- Capture the essence of the Camino de Santiago on this pilgrimage walk to the tiny monastic village of New Norcia
- Follow in the inspirational footsteps of Dom Rosendo Salvado who served the Indigenous people of the early Swan River Settlement
- Walk through the heart of wildflower country for which Western Australia is renowned
- Share the trail with like-minded people taking time out to reflect, renew and interact with nature
- Immerse yourself in the serenity and peacefulness of West Australia’s bush landscapes
- Connect with yourself and fellow walkers through daily walking and the simple rituals of pilgrim life
- Carry a small token with you to leave at the tomb of Dom Salvado
- Experience the historical Swan Valley wine region which boasts some of Australia’s oldest grapevines
- Spend a night in the quiet simple surroundings of the Monastery guesthouse for a glimpse into the life of the Benedictine monks
The 185km Pilgrim Trail perfectly encapsulates the essence of Caminos all over the world. It is primarily a Camino that links us back through history to people, places, communities and culture. This journey not only connects urban landscapes to the bush, it links our past to the present. And not only to our European past, but to the ancient Aboriginal history of the Whadjuk and the Yued people of the Noongar language.
The Pilgrim Trail reflects connections to the Camino de Santiago and beyond; to Subiaco in Italy where the genesis of the Benedictine order was conceived by Saint Benedict and to his birthplace Norcia, Italy. Dom Rosendo Salvado was a Spanish Benedictine monk who studied at San Martín Pinario just a few metres from the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. He later arrived in Australia as a pioneer to serve and understand the local Aboriginal people and their culture. The Pilgrim Trail meanders along the Swan River from urban Subiaco through rural landscapes and national parks to arrive at New Norcia, named after the birthplace of St Benedict and Australia’s only monastic town.
“When you walk the trail, you become the trail.” Noongar Elder
Our footprints hold our hopes and dreams, the story of where we come from and where we’re going – and there are many stories from the trail including the story of Dom Salvado. RAW Travel invites you to bring your spirit of acceptance and adventure and come with us to add your story to the wonderful pastiche of spirituality, culture and community among the golden outback of Western Australia.
Are you a first-time or solo traveller?
We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.
Day 1: WALK SUBIACO VIA KINGS PARK TO GUILDFORD (23KM)
Get ready to begin your tour at 7:15-7:30am when we meet at Subiaco train station. Our tour bus will collect your bags for transfer to our accommodation while we begin the short walk to the trailhead at St Joseph’s Church, Subiaco. A quick stroll through suburban streets brings us to Perth’s much-loved King’s Park, one of the world’s most beautiful parks which displays around 3,000 of WA’s 12,000 species of native flora. Making our way through the park and along the treetop walk we can experience the beauty of the Swan River. Aboriginal history tells us the mythical serpent, the Wagyl entered the ground here and emerged at its foot to create this stunning river. From King’s Park we make our way to the river foreshore passing through the newly redeveloped Elizabeth Quay precinct with the city skyline as a backdrop. The river will be our constant companion today as we follow its meandering trail enjoying breaks along the way to take in its natural beauty. The river supports an abundance of wildlife including cockatoos, black swans, pelicans, ospreys and bottle-nose dolphins which are regularly sighted. Slowly but surely, we leave the city behind crossing the Swan River for the first time to arrive at the lovely heritage town of Guilford.
Meals: L, D
Day 2: WALK GUILDFORD TO WALYUNGA NATIONAL PARK (24KM)
Heading off from our accommodation at 8.00am we have time to ease into the mornings walk. The trail is flat and pleasantly follows suburban footpaths to cross our constant friend, the wonderful Swan River. We pass the Lilac Hill reserve where once-upon-a-time Dennis Lillee along with other famous world class cricket players participated in an annual fund-raising match. We soon begin to see the first grapevines and vineyards of the Swan Valley region as we begin to transition into more rural surroundings. The Swan Valley historical wine region has vines dating back to 1829 with varieties such as shiraz, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon. We’ll stop for morning tea at a local cafe before looping back to cross the Swan River once again as we make our way towards Bells Rapids to enjoy scenic views of the surrounding countryside. The area is home to a prolific variety of flora and fauna so keep an eye out for kangaroos, emus and seasonal wildflowers which abound at springtime to cover the forest floor. The last stretch of today’s walk leads us into Walyunga National Park, a significant place of meeting for local Nyoongar people for more than 6,000 years. The bus will meet us at the end of the day to take us back to our lovely Swan Valley accommodation.
Overnight: Swan Valley
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3: WALK WALYUNGA NATIONAL PARK TO AVON VALLEY NATIONAL PARK (24KM)
Today we follow the Pilgrim Trail into the heart of the Walyunga National Park where we recognise and acknowledge Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the land. We begin by following the existing Kangaroo and Echidna trails through which are quite challenging but rewarding with wonderful views to the Avon valley. Keep a lookout for mobs of kangaroos which are plentiful in the park and love to graze in grassy areas. Eventually the wandoo and granite lined trail diverts and leads us into the rural farmland and wildflower country of the Lower Chittering Valley. The valley has a vibrant farmgate community selling seasonal produce such as oranges, mangoes, avocados, honey, eggs, nuts, asparagus and goats’ cheese, so make sure you bring your wallet and your appetite. We continue along quiet Chittering Rd leaving the farmlands behind until we reach the end of today’s walk on the edge of the Avon Valley National Park. The bus will meet us to take us back to our lovely Swan Valley accommodation.
Overnight: Swan Valley
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4: WALK AVON VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO JULIMAR FOREST (23KM)
Today we have a story to tell you about Moondyne Joe, Western Australia’s most famous bushranger! But first we must begin today’s walk which starts at the edge of the Avon Valley National Park and heads deep into the Moondyne Nature Reserve. The reserve offers wonderful views, stunning native flora and abundant birdlife, including the endangered Carnaby Black Cockatoo. It is important to remember this area sits within south west Western Australia’s biodiversity hotspot which runs north to Shark Bay and south to Esperance (approximately). And within this region there are about 8,000 plant species that are found nowhere else in the world, so it is important to take it slow, savour our surroundings and enjoy spending time in nature. After the serenity of the bushland reserve we emerge into cleared farmland to follow long stretches of Plunkett Rd; perfect for quiet contemplation and reflection. Our bus will be waiting to transfer us to the charming historic town of Toodyay near the banks of the Avon river.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: WALK JULIMAR FOREST TO DEWARS POOL RD (22KM)
This may well be your favourite section of the Camino as the entire day is spent walking through the pretty Julimar State Forest. We follow the trail surrounded by Jarrah, Wandoo and Marri trees and over 500 seasonal wildflowers including over 30 species of orchids. The forest is also home to one of the healthiest chuditch (Western quoll) populations in Western Australia. Quolls are nocturnal carnivorous mammals about the size of a domestic cat, and although we’re unlikely to see any, it’s comforting to know the forest offers a sanctuary and healthy environment for them. There’s also plenty of birdlife to keep us company and time to enjoy all the sights, smells and sounds of forest life; there really is something soothing about spending time in a forest. The Japanese have known about the benefits of ‘forest bathing’ or shinrin-yoku for many years. Studies show that being in, and connecting to nature has many positive effects, which may be why our Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walk is so popular. At the end of our walk our bus will be waiting to transfer us back to our accommodation in Toodyay.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: WALK DEWARS POOL RD TO OLD PLAINS RD (24KM)
Enjoy nice easy walking along the pretty undulating trails with the forest to one side and open farmland pastures to the other. From as early as July to mid-October you can see the canola fields flowering which makes for very pretty scenery. The trail dog-legs its way past the Bindoon military training area zone and zig-zags in and around thriving farmland boundary fences. You’ll notice the changes in geography as we head towards the Gascoyne river which is the longest river in WA at 865km. The lightly wooded trails give way to a sparser environment and sandy trails the closer we move towards the river plains. This area is renowned for its wildflowers and diverse wildlife – hopefully we will see the large flocks of Carnaby cockatoos which frequent the area. Today we will move accommodation, our bus will meet us to take us to the delightful Black Wattle Retreat to meet our wonderful host Linda who also happens to be an exceptional cook.
Overnight: Avon Valley
Meals: B, L, D
Day 7: WALK OLD PLAINS RD TO CALINGIRI RD (18KM)
Today is a meandering kind of walking day – a day for reflection and contemplation; this is the meseta of the Camino Salvado. And like the meseta of the Camino de Santiago its flat easy walking along a dusty road. Many people find beauty walking beside the wide-open expanses of paddocks with big horizons stretching in either direction. If a pilgrimage walk is a metaphor for life, we know we will all encounter tougher sections along our journey. For some pilgrims today may be a struggle, and for others a joy. What we do know is that whatever today’s walk brings, your footprints along the Pilgrims Trail create a story. And as a storyteller you become part of the area’s history, connecting back thousands of years to those before you and to those in the future. As a special treat we will enjoy a beautiful cream tea and wildflower walk with Sarah from Carrah Farm. Sarah is originally from The Lizard in Cornwall, a tiny village on the South West Coast Path, one of RAW Travel’s most popular UK hikes – we love celebrating connections!
Overnight: Avon Valley
Meals: B, L, D
Day 8: WALK CALINGIRI RD TO NEW NORCIA (28km)
Our final day on the Pilgrim Trail is both interesting and exciting as we follow the trail into New Norcia. But not before enjoying some beautiful scenery, wonderful views and a fascinating sight. Looking west from the trail you will catch extraordinary glimpses of one of three European Space Agencies (ESA) Deep Space Antenna. From the middle of rural Western Australia this incredible antenna provides support for space missions such as Mars Express, Rosetta and space surveyor Gaia. The space antenna is certainly not the only surprising thing you will see today – after all your days of walking, the historic town of New Norcia finally reveals itself. There in the middle of seemingly nowhere stands this remarkable Spanish Benedictine enclave stunningly juxtaposed against the peaceful Australian landscape. The town has 27 individual buildings that are National Trust listed including the Monastery, Abbey Church and Convent. The town is also famous for its sourdough bread which is made daily using an age-old recipe. Tonight, we have the privilege of staying in the Monastery guesthouse. Dinner tonight is in the Monastery dining room.
Overnight: New Norcia
Meals: B, L, D
Day 9: DEPART NEW NORCIA
We will have a simple breakfast at the Monastery before exploring this unique village with a self-guided walk of the town and river area. For a yummy way to end our Camino Salvado pilgrimage we will drop into the iconic local Bindoon Bakehaus for a quick snack (own cost) before making our way back to Perth.
From May 8th to October 1st 2020 our special offer of $1 deposit applies to new bookings made in this period for website trips*. $1 is all you will pay in 2020 for trips departing in 2021.
From January 1st 2021 we will invoice you the remainder of the standard deposit ($499*) and the remaining balance payment at the standard 2 months before departure. All your arrangements will be fully confirmed then, as per usual. The $1 deposit offer does not apply to private groups or significant tailormade trip requests, please speak to one of our consultants if you have any questions.
If Government restrictions don’t allow for any travel in your chosen destination at that time (when the balance is due at 60 days prior to departure) then we will either postpone your trip or allow you to transfer to another destination and trip that has availability instead.
*Note - the standard deposit for Peru Lodge trips is $1000.
- 1-nights accommodation in heritage-listed Guildford
- 2-nights accommodation in the Swan Valley
- 2-nights accommodation in historic Toodyay
- 2-nights accommodation in the Avon Valley
- 1-nights accommodation in New Norcia
- All meals included (except lunch on Day 9)
- Return transfer to Perth from New Norcia
- Refreshment stops during walks
- Experienced hiking guide
- Driver & support vehicle for duration of tour
- Travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature
- Alcoholic beverages are not included in your package, but can be put on tab and settled with staff at the end of your stay
- Single supplement ($1075 extra) – please enquire, limited single rooms available. Note – Single supplement does not apply to monastery stay.