AusCamino Festival Background and Profile
In 2013 Margaret and Rowan Bouttell cycled the Camino de Santiago, and were so inspired they decided on a complete change of life and moved to Blackheath to start a new venture – the SportsBunkhouse. This is a new type of hostel in the area modelled on a Camino Albergue. Together with this they bought the heritage listed Glenella Guesthouse.
Blue Mountains Australia Supporters of the Camino
Soon after moving to the Blue Mountains they discovered other people who held their shared passion for the Camino, most notably Tony Jacques, and together they began hosting and organising the Blue Mountains Australia Supporters of the Camino group. These proved to be extremely popular, attracting people from all walks of life to come together and join in the Camino nights with numerous guest speakers, some from as far afield as the Central Coast, Orange, Canowindra and other distant places.
In true Camino spirit, many in the group have stepped forward to volunteer and help with organisation, cooking, setup and to support in other ways.
From this positive energy, the AusCamino Festival idea emerged.
The birth of the AusCamino Festival
With such enthusiasm and support, the team announced plans to ‘go big’ and start an annual Camino themed festival. This event aims to attract attendees from all around Australia to come to the Blue Mountains which has proven to have so much to offer pilgrims and prospective pilgrims.
Having the AusCamino Festival in the Blue Mountains facilitates promoting the area as a great place to visit when training for long distance walking. There are many local accommodation and tourist providers who are involved and actively supportive of the growing ‘Camino community’. Like-minded people coming together for the friendship, to meet others, to walk and talk and learn all about the Caminos, about Spain, the food, the equipment, the walking, etc. etc. All things Camino, all things Spanish.
The first AusCamino Festival – 2017
Amazing !! It was really hard work to do so much and to deliver it well. As many event organisers will attest, there is never a second to relax. So many people chipped in and helped without even being asked. And somehow, we floated our way through surrounded by all the happy people. It is the people who make it so SPECIAL. What we are doing here is trying to promote a ‘Camino culture’, and even beyond that – to create a movement. Sue Kenney, one of our speakers on the day expressed it well when she wrote about ‘living the virtues of being a pilgrim in life’.
Stats from the last Festival:
Total Festival attendees: approx. 250 including EXPO & sessions
Training Walks & popup Albergue: 30 (popup FULL)
Paella Meal and Social evening at Glenella: 125 (FULL)
Sunday Workshops & Classes: 20-25 at each workshop, 30 at cooking class (FULL)
Excursions: 26 approx. visited Blue Labyrinth & talk by Rev Mel
- Hospitalero Training offered by Julie-Ann
- The 2 day Camino Training Walk arranged by Jerard and Enda
- The 13 speaking sessions and presentations, all done by passionate and committed people.
- The great food and the atmosphere it created.
Celebrating all things Camino