Many running trails throughout Australia are truly awesome, with breathtaking beauty in their surrounding terrain. Trail landscapes can range from hilly or mountainous stretches, to miles of coastal beaches or botanical garden rainforests. Along with the stunning and varied scenery, you will encounter many different species of wildlife while running along these colourful trails.
Kangaroos, koalas, myriad bird types and numerous varieties of lizards are some of the animals that travel alongside or close to humans on these paths. It is difficult to guess just how many running trails currently exist in the vast, picturesque continent of Australia. New trails are being discovered or cleared continuously. With the modern-day emphasis on running as a sport and healthy form of exercise, many more running paths are likely to appear over the next few years.
Australia’s Boundless and Beautiful Countryside Running Trails
Australia is home to a growing number of competing runners and recreational joggers. Both types of runners often exercise and practice on their choice of the many popular running trails found throughout the country. Countless additional runners, like you, visit Australia to train for marathons, compete in marathons and other races or just to enjoy the sport of trail running in so many different and beautiful natural settings.
Ten of the most awesome Australian running trails currently in use include the following:
1. Scenic Cotter 18
This scenic running trail includes river crossings at Padovans and Vanities. It is one of the lengthy, classic trails in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. Stretching for 30.22 km, this practice trail is often used as a preparation run for athletes like yourselves practising for the Canberra marathon. Groups of runners often gather here on early Saturday mornings to practise on various sections of Cotter 18 from late December through April. This trail is rated as difficult and can be run in three hours and 23 minutes. Its maximum elevation is 791.87 metres. Parts of this trail can be decidedly more difficult in rainy conditions. If you desire something different after a satisfactory run, Mountain Creek Road is nearby for cycling.
2. Diverse Kokoda Challenge – Mini
This running trail of 27.62 km has a general rating of moderately difficult, but its route through varied types of terrain. including nine different creek crossings and one large hill, gives it a technical rating of difficult. The degree of technical skill required is reflected in the average running time of five hours and 26 minutes. There is a training section of this trail as well as the main run, near Neranwood, Queensland. Maximum elevation for the entire distance is 499 metres. Nearby is another large running trail, Kokoda Challenge, stretching from Mt. Nimmel Lodge to Polly’s Kitchen. For less strenuous exercise, you and other runners can also enjoy a leisurely hike on one of two hiking courses, Polly’s to Beechmont Road and Polly’s Kitchen to Paiges Pinnacle.
3. Colourful Cairns Botanic Gardens Rainforest Walk
This exciting short running trail of just 7.26 km is considered difficult. It is located near Edge Hill in Queensland, running by lush garden and jungle areas with plenty of wildlife around to keep each running session interesting and sometimes eventful. This is definitely a trail to run during daylight hours. The point of highest elevation on this path is 177 metres, and running time is about one hour and four minutes. The very beautiful diving area, Grande Barrière de Corail, Michaelmas Cay, is close to this trail along with the Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic Railway.
4. George Driscoll Sea to Summit Trail
This famous trail climbs upward from Kingston Park Beach to Mt. Lofty Summit 710 metres above. Along the way, you and other runners will pass through such scenic spots as O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park and Belair National Park. Including bush tracks along with streets of the suburbs, this unusual trail is Adelaide’s ultimate running challenge. The complete climb is 1,400 metres. South Australia’s trail-blazing guru, George Driscoll, first plotted this course in 1996, taking care to maintain its “bush” qualities. This trail is one of the most unique in Australia, and its uphill climb can be quite difficult, although the delightful view makes up for the runners’ hard physical labour. After completing the course, most runners take time to relax and enjoy the amazing scenic sights from Mt. Lofty Summit.
5. Bay Run, Sydney
Sydney is a location with hundreds of running trails, from runs skirting the city’s harbour to longer challenging paths in the bushland common to Sydney suburbs and borders. One of the most outstanding is Bay Run, a picturesque trail looping around beautiful Iron Cove in Sydney’s western suburbs. Here, running trails stretch across seven kilometres. This course hosts the annual Bay Run fun run, a community-sponsored race in support of healthy exercise and and athletic enjoyment.
Although this event is more lighthearted than many official races, it draws some known runners and celebrities. Hugging the shoreline at the mouth of Iron Cove Creek, this running course crosses Iron Cove Bridge, passing through lush green King George Park and Callan Park. It later crosses charming Hawthorne Canal Bridge. You can enjoy viewing the rowing clubs practising on the water below while running across these bridges. After the race ends, back at the mouth of Iron Cove Creek, you and other runners can relax in one of the many nearby pubs or restaurants over cool drinks. This route requires endurance, although the terrain consists mostly of smooth gravel, earth trails and some paved roadways.
6. Coastal Classic, Royal National Park, NSW
This eventful running trail of 29.1 km is routed via the Royal National Park Coast Track, starting at Otford. Its course takes you over some of the most gorgeous terrain in the Bundeena countryside including spectacular ocean panoramas. The total elevation of this course is just 347 metres. However, all runners are required to reach a marker at the height of 9.5 km in two and one-quarter hours. It can be difficult to maintain the necessary pace due to the diversity and beauty of the trail’s varied terrain—sandy beaches, bushland, rainforest and majestic cliff tops. This Coastal Classic run attracts many famed runners because of its unique layout.
7. Lamington Classic, Lamington National Park, QLD
This annual trail run is a two-day event for you in Queensland’s Lamington National Park. Participants can run 21.8 km the first day on a course from O’Reilly’s Guest House to Binna Burra and 21.8 km the following day, as a return trip. Another option is to run 42.2 km on day one, beginning and ending at Binna Burra and then run the return course back to O’Reilly’s place the day after. This run traverses the stunning rainforest terrain of the park’s 160 km network of trails. This course also includes lush green mountain lookouts and slippery, misted paths. This classic event is the oldest trail run throughout Australia, drawing runners from around the world.
8. Alpine Skyrun, Alpine National Park, VIC
If you ever dreamed of running four marathons within 44 hours, this is the ultimate race for you. The Alpine Challenge Ultra Marathon is comprised of the 160 km Alpine Skyrun, the 100 km team and individual Alpine Challenge and the Alpine Experience of 60 km. Without question, this mountainous trail course is the most difficult one in Australia. The 160 km Skyrun includes six extensive climbs of more than 7,000 metres of steep upward and downward trail and four river crossings. Highest elevations on this course include Mt. Feathertop, The Fainters and Victoria’s highest peak, Mt. Bogong. Needless to say, this celebrated running trail network is a favourite of some of the top runners worldwide.
9. Mt. Mee Classic, Blue Ridge Lavender Farm and Retreat, QLD
This year marks the 21th anniversary of the Mt. Mee Classic in Dayboro. The current headquarters are located at the Mt. Mee Showgrounds. The course has undergone many alterations through the years, but the run is now 26km long. It includes such colourful points of interest as The Gantry in D’Aguilar National Park, Loveday’s Road and La Traverse. The running course officially ends in the Dayboro Showgrounds. This charming trail stretches through verdant farmlands and shady forests, and earlier changes in its route were often due to areas of forest logging to the north of the trail. The calm natural beauty of this event’s surroundings make it a rather relaxing run for you and your fellow athletes compared to most marathons.
10. Washpool World Heritage Trails
This large network of running trails in the Washpool and Gibraltar Range National Parks offers an outstanding variety of rainforests with world heritage listings. It also includes high elevations of flowering heathlands and scenic river gorges. The short course trail of 9 km has bubbling streams, some rainforest areas and granite cascades. The 25 km course includes longer stretches of flat land as well as rainforests and streams. The ultra-long 50 km course extends along the entire distance of the World Heritage Trail loop to include Washpool plus Gibraltar Range National Parks. Campground facilities are available for you, other runners and spectators, and the charming historic community of Glen Innes nearby offers restaurants and relaxation.
Vast Trail Running Opportunities in Australia
There are many awesome running trails in Australia with spectacular scenic views and amazing displays of colourful wildlife along the way. As a runner, you can gain much knowledge, pleasure and excellent running experience from spending time in various areas of this beautiful country and continent. By running over many diverse types of terrain at different altitudes, you will increase your running skills and endurance while exercising in an extremely healthy and inviting environment.
Are you ready to go with all your necessary gear packed? Join the exciting, spectacular and highly rewarding running experience now offered by Australia.