Running is a beautiful and highly personal experience, but let's face it, most of us would prefer to pound out the kilometres on a scenic coastal path or winding bush track than a city street or industrial estate.
If you've ever wanted to expand your running horizons, here are 14 amazing runs around Australia sourced from personal experience, that of fellow runners, race directors and the ever-useful Cool Running forums.
There's a combination of road and trail runs, the latter often the most scenic and sometimes technically challenging. If you want to impress an overseas visitor, or you're heading interstate for a holiday and want to build some good runs into your itinerary, read on.
Remember if you take to the trails, dress appropriately for weather changes, especially in winter, take your own hydration source and some back-up nutrition.
Just as importantly, purchase running shoes from a retailer such as that will keep your goals and running style in mind when determining the best fit, brand and style.
Just 5km from the Brisbane CBD, Mt Coot-tha has 18.5 kilometres of tracks ideal for running. Start from either JC Slaughter Falls or Simpson Falls picnic areas. The river city is also well endowed with shared bike paths so if you're staying in the CBD, it's easy to drop onto a path for a scenic river run away from traffic.
Noosa National Park
Start from Main Beach on Hastings Street and follow the timber boardwalk to the entrance to the National Park and then onwards via the coastal Tanglewood track out to Hells Gates and back via the inland bush track for a total run of about 10km. For a longer run continue on to Alexandria Bay.
Spit to Manly
In Sydney, the Spit to Manly 10km run starts at the Spit Bridge in Mosman's Middle Harbour and ends at Manly Cove. It's a combination of track and road plus a bit of beach, easy to follow and with views all the way. Take your camera and finish in Manly for breakfast/lunch.
Park at Glenbrook, catch the train to Woodford and then run the Oaks Fire Trail back down. It's 25km, with the final 11km downhill to Euroka camping ground, which is about 5km from Glenbrook station.
Centennial Park, Paddington
You can do the 3.6km internal loop that follows the road and runs parallel with the horse-riding track, or follow the park perimeter for a quieter, more peaceful run through a variety of vegetation and wetlands.
Royal National Park
The Royal in Sydney's south is a trail fiend's paradise, and the jewel in the running crown is the 26km Coast Track that stretches from the village of Bundeena in the north to Otford in the south. You can do the whole thing in one hit but, be warned, there are some significant climbs that will test the fittest. Alternatively, break it up into sections and enjoy the mix of cliff tops, beaches, open grasslands and forest. Carry your own water and food.
In Melbourne, the 3.8km Tan track is mostly forgiving packed dirt, predominantly flat and starts near the Swan Street Bridge. It follows a scenic route along the Yarra River, and skirts the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Kings Domain with options to divert and add some distance. It's close to CBD hotels without hitting much traffic.
The Prom National Park's Mount Oberon summit track is a 6.8km return route with a mixture of some steep sections and steps. The summit view is of the southernmost point of Australia's mainland. Start from Telegraph Saddle car park.
The Perth CBD landmark has myriad trails, not to mention Jacob's Ladder - 250 steps of fun climbing, rewarded with great views and a sense of being well away from the city when in fact you're not.
Lake Monger Reserve
Has a 10.4km flat track through picturesque wetlands. It's less than 5km from Perth with ample parking.
On the coast just 11km from the Adelaide CBD. Catch a tram there and run the 8km loop, following the coast path from Glenelg Pier to Brighton Beach. Plenty of good cafes and diversionary options along the way.
The mountain behind Hobart has many running tracks easily reachable by car from the CBD. You can follow the road for 22km to the summit, or take the many fire trails or walking tracks. Try the 7km Springs to Lenah Valley route.
The Esplanade at dusk offers spectacular sunset views, and on to Mindil Beach to a bike track that follows the coast to the East Point Reserve, about 10km from the city.
Lake Burley Griffin
The perimeter shoreline is 40km, but the run around it can be abbreviated or easily added to. It's an all-bitumen shared pathway, nearly all flat, and passes by national institutions such as the High Court and the National Portrait Gallery.
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