After checking out the Avoca Beachside Market, I’ve decided to walk back to MacMasters Beach, hopefully getting some nice sunset photos on the way. I spotted some signs yesterday that outlined the 5 Lands Walk, a day-long festival held on the Saturday closest to the winter solstice where thousands of people walk from the surf club at MacMasters Beach to the Terrigal surf club, via Copacabana, Avoca Beach and North Avoca. I’m doing the majority of the 5 Lands walk in the reverse direction: starting at Avoca Beach, just south of the Avoca Lagoon, and finishing at MacMasters Beach.
The Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club is at the very southern end of the beach, and is pretty busy with people drinking and enjoying dinner. There are a few swimmers still in the water and some people fishing.
I make a navigational error here: with my map showing a trail along the rocks, below the cliffs, I set off along the coastline. Although it’s just about high tide, I manage to keep my shoes dry as I follow the rocky platform.
There’s a few fishermen around – and a solitary pelican.
Unfortunately, after about 600m I reach a point where the waves are washing over the rocks, and a scramble is required over a narrow ledge perched above the ocean. I decide to retreat, not wanting to get stuck out here with the light fading. It looks possible to get through to Winney Bay, further along the coast – but you’d want to be doing this at low tide (or at least, not half an hour before high tide). I find out later that even at low tide there’s no way to get to Winney Bay!
It costs me a bit of time, as I return to the end of Avoca Beach, and then follow Avoca Drive up the headland. I’m not back on the official 5 Lands Walk route. A walking track from Ascot Avenue to the Avoca Water Tower removes most of the “road walking”, providing a steep but direct route to the top of the headland.
From the Avoca Water Tower a service trail descends towards the coast, providing occasional views over the ocean.
The trail reaches the shoreline again near Winney Bay (also spelt Winnie Bay), where a short side-track goes to the small, rocky cove. It’s not a good place to swim, partly because of the rocks, and partly because just north of Winney Bay is a sewerage outlet, which discharges approximately 150 ML of treated water daily from the Kincumber wastewater treatment plant.
From Winney Bay the track continues to ascend gently along the coast. After a few hundred metres, the unsealed service trail suddenly turns into an immaculate, wide paved walking track. It’s part of an upgrade completed in August 2018.
As well as the paved track, the upgrade of the Winney Bay Clifftop Walk includes an impressive set of stairs, replacing the steep and eroded track up to the headland. (Although, while the stairs are impressive in their construction, it detracts a little from the feeling of being in the bush.)
At the top of the stairs is a nice view back to the south, towards Avoca and Terrigal.
A little oddly, just after the top of the stairs, the paves track reverts to a narrow dirt bushwalking track – which I much prefer over the more clinical paved track. A few informal goat tracks lead to vantage points over the sheer cliffs. (There are plans to upgrade this track to the same standard as the previous paved track.)
With the sun having well and truly set, I reach the Captain Cook Lookout. There’s another wide, paved path leading to an enormous viewing platform, which juts out from Tudibaring Head. It’s described as offering “sweeping views up and down the coast; on a clear day, views extend from Norah Head in the north all the way down to the skyscrapers of the Sydney CBD”. Maybe I was too late in the day, or the trees have grown around the lookout, but I found it rather underwhelmingly. There were great views directly out over the ocean, and that was about all I could see…
It’s now dark as I follow the road (Del Monte Place) all the way down to the junction with Del Rio Drive, where I access Copacabana Beach for the final stretch home.
Copacabana Beach becomes MacMasters beach somewhere in the middle; the two beaches are usually one contiguous beach, separated at times by the Cockrone Lagoon (which sometimes cuts a channel though the beach when it’s overflowing).
The 5 Lands Walk finishes at the southern end of MacMasters Beach, where there is a rock pool beneath the MacMasters Surf Life Saving Club.
It’s taken me about two hours to get from Avoca Beach to MacMasters Beach – a bit longer than planned, due to my aborted attempt to follow the coastline from Avoca. It’s not a bad walk, but not as nice as the walks within Bouddi National Parks as there are multiple sections of road-walking you can’t avoid. But a pleasant evening walk, and one I would do again when I’m not quite as rushed.
0.0km Avoca Beach (Ficus Avenue entrance) 0.6km Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club 1.6km Avoca Water Tower / start of service trail 2.6km Winney Bay 4.0km Captain Cook Lookout 5.2km Copacabana Beach (northern end) 6.8km MacMasters Beach Surf Life Saving Club - end of 5 Lands Walk
More informaton on 5 Lands Walk
The 5 Lands Walk is outside Bouddi National Park, so dogs (and bikes) are allowed on most parts of the route. There is some signage at key points along the 5 Lands Walk – but not at every trail junction.
For more information on Bouddi National Park including all the bushwalks, picnic areas, beaches and the best lookouts, have a look at the Guide to Bouddi National Park.