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Tips On Walking The 5 Lands Walk, Central Coast NSW

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The Five Lands Walk is an annual walking event that takes place every June, at the time of the winter solstice in Australia.

It’s a 10km cultural, spiritual and physical journey covering five major beach villages along the Central Coast, starting at MacMasters Beach, migrating through Copacabana Beach, Avoca Beach and North Avoca Beach before ending at Terrigal Beach.

The 5 Lands Walk is a spiritual ceremony created to welcome the coming of warmer seasons and longer days.

It’s also the time of the year when the humpback whales migrate north. The humpback whale is the totem of the Darkinjung people of the Central Coast, and so an important symbolism of the celebration.

We completed the walk on the busiest whale migration day; they swam alongside us out beyond the cliffs blowing their sprouts and waving their flukes. They provide respite at the Captain Cook Lookout after a slightly strenuous hill climb.

Well, strenuous if you are carrying a 12kg child on your back.

If you’re thinking of taking part in the Five Lands Walk but not sure what to expect, or what to do to prepare for it, then here are our top tips for taking on this journey…

About The Five Lands Walk

young girl walking on trail
Doing the mud walk
two girls holding hands on a trail
Love how they look out for each other

The Five Lands Walk is a peaceful and special way to connect people to people, and people to land. It’s also proud to claim itself as a wallet free day!

I highly recommend anyone travelling to Sydney in June to schedule it into their calendar as a worthwhile event.

The Central Coast is just over an hour north of Sydney. The area is so stunning and not explored much by those on the tourist trail.

father and two daughters walking on a trail at captain cook lookout
Daddy daughter time
coastal views at captain cook lookout
Winney Bay Lookout

The Five Lands Walk celebrates the diverse cultural communities that make up each of the five beaches.

The Aboriginal culture is the common thread that unites the Five Lands.

Opening Ceremony

crowds of people walking on beach
Let’s begin

The opening ceremony usually kicks off at 7.00am, when the event opens for the day. This is where you first get to learn about The Message Stick, a tradition belonging to the Darkinjung people. The reading of the Message Stick kicks off the event, and then it travels through the five lands with the Messenger.

There is also live music performances, sculpture exhibitions, art displays and performing artists.

Events on the Five Lands Walk

MacMasters Beach Central Coast
What a magnificent winter’s day
Koala in gum tree
It’s tiring work

At each beach, Aboriginal dances, art work, and cultural artifacts are on display, and a smoking gum blessing is performed.

I got a little carried away wrapping myself in the Eucalyptus smoke and almost singed my eyes out. Tears streamed down my face and I blindly groped my way through the crowds for a smoke free space. I could barely make out the Latino band from Ecuador sharing their home tunes.

When we completed the walk, the different beaches celebrated the Chinese, Latino, Irish, African and Filipino cultures. You can try some of their food, watch dances and music performances and buy some of their crafted wares.

lanterns on the beach The Five Lands Walk Central Coast
Placing the lantern and leaving our footprint

There was also Australian wildlife on display for the kids including an echidna, snakes, and this cute koala.

We watched the starting ceremony at McMasters, and after the smoking blessing, we followed the pied piper down to the beach.

Opening ceremony Five Lands Walk

We picked up a paper Chinese lantern and snake and laid it further down the beach at the end of the line. It was a symbol of how our story was a part of the greater one being made today.

Our Experience of the Five Lands Walk

a beach
A wild surfing day

The surf was wild and the crowds jovial. Friends, partners, and families came together to enjoy the sunshine, the stunning coastal scenery, and the cultural uniqueness and unity of this great land.

young girl on father's shoulders walking on beach
Up on Daddy’s shoulders
green forest beside beach
Serenity

The walk is fairly gentle (unless you have a child on your back walking on soft sand) and there are several long steady climbs, up and down, and a couple of short steep sections with rough tracks and steps.

We weren’t too long in before Kalyra demanded a seat on Daddy’s shoulders and the whining started.

father and daughter holding hands on trail
Such a peaceful and pretty part
people walking on trail
Fun times with Savannah

By the time we reached Avoca Beach, the halfway point, we knew the girls had reached their limits.

My back had too. So we played by the water instead of finishing the walk and took a shuttle bus to skip to the end at Terrigal Beach.

You don’t have to complete the entire walk, you can do it in sections and get a free shuttle bus to the end from any of the beaches. You might want to do this if you are doing the walk with kids!

rocky beach
Avoca Beach
young girl in water
Love this photo

The best way to end such a fabulous day was with a cup of hot coffee by the beach and watch the storm clouds roll in.

I think we timed it perfectly.

a girl standing in water at avoca beach
Cool the tired feet
people on terrigal beach
Rest time for Mum and Dad while the girls play

Tips for doing The Five Lands Walk

  • The walk isn’t strenuous, but it’s mostly natural surface and isn’t stroller friendly. If you have kids, bring a hiking carrier like we did.
  • It takes about 4-5 hours to complete the entire 10km walk. Don’t feel like you have to hike it all. You can take the free shuttle bus from beach to beach if you get tired.
  • Wear sturdy footwear. Sandals are not really appropriate.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife! Koalas are often found sleeping in the trees on this walk.
  • There are some steep sections, but fortunately there are concrete steps for the steep bits from Copacabana to Winney Bay.
  • Prepare for bad weather. It’s common to rain on this parade (no pun intended) so pack a rain jacket and warm clothing. You can always abandon the walk if the weather gets too bad and take the bus.
  • You do need to be quite fit to do the walk. If you’re not active or have low fitness, you may want to take the shuttle buses instead.
surfers at avoca beach
Surfers to watch

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