Bouddi National Park is located near Gosford in the Central Coast region, north Sydney.
This coastal national park offers pristine beaches, secluded camping spots, some family-friendly walks and lookouts with stunning vistas. The park is also home to one of Australia’s first marine protected areas, an old paddle steamer wreck and several aboriginal sights.
While Bouddi National Park might not be an attraction for young families, it is still a good destination for a Sunday drive or to take your little children for a splash in the natural rock pools. Another good place to visit is the Maitland Bay Information Centre, as it has a permanent exhibition of local flora and fauna, and a table where kids can draw pictures.
For families with older kids who like adventure, Bouddi National Park is simply paradise. In Bouddi National Park, you can snorkel, swim, ride a mountain bike, hike, fish and camp.
Over the years, our family has done several excursions to Bouddi National Park. In this article, we featured a selection of the best places. We are so lucky to live in a city that has so many National Parks nearby! And, Bouddi is one of the closest to Sydney.
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Bouddi National Park
National Parks Contact Centre phone number: 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS), 7am to 7pm daily.
Entry fees: $8 per vehicle per day only in the Putty Beach area. The park has coin-operated pay and display machines. Tip: remember to take some coins with you.
Important note: Maitland Bay Information Centre (174 The Scenic Road, Bouddi NSW 2251) is temporally closed until further notice.
Also, before planning your trip, ALWAYS check the Bouddi National Park website to find out if there are any important local alerts. Some areas of the park might be closed due to hazards, upgrades, etc.
By Mireia Garriga Seguranyes
Maitland Bay and Bouddi Coastal Walk
The jewel of Bouddi National Park is beyond any doubt Maitland Bay. But, where are these beautiful photos of Bouddi National Park exactly taken?
The view from Bullimah Outlook is jaw-dropping. However, I must warn every parent that the Bullimah Spur Track hike is quite challenging and there are some dangerous cliffs. Unless your family has good experience of hiking and your kids are old enough, you should refrain from taking them there.
Please, note that the visitor guide of Bouddi National Park says only that it is a 2 km return – easy track. For you to have an idea, the photo was taken from a perched big rock that overlooks the bay. There isn’t any fencing.
Also -and only for experienced families- from the end of Bullimah Spur Track there is the option to descend to Gerrin Point Lookout, located along the Bouddi Coastal Walk. Gerrin Point Lookout is only a short walk from Putty Beach. The easiest way to go to this lookout is taking the Bouddi Coastal Walk from Putty Beach. The track has some stairs which take you to a boardwalk where you will be able to admire panoramic views of Maitland Bay from a generous fenced wooden platform.
From Gerrin Point you can return to Putti Beach or follow the Bouddi Coastal Walk until you reach Maitland Bay. The track follows the coast and then enters into a lush rainforest.
Maitland Bay can be accessed by the Bouddi Coastal Walk or Maitland Bay Track. The easiest way is to park near the Maitland Bay Information Centre and then walk down. The track is quite steep, so you need to be fit. The effort is worth it, as Maitland Bay has the most amazing sandstone rock formations of NSW. And, if low tide, you might be able to see the remains of the PS Maitland at the eastern end of Maitland Bay.
Little Beach, Putty Beach and camping areas
For a picnic or camping, the best family spots are Little Beach and Putty Beach. Little Beach is very secluded and has natural rock pools which are ideal for little children.
Putty Beach is a long open beach, which is good for surf. There are no flags to swim between next to the campground, but lifeguards patrol the western side of the beach (aka Killcare Beach, next to the Surf Life Saving Club) from the start of September school holidays to the end of April school holidays.
Both Little Beach and Putty Beach campgrounds offer picnic tables, barbecues, drinking water, showers and toilets.
Please note that all camping in NSW national parks requires a booking.
There is also Tallow Beach campground in the Box Head area, but it is very basic.
Box Head Track
Box Head track is one of the best coastal walks that our family has ever done. Less popular than other Bouddi National Park tracks, this track is fairly easy except one section that is quite steep. Although there aren’t any big cliffs like the Bullimah Track, please always keep an eye on your children. Parking space is limited, so I recommend doing this walk in winter when there are less people.
The track is wide at the beginning and then becomes so narrow towards the end that in some sections it nearly feels that disappears. When you arrive at Box Head lookout you will be able to enjoy sweeping views of Hawkesbury River, Lion Island, Broken Bay and Sydney’s northern beaches.
Bouddi National Park information:
“It’s great to explore and experience NSW national parks. Naturally, we encourage you to see and do as much as possible. We also want you and your companions to stay safe. Remember that parks are natural environments and can be unpredictable. You should plan your journey for all weather conditions.”
Source: NSW National Parks website.
Safety in NSW national parks, click on here.
Vehicle entry fee: only in the Putty Beach area.
Toilets: Expect basic toilets. They are located at Tallow Beach, Putty Beach, Dingeldei Picnic Area and Little Beach.
Nearby cafes: At Killcare and Macmasters Beach. Killcare Beach Kiosk doesn’t have a kids’ menu, but they offer a good range of food options which are suitable for children. Barefoot Cafe at Macmasters Beach has melt on toast (choices of ham, bacon, chicken or avocado) and mini schnitzel for kids on its menu.
Shade: Plenty in the forest, but beaches of Bouddi National Park are quite exposed.
Nearest station and bus stop nearby: Woy Woy train station. However, then you will need to take a bus or taxi. From Woy Woy to Putty Beach, take the 59 bus, get off at the intersection Scenic Road with Putty Beach Drive, and then walk 10 minutes to the beach.
Mum’s Report: Bouddi National Park is a fantastic destination to explore when you need to escape from the crowds. While it is more suitable for families with older kids, the National Park also offers things to do with little kids. If you are an active family, you will love its tracks with breathtaking views. If you prefer to relax, grab some food and have a picnic at Little Beach or Putty Beach. There aren’t any lifeguards on Bouddi National Park beaches. Therefore, always be very vigilant. Bouddi National Park is only one hour and a half drive from Sydney CBD, being one of the closest national parks to Sydney.
Bouddi Aboriginal Walking Tour
You can join an indigenous guide for a three hour walking tour within Bouddi NP. Hear stories, enjoy an Acknowledgement of country and take part in a smoking ceremony.
Read more about Bouddi Aboriginal Walking Tour here.
Things To Do Close To Bouddi
Discover all the things that you can do in the Central Coast here.
For a family trip (day trip or weekend away), we highly recommend Pearl Beach and Patonga. Terrigal is a fabulous family destination, too, it has everything at your door step (beach, cafes and shops). Also, did you know that from West head Lookout you can see Lion Island and Box Head?
If you prefer camping in a caravan park, you might like to check Seana’s review about Ocean Beach Holiday Park in Umina.
If you often visit NSW National Parks, here you can find the information about buying a pass. The Multi Park Pass gives you access to all fee-collecting parks in NSW, except Kosciuszko National Park.
We love exploring the outdoors. After visiting a national park, kids are usually quite tired. But we always feel happier and healthier. What other places would you recommend in Bouddi National Park or around Sydney? We’d love to hear from you.