Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to picturesque running spots. Many of us enjoy running with beautiful views and the fresh ocean breeze, while some relish a quiet bushland trail.
The Holy Grail in running tracks however, is the secret trail, the track that no one knows about and that you can have all to yourself. With hundreds of kilometres of beautiful coast and tranquil bushland available, why not swap the suburban and city streets for some of these stunning pathways and board walks.
Below are our top picks of Australia’s beautiful and secret running routes.
- Mt Coot-tha trails – Mt Coot-tha, QLD
Located only 5km from the CBD of Brisbane, Mt Coot-tha feels a world away. There is over 18km of tracks that are perfect for running and will take you all over the mountain. The tracks are all various lengths and will give you a good combination of trail or road running. End with a run up the Summit track where you finish up at the Mt Coot-tha lookout for a breathtaking view over the city.
- Henry Head Track – La Perouse, NSW
The lesser known cousin of the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, the Henry Head trail begins at La Perouse in Sydney’s East at the end of Anzac Parade and follows the coast around to the Henry Head lookout for a 4km return run. The beautiful coastline offers a welcome distraction for tired legs, and the loop starts and ends at La Perouse beach, making it easy for transport and a well-deserved post run coffee!
- 1000 Steps Kokoda track Memorial Walk, Ferntree Gully – Mt Dandenong , VIC
Located within the Dandenong Ranges National Park, the 1000 steps are less a running track, more a challenge. The 2.8km climb to the One Tree Hill summit will test even the fittest runner! Push yourself to get to the top and take a pause to breathe in the clean bush air. Once you have mastered the stairs there are a multitude of other trails in the national park to choose from, though most of them will have some form of climb!
- Noosa National Park – Noosa, QLD
For tourists and locals alike, Noosa National Park has a multitude of paths and trails suitable for running. Start at the end of Hastings Street at the entrance to the National Park, from there choose your own adventure from the map of trails and off you go. The longest running track is the Tanglewood track which takes you inland through the bush for 9km, a nice flat run through picturesque bushland with coastal views and water glimpses through the trees.
- Halls Head Coastal Trail – Mandurah WA
While Mandurah may not be local for many people, it is certainly worth the drive from Perth, the 12km coastal trail has breathtaking views over the Indian Ocean and a multitude of places to cool off with a swim post run. Start at Doddi’s beach in Mandurah and follow the boardwalk south along the coastline, if you are lucky, you may even see some dolphins or whales as a reward for your run.
- Manly to North Head – Manly, NSW
Whilst the Spit to Manly run is pretty well known in Sydney, the continuation of this track is less populated. Start at Manly ferry wharf and run around the coastline into the national park, run on the paths until you get to the North head lookout and take in the spectacular views across the harbour to South head. You then have the choice to run back the way you came, or around the other side of the headland via Manly beach for a well-deserved post run swim.
- Mentone Beach – Melbourne, VIC
One of the best and most picturesque runs in Melbourne, but also one that few have heard of, let alone run. Start in Mentone at Beach Road and run the 6km path along the Red Cliffs to Beaumaris, This run may test all but a few, as the stairs and hills make you work for the amazing views along the way. Stop in at Beaumaris for a swim before heading back along the cliffs to Mentone.
- Royal National Park Coast Trail – Sydney, NSW
The Royal National park in Sydney’s south, is full of trails for all ability levels. The most iconic of these is the 26km Coastal Track that takes you from Bundeena all the way south to Otford, unless you are trying to get some serious distance under your belt, its best to break this run up into sections to make the most of the clifftop views, beaches and bushland. There are no shops or rest stops around so it is wise to carry your own water.