What is the Aussie Camino?

Front Photo


The Aussie Camino is a pilgrimage route running from Portland in Victoria to Penola in South Australia, inspired by the life and journeys of Australia’s Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop and her mentor Fr Julian Tenison Woods. Based on the traditions of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, pilgrims receive a guidebook, passport, scallop shell and stay in the local towns along the way. Although the Aussie Camino is designed to be self-guided, groups of around 15-20 depart at various times of the year. However those more  adventurous are encouraged to go in small groups in which we may assist in planning.

Email an enquiry about the Aussie Camino

Next camino groups:


  • April 3rd – 12th
  • April 16th – 25th


  • September 24th – October 3rd
  • September 28th – October 7th



In April 2013, three workmates set out on a pilgrimage they called the ‘Aussie Camino’.  On the way they discussed the history, customs and traditions of the ancient pilgrim trails and asked ‘Why are there only caminos in Europe and the Holy Land? Why can’t  we have one here? Now that we have a saint of our own, St Mary MacKillop. Where would it begin and end?’


YouTube Clip – Aussie Camino 2013

Mary MacKillop was a traveller. Her work took her all over Australia and New Zealand. It was decided it should be from Portland to Penola. Mary MacKillop traveled widely but her last teaching post as a lay teacher was in Portland. From there, she was called by her mentor and co-founder priest Fr Julian Tenison-Woods back to Penola, where they had met a few years before. Penola is widely accepted as the birthplace of St Mary MacKillop’s order, the Sisters of St Joseph. A town with a population of only 1300, it is 383 kilometres from Adelaide and 412 kilometres from Melbourne. It was when Mary was called from Portland to Penola on 19 March 1866 that she wore her black habit for the first time and declared herself Sr Mary.


After much planning, a second group of 32 set out at Easter 2014 on the first official ‘Aussie Camino’.  Each day  began with a lively ‘Buen camino!’ in the main street of each town and then, with maps in hand, they set out for their destination. Every day included six to eight hours of walking—an average of 24 kilometres— each day was long but spectacular, as it is  both a spiritual and human experience. Although it traces places Mary MacKillop  visited it also appeals to people who have a sense of awe in creation. The camino includes walks along cliff tops, beaches, sand dunes, goat trails and farm tracks. Only about 7 kilometres of the whole camino is on major highways.

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Each day the pilgrims stay in the local hotel of each town.  The peace and solitude, combined with the steady rhythm of the feet and walking poles, provides many moments of reflection. In this busy life one does not often get a chance to really talk with one another, but on the road there is plenty of time  to reveal very personal experiences.

We hope one day you will be able to come and experience it for yourself.

¡Buen camino!

Luke Mills


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Aussie Camino is a registered name and trademark.


2 thoughts on “What is the Aussie Camino?”

  1. Stunning effort with the website Luke. Great information for ones like me, mulling it over, getting closer to planning a walk, looking for such practical info – the section on footcare is marvellous, as are the many other practical aspects you have covered, details of sections of the walk etc.. Congratulations and thanks.

  2. Thanks Luke and your team for bringing the Aussie Camino to life. I’m really pleased to read questions like “Why don’t we have an Aussie camino we now have our own saint. Why only Europe and UK?”
    So I applaud you and your team for all the work you have done to establish our very own camino.
    I have walked two parts of the French Way. First in 2012 and just returned from my second camino two weeks ago. Enjoyed both immensely and derived huge benefits and spiritual insights.
    I look forward to the 2015 Easter Camino. Buen camino – Jane

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A camino experience marking significant places in the life of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tension Woods.