10 Day Aussie Camino Women's Trek

Limited Availability

Trip price: $2795

Deposit: $795

Ready to walk Australia’s answer to the Camino de Santiago? If you love hiking, the outdoors and making new friends, the Aussie Camino is just  the ticket.

A new date has been added for 2022: 17 October, 2022.

We are one of just a few companies licensed to offer walking trips on the Camino.

The Aussie Camino is a walk based on the life of St Mary Mackillop, Australia’s first and only Saint. It starts in Portland, Victoria and finishes in Penola, South Australia, taking in incredible views and rugged scenery across a highly varied walk full of highlights.

Even better, the group will be fully accompanied by a bus, driver and guide so you can skip certain sections if needed. The driver will be responsible for moving your luggage each day, so no heavy hiking packs are required! Our experienced, accredited Aussie Camino expert guide will be with you every step of the way.

Important: Please note that while there are no big mountains, this is a tough walk at times; if you cannot walk 25-30km comfortably, you will struggle to complete this trip.

ABOUT MARY MACKILLOP

The Camino is designed to honour the life of Mary Mackillop, who is known today as St Mary of the Cross after her 2010 canonisation.

Portland is where St Mary started her ministry in 1864, founding a boarding school where the Camino begins. 

From there, she founded Australia’s first order of nuns in Penola, where the pilgrimage finishes. The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart focus on providing education and support to those in need, with a concentration in Indigenous communities. The order still operates to this day.

Mary led a truly heroic life, which you’ll learn about over the course of this 10 day trip. 

Highlights

Walk along cliff tops in the rugged South West Coast of Victoria

Eat and drink in local pubs in small country towns dotted along the route

Walk inland through beautiful South Australian countryside to Penola

Small group - maximum size of 10!

Trip Details

Price

$2795, inc GST. $795 deposit.

  • Trip will be fully confirmed once we reach our minimum trip size of of 8 people
  • Last chance to book at 2022 prices, before we raise the price of this trip for 2023.

 


Trip length

10 Days, 9 Nights

Trip starts and finishes in Melbourne City


Dates

Starts: 17 October 2022

Finishes: 26 October 2022.


Meeting point

Mary Mackillop Heritage Centre, Melbourne. Trip starts and finishes here.


Group size

Maximum 10,  Minimum 8.

Trip will be confirmed once 8 deposits have been received.


Participation requirements

Please see our “Is this trip right for you?” section to see the participation requirements.


Included

  • Accommodation in local country hotels and guesthouses
  • 9 Breakfasts / 9 Lunches
  • Wilderness First Aid Qualified Guide
  • Driver, Guide & Luggage Transport

Not included

  • Hiking equipment 
  • Dinner (choose your own option at the pub)
  • Meals other than specified
  • Flights, domestic travel insurance & airport transfers
  • Pre or post trip accommodation

Our accommodation

Accommodation is in simple local lodging in the country towns that the group will be walking through.

Click the tabs to find out more

Itinerary

DAY 1: MELBOURNE

Meet at the Mary Mackillop Centre in Melbourne. Please arrive by 9am. Our bus will then take the group down to Portland, where we’ll stay for the night.

DAY TWO: THE PILGRIMAGE COMMENCES – 20KM

The day starts with an important visit before the walk kicks off: Bayview College, the school founded by St Mary as part of her ministry.

Then, our lovely driver will transfer us to the start of the walk and send you off with a rousing “Buen Camino!”

The first three days of the walk are along the trail of the Great South West Walk, one of Australia’s most beautiful coastline trails. The coastal track runs along the clifftops before winding down to the base for some shoreline trekking.

DAY 3: CAPE BRIDGEWATER TO BRIDGEWATER LAKES – 18KM

This is a shorter, but highly enjoyable day, as we warm up our legs. You will walk along  rugged coastlines with spectacular sea views and wind turbines dotting the countryside  and a seal colony!

We’ll wind up at Bridgewater Lakes, our finish point for the day, and then be transported back to our accommodation.

Bayview Lodge is our home for the first three nights, as there is no suitable accommodation available during this length of the journey. No need to pack every night!

DAY 4: LAKE MOMBEONG TO NELSON – 23KM

Today kicks off with 7km of inland trails at Lake Mombeong, which drops in on the beach for 12km of hiking along sand.

The sand is hard and flat which makes it easily walkable. Turning inland, we close out the last 4km walking to Nelson, where we’ll stay the night.

Remember,cno need to fret as the walking lengths build. The group driver will meet you at certain points so that those who choose, can decide to ride in the bus for a while.

Transfer to Port MacDonnell

DAY 5: PORT MACDONNELL TO MT GAMBIER – 28KM

(Note: There is a section of the Camino between Nelson and Port MacDonnell which the group will be not be walking. Right now, it is a ~28km walk along flat sanded beach. Based on information from previous walkers, who recommend skipping this section, we have removed that day from the walk and added extra time at the end in Penola.)

Today we skip along to Port Macdonnell for the day’s walk.

The roads are quiet and flat, providing ample room for contemplation or conversation – depending on your preference.

The morning’s goal is Mt Schank, a 100m high volcano which is where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch.

Mt Gambier is your destination for today: Day 5 of your Camino. 

By this point, you’ll have made many friends in the group and will have a clear and fresh mind. Less than halfway to go!

DAY 6: MT GAMBIER TO BUSH HAVEN COTTAGE – 18KM

Give your legs a rest, as it’s time for a small break this morning!

Join the group for a tour of Mt Gambier – a fascinating little town famous for geographical features such as the Blue Lake and a couple of huge sinkholes. It’s a unique town and worth seeing.

There’s 4 hours of walking in the afternoon through to Bush Haven Cottage at Mingbool.

DAY 7: BUSH HAVEN COTTAGE TO KALANGADOO – 20KMS

We’re now in rich agricultural country with rolling green hills. Potatoes, timber, apples, beef cattle and sheep are all produced in this area which makes for pleasant surrounds for your walk today. 

Being a 20km leg, the pace is relaxed as we troop into the historical town of Kalangadoo – population 305. It has a pub, general store, timber mill and museum.

DAY 8: KALANGADOO TO PENOLA – 28KMS

The final day of the Camino. The last ‘Buen Camino’ to kick off the day. There is just 28km standing between you and Penola.

Penola was where St Mary flourished. Alongside Julian Tenison Woods, the pair established a school and a religious order – the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. This order of sisters established schools across Australia with a focus on the needy is still working today. Over 600 sisters across 6 countries have dedicated their lives to this service.

DAY 9: PENOLA 

St Joseph’s Church conducts a mass at 9am for those inclined to join.

On this, the final day of the trip, we’ll visit the Mary Mackillop Interpretive Centre to understand more about her life. 

Then, a local tour of the area, which is the southern end of the Coonawarra wine region.

Stop for lunch at a local winery. Enjoy a delicious meal with a glass of the local tipple with your new friends and reminisce about highs and lows of the trip.

The afternoon can be taken to explore.

DAY 10: PENOLA TO MELBOURNE

And that’s it – the only thing that remains is to jump in a bus back to Melbourne, with a lunch stop included along the way. From there, you can be proud to say that you walked the ‘Aussie Camino’ before it became packed with visitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

The walk is for experienced hikers. It is relatively flat, but it is a lot of walking. While you will have the option to take rests and rides in the bus if needed, you should come with the understanding that some of the days will be tough.

This is a lot longer than the average multi-day walk; be mindful of this!

If you have not previously hiked a multi-day walk and are not sure if this trip is the right one for you, at the very least you should be a regular bushwalker or trailwalker. You should be able to cover 25-30km in a single day. If unsure about your fitness levels – especially your feet and knee health – we recommend holding off and waiting for more dates to be announced.

COVID – Guarantee

We recognise that for many, there is still a degree of uncertainty regarding travel bookings, hence we provide a deposit guarantee.

You will be offered a full refund, if you unable to travel on your selected departure date due to:

  • having contracted COVID-19
  • requiring quarantine due to a family / household member contracting COVID-19
  • living in an area that restricts travel in the region of your booked trek after the date of your booking.

Please note, the refund guarantee relates only to COVID-19 restrictions, and not to a change of mind, circumstances, other illness or injury. For this reason, we recommend purchasing travel insurance.

Most likely, yes,  but please get in touch.