Killcare Beach and Hardys Bay nsw

In many ways Killcare and it's neighbour Hardys Bay are similar to some of Sydney’s coastal suburbs, but smaller and much more peaceful.  

Killcare Beach after sunrise

The villages are located at the foot of Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast NSW. The peninsula sits on the northern side of Broken Bay and opposite Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

But there’s more to why holiday makers from Sydney love this area…

The villages are bordered on all sides by the Tasman Sea, Hardys Bay and Bouddi National Park…

So they’re a perfect starting point for both water and national park activities – boating, fishing, swimming, surfing, bushwalking and mountain biking.

Plus Bouddi National Park has an abundance of lookouts with first-class views of the ocean and Broken Bay, and also five isolated beaches you can walk to.

This may be a perfect destination if you want to enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities topped with fine restaurants and accommodation, such as Bells at Killcare.

Welcome to one of my favourite places on the Central Coast NSW...

Getting There

You can get there on the Palm Beach Ferry. The ferry stops at Wagstaffe, which is 2.6 km from here.  Or you can also get there by car from Sydney. The trip takes 1 hr 36 min via the M1 Pacific Motorway (F3).  Follow the directions on Google Map

History of Killcare and Hardys Bay

The first Europeans that arrived on the Bouddi Peninsula in the 1820s mainly lived on subsidence farming. They were involved in logging, cutting shingles, ship building and shell digging (for lime burning) as there was a high demand for these materials for the expansion of Sydney.

The NSW Bouddi Peninsula could only be accessed by boat until the railway line was completed in 1889. It was about at the same time that the working hours were reduced. Workers started enjoying free weekends and annual holidays, which they could use for recreation.

So holiday makers from Sydney started to come in larger numbers. From Woy Woy Station, they would travel to the Bouddi Peninsula by launches where they stayed in guesthouses or rented weekenders.

The land on the Bouddi Peninsula was subdivided soon after. The Killcare subdivision was given the name ‘Killcare’ – it was apparently a wordplay for “kill care”, and Hardys Bay was named after Harry Hardy – a resident who sold wine to the locals from his vineyard.

The other subdivisions of the Bouddi Peninsula consist of Pretty Beach and Wagstaffe, which are mostly residential.

The villages became even more accessible to tourists after The Scenic Rd (the only road to the Bouddi Peninsula) was constructed in the 1930s, the railway line electrified in 1960, the Sydney-Newcastle expressway constructed in 1965 and the rip bridge in 1974.

Only 690 people reside in Killcare and Hardys Bay (2011 & 2006 census respectively), but the population increases significantly during summer holidays.

What started as a village with fibro weekenders has now become a prime real estate location with million dollar mansions overlooking Brisbane Water or the Tasman Sea. Killcare is one of the most expensive suburbs to rent or buy...

Many people from Sydney retire here for the recreational and scenic aspect of the area.

Hardys Bay at sunset.

This village has also attracted one of Sydney’s top chef, Stefano Manfredi, at Manfredi at Bells – if you like fine dining it’s the place to eat. It has received multiple awards. Manfredi sits at the edge of Bouddi National Park.  

But luxury is not the thing that strikes me about Killcare…

About Killcare and Hardys Bay

The busy part of Killcare and Hardys Bay consists of two small country roads that form a T-junction facing Brisbane Water and a beautiful bay with moored sailing boats all over.

There’s a cluster of shops with an art gallery, great cafes, a bottle-lo and Yum Yum eatery.

Yum Yum Eatery is a fine restaurant where you can enjoy the sunset over the water. It's one of the locals' favourite restaurants. Try sashimi, tempura and pot stickers.

Hardy’s Bistro is a locals’ favourite cafe. Coffee and service are always great, and you can enjoy the view of the water from the verandah. They’re open for breakfast and lunches everyday and dinners in the weekends.

The Fat Goose is another locals’ favourite cafe. It’s the place to go for deli, fresh bread and pastries.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly place to eat, try Hardys Bay Pub. My friend swears they make the best fish n chips on the Central Coast.

Walk up and down the road and you arrive at Killcare Beach.

Most of the Bouddi Peninsula consists of bushland surrounded by water.  

Things to Do

Bushwalking in Bouddi National Park

Killcare NSW is great on its own, but even more so for being located beside great bushwalking. 

And each bushwalk is more picturesque than the other. They bring you to stunning lookouts and secluded beaches. 

Bouddi National Park Coastal Walk

Imagine… you leave your car behind, go for an early morning walk, go for a swim in the afternoon, have dinner at Yum Yum Eatery or Manfredi at Bells for a bit of luxury, and finish the day watching a quality film at Avoca Beach Picture Theatre...  

Ok, I diverted. But it’s my idea of a great day.

Coming back to the walks, try these ones:

  • On Box Head: Box Head walking track (1.5 km); Tallow Beach trail (1.2 km); and Flannel Flower walking track (1.2 km). Start from the end of Hawke Head Dr.
  • The Coastal Walk: starts from the eastern end of Putty Beach and follows the coast for 8 km to Macmasters Beach. You could also pick up another track that branches off at Maitland Bay. Or walk a loop… the Coastal Walk from Putty Beach to Maitland Bay, up the Maitland Bay track and back along the Scenic Rd (5 km).

To get to a secluded beach…

  • Maitland Bay is the best secluded beach. It’s located along the Coastal Walk (3 km). A quicker track is the Maitland Bay track (900 m), which starts next to the Bouddi National Park Information Centre on the Scenic Rd.
  • Tallow Beach is located on the Tasman Sea at the end of the Tallow Beach trail (1.2 km). Starts on Box Head from the end of Hawke Head Dr. Great surf there. 
  • Lobster Beach is located in Brisbane Water at the end of the Flannel Flower track (1.2 km). Starts on Box Head at the end of Hawke Head Dr. Or walk a 1 km shortcut from High View Rd in Wagstaffe.
  • Little Beach is located along the Coastal Walk (6.5 km) or at the end of the Little Beach trail (750 m) from Grahame Dr in Macmasters Beach. Read more about Little Beach

Read this page for more details about the walks and beaches in Bouddi National park. There's also a map at the end.  

Maitland Bay

Mountain Biking in Bouddi National Park

Try these trails:

  • Rocky Point Trail (1 km, 30 min, easy),
  • The Bouddi Ridge Explorer (10 km, 4hrs, medium) or a smaller section…
  • Daleys Point Trail (1.7 km)
  • Strom Loop (5 km)
  • Macmasters Ridge Trail (1.6 km)

Here's a map

If you need a bike, Boat Bike Paddle Hire hires out mountain bikes for $56 per day for adults and $24 for children. 39 Araluen Drive; 02 4360 2958.

Swimming & Surfing

The 1.6 km Killcare Beach is picturesque. It’s surrounded by the bushland of Bouddi National Park and you can see Sydney’s coastline at a distance.

We call the western side “Killcare Beach” and the eastern side “Putty Beach”. Both sides are very different…

If you like waves, or would like lifeguard patrol with facilities such as toilets, restaurant and a food kiosk, this is the place to go. 

The waves often crash near the shore; it’s a bit too rough for me but our kids like getting bashed. Surfers enjoy surfing at the point.

It’s a great place for families… there’s a small rock pool at the end of the sand and lifeguards patrol between the beginning of the September school holidays to the end of the April school holidays.

Swimming at the beach
Rockpool at the beach near Bouddi National Park

You can eat at Horizons at Killcare in the Surf Life Saving Club – they have great food and it’s the best place to go for water views.

Putty Beach on the other side belongs to Bouddi National Park – this spot is completely natural and the water here is calm & sparkly blue – it’s one of my favourite beaches. Putty Beach campground and the start of the Coastal Walk are located at this end of the beach.

Swimming in the calm water at Putty Beach
Relaxing at Putty Beach.
people sitting at Putty Beach at the end of the day

Boating

If you’d like to sail around Broken Bay with a private skipper, book Hardys Bay Yacht Charters. They cater for up to 20 people for day tours and 6 overnight.

You can choose between different packages from romantic overnight getaway with a platter of seafood to half or full day tours with a gourmet cheese platter and drinks.

They depart from the public wharf. Phone 0412 672 960.

If you’d like to hire your own boat, Boat Bike Paddle Hire hires out BBQ boats, tinnies and kayaks. Phone 02 4360 2958.

Enjoying the Sunset

The bay is the place to be at sunset. Enjoy the warm glow during dinner at Yum Yum Eatery or Hardys Bistro.

Then take a relaxing walk along Brisbane Water to Pretty Beach; the pathway faces the water and the sunset all along. If you have children, stop at the playground.

Sunset Hardys Bay
Pretty Beach playground

Accommodation in Killcare

Choose between camping and utmost luxury...

Camping

Putty Beach campsite (20 sites) is located on the side of Putty Beach Rd. The campground is very popular and can get packed and a bit noisy in summer (there's the access road to the beach running beside the campground).

But the camping ground is in a pretty spot and near the beach. It's also positioned near the start of the beautiful Coastal Walk. 

There’s running water and cold showers and the site is wheelchair-accessible.

Book with the National Park and Wildlife Services online here or call 13000 PARKS (13000 72757). It’s often booked out weeks ahead in summer so book as early as possible.  

Bells at Killcare - Luxury Accommodation

Escape the city in elegant cottages set amid manicured gardens at Bells.

Sip champagne on the balcony in total peace and relaxation. Throw in a few massages and yoga sessions. While you stay at Bells, Explore the gorgeous local beaches and Bouddi National Park.  

Want to push it further? Spend a day in the Hunter Valley on a helicopter ride or fish and explore the waterways in their luxury boat.

Award-winning chef Steve Manfredi overseas the menu at Manfredi at Bells. You’ll savour gourmet meals made with fresh produce from the veggie garden and eggs from the onsite chickens.

Bells can also organise seaplane transport from Sydney.

Still not convinced? Read this article about Bells at Killcare in Luxury Travel Magazine.

Tempted? 

Prices at Bells start at $370.00 a night.

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