Where to play
If bushwalking is your thing, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are a huge number of trails that criss-cross the Peninsula, and with a bit of planning, the perfect day would be to pack a picnic lunch and your bathers and head off to immerse yourself in the sounds of the bush with a secluded beach destination as your reward. A great place to start is the Bouddi Coastal Walk, a level 8.5km that takes you from Putty Beach to McMasters Beach. Enjoy the views, wildlife and picnic spots along the way, or break it down into shorter walks to enjoy with the kids.
For more laid-back action, go sailing around the Brisbane Water with Hardys Bay Yacht Charters. They can take 6-10 guests on a day charter and up to six guests for their overnight package. You’ll get to experience blue-water sailing on Broken Bay and calm water sailing on the Hawkesbury and Pittwater with lots of chances to explore hidden bays and the breathtaking beauty of the area, all from the water. They can also tailor packages to suit your needs.
At the Killcare Marina at Hardys Bay you can hire boats, bikes, kayaks and paddleboats and head out to explore the water or surrounding bush on your own adventure. No boat license is required.
What to see
Killcare and Hardys Bay are both surrounded by the pristine bush of Bouddi Peninsula National Park and this affords a wonderful mix of popular and secluded bush and beaches to discover. Killcare Beach is a classic Australian surf beach. It’s patrolled in summer and you can book surfing lessons at the Central Coast Surf Academy.
After you’ve explored the water and the bush, the relaxed village of Hardys Bay also offers much to while away a lazy afternoon. Moochinside is the eclectic vision of owners Margie and Pete McFadyen and their gallery/shop is a delightful collection of art, unique gifts, clothing and design objects that are worth a proper browse. More art and fine objects are on show at the Bouddi Gallery, admired for its Aboriginal art and handcrafts and a finely edited collection of gifts.
There’s a rock pool at the southern end that’s great for infants and close to the kiosk to keep them fed and watered. The northern end of Killcare Beach is called Putty Beach and it’s a dog-friendly spot. The water here is much calmer and there are ample opportunities for snorkelling and rock and beach fishing. If it’s near total seclusion you are after, head to Lobster Beach, which is sheltered with a spectacular view over the ocean. You can snorkel here too. Head to High View Road and follow the signs to find the walking track. Another great spot is Tallow Beach where you can nab one of just six camping spots available.
The entrance is signposted on Hawke Head Drive and is a fairly strenuous 1.2km walk. Maitland Bay, between Killcare Beach and McMasters Beach, is another hidden gem and is a 20-minute walk from Maitland Bay Information Centre or a 3km walk from Putty Beach.
Where to stay
Decided to extend your day trip to an overnight stay or two? For those looking for a luxury experience, Bells at Killcare will tick all the boxes. With a mix of King Suites, one- and two-bedroom cottages, lake view villas, a pool, spa and that superb restaurant, Bells of Killcare is an oasis of luxury and sophistication in a quintessentially Australian bush setting. There’s something lovely about this juxtaposition of perfectly clipped lawns and gardens nestled within towering gums and angophoras. Even better, it’s situated midway between the calm waters of Hardys Bay and the bracing surf of Killcare Beach – if you can drag yourself away from the peace and views, there’s plenty to explore on your doorstep. You can even arrange to arrive by seaplane and the staff at Bells of Killcare will organise a transfer from Wagstaffe for you.
There are also many short-stay holiday listings for a large range of prices at Hardys Bay and Killcare. Check out Stayz.com.au and Airbnb.
Image credit: Nick Rains; Destination NSW