One of the most scenic walks in the world is between two iconic Central Coast locations. Norah Head Lighthouse and The Skillion at Terrigal are must visit places for locals and tourists. Between the two stretches 27.5 km of Central Coast coastline, rockpools, golden sand, crashing waves and wildlife. This coastline also hosts the annual Lighthouse to Skillion Coast Walk.
What is the Lighthouse to Skillion Coast Walk?
The fundraising event only began in 2016 with event organisers wondering if the challenge would even attract 100 participants. Fast forward to the event in 2016 with over 2000 slightly nervous and potentially underprepared entrants lining up for a gruelling 27.5kms!
The walk is exactly as it sounds. A fundraising 27.5 km walk along the coastline from the lighthouse to the rocky headland known as The Skillion. Yes…along the coastline which means sand…beach walking … over 8km of purely sand. Oh, the heavy legs!
The Skillion finish is also the challenge on top of the iceberg of all challenges. The finish line is not at the bottom of The Skillion… yep…it is at the top of The Skillion where you are rewarded with personal satisfaction and the exquisite view that The Skillion offers, maybe some whales migrating to top it off!
Expect 7 – 9.5 hours of walking. The event is not a race – there are no prizes for finishing first. Everyone wins when they hit the top of The Skillion and complete the event.
The Half Walk is here
In 2017 organisers introduce the Half Walk. The perfect 16 km of Coastline walk – the perks – you miss an 8km stretch of sand, and you still have all the exhilaration of the summit finish at The Skillion. The 2018 event introduces the Family Walk from North Entrance to Shelly Beach.
How to enter The Lighthouse to Skillion Walk?
$59 for the full walk and $49 for the half walk and $9 for the Family Walk.
Where does my entry fee go towards?
Surf Life Saving Central Coast
This group hold all the local surf lifesaving information you would ever want to know. They offer education and training for the community and local surf clubs and also support local surf clubs with training, resources and much, much, more. They are the go-to for advice, information and knowledge in regards to surf safety and enjoying the Central Coast beaches safely.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter
This vital emergency helicopter and their skilled team are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. No one has ever paid for their trip in the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. With the assistance of community fundraising and government support funding the helicopter is flying 1500 missions per year. Did you know that the helicopters cost $1000 per hour in fuel, $1000 per hour to run the engine, $1500 for the air frame and $500 for avionics and that doesn’t even include the cost of the skilled medical, flight and engineering team involved?
But wait there is more…
It will be chilly on the morning of the event. There is no bag drop, so you need to carry what you want to take with you. With this in mind – you can choose to leave behind your warm tops and bottoms so they can be bagged up and donated to the Coast Shelter. Some people even pick up some cheap new warm gear with tags on and leave it there too!
Operating on the Central Coast for 25 years, Coast Shelter is a charitable organisation that provides support programs and accommodation for the homeless. Coast Shelter is accessible for men, women, families and youth every single night. They also provide over 1000 cooked meals every week. Their overall mission is to end homelessness on the Central Coast.
Bring your gold coins
The walk takes in eight gorgeous surf clubs, and as a part of your kit on the day the organisers recommend packing eight $2 coins. These surf clubs will be shiny beacons of hope during the challenge! They will offer motivation, claps, cheers, high fives, cool tunes and much need water bottle refilling and maybe some sneaky lollies. You may want to sling them a $2 coin for their efforts?
You will find the crew at Mingara One Fitness loaded with enthusiasm, fist pumps, high fives, motivating tunes and their general zest for all things health and fitness at Shelley Beach Surf Club on the day of the event.
This is not an event you wake up and decide you want to tackle without and prep work. 27.5 km’s is not light stroll – especially on with about 15 km’s of sand to get through as well! Don’t just focus on walking long distance – mix it up. Interval training, yoga, walking, group fitness classes, functional fitness and more.
Speak to a trainer at Mingara One Fitness, and they will love to set you up a program to get you in shape for the event. Visit the Lighthouse to Skillion website to check out their 12-week training plan. Do some test sand walks so that you are prepared for how difficult it is to walk in the sand and are aware of the potential injuries that can occur. You will have a few stairs and some rocks to clamber over as well.
Take your warm up and stretching seriously – this could make or break your success on the day. With this in mind check out these calf stretches from Darren at 6S Health at Mingara.
Ditch the earphones.
The organisers have got you covered at various stations along the route with pumping tunes and songs to sing along to. Chat with your friends, make new ones, listen to the waves crashing and even listen to the traffic as you cross a few streets and bridges along the way. That’s right – it is much safer to tackle this event headphone free!
But first…let’s grab a selfie
Stop and smell the roses – make sure you stop at some of the beautiful spots to grab a picture of your crew. Photographers will be stationed along the route to capture you in all your sweaty glory.
Don’t get lost.
It is pretty close to impossible to sign mark and arrow every part of the 27.5 km coastline for the challenge. Quick tip: Keep the ocean on your left, and you are heading in the right direction!
Bandaids and sunscreen are life
Even the most well-worn in shoes can give you blisters when you least want them to. Bring bandaids! Bring sunscreen – it may be winter and uv may be low, but you are still exposed for 7 – 9.5 hours.
Watch out for wildlife
Dropbears aside, you will be travelling through some beautiful coastline, reserves and national parks. Keep an eye out for beautiful whales, dolphins, native birds, lizards and even snakes sunning themselves
Top exercise recovery tips.
Here are the Mingara One Fitness teams best tips to soothe your aching bodies! Take time to allow your body to recover appropriately.
DOMS is real!
No doubt your DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness is kicking in as you read this! DOMS can rear its uncomfortable head from about the 8 hours post event mark and can be present for up to a week – expect feelings of stiff and sore muscles and joints. Seek some relief through light massage, good old fashioned and slow, gentle stretching. Light activity will aid recovery faster than inactivity. Promoting circulation can aid healing and promote recovery.
Keep the body moving through a series of yoga poses to stimulate both the mind and body. Ease your tired muscle into yoga positions with the guidance of the Mingara One Fitness qualified Yoga instructors. Don’t feel you have to force your muscles beyond what is comfortable. Yoga may be just what you need to revitalise both your mind and body. Don’t forget Hot Yoga in Studio 3 – bring some warmth to those tighter muscle areas. Body Balance is exactly as it sounds – perfect for bringing the mind and body back into balance. A combination of Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates, this mix is a way to centre your mind and body and focus on the recovery and healing process.
Take it to the water: Make the most of the heated 50m pool, the hydrotherapy pool of even the spa area to soothe, stretch and move freely. Take the weight of your aching joints and enjoy some swimming or take in an Aqua Fit class to keep the body supported and moving.
Check out the Mingara One Fitness timetable here.
Finish off your light exercising with a massage at 6S HEALTH at Mingara. With their range of Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and Massage you may even be able to speed up recovery and learn to manage and pre-existing or new injuries. Their expert therapists will be able to guide you muscle back to a state of happiness and perhaps even forgiveness!
Be sure to refuel your body – keep up the fluids and be sure to nourish your body – you will burn through a whole heap of calories and energy at the event, and your muscles and body will be crying out for replenishment. Take the time to look after yourself – diet wise, before and after the event
The Lighthouse to Skillion is an annual event to diarise in your calendars. A great event to train for and work towards every year – a fun way to spend a day with a group of friends. Not only is it a great day out but it is for so many great causes and in such a beautiful location. It is probably one of the most scenic walking challenges in the world.