Located about an hour north of Sydney on the Central Coast, Bouddi National Park offers some spectacular bushwalks as well as pristine beaches and stunning lookouts. While it’s not a huge national park, it spans a long section of coastline along the Bouddi Peninsula – and even extends into the Tasman Sea to create a fully protected land, shore and marine habitat. (The national park consists of three discrete areas, which are separated by residential properties and private land). The park contains one of the last mature temperate rainforests on the Central Coast, Fletchers Glen.
Most of the bushwalks within Bouddi National Park are fairly short, but they can often be joined to form longer walks. The Bouddi Coastal Walk follows the entire length of the main section of the park. Bouddi National Park also has three designated campsites (bookings required) and a few picnic areas. There are many Aboriginal engraving sites in the park, two of which (Daleys Point and North West Ridge) are signposted.
- Bushwalks – a summary of the bushwalks in Bouddi National Park – and the best Bouddi NP bushwalks
- Beaches – an overview of the Bouddi National Park beaches (and how to get to them)
- Lookouts – where to go for the best views in Bouddi National Park
- Picnic Areas – details of the three official picnic sites
- Campsites – Bouddi National Park has three official campsites, all quite different in their nature
- Mountain Biking – trails that are authorised for cycling
- Maps – topographical maps and bushwalking resources.
Bushwalks in Bouddi National Park
Most of the bushwalks in the Bouddi National Park lead to a secluded beach or a nice vantage point, although some of the tracks are wide service trails that can be a bit dreary in summer, while are others are more shaded and pleasant bushwalking tracks. Some of the beaches have multiple access tracks, which can be used to form a loop walk.
|Little Beach Walking Track||1.4km||Easy||Short walk down to Little Beach & campsite. Not great swimming.|
|Fishermans Trail||1.6km||Easy||Firetrail from Fishermans Parade up to Daleys Point Track|
|Mourawaring Moors Trail||1.8km||Easy||Firetrail from Beachview Esplanade (MacMasters Beach) to Little Beach|
|Maitland Bay Track||2.0km||Easy||Shaded walk down to the secluded Maitland Bay|
|Rocky Point Trail||2.0km||Easy||Firetrail descends gently to the Allen Strom Lookout. Great views.|
|North West Ridge Trail||2.2km||Easy||Firetrail along ridge to Aboriginal engraving site|
|Mount Bouddi walking track||2.4km||Easy||Out-and-back walk to views over Bouddi Point & Maitland Bay|
|Bullimah Spur Track||2.4km||Easy||Some of the best views in Bouddi NP from ridge|
|Tallow Beach||2.5km||Easy||Firetrail descends to surf beach (and camping site)|
|Flannel Flower walking track||2.9km||Easy||Nice views from track between Tallow Beach and Lobster Beach|
|Daleys Point walking track||3.2km||Easy||Easy walk along firetrail to Aboriginal engraving site & lookout|
|Box Head Track||3.2km||Easy||Great views along this trail from end of Hawke Head Drive|
|Maitland Bay via Mount Bouddi||3.9km||Easy||Pleasant walk down to beautiful Maitland Bay|
|Bullimah Spur Loop||4.6km||Moderate||Short loop to Maitland Bay with some great views|
|Stroms Trail||4.6km||Easy||Wide firetrail suitable for bushwalking and mountain-biking|
|Bouddi Coastal Walk||17km||Easy/Moderate||Spectacular coast walks (can be done one-way with car shuffle)|
For a comprehensive list of every trail, have a look at Bouddi National Park Bushwalking Trails.
Best Bouddi National Park bushwalks
It’s hard to pick the best bushwalk in Bouddi National Park – all of the walks below provide a fantastic bushwalking experience, whether you’re looking for a short walk or a full day adventure.
There are a few different ways to get to the beautiful and sheltered Maitland Bay: the Mount Bouddi Track follows the ridge down from the end of Mt Bouddi Road and is a nice and generally less-busy route. Most of the track is well-shaded and never very steep; there’s a few steps at the start of the walk and the steepest section is the last few hundred metres down to the beach. The track reaches Maitland Bay at Bouddi Point on the eastern side of the beach. At low tide you can see the remains of the SS Maitland, which sank in 1898, just off the rocks at Bouddi Point.
Distance: 3.9km return (1-1.5 hours). Grade: Easy
The Bullimah Spur Track provides spectacular views over Maitland Bay and Putty/Killcare Beach from the Bullimah Outlook. A rough track continues beyond the lookout, descending steeply to meet the Coastal Walk near the Gerrin Point Lookout. Join the Coastal Walk to Maitland Bay and return via the Maitland Bay Track to get some of the best views and beaches that Bouddi NP has to offer (it’s like the “best of the Bouddi Coastal Walk”!) Best to descend via the Bullimah Spur Track, as it can be tricky to find the unmarked junction of this track with the Coastal Walk.
Distance: 4.6km loop (2 hours). Grade: Moderate
This loop walk connects the Daleys Point Fire Trail and Rocky Point Trail (two easy fire trails) with some unofficial bushwalking tracks, to form a more challenging bushwalk. There are a few easy-to-miss junctions, so best to use an online map (see More Info). There’s a few ascents and descent, as you visit the Allen Strom Lookout and Daleys Point Aboriginal Site, and drop into some of the valleys. For an easier walk, stick to the two main firetrails and return the same way.
Distance: 6.8km loop (3 hours). Grade: Moderate (some rough / indistinct tracks)
The Bombi Moor Loop (which combines the Bombi Moor Firetrail and Old Quarry Trail) is only about 2.5km, and a rather dreary and exposed walk. But add some of the side-trails, and you get some great coastal views, a hidden Trig Station and a visit to picturesque Little Beach. Best outside summer, as there’s very little shade along this bushwalk.
Distance: 7km loop with side-trails (2 hours). 2.5km for just Bombi Moor Loop. Grade: Easy (Almost all on fire trails).
The Box Head Track from the end of Hawke Head Drive provides spectacular views over the coast. Rather than returning the same way, you can combine the Box Head Track with the Tallow Beach Trail and an informal bushwalking track along the coast from Tallow Beach to Box Head, for a mix of beaches, rocky coastline and great views. For an easier walk, go out and back on the Box Head Track for some great views.
Distance: 7.2km loop (3 hours). Grade: Moderate (Some rough / indistinct tracks).
The longest and arguably best bushwalk in Bouddi National Park, the Bouddi Coastal Walk follows the coast from MacMasters Beach to Putty Beach, passing a few bays and beaches, and crossing some headlands. You can return the same way, but it’s more interestng to turn this into a loop walk. If you ate starting at MacMasters Beach or Little Beach, you can can have lunch at Killcare at the far end of the walk, before walking back to your car.
Distance: 14-18km (4-6 hours) depending on route. Grade: Easy/Moderate
Bouddi National Park Beaches
There are many pristine beaches to pick from along the length of Bouddi National Park – the list below is arranged from north to south. The Bouddi Coastal Track passes by a number of the beaches; if your time is limited Maitland Bay is the one I would visit – it’s the “jewel of Bouddi National Park”!
Technically just outside Bouddi National Park, MacMasters Beach is the official starting point of the Bouddi Coastal Walk. A popular and busy surf beach in summer, the beach has a rock pool at the southern end, and stretches all the way to Copacabana Beach at the northern end.
Access: Marine Parade, MacMasters Beach.
Bushwalks: Start point for Bouddi Coastal Walk (& MacMasters to Little Beach walk)
Surf Club with kiosk, toilets, showers
A small beach tucked into a deep, narrow valley, Little Beach can only be reached on foot. There are two walking tracks down to the beach – a bush track and a fire trail, which converge about mid-way. The beach is fairly sheltered, but a bit rocky which makes it less popular for swimming. There are picnic facilities here, and a camping area.
A stunning, crescent-shaped beach within Bouddi National Park. The beach is generally fairly calm, with shaded areas ar both ends. Although the beach can be accessed via multiple walking tracks, it requires (at least) a 1km walk so the beach never gets overly busy.
Access: From Maitland Bay Info Centre (1km) or Mount Bouddi (Dingeldei) picnic area (1.7km)
Bushwalks: Maitland Bay from Mount Bouddi (3.8km return), Bullimah Spur Loop (4.6km loop), Bouddi Coastal Walk (14-18km loop)
A fairly small and secluded beach tucked away behind Gerrin Point, which is bordered by steep cliffs. Although just off the popular Bouddi Coastal Trail (via a short side-track) and less than a kilometre from Putty Beach, the beach is not very popular and there’s good chance you’ll have it to yourself.
Putty Becah / Killcare Beach
Putty Beach is at the eastern end of a wide bay, and is the only beach within the Bouddi National Park that you can drive to, with multiple carparks along Putty Beach Drive. Killcare Beach (which has a surf club and kiosk) is at the western end of the bay. Putty Beach is usually fairly calm and a popular spot for swimming. It has limited shade.
Another secluded and less-known beach, Tallow Beach is set between two headlands on Box Head, at the western end of Bouddi National Park. It’s reached via a fairly steep walk down the Tallow Beach Firetrail. The benefit of the walk down is that you’ll have the 500m long beach almost to yourself. Waves average about 1.3m and there can be strong rips, so use caution if swimming here.
Little Tallow Beach
Adjoining Tallow Beach, you can reach Little Tallow Beach at low tide across the rocks, or via a walking trail off the Tallow Beach Firetrail. Only 100m wide, the beach is at the end of a long and steep valley. and bordered by rock headlands. Like Tallow, expect some moderate surf and potentially a strong rip.
Lobster Beach is the most sheltered and “child friendly” beach in Bouddi National Park, being located deep inside the entrance to Broken Bay. The 320m beach is most easily accessed by a short but steep walk over the 50m high ridge from Wagstaff, as well as via a longer walking track from Box Head… or by boat or kayak! Lots of shade along the beach under the trees.
Access: 0.4km via walking track from High View Road (Pretty Beach) or Flannel Flower Track from Box Head (1.8km)
Bushwalks: Incorporate into Box Head Loop from end of Hawke Head Drive
There are too many lookouts to list all of them – this is a summary of some of the most spectacular vantage points (sorted by distance) in Bouddi National Park. Some can be easily reached by car, and others require a walk.
Marie Byles Lookout
Located along The Scenic Road, the Marie Byles Lookout is clearly marked and has a large carpark. The views aren’t spectacular, but you can see across Broken Bay to Barrenjoey Peininsula West Head and North Head. Worth a quick stop for the interpretative signage, which points out the key landmarks that you can see.
Distance: 0km return
How to get there: The Scenic Road (Killcare Heights) just south of Bouddi National Park Visitor Centre
Second Point Lookout
Continue a few hundred metres on a rough bushwalking track beyond the end of the Second Point Trail, and you get some great views over MacMasters Beach, Copacabana and Tudibaring Head.
Distance: 1.3km return
How to get there: Closest access is end of Beachview Esplanade, MacMasters Beach
More Info: MacMasters Beach to Little Beach bushwalk
Gerrin Point Lookout
Gerrin Point Lookout has a timber platform perched on the edge of the cliffs, with sweeping views of the crescent-shaped Maitland Bay and over the Bouddi National Park Marine Extension.
Distance: 2.2km return
How to get there: On Bouddi Coastal Walk. Closest access is from Putty Beach.
More info: Daleys Ridge Circuit bushwalk
I’d argue the best views in Bouddi National Park are from the Bullimah Outlook, as well as informal lookouts along the Bullimah Spur Track. There are views over Maitland Bay to the east, and Putty Beach to the west. (You can continue from the lookout down to the Coastal Track via an unofficial track.)
Allen Strom Lookout
Named after Allen Axel Strom, a teacher and conservationist who was instrumental in the development of the national park and nature reserve system in New South Wales in the 1950s and 1960s, the fenced lookout provides a nice view over Brisbane Water to Wagstaffe and Ettalong.
There are some views over Booker Bay and across Brisbane Water to Wagstaffe from the Daleys Point Aboriginal Site. Continue to a rocky outcrop at the end of the ridge for better views.
Daley Point North Trail
Views from along Daleys Point North Trail over St Huberts Island, with the ridges of Brisbane Water National Park in the distance.
Box Head Lookout
Fenced lookout area at the end of Box Head, providing a panoramic view over Broken Bay: to the south-west is the distinctive Lion Island, with Middle Head to the right and West Head on the left. Directly south, to the left of Lion Island, is Barrenjoey Head and Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
Little Tallow Beach overlook
An informal lookout oveer Little Tallow Beach and down the coast to Box Head and over Broken Bay.
Hardys Bay Trail
Some nice views from multiple rock platform along the trail, over Brisbane Water to Wagstaffe and Ettalong.
Distance: 0.8km return
How to get there: Old Wagstaffe Trail from Hawke Head Drive
Bouddi National Park has three formal picnic areas, which have ome facilities.
Mount Bouddi (Dingeldei) picnic area
Built in the 1960s, this picnic area is showing its age a little. There are no views from the picnic area and it’s a 1.7km walk down to the beach… so it’s not really a spot I’d recommend. If you walk about 400m along the Mount Bouddi Track, there are some large, flat sandstone rocks that would make a much nicer spot for a picnic.
Distance: 0km from carpark.
Facilities: Toilets, shelter, water, wood BBQ (no firewood provided)
Location: End of Mount Bouddi Road
More info: National Parks (NPWS) – Mount Bouddi (Dingeldei) picnic area
A very modern, covered picnic table with gas BBQ, and some additional picnic tables make this a popular spot, and arguably the best picnic area in the park! The picnic area is in the middle of a small camping area, but can also be used by day-trippers. The beach itself is about 50m away, although it’s not a great swimming beach being quite rocky.
A very popular picnic area right by Putty Beach, next to a camping area (which has it’s own picnic area). The large, grassy area is just behind the beach, and has both a covered table with gas BBQ, and some older timber picnic tables. This area gets very busy in summer.
Distance: 0km from carpark (look for Picnic Area carpark)
Facilities: Toilets, shelter, water, gas BBQ Location: Putty Beach carpark on Putty Beach Drive
More info: National Parks (NPWS) – Putty Beach campground
Camp sites and overnight walks
Bouddi National Park has three camping areas, of which one can be accessed by car. All must be booked in advance, which can be done on-line on the National Parks (NPWS) Bouddi National Park reservations website (you’ll need to book a long way in advance to secure a spot in holiday periods). There are no “real” overnight walks in Bouddi National Park, although it’s possible to turn some of the longer bushwalks into an overnight bushwalk:
- Bouddi Coastal Walk – starting at MacMasters or Little Beach, camp at Putty Beach before returning (either the same way, or there are a few alternate routes you can take to form a loop)
- Bouddi National Park Full Loop – this combines the Bouddi Coastal Walk with a walk along Hawke Head Drive to Box Head, but involves some road-walking between the two sections of the park. Start at MacMasters beach or Little Beach, and camp at the more remote and secluded Tallow Beach campground. AllTrails Map.
- Extended Coast Walk – this is cheating a little (as it’s partly outside Bouddi National Park)… but for an epic coastal walk that takes in eleven beaches and traverses six headlands, combine the Bouddi Coastal Walk with the 5 Lands Walk, which takes you from Terrigal to Putty Beach (or Box Head). If you start at Terrigal (or Avoca) you can camp at Putty Beach (18-20km one-way) or Tallow Beach (24-27km one-way). Or, start at Box Head/Putty Beach and book accommodation at Terrigal, for more of a glamping experience! AllTrails Map.
This is the largest camping area in Bouddi National Park, with 20 numbered sites. The sites are all fairly close to each other around a grassy central area, but separated by vegetation and fairly well shaded by trees. The campground has multiple picnic areas, with a single toilet block at one end. It’s a very short walk to the beach.
Distance: 0km from carpark.
Facilities: Toilets, picnic shelter, gas BBQ, water, rubbish & recycling bins
Location: Putty Beach carpark on Putty Beach Drive
More info: National Parks (NPWS) – Putty Beach campground & bookings
A small camping area, with six marked campsites around a central grassy area (site #1 is the most private, and also the most popular). There’s a short walk down a firetrail, so you can cart tent/s and supplies in a wheelbarrow or trolley.
The most “remote” and basic campground, Tallow Beach is reached via a fairly steep walk down the Tallow Beach Firetrail from the end of Hawke Head Drive. The small, grassy campground has space for six tents.
Most of the trails – including fire trails – only permit bushwalking. There are two recommended cycling routes, and a few firetrails that can be done separately as “out and back ride”. Note – both the routes proposed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service include sections along The Scenic Road, which I wouldn’t be comfortable riding on with younger children.
- Rocky Point Trail – 2km return. Easy. Out-and-back trail along firetrail to Allen Strom Lookout; last 100m is a bushwalking path. (this is part of the NPWS Bouddi Ridge Explorer cycling route).
- Daleys Point Trail – 3.6km return. Easy. Out-and-back trail along firetrail to the Daleys Point Aboriginal Site at the end of the ridge (this is part of the NPWS Bouddi Ridge Explorer cycling route).
- Stroms Loop – 5km loop. Easy. Combines Stroms Trail, The Scenic Road, North West Ridge trail, and Turkey Trail to form a circuit (approx 1km on-road). No steep sections and suitable for beginners. NPWS Strom Loop info.
- Bouddi Ridge Explorer – 10km partial loop. Easy/Moderate. Extends the Stroms Loop with an out-and-back ride down Daleys Point Trail to the west and MacMasters Ridge Trail to the east.
One topographical map covers all the main trail in Bouddi National Park:
There is a detailed Bouddi National Park Visitor Guide [PDF], which includes a basic sketch map showing all the official walks.
A Bouddi National Park interactive topographical map in AllTrails has al the official AND unofficial walks listed, as is a a great resource for creating more interesting and challegnging bushwalks. [KEY: Light Blue trails – bushwalking trail / firetrail; Red – on-road section connecting trails]
On a mobile device / phone, I would recommend AllTrails (has the most trails) or Avenza (you can purchase any of the NSW 1:25K topographical maps, and access them off-line with a paid subscription). You will need these for the Daleys Loop and Bullimah Spur Loop, which include some informal trails.
Books and Resources
The books listed below provide more detail on some of the Bouddi National Park bushwalks listed above – some may be out of print or hard to find…
4/5. Five bushwalks with photos and colour maps. Wildwalks
4/5. Six walks representing a good selection of Bouddi NP walks. Ebook
For detailed track notes on many of these walks, have a look at the Wildwalks Bouddi National Park Web page.
National Parks and Wildlife Service has an official Bouddi National Park web page, although it only lists the more popular tracks. Check here for alerts on track closures.