especially rewarding when you mix a certain level of exertion with exploration. Having lived in Sydney for a while now, I am always looking for some hiking near Sydney. I did some research on Central Coast bush walks and decided I would tackle the beautiful Bouddi National Park Coastal Walk.
The Beautiful Bouddi National Park Coastal Walk
Bouddi National Park lies along the eastern seaboard of Australia, 95 km north of Sydney, on NSW Central Coast. There are several bushwalking tracks in this Central Coast national park, but if you favour coastal walks, this is the one for you. The Bouddi National Park walk is a hard and diverse hike, stretching 8,5 km from Putty Beach to McMasters Beach. You can find more information on the NSW National Parks website.
Bouddi National Park was created at the initiative of Marie Byles, a conservationist and explorer who grew up on the Central Coast and became NSW’s first female solicitor. The park covers overs 1,500 hectares and extends into the Tasman Sea, therefore protecting land and marine habitats. A lookout was named after Marie Byles and views extend to Pittwater, Palm Beach and even the Sydney CBD.
What to See and Do in Bouddi National Park
The coastal walk is one of the best Central Coast attractions, it offers some stunning views of the ocean. If you are keen to venture beyond Sydney and try some bushwalking in NSW, Bouddi has some great walking tracks. And just like many of the best hikes in Australia, the track feels remote and secluded, yet safe.
The area lends itself to many more outdoor activities, for a day, a weekend or longer.
On this walk, you will get a taste of one of the last temperate rainforests of the NSW Central Coast. It’s an ideal place to view wildflowers, spot a plentiful birdlife and go whale watching in season.
The Bouddi National Park’s most prominent feature is its beautiful rock formations.
Accommodation Central Coast NSW
The Coastal Walk
The best place to start the walk is at Putty Beach. There is a camping ground with facilities and barbecues, and plenty of parking. The daily fee is $8, the ticket machines have been upgraded since my last visit so it’s fine to pay with credit card.
The walk starts at the wooden stairs and on to the boardwalk. Very quickly, you get to the tessellated pavement and the colourful rock formations.
The different grades of colours are beautiful against the blue ocean backdrop. If you are interested in this particular phenomenon, this is probably one of the best walks in NSW.
Gerrin Point Lookout
Continue onto the rock stairs to Gerrin Point. The views over the ragged coast are stunning. I suspect a lot of people don’t go past this point but it is absolutely worth continuing… Gerrin Point Lookout offers stunning views over the coast and to Bouddi Point. It also gives you a good idea of the distance to Maitland Bay and a great opportunity for stunning photos.
After that, the track continues through the rainforest, which is really beautiful.
At the time of my visit, the Bouddi coastal walk was closed at Bouddi Point, due to track maintenance so I didn’t go beyond this point. Maitland Bay is a beautiful and secluded Central Coast beach, and worth enjoying if you have time.
You walk through thick bushland on the way down to Maitland Bay and the birdlife is plentiful. However, in winter, or after some rain, the track can get quite muddy so I recommend wearing sturdy footwear.
To continue the track, you need to find the rock stairs leading to the saddle of Bouddi Point. This is where the track gets really hard, up to that point it’s quite easy.
From then on, the track is narrow and the coast is wild. The views are absolutely amazing. After a steep climb, there is a descent to a footbridge. Then again a steep climb and a descend in the scrub to Caves Bay.
The descent to Cave Gully is quite steep and I didn’t look forward to the return trip… The scrub felt inhabited, I heard animals rustling several times…
The climb after Caves Bay is quite hard.
Bombi Moor Firetrail
After the hard climb through the scrub, I arrived at a clearing which marked the beginning of the fire trail. Walking on the fire trail covered in wood chips is quite comfortable.
After a little while, I found a turnoff to another fire trail named Third Point. I was intrigued, so I followed it and it’s a slight descent towards the coast.
At the end, there is a cliff edge. I didn’t want to get too close, being on my own. There are some great views over Sydney, all the way to Kurnell. This would be a great spot for whale watching.
This is the direction to follow as early as Bouddi Point. At the end of the fire trail is another clearing with several tracks, some of them numbered. At that point, I was 6.1km from Putty Beach.
I followed the trail to Little Beach, into the rainforest again. The trail was sandy and downhill from there. Further on, the trail is covered in asphalt, a bit like a driveway…
At the next crossing, take a right to Little Beach, which is a lovely camping spot, with facilities and barbecues.
The track climbs again after that, again through the scrub. And after that is another fire trail.
Eventually, the sandy fire trail leads down to McMasters Beach, which you can see in the distance. This is where things get a little complicated. After the turnoff to Second Point, the trail ends with a gate and you find yourself in a suburban cul-de-sac called Grahame Drive.
It took me a while to find the way to the beach. I actually got lost and a local lady explained how to find the way.
Look for a street sign saying Ocean Drive which veers uphill left. There is a path in a gap between houses to your right. Follow that path, enter the forest again and continue onto some stairs. McMasters Beach was in sight and it was time for lunch at the Barefoot Cafe.
McMasters Beach is very beautiful and a perfect spot for surfing. There is no public transport to return to Putty Beach. I’m sure it’s easy to call a taxi or an Uber, and only a 10-minute ride back to Putty Beach.
I completed this walk in four hours, as per the indication of the NSW National Park, but I took plenty of time for photos and videos. I backtracked to Putty Beach in three hours.
Even if you don’t do all the walk, it’s worth visiting McMasters Beach and enjoy a coffee or a meal at the Barefoot Cafe for some beautiful views.
How to get to the Bouddi National Park Coastal Walk
The Bouddi National Park is 95 kms north of Sydney, about an hour and a half drive. The best option is to drive, there are some public transport options, however this will take a lot longer.
From Sydney Central Station, catch the train towards Newcastle and alight at Woy Woy for Putty Beach. Or you can alight at Gosford for Little Beach.
Gosford to Little Beach, take the 64 to the 65 bus, get off near Namatjira Drive and then walk 25 minutes to the campground.
Woy Woy to Putty Beach, take the 64 bus to the 59 bus, get off near Beach Drive and then walk 9 minutes to the campground.
Woy Woy to Tallow Beach, take the 64 bus to the 59 bus, get off near Beach Drive and then walk 45 minutes to the campground.
As an alternative, and if you are visiting The Basin, you can take the ferry from Palm Beach to Wagstaffe but this will again lengthen your walk.
There are more Central Coast getaways to consider in the area and it’s worth staying longer if you can.
Bushwalking in Australia
For the best hikes near Sydney, the Bouddi National Park walks are fantastic as they are an easy day trip and yet, will make you feel far from everything.
For hikes around Sydney, it’s important to be well equipped and carry plenty of water. Aussie bushwalking typically offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife encounters, however some snakes and insects can be dangerous. This shouldn’t put you off trying out some Central Coast walking tracks. Most of the time, the wildlife stays out of the way and any dangers are usually well signposted before you start your walk. All you need to do is to keep to the path and be reasonably alert.
What to pack for Australian Bushwalking
As this is a relatively short hike, you don’t need to overpack but always have plenty of water and sun protection. Quality bushwalking shoes are essential and the path can be muddy. NSW coastal walks such as the Kiama Coast Walk offer stunning views so make sure you pack your best camera too!
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Central Coast Walks
Bouddi National Park is a great option if you enjoy coastal views and want a medium grade. The only downside is the access to and from if you don’t have a car. Going back to your vehicle if you do the full length of the walk also requires planning. Aside from that, the track doesn’t seem to be overly busy like some of the Sydney walks.
Bushwalking in NSW
Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk in Sydney
Best Gifts for Hikers
And please, tell me if you can suggest more Central Coast things to do in the comments below!
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