Once a year, thousands of Coasties embark on a pilgrimage known as the 5 Lands Walk. The festival connects locals with the place they call home and the people in our community.
Mimicking the migrating whales, they snake their way north along a 10-kilometre walk of breathtaking coastline, through five seaside villages, to celebrate the deep ancient history of the land we inhabit.
What is the 5 Lands Walk?
Firstly, it is more than a walk. It’s a celebration of Five Lands in one big beautiful community-oriented festival that connects people to people and people to place.
It’s the Central Coast’s biggest winter celebration, held on Darkinjung land in honour of the strength and resilience of the traditional owners of this land. It marks the middle of winter and the promise of spring and new growth, held in line with the northern migration of the humpback whale, their totem animal.
Who can enter the 5 Lands Walk?
Inspired by the famous Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera, the 5 Lands Walk is a cultural, physical and spiritual festival of a different kind. The 5 Lands Walk has something to thrill and inspire everyone:
- Young and old
- Nature lovers
- Singles, couples, families, and friends
- The entire community
On 24 June 2017, you can join in the 5 Lands Walk and celebrate its 12th anniversary. In 2016, an estimated 20,000 people took part and were moved by this outstanding community event, so this year is bound to be bigger than ever. If you haven’t experienced the 5 Lands Walk yet, make this the year to do it.
If you’ve done it before, you’ll no doubt be doing it again. For our Mingara One Fitness members, it’s a great way to smash out your weekend workout.
Grab your tribe, put on your walking shoes and take part in some free family-friendly fun amongst incredible scenery and rich cultural activities. It’s the perfect opportunity to shake off those winter shackles and celebrate the beautiful coastal lifestyle.
Where are the 5 Lands?
Farewell the winter darkness and celebrate the coming of the warmer seasons and longer days with ceremony, exhibitions, art, music and food at each of the 5 lands:
Make a connection
Along the route of the 5 Lands Walk you can connect with:
- Local Aboriginal culture. Listen to the ceremony, culture and story of the local Aboriginal community who are so deeply involved in the event.
- Our local beachside communities.
- Local ethnic culture. This year’s multicultural festivities features the Indian, Argentinian and African communities.
- Local schools. Revel in the talent of our youth, as students from nine primary schools show what the world looks like through their camera lens.
- Stunning coastline, bush tracks and fresh air.
- Humpback whales (finger-crossed). If they are close enough, you may even hear them breathe.
- The festival is a gift for our community, from our community. And the best part, it is completely free to take part in.
Five tips for a fun-filled 5 Lands Walk
The 5 Lands Walk is jam-packed with culture, music, art, out-of-this-world food and Coast-loving crowds. While the thought of a 10-kilometre walk along pristine coastline with your tribe can sound exhilarating, long queues, inappropriate clothing, getting lost or finding yourself too spent to finish the journey can put a dampener on your walk.
But we’ve got you covered with these five hacks to help guide you comfortably through the lands for a fun-packed walk.
1. Get with the program
Want to know what, when, where and how to get there? The 5 Lands Walk Program has the lowdown on times, events, special guest speakers, performers, and food options so you can plan what you want to do and see before you set out.
There is a clear map of the course and an outline of track information that tells you the type of track surfaces you’ll be walking on, the distance between meeting points and how steep sections of the walk are. Plus, it has a complete transport guide to help you get there, get around, and get back home again with ease.
Planning is a sure-fire way to get the most fun out of your 5 Lands Walk, so make sure you download the guide.
The easiest way to register for the 5 Lands Walk, and avoid the queues on the day, is by pre-registering online beforehand.
To register, simply complete the 5 Lands Walk Walker Registration Form. It’s straightforward, and because the event is free, you don’t need to enter your credit card details.
It’s important that you submit one form for EVERY person walking. You’ll be given your walker’s wristband at the pre-registration desk on the day so keep wearing it all day. Don’t forget to flash your band when you reach Terrigal for your discount lunch.
If life gets busy and you don’t get a chance to pre-register then fear not; you can also enter on the day:
- On the shuttle from Terrigal to Macmasters Beach.
- At Macmasters Beach Surf Club, or,
- At the information tent at Avoca Beach.
3. Be prepared
We all know how unpredictable winter weather on the Coast can be – warm and sunny one minute, rainy and windy the next.
On a 10-kilometre walk, the weather may be mild when you set off, but once you hit the headland or open stretch of beach, a gust of sea wind can cause the temperature to drop suddenly.
You want to be prepared, so put your most comfortable foot forward on Saturday 24 June by planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
- Are your boots made for walking? Make sure the shoes you choose are enclosed, supportive and won’t give you blisters. It is likely they may get wet and sandy too.
- Slip, slop and slap but remember to hang on to your hat if the wind is blowing a gale at Captain Cook Lookout.
- Layer upon layer upon layer – it sounds like a lasagne, doesn’t it? Layering breathable clothing is the best way to keep your body temperature comfortable in varying conditions while you walk. Think base layer (worn close to your skin – don’t use cotton), mid layer (a lightweight fleece worn over the base layer) and outer layer (your rain jacket). You can carry extra layers you don’t need in your backpack and put them on as required.
- Pack your reusable water bottle in your bag and have small drinks regularly. It will keep you hydrated for your walk. There are free water refill stations near each of the Surf Clubs, plus there will be some temporary water bottle filling stations at Macmasters Beach adjacent to the registration desk, Captain Cook Lookout, Copacabana, Avoca Beach, near the Water Tower at the intersection of Cape Three Points Road and Endeavour Drive.
- Don’t forget your camera – you want to be prepared for any momentous whale breaching.
4. Stay true to the course
5 Lands Walk is a moderately easy walk, even for the kids, that follows 10-kilometres of the Central Coast’s most breath-taking coastline. If you stay the course, you are guaranteed to be tantalised by some amazing natural beauties, not to mention the cultural delights in store at each of the 5 lands.
You’ll traipse north from Macmasters Beach Surf Club along beaches, headlands, bush tracks and back-roads to Terrigal. One foot in front of the other, side-by-side with your family, friends, new friends and neighbours. Here you can register, fuel up on your free breakfast just after 7am, and take part in the Opening Ceremony at Macmasters Beach.
Just a short stroll past Cockrone Lagoon, you’ll find the the vibrant community of Copacabana, where you can be moved by tales of music and dance.
Is that the sound of a beating drum off in the distance? No, it is the place “where the waves pound like a beating heart” calling. You may know it better as Winney Bay lookout at Tudibaring Headland.
Let the beat drive you forward to Avoca Beach, a place strongly connected to the arts. Its Aboriginal name ‘Bulbararong’ is the word the traditional land owners used to describe the estuary meeting the sea. It is still a popular meeting place, just as it was back then. Here you can watch performances on stage, view art exhibitions, and walk amongst the ephemeral sculptures along the beach.
Beyond the sculptures, the journey continues across Avoca Lagoon to North Avoca. This hidden gem provides a glimpse into the First Nation people’s rich customs and the importance of the whale in the traditional Awakabel way of life. Share your hopes and dreams on the wishing well and see the spectacular giant kites flying in the sky.
Over the hill lays the fifth and final land – Terrigal. Known by the traditional land owners as “place of little birds,” this is the perfect venue for the grand finale. Celebrate the end of your pilgrimage with African beading, face painting, live art and performances.
Don’t forget to call in at the finish-line marquee to collect your participation certificate and wristband. You can join and leave the route at any point you choose, whenever you choose – but with so much to be seen and experienced, why would you?
5. Pace yourself
If you’re committed to walking the entire 10-kilometre route, it will take between 4–6 hours. But if you plan to enjoy the string of festivals along the way, give yourself the whole day and have the full 5 Lands Walk experience.
Allow yourself plenty of time to savour the spectacular views, visit the exhibitions, behold the indigenous ceremonies and cultural displays, indulge in fantastic foods and spontaneously dance to the music. There are whales to be spotted and new people to get to know so take your time.
- Have water breaks, coffee breaks, and picnic stops.
- Breathe in the fresh sea air.
- Paint a picture in your memory of the blue winter oceans caressing the peach coloured cliffs.
- Dance, laugh, celebrate.
- It’s not a race; it’s a festival to be enjoyed!
Remember, you can join and leave the route at any point and anytime, so if the going gets tough or you’ve spent a little longer enjoying the activities at one of the lands than planned, you can hop on a shuttle bus to your next destination.
Courtesy shuttle buses loop between each of the five lands so you can avoid the big hills and rest those weary traveller legs when you need. It’s important to know your limits, so listen to your needs and don’t push yourself. It’s better to catch a ride than having to deal with an unplanned injury.
Most of the 5 Lands Walk route is on beaches and bush tracks which are not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs, however, the shuttle buses make sure people with disabilities can still come along and participate in the festival. If you or someone you know has a disability and would prefer to drive to each land to enjoy the revelries, disabled parking is available in each land.
Keep the fun going at Mingara
Festivities kick off at 7 am and go until 4 pm – that’s 9 hours of pure Central Coast magic to immerse yourself in. Take your time, soak it in, but don’t let the festivities end there.
While the music starts to fade, the sun begins to set, and the walkers grow weary, you can head to Mingara Recreation Club to keep the celebrations going. Wind down or carry on the fun with our variety of restaurants, where there’s sure to be a flavour and cuisine to satisfy everyone.