Hike number three - Winter in Bouddi National Park
I'm doing an overnight bush walk - with my two young girls - every season during the year 2018 and we've made it to hike number three without killing the kids newfound love of the outdoors... Or even more importantly without killing the kids... So to tone things down for our winter adventure, we headed to the beach. And chilled out for a weekend in Bouddi National Park, a tranquil escape just outside Sydney.
I love winter adventures... The fresh mountain air, the frost reflecting the moonlight, digging tent platforms in the snow or firing up the Ultimate 500 in a mountain hut while sipping hot chocolate in a down sleeping bag…
My other winter hike - touring for three days in Kosciusko - without kids
Winter adventures are the best! But maybe not so much fun for 6 and 8 year old girls. In fact, the thought of our two little girls shivering away in the snow overnight isn’t appealing… So for our official "Little Footprints" winter adventure we are heading for the Bouddi National Park on the NSW Central Coast to the Tallow Beach campground. A small walk-in site hidden away in the bush. We haven’t found any other kids to join us this time, but we've got Uncle Dan – who joined us in the ACT high country last spring – and what's most exciting - Daisy and Mary's mum Emma will be joining us! So this will be the first time the whole family has backpacked together.
The start of the trail - two happy girls excited to be adventuring with their mum for the first time
After the epic Blue Mountains Autumn trek this will be a walk in the park with a simple 1.3 km stroll down a fire-trail to the campsite. With options for more exploring around the headlands and beach. It’s not really a wilderness site but it should be far enough away from roads to be secluded and peaceful.
The walk down to the campsite is an easy firetrail with magnificent ocean views
BEACH CAMPING NEAR THE BIG SMOKE
Bouddi National Park has three campgrounds: Putty Beach – the largest campsite, accessible by car. Little Beach – accessed by a 750m firetrail and Tallow Beach – our destination and the park’s most remote campground - accessible via a steep 1.3km track. Facilities are minimal - with a pit-toilet, rubbish bins and not much else. There’s no fresh water or BBQ’s and fires aren’t permitted – so you need to be prepared with cooking gear and plenty of water.
There are 6 tent-sites available and they need to be booked and paid for online. I’m not usually into booking and paying for campsites but it’s the reality of camping so close to Sydney and pays for the upkeep and protection of the site and the cost is minimal - the cheapest beach accommodation on the Central Coast.
The girls getting to work setting up the camp
From Gosford take the Central Coast Highway through McMasters beach towards Hardy's Bay. Navigate to Nukara Avenue, then take the second left to Hawke Head Drive. Keep following Hawke Head Dr. to an unsealed road and park at the locked gate. Then it's a steep 1.3km walk down the fire trail to the camp site.
Our site had a great tree for climbing
The coastline around Tallow Beach is great for exploring. The headland provides easy trails through the heath with views out to the ocean, great for whale watching. We came here in winter partly because we wanted to see whales but we unfortunately didn't see any, however the week before there were reports of whale sitings so you never know.
Whales are around in Winter so don't forget the binoculars
Little Tallow Beach is an easy walk south along the headland
CAMPING IN WINTER WITH KIDS
Travelling with two kids and two parents in winter meant we needed two tents for the family. And although we were close to the beach it still got very cold at night, down to 3 or 4 degrees. Our Eight year old Daisy slept in the Macpac Minaret with Emma which is a very cosy winter tent so they were fine. Six year old Mary and I slept in the 3 person Mont Moondance tent and it was much colder - so I made sure Mary had the warmest sleeping bag.
Sunday breakfast - pancakes made by Uncle Dan
AN EASY ESCAPE
Okay - so it's not really much of a hike - but Tallow Beach is a great option to introduce kids to backpack camping. With only six tent-sites you could pick a weekend with a group and book the whole campground for a night or two and have a sensational time. Maybe you wouldn't do this in mid-winter but for us the cold weather didn't prevent the kids from playing in the surf. We really loved sleeping to the sounds of the waves and waking up to the sounds of the birds.
The best part for the girls was having their mum along for the adventure
Stay tuned... For our Spring adventure we are going to ramp things up with an epic journey through history in the secluded Marramarra National Park.
For more info about Tallow Beach check out: