Escape to Bells at Killcare and Become One With Nature

Looking for rest and relaxation with a stunning beauty retreat and nature inspired skincare that is just a short drive or ferry ride from Sydney? Check into Bells at Killcare on the Central Coast for the ultimate experience.

There is a luxury in taking a short roadtrip or ferry ride to a destination that will transport you out of the bustling city to a slow-paced world ensconced in nature and the sounds of wildlife. Bells at Killcare has been winning accolades since it opened its doors in 2007 – offering guests Hampton’s elegance against the backdrop of a truly Australian setting.

The family run space is surrounded by the Bouddi National Park – Bouddi in the Aboriginal language means “Heart.” There are 25 private coastal suites and cottages perched on lush green acreage that feature fabulous flora, trickling streams and spectacular five-star service. Owner Karina Barry says she was initially drawn to the space because of nature. “I just loved the world-class national park and the positive effect that it seems to have on people.” Karina says the property is so special because: “it provides the opportunity for a seamless seaside rest. We are set on 25 acres including formal and natural gardens and two vegetable gardens, surrounded by Bouddi national park and stunning waterways.”


Now they have added to its offering with the introduction of four, tri-level Lodges on the property offering every convenience at your fingertips. It’s perfect for a romantic couple getaway, family stays or getting together with close friends. Be warned you will feel like returning to your own abode and re-designing your interiors after experiencing the design aesthetic here – featuring an incredible soothing colour palette of warm woods, tonal greens and glimmering gold trimmings. The Lodges are nestled within the coastal embrace of Bouddi National Park and are designed to melt seamlessly into the surrounds.

We are welcomed at the Bouddi Lodge by the manager Emma, who is also the owners daughter and is on hand to explain the layout of the stunning space. There is a nod to ‘old fashioned’ customer service as she reveals that the daily newspaper of our choice will be delivered each morning tucked into a straw bag hanging from a peg near the entrance together with a choice of freshly baked speciality bread ranging from sourdough to rye options. It is a special warm, homely touch that sets the vibe for the entire stay.

Entering the lodge, which had only been open a week – it smells of delicious newness – the heady scent of fresh timber and luxury leather greets us in the downstairs space. On this expansive ground level decorated with natural fauna flower arrangements – guests will find two double bedrooms with soft grey tones, deep forest green throws and plush caramel coloured leather chairs. Each has its own bathroom and outdoor rain shower.

The interiors feature nature inspired accents and the standout is the stunning vibrant green bathroom tiles used inside and outside as a backdrop against the glimmering gold bathroom tapware. There is a soothing deep freestanding bath for the ultimate soak complete with Bouddi bath salts and organic soap handmade in the Hunter Valley using all natural local ingredients – perched upon a timber bath stand.

Wander through the hallway which leads to an outdoor private pool – heated to a heavenly 24 degrees all year round that is perfect for a refreshing dip and is eye-catching at night with its rainbow flicker of lights. There are shaded day beds to curl up with your favourite book and a Heston Blumenthal BBQ ideal for entertaining if you are joined by guests for your stay.


Another standout feature of this Lodge is the kitchen and loungeroom which is nestled on the second floor. It offers stunning views on the wrap around terrace and the cosy feeling of seclusion with a fireplace and plush leather lounges ideal for unwinding.

Foodies will love the incredible kitchen with marble benches and all the modern gadgets a budding host could wish for. There is the fully stocked chilled bar fridge with hand selected fine wines and a larder that is offered as part of the all inclusive stay. The fridge is brimming with gourmet delicacies from marinated olives, creamy fresh cheeses, tinned anchovies, cold cuts and dips to create your own charcuterie board.


On the third level guests will find the Mediterranean inspired sunset deck offering a birds eye view of the stunning vista. Karina says this is one of her favourite parts of the property: “The elevated terrace on the new lodges provides sweeping views of the Hawkesbury, Pittwater, Broken Bay and the Pacific Ocean which are mesmerising.


The Wild Flower Bar & Dining offers guests a Mediterranean inspired menu that changes seasonally. The Wild Flower Bar features a selection of delicious bar snacks that are ideal paired with a pre-dinner apéritif or a sunset cocktail while soaking up the majestic manicured gardens either at an outside table or sun lounger or in the bar area dotted with vintage bottles teetering on wall shelves.

In the main restaurant guests are spoilt for choice – there is the five course Chefs Tasting Menu or an al a-carte offering with delicious nosh celebrating the coastal surrounds that includes pan roasted scallops, spinach and ricotta gnocchi marinating in burnt butter, Murray Cod fillet and grass fed beef rib-eye.

Karina says: “The menu is constantly changing with the seasons in our garden and the availability of local produce.” Breakfast is served in the main manor house and the menu is full of warm comforting options – from traditional English breakfast of eggs and bacon to the nostalgic childhood memory servings of ‘dippy eggs with soldiers’.

Karina’s passion for great food is evident as she also opened a bakery adjacent to the restaurant selling buttery homemade pork and fennel sausage rolls, beef pies and freshly roasted coffee. The shelves are packed with gourmet goodies ranging from pasta to infused oils. Perfect if guests choose to cook in their lodge. Lunch is from the larder so guests can make their own delicious feast.

Situated opposite the 25 metre pool is the Pool Bar – a quaint caravan stocked with tipples for guests who want to help themselves and make their own cocktail and it operates on the honour system. Staying at this stunning space gives offers you a wellness experience surrounded by nature while enjoying five-star service with the warmth of the hosts who make you feel like family.

Karina reveals there are exciting plans ahead for this year teasing: “We have approval for the development of a large wellness hub, incorporating an indoor pool and walled garden.” Wellness lovers stay tuned…

For those looking to add to their experience the Bells Day Spa offers the ultimate in relaxation thanks to its carefully curated menu of beauty treatments the healing touch of therapists. Anita Quade chats to Senior Therapist Yvette Roberts who reveals the soothing effects of the iKOU skincare range and her love of creating a ritual for her clients.

Tell us about the iKOU Flannel Flower Sanctuary ritual at this stunning retreat.

“It is inspired by the beauty of the Australian Native White Flannel flower, this treatment brings all of the beauty and scents of iKOU to life in two hours of relaxation bliss. Starting the treatment with a flowing blend of the Flannel Flower oil and Coconut and Jasmine body scrub leaving your skin polished and refreshed, after showering you will return for Flannel Flower Cocoon and souffle massage, whilst incorporating a relaxing yet effective Facial using the iKOU Pure Results Skincare.”

You mentioned how important training is as a therapist. Tell us about your experience.

“We are always keeping up-to-date with our training and have been lucky enough to train under Anne Warren (one of the original founders of Indigenous brand, Li’Tya ) and also Naomi from iKOU. We normally hold training sessions over two days where we immerse ourselves into the treatments and products, each receiving and performing the treatments on each other to best attain the knowledge and feel of each individual treatment as they are all very different and unique.”

Can you share with us a little about the iKOU products and why they were introduced as part of the treatment lineup?

“iKOU is a 100% Australian Made and family-owned company with an emphasis on developing beautiful products for both the Day Spa and home. The products are designed for all skin types and can be layered for optimum results. The stars aligned when we were looking for a new product range for our boutique Spa after Li’Tya was no longer viable. We love that the products combine innovation with botanical and the philosophy of home spa rituals and treating the skin along with mind and body as a whole. Flannel flowers flourish all around us in the Bouddi National Park, so when we discovered they were part of the iKOU ingredients we were hooked.”

What are the results like?

“Everyone loves the scents of the iKOU products and the results leave you feeling refreshed and hydrated, a natural healthy glow is what I see.”

Any favourite products?

“Yes the Peptide Serum, for both the smell and results and of course the Flannel Flower oil. Honestly, it is hard to choose just one.”

Any new treatments on the horizon at the spa?

“We have introduced two new facials this last year, both the Green Superfood Facial and the Wellness Probiotic Facial.”

You have been a beauty therapist for more than 15 years – what is your favourite part of the role?

“My favourite part of being a therapist is feeling the moment someone let’s go and relaxes and receives. We all love to see our guests leave a little lighter and more inspired to take on the daily grind. Everyone I look after is so different and this is what I love, no day is the same and to work in the peaceful environment we have created here is certainly not taken for granted.”

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2024 print issue of Professional Beauty.

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