World Youth Day Pilgrims’ Guide

14 May 2008

By The Record

Are you ready for WYD08? It’s from July 15-20 and the countdown is on. The Record’s Deb Warrier spoke to Perth’s World Youth Day Coordinator, Anita Parker, who makes it simple for those that want to get the most of the Sydney hosted international gathering.

From the obvious to the not so obvious here is a basic guide to how to take on the whole WYD experience. For a detailed guide of what – and what not – to bring, see the centre pages overleaf for The Record’s ‘Being there’ guide for pilgrims.

1. Pilgrim Packs:

Items in the backpack should include:

Rosary beads    Pilgrim Guide
Candle        Liturgy Guide
Clip on koala     Transport Guide
Reflections Booklet
Pen        Wet weather poncho
Bandana        Thermal Blanket   
Gospel of Luke & Acts
Kinetic Torch
Compendium to the Catechism
Water bottle

2. Accommodation: 

If you have booked ‘simple accommodation’ under Package A you will be housed in either Homestay or a Church Hall or a School Gym. Remember this is an ‘Indoor Camping Experience!’  Pilgrims are free to bring their own sleeping mats, sleeping bags, pillows etc. Sleeping packs are available for purchase from Harvest youth tours on
If you are looking for something a little nicer and still haven’t organised your accommodation, get on to the official website: 
  The Southern Cross Precinct (Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park) is the venue for the Evening Vigil, the night sleep over under the stars, and the Final Papal Mass.

3. Transport:

For pilgrims arriving on or after Monday July 14, 2008, the Pilgrim pass will cover public transport from the airport. However, there is an access charge. This is currently $8 but may be reduced.  For those arriving by bus, please travel directly to your accommodation site rather than coming into Central Sydney.

4. Pilgrims with Disability:

Pilgrims with a disability will be given the choice of staying with their groups in accommodation and within the allocated areas at major events. However, there are also Disability Needs Areas available. These are allocated spaces at major events, located in pick-up areas more closely linked to public transport services, shuttle bus drop off and pick up locations (where provided) and onsite venue amenities and services.
There will be access shuttle bus service for pilgrims with disability and their carer(s). This will operate between Central station and Randwick Racecourse for the Vigil and Final Mass only. More details are provided on the website: 
For any enquiries related to disability please email Astrid Weston at

5. Volunteers:

Volunteers are given free registration and a uniform. They are given free meals and a special invitation to a major event they won’t be working on. Volunteers are needed for: crowd control, general workforce, logistics, accommodation sites, catering, media services, translators, registrations assistance, accreditation passes (3 month commitment) and transport assistance (drivers for Bishops etc). Four shifts throughout the week for up to 8 hours each. Those interested can register as a volunteer on the Sydney office website: www.wyd2008. org

6. Places of interest to see in Sydney:

Barangaroo – Venue for the Opening Mass, Papal Arrival, Stations of the Cross and Youth Festival Events.
Mary MacKillop Shrine – Australia’s first saint. Book ahead
St Mary’s Cathedral – a place of pilgrimage for all pilgrims and where Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati’s body will be kept.
Hyde Park – where the largest reconciliation centre will be established and the WYD Cross and Icon will be displayed.
Schoenstatt Shrine – Travel to see the popular pilgrimage site, the Schoenstatt Shrine in Mulgoa, in the Sydney greater area. See
Vocations Expo – located near the principal site for Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration at Darling Harbour.
It will be held from Tues 15 – Fri July 18, 2008. It will comprise of booths in which the various Christian vocations will be represented, eg priesthood, religious and various forms of committed single life.
Exhibitors will provide information and other assistance to pilgrims to help them discern their vocations. There will also be exhibits on the lives of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict, Blessed Mother Teresa, and opportunities for mission, internet café, theatre and more. 

Youth Festival highlights – Perth Archdiocese gathering ‘Goliath goes to Sydney’: Barrangaroo  July 16, 2-3:45pm. Flame Ministries International July 17, 8:30-9:10pm at Tumbalong Park.

What to Bring to WYD
These are some basic ideas and not an exhaustive list. Use your common sense, don’t over-pack and think of WYD as a ‘camping’ experience.

Group Leaders
• Small First Aid kit
• Mobile phone (+ Charger)
• A Flag or Banner to identify your group in a crowd.
• Emergency contact details of all your pilgrims. (Medicare card numbers and guardianship permission slips for under 18s)
• Although it might sound corny, if everyone in your group wears a brightly coloured identical hat, it is much easier to find people in your group – or not to lose them.

• Sleeping Bag. Light and winter weight (rated -5 to 0 degrees Celsius should be OK)
• Travel Pillow. (Alternatives could be to use a pillow case stuffed with clothing)
• Sleeping mat
• A number of little gifts to swap – something that has Perth or your parish name on it. You can hand-make these. New friends from abroad that you make at WYD will love these. At the same time they can take a little bit of Australia back home with them.

• A beanie or something to keep your head warm (see Perth WYD Merchandise)
• A good travel backpack or suitable sized suitcase. Be prepared to carry your own luggage up stairs.
• Layers for your winter clothes and warm gloves.
• Bring polyester clothing. Polyester dries quicker.
• Good closed in water proof walking shoes – wear them in before going to Sydney.
• Small padlocks to lock your bag(s).
• Bring a packet of tissues or a roll of toilet paper [Remove the cardboard roll -makes for easier packing] Keep these in your day backpack for the port-a-loo’s
• Bathers and thongs – for the showers.
• A travel towel
• Photo identification for use at the airport to get your plane tickets. Passport or drivers licence is acceptable.
• Your Parish/Group t-shirt. (see Perth WYD Merchandise)
• Own personal toiletries, medications needed or special dietary foods needed.
• Small AM/FM radio for the telecast of translation for large events (not everything will be in English)
• A good waterproof winter jacket (see Perth WYD Merchandise)
• Your WYD08 Itinerary and registration details, Travel Insurance details and copies of these.
• Small Torch.
• Your preferred means of contacting home (phone cards, etc.)
• Money (credit cards, debit cards, cash)
• Binoculars, Camera, Batteries, Memory Sticks.

For the vigil sleep out
Note: Your main luggage will be secured at the accommodation for the two days only a smaller pack needs to travel with you to the sleep out.
• Tarpaulin or other ground sheet.
• Light weight sleeping bag (Winter weight – possibly bring a silk liner to keep you a little warmer)
• Clothes: Generally you will sleep in the clothes you wear for the walk. (If bad weather is forecast, bring a spare change of clothes in a plastic bag)
• ‘Wet ones’ wipes or similar products to clean your hands before eating. ‘Aquim’ Antibacterial lotion is also good for this.
• ‘Shower in a can’ – Deodorant if you are conscious of your body odour.
• A bottle of water for the walk. Despite it being winter, you will still need hydration.
• Thermal underwear (top and pants). Excellent for most trips – light, warm (even when wet), dries quickly and comfortable.

Snacks / Energy  Food
• Dried fruit
• Chocolate
• Muesli bars. Almost essential.
• Sweets, for example glucose lollies like snakes

What NOT to bring
‘Going out’ type clothes or shoes. (Women – no high heels are needed)
•  Large suitcases that you cannot lift on your own or carry up stairs on your own.
• Tents with tent poles/pegs for the sleep out.
• Extremely valuable items. You will be in communal accommodation and your personal belongings won’t always be secured.

General Tips on Packing:
You can only carry a maximum of about 30 per cent of your body weight. We recommend no more that 25 per cent of your body weight. The best thing to do is reduce the weight as much as you can. In general, if you think you can do without something then leave it out. When packing, try to place most of the weight at the bottom of the pack near to your back.
Put items that you may need to access quickly (eg. water, sunscreen, snacks, rain jacket) in easy-to-reach pockets or (if that isn’t possible) at the top of the main section of the pack. Also, try to pack so that your legs share the weight equally – otherwise the pack will pull you over at every step.
Check the weight restrictions for your airline ticket to ensure your baggage is not overweight.

Preparation – Fitness
• By now you should have started a walking campaign by walking 20 minutes 2 to 3 times a week, increasing by 5 minutes per week. When you get there, you’ll walk a lot.
• Try walking on a variety of terrains, surfaces, hills and valleys (eg. get off the footpath)

Where To Purchase Travel Gear
The following stores are where you will find items such as 60-70L backpacks, sleeping bags, thermals, and other travel gear required for the Pilgrimage. (The staff at these stores usually know their stuff, and so may be able to give you additional advice/tips on packing.) Check the White Pages or Yellow Pages for the store that’s closest or most convenient for you.
    •  Main Peak
    •  Army Surplus Stores
    •  Kathmandu
    •  Midland Army Navy Disposals
    •  Paddy Pallin
    •  Wellington Surplus Stores
    •  Mountain Designs
    •  Ranger Outdoors (previously known as
       Ranger Camping)

– compiled by Deb Warrier