A 5-Day Camino Experience
in the beautiful Blue Mountains, NSW Australia
What is the 5-Day Camino Walk? (5-Day Walk)
It is a 5-Day Camino style walk organized by the Blue Mountains Camino Supporters group (BMCS), and is a wonderful opportunity to experience the Camino spirit right here in Australia.
The walk starts in Penrith at the base of the Blue Mountains and goes to Blackheath at the top. The length of the walk is between 70 and 85km depending on the route taken; and the elevation gained overall is 1040 metres.
If you have walked a Camino before and wish to rekindle the pleasures, and pain, of long-distance walking with like-minded pilgrims, then this walk is for you. If you have never walked a Camino, but aspire to one day, then this walk is the perfect opportunity to learn from others and to experience a little of the Camino spirit right here in the Blue Mountains.
Note, this is not a guided walk, but an opportunity to walk with like-minded people. Detailed maps and information are provided. What time you start and finish each day, which route you take, where you stay, what you eat, and who you walk with, is all up to you. Suggestions are given as a guide. We ask that you join the walk in the spirit of the Camino.
When is the 5-Day Walk?
In 2022, there will be four 5-Day Walks. They are on the following dates:
- March 22-26 completed
- May 3-7 completed
- September 6-10 completed
- November 1-5
Each walk starts on a Tuesday and finishes on a Saturday. A Welcome Dinner and walker briefing is held on Monday night, the night before each walk.
The 5-Day Walk is very popular, and positions are limited to 50 per walk. To allow as many people as possible to join the walk, you will only be able to book one walk, but you can also wait-list yourself on any of the other walks. One month before each scheduled walk, if space allows, then waitlisted walkers can register for another walk. All walkers must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated to participate.
Note, the event may change due to unforeseen weather events and COVID-19 restrictions.
How hard is the 5-Day Walk?
Each day the BMCS 5-Day Walk starts and finishes at a train station, so access is easy. The walk passes other train stations along the way and also passes through many villages on the way up the Mountains.
The route uses bush tracks, fire trails, secondary roads and in some cases footpaths along the main highway. There are steps and some steep sections. Each day there are options to walk more scenic but more difficult routes, or to walk easier more direct routes; you decide what to walk. Each day, except the first, you will walk an average of 13-18km. The first day you will walk approx 23km. The distance you walk each day is up to you, you can choose when and where you start and finish each day.
Although the distances don't appear long, the suggested walk each day will take approx 6-8 hours, including breaks, due to the elevation gain and the variability of the bush tracks. Remember this is not a guided walk, and all walkers are responsible for their own personal safety and well-being.
Where do I stay during the 5-Day Walk?
Walkers are responsible for organizing their own accommodation. Given the walk each day starts and ends at a train station, it is easy for walkers to get to and from the walk, and to get to and from their accommodation, be it nearby or a further afield.
Walkers may choose to:
a. Walk up the Mountains in true Camino style and stay at villages each night along the way, or
b. Stay at only one place and commute to and from the walk each day, or
c. A combination of both, with shorts stays at more than one place along the route.
The choice is yours to organise. Past walkers have arranged and tried all three options and have often banded together to reduce costs. Suggested accommodation information is provided in the 5-Day Walk Info Portal.
A popular accommodation choice is Glenella Albergue in Blackheath. The welcome dinner and walker briefing and several other events during the week are held there. Glenella offers a 6 night accommodation package, arriving Monday, departing Sunday. A maximum of 25 pilgrims can be accommodated. Glenella has hosted the 5-Day pilgrims for the past 2 years and supported the whole Camino experience.
Regardless of where you stay, all special events at Glenella are open to all registered walkers.
How safe is the 5-Day Walk?
The suggested routes are all predefined tracks managed by either the NSW National Parks or the Blue Mountains City Council. Both organisations post information about their track closures here and here. Most scenic routes are checked by BMCS volunteers in the weeks leading up to each walk to ensure they are passable, safe and have no major risks.
Inherently any activity involving bush walking has risk, the BMCS 5-Day Walk is no exception. All walkers must exercise care, know their limitations, and walk within their capabilities. Remember, all walkers are responsible for their own personal safety and well-being. Walkers should be reasonably fit, and we do not recommend they walk alone. Do not use any closed track.
STOP PRESS: Recent and current heavy rainfalls in the Blue Mountans and Sydney areas may result in changes to the 5-Day Walk route to avoid damage and track closures. Final routes will be confirmed closer to the time of the walk.
What about COVID?
All participants must be up to date with their vaccinations to join the BMCS 5-Day Walks and any other BMCS activities. We ask all walkers to adhere to the latest NSW Health advice, refer here. Please ensure you always practice appropriate social distancing and good hygiene. Carry hand sanitiser in your packs and wear face masks when using public transport. You may need to download and install the Service NSW app on your phone to QR check in and to store and display your COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate status.
If you are feeling unwell, please do not participate in the walk. If you have the slightest of symptoms, please get tested and follow the current health guidelines.
Please protect yourself and others.
How much does the 5-Day Walk cost?
The cost of each 2022 BMCS 5-Day Walk is $75 per person.
This fee includes both printed and digital maps, access to the online 5-Day Walk Info Portal, Pilgrim Events, Insurance, Mementos, Credentials and Stamps, Welcome Dinner and Completion Celebration Lunch.
This fee does not include accomodation, transport costs and meals, except the 2 meals noted above.
Remember: Each walk is limited to 50 participants. You can only book one walk in 2022, but you can waitlist yourself on as many other walks as you like. One month before each scheduled walk, if space allows, the waitlisted walkers can register for another walk.
Following successful registration, a confirmation email will be sent to you. In this email you will be given details of how to log into the 5-Day Walk Info Portal. This portal contains a wealth of information to help you prepare for and to enjoy your 5-Day Walk.
A few weeks prior to each scheduled walk, registered walkers will be invited to join a WhatsApp Group to enable them to stay in touch with each other and to co-ordinate gatherings and logistics during the walk.
What is the 5-Day Walk Info Portal?
This is a series of web pages that contain a wealth of information to help you prepare for and to enjoy your 5-Day Walk experience. It contains more details about the walk than this page and provides recommended accommodation, packing list, daily schedule, and digital routes and maps. It is the most up-to-date source of 5-Day Walk information.
The 5-Day Walk Info Portal can only be accessed by registered walkers. After successful registration through TryBooking, you will receive a confirmation email with details of how to login to the Info Portal. Look out for this email. You can access the Info Portal from any device, pc or mobile, and at any time.
As well as helping you to prepare for your walk, the Info Portal will be very useful during the walk to preview for the day ahead and load your maps & route information.
How do I access the 5-Day Walk Info Portal?
Browse to the BMCS website at bluemountainscamino.com.au Click the small Logon link at the top of the screen, enter your given username and password, then click LOG IN. Once logged in, the link at the top of the page will change to Logout. Click it to logout. Note, your login will automatically time out after a given time of inactivity. We suggest you bookmark the login page and save your login details in your browser, pc or mobile, to simplify the login process.
Once you have logged in, you can access the Info Portal pages by …
On a PC: Hovering your mouse over the 5-Day Walk menu tab. This will display a dropdown menu showing the Info Portal pages. If you don’t see a dropdown menu, you are not logged in. Click the page you want to read. Change pages the same way.
On a mobile: Tap the red MENU link at the top of the page, this will display the full list of menu options. Under the 5-Day Walk section you will see the Info Portal pages. Tap the page you want to view. Change pages the same way.
What if I have further questions?
Pic below: An example of the printed information provided to registered walkers.
Pic below: The wall map in the Camino Corner at Glenella Albergue showing the routes of the BMCS 5-Day Walk.
BMCS 5-DAY WALK LOG
Yearly 5-Day Walks started in September 2017. Due to strong interest, this changed to twice yearly in 2020, an Autumn walk and a Spring walk. This year, 2022, four walks are planned. Following is a record of our past BMCS 5-Day Walks.
Pic below: Day 1 group of walkers at Penrith Stn, Penrith > Springwood
Pic below: Day 1 Penrith > Springwood, at Penrith Station
Pic beolw: Day 5 some of the March 2022 5-Day walkers at the Glenella Waymarker
BMCS 5-Day Walk #7 - 23-27 November 2021
The scheduled September 2021 walk was postponed until November due to Covid-19 restrictions. Unfortunately, due to border closures and restrictions, many interstate participants had to cancel their travel arrangements. However, after NSW emerged from 4 months of lockdown, it was a very excited group of 30 pilgrims you took part in their Blue Mountains Camino despite the very wet conditions. It certainly was a great test of wet weather gear!
The concept of extending the 5-Day walk was introduced with one hardy pilgrim starting from downtown Sydney 5 days prior whilst 8 other pilgrims started from Parramatta 3 days prior. Many of the pilgrims walked Day 6 from Blackheath to Mt Victoria. Pilgrims joined us from Sydney and surrounds, Queanbeyan, Brisbane and the Blue Mountains. This was a COVID-19 safe event with all walkers being fully vaccinated to participate.
Pic below: Day 4, Novmber 2021 BMCS 5-Day Walk. Very damp pilgrims at one of the many lookouts, a white-out on this occasion!
BMCS 5-Day Walk #6 - 23-27 March 2021
Due to an extreme weather event across NSW, the March walk was reduced to a 4-Day Walk with Day 1 (Penrith to Springwood) being cancelled. The track along the Nepean River was under water! On two other days the route had to be changed slightly too due to the possibility of unsafe walking conditions and swollen creeks. The wet weather didn't dampen the spirits of the walkers with many enjoying a 'rest' day on what would have been Day 1 walking. There were 40 walkers registered for the March 5-Day Walk and despite some last minute cancellations, there were 35 excited pilgrims who participated. Pilgrims came from Brisbane, several from the Central Coast and South Coast regions, three from Canberra including a couple on their 3rd attempt to join us (border closures), and many from Sydney and of course the Blue Mountains.
In the end the weather in the Blue Mountains almost on cue subsequently cleared and by Wednesday morning (the delayed start) provided sunny days, perfect for walking. Some walkers chose to walk from Blackheath to Mt Victoria on Day 6, to make it 'their' 5-Day Walk.
The use of Avenza Maps, an offline map app, along with QR codes to load the various topgraphical maps and daily routes.
It was wonderful how pilgrims so willingly pitched in to help with the 'small' drainage issues on the first day/night at Glenella after an unexpected water feature presented itself, and also how fellow pilgrims helped each other along the way and were very flexible with Plan B route/s. Another wonderful Blue Mountains Camino 5 (4)-Day Walk enjoyed by all pilgrims. Buen Camino.
Pic below: Day 2, March 2021 BMCS 5-Day Walk. Some pilgrims in contemplation on the 11 circuit Chartres replica Labyrinth at Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat, Woodford.
BMCS 5-Day Walk #5 - 27-31 October 2020
Thirteen walkers including some members from the Central Coast Camino Group, Jindabyne, Sydney and the Blue Mountains started on Day 1 from Penrith to walk all 5 days. With each day passing the group was joined by more walkers including several from the September 5-Day Walk increasing the numbers to 25 on Day 4. The October walkers experienced all seasons over the 5 days with snow drifts on Day 5 to the excitment of everybody! Again, 20 pilgrims were hosted at 'Albergue' Glenella which provided much Camino spirit and camaraderie just like on the Camino in Spain or Portugal. Evening events included special guest John Brierley, author of the 'A Pilgrim's guide to the Camino de Santiago'. He Zoomed in to chat to the pilgrims staying at Glenella and other walkers at home.
Pic below: Day 1, October 2020. Walkers setting off from Penrith "The Gateway to the Blue Mountains"
BMCS 5-Day Walk #4 - 22-26 September 2020
Fifty registered to walk including 4 from interstate but due to COVID-19 restrictions they could not join us. Forty six pilgrims walked all or part of the 5 days. Due to Covid Resctrictions, they were divided into 4 groups doing 2 different routes with a walk co-ordinator per group each day. Pilgrims came from across NSW including Newcastle, Alstonville in the Northern Rivers, Mudgee, Wollongong, Queanbeyan, numerous suburbs of Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Twenty pilgrims were hosted at 'Albergue' Glenella. Evening events included special guests Susi y Fermin of Casa Susi, who zoomed in from Tradbadelo Spain, to chat to the pilgrims staying at Glenella.
Pic below: Day 1, Sept 2020. Walkers having a break at Blaxland.
BMCS 5-Day Walk - 24-28 March 2020
Cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
BMCS 5-Day Walk #3 - 22-26 October 2019
Twelve pilgrims commenced on Day 1 with 8 pilgrims completing all 5 days. On Day 5 Katoomba to Blackheath, the numbers swelled with about 30 doing the last day.
Pic below: Day 1, October 2019. Walkers crossing the nepean River after setting off from Penrith.
Pic below: Day 1, September 2018. Walkers setting off from Penrith to Springwood.
BMCS 5-Day Walk #1 - 22-29 September 2017
The inaugural 5-Day walk Penrith to Blackheath. Six pilgrims set off on Day 1 with many others joining in to walk a day or two. After arriving at Blackheath, three pilgrims continued onto Mt Victoria. Congratulations and Buen Camino!
Pic below: Day 6, September 2017. Three walkers extended by an additional day and finishing at Mt Victoria.