I'm laying straight on the cool sand. Sand on my skin, in my hair, indelibly ingrained in my fleece. The sky is blue like cardstock, not a cloud in sight. I feel a light sea breeze on my left cheek and I hear birdsong somewhere to my right. A whip bird, actually. And in front of me, is the ocean, its waves crashing sometimes dramatically, other times peacefully. Slowly, I feel the sun's warmth on me. Inhale, exhale, eyes closed, heart wide open, head full of dreams.
I know I'm beyond lucky because I've spent countless mornings like this.
Over two days, my friend Rachael and I hiked 28 kilometres of Bouddi National Park, just 90 minutes north of Sydney CBD. We camped at Tallow Beach and hiked the Flannel Flower walking track (2.9km), Box Head track (3.1km) and the Bouddi Coastal Walk (17km). We racked up another handful of kilometres exploring aimlessly.
Tallow Beach is delightful. A tiny nick in the coastline, framed by beautiful, rocky headlands. The campground itself is grassy, bordered by Australian natives and frequented by chubby kookaburras and magpies looking for a handout.
At Box Head, we could see the city with its faint silhouette of the Centrepoint Tower, the Bahai Temple gleaming on the northern beaches, Barrenjoey Lighthouse and Lion Island. I got that feeling you get when you're looking down on a miniature model of your hometown - it feels familiar and yet unreal at the same time. Strange to be out camping in the bush and still be able to see it all. Down in the sea at Box Head, we saw a lone seal who'd resurface every few minutes, roll around in the waves and disappear again.
That evening, the sky was all pastel hues and the moon was near full. We sat on the rocks and watched the streaks of fluorescent rosy pink dash across, sharing the beach with one fisherman and a couple with the most romantic setup. One downside of a big moon? A hiding Milky Way...
I was back down at the beach for sunrise. No photographs though - just writing in my head, trying to make tangible the morning's feelings and sounds, the results of which you read at the very beginning.
The Bouddi Coastal Walk is very pretty. My most favourite part is descending into Maitland Bay because the colour of the water is like that of a tropical island. It makes you want to strip off and dive in, even in the thick of winter (albeit, an Aussie winter...).
After 28 kilometres in just over 24 hours, Rach and I were very happy when we spotted my car. Shoes off, windows down. Back home in Sydney, ready for a hot shower, a big feed, an even bigger sleep, and another adventure under our belt; our fourth together.
What a gorgeous little part of the world. I'm proud to call Australia home x