When a beautiful Argentinian man invites you to hop on a train and go to an equally beautiful national park, you do it. And that’s how I, a hardworking grad student, skipped my responsibilities and spontaneously went up to Bouddi National Park.
The train ride lasts an hour and costs only $4; the journey north of Sydney through Kurringai-Chase National park was a scenic adventure in and of itself. The train zoomed past pristine national parks with forested hills sloping down to meet deep blue rivers. This was pretty much the same terrain found within Bouddi National Park.
Given that renting a bike costs $50 and an uber to the park entrance from Woy Woy train station cosst $30 (the bus from Gosford would have taken over an hour), it made logical sense to take the 20 minute Uber to the park. Stopping only at a cute cafe with chic art and Phoebe Bridges playing on the sound system, we set off for the park.
To start the hike we landed at Putty beach, a bay protected by the surrounding cliffs. Any given Tuesday it was nearly empty, and if the November waters were warmer I would’ve been tempted to go for a swim. The hike began up the stairs from the beach over the sandstone cliffs.
The sandstone cliffs are easily sculpted and molded over millennia by the waves and strong winds to create some fascinating formations [see first photo]. My favorites included a perfectly isometric lattice, swirls of orange in a grid of squares, and some naturally occurring benches!
I am in awe of the ways in which these cliffs can be sculpted to resemble patterns that are familiar to man, and it was so much fun hiking through them with the beautiful view of the pacific, to boot!
Beyond these formations, I remember beginning to struggle up and down stairs that covered the sand dunes, making them easier to hike up. However, with the sun rising higher in the sky and the stair sets getting steeper, I struggled to keep up pace.
The only reprieve was in a thick patch of forest, offering shade and the calls of a whipbird (sounds just like a whip being cracked [actually a duet: comment for more info]), almost like an oasis. Skinks slithered through the leaf litter as I stepped by, and butterflies swarmed the clearings. Hiking through the thick forest right by the sea is very enjoyable, and I made a vow to do more forest hikes near water! (Update: I have)
We came down to another beach for a quick picnic before heading back up the stairs to finish the trek. There were times when we could’ve given up, but kept pushing on until we came to the final beach. Here, our reward awaited us and we took a nap in the shade, exhausted from a trek that was well worth the effort. (Update: This post was written in November, 2019. Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family back home!)