Throw off the doona, Gold Coasters. Summer is just around the corner, so you no longer have a reason to hit snooze.
Let’s be real, you’re not using that gym membership and the pocketful of fitness member tags weighing down your car keys. So, forget the fitness fads and keep that hard-earned cashola in your back pocket, ‘cause we’ve ditched the desk and hit the great outdoors to bring you the best free fitness activities on the Gold Coast.
Beach Volleyball | Coolangatta
Serves up! That’s right, the Gold Coast’s southern gateway just got even hotter. Get set to dive into the sand at the new beach volleyball courts which have just landed on Cooly esplanade, conveniently across from The Strand. With Coolangatta set to host the Commonwealth Games’ beach volleyball competition in 2018, us locals have a couple more years to hone in on our V-ball skills at this brand spankin’ new facility. Use of the courts are free, simply BYO ball, togs, and an almighty spike technique. The courts are open seven days from 8am to 6pm, with no booking required; it’s just a matter of first in, first served.
Mountain Biking and Trail Running | Coombabah Lakelands
Keen for some trail running or mountain biking without having to venture out to the hinterland? Nestled in suburbia on the northern Gold Coast, is the beautiful Coombabah Lakelands. A mere 19-kilometre-square playground of vast natural beauty; flat gravel tracks for riding, grassy trails for running, and picturesque boardwalks set on top of mangroves. This often overlooked location is home to roos aplenty and more species of birds than a David Attenborough doco. Best accessed from Rain Tree Glen, the Coombabah Lakelands is a great way to get among nature without the long trek out west.
Parkrun | Nine Locations
With over 179 locations across the country and hosted entirely by volunteers, this timed 5km run has become the world’s largest weekly running event. Lucky for us, nine of the best routes are right here, smack bang on our sunny doorstep. Parkrun is the perfect way to kick-start that running regime you keep putting off; the Main Beach venue attracting the most participants of all of the GC-based locations. With sandy trails, lush greenery and a gorgeous sunrise reflection on the ocean as you pass the Sheraton Mirage, are we surprised? Whether you’re a running rookie or a seasoned trail blazer, all running levels are welcome and encouraged. Parkrun starts at 7am every Saturday, and you are emailed your timed results within a few hours of crossing the line. Psst, remember to register here and take your printed barcode to every race to have your time recorded. Smash those PBs!
Scenic Jog | Burleigh Heads National Park
This famous Queensland landmark is often seen at the forefront of Gold Coast tourism brochures, and we’re not one bit surprised. Snug between Burleigh and quaint Tallebudgera Creek, the popular hotspot attracts tourists and locals alike to bask in its serenity. A brisk jog around the tracks that snake their way up and down this once-upon-a-time molten lava flow is a great way to get the heart rate up while enjoying an occasional view of the glittering Pacific Ocean. The combo of steep stairs, rainforest-like temperatures and challenging trails will leave you looking like one hot mess at the end. The best way to cool off? With a dip on the southern side, at a little piece of paradise known as Tallebudgera Creek. Access to Burleigh Heads National Park is from the car park at the top of Goodwin Terrace in Burleigh or the Gold Coast Highway across from Koala Park.
“The Stairs” | North Burleigh
Hardly a secret—and just a stone’s throw from Burleigh Heads National Park—the good ol’ North Burleigh stairs are a sure-fire way to get the legs wobbling and heart trembling. This stairway to #strongbuns heaven can get rather busy in the mornings, but that’s no excuse to hit snooze, folks. This is up there with our favourite Gold Coast stairs sesh, not to mention the epic view from the top. Hot tip: If the front stairs are busy, try the “back stairs” further up the hill which will take you down to Brakes Crescent (you didn’t hear that from us). Remember to keep left, peeps! Reward yourself with a hard-earned brekky at Marine Parade’s Piccolo Espresso on the Miami side of this beast.
Lorna Jane Active Living Room | Coolangatta and Broadbeach
These days, Lorna Jane is more than luxe activewear. If you’re not familiar with the sporty sisterhood that is the Lorna Jane Active Living Room, you’ve been missing out —until now. With a variety of classes on offer, including express 30-minute classes for us time-poor folk, you’ll never get bored with the same ol’ fitness class. After a fat-burning Pilates class, or a sweaty boxing sesh you can wind down with a restorative Yoga class. FYI, you’ll be walking out of there with more than a sore booty, ladies. And free in-store classes also means you can save your hard-earned cash to buy that cute crop you’ve been eyeing off. With two locations on the Gold Coast, you can join in at either the Pacific Fair or Coolangatta stores. The LJ Active Living Room also boasts a smoothie bar and a myriad of delish healthy eats, making it your one-stop shop for all things fashion, fitness, and food. Book a class via their website.
Outdoor Exercise Equipment | 11 locations
Because we all despise hitting our local gym, only to wait for our favourite machine (sigh), we can now ditch the gym membership for good, by making use of the free outdoor equipment conveniently scattered around the Gold Coast. With 11 parks in the region now equipped with a range of machines, chances are you already pass these gems on your fat-burning cardio walk. With summer approaching faster than we can say “100 pushups”, what better timing to amp up that morning regime? These machines are no walk in the park from cross trainers to rowers, to steppers and cycle seats, you’re guaranteed to get a mighty full-body workout. The pros? No queues, no ludicrous membership fees, 24/7 access, and poochy can join you for extra motivation; not to mention a stunning beachfront view to boot. Where do we sign up? Track ‘em down via this handy little guide.
Free Yoga and Pilates | Various locations
With all these tight, hard-working muscles we are just about due for a damn good stretch. The Gold Coast City Council’s Active and Healthy Program offers over 100 free (or uber cheap) Yoga and Pilates classes up and down the Coast. With classes tailored specifically for beginners to advanced, pre-natal to mums and bubs, even kids to seniors, there’s no reason everyone can’t enjoy the benefits of these age-old fitness practices. Boutique Gold Coast Yoga studios such as Essence of Living are also on board with this great initiative, holding free weekly Yoga and Pilates classes at a handful of locations. If you aren’t a fan of commitment or prefer to try-before-you-buy, the free community classes are a fab way to familiarise yourself with these popular fitness activities. Yoga is a gentle, safe way to strengthen and stretch your muscles, using only your body weight. Neat, huh? Pilates is a challenging yet rewarding workout often incorporating bands and balls for extra oomph.
Hiking | Mount Warning
If you haven’t had the pleasure (ahem, pain) yet, we’ll bet our bottom dollar you’ve heard about it: the famous Mount Warning. While technically in northern NSW, us GC folk can spot this mammoth from almost anywhere, therefore we are claiming it and adding it to our list. Nestled in luscious, subtropical rainforest—just 25 minutes from the state border—this prehistoric volcano is no mean feat. Often fooling hikers with its tranquil, serene base, this 1.1-kilometre tall beast will certainly challenge your fitness. But, boy oh boy, the view is worth every drop of sweat. Being the first place in the entire country to be touched by the morning sun, it’s no surprise many hikers are spirited to climb this beauty in the early darkness to beat the sunrise. Don’t forget the obligatory #instapic at the top, or you didn’t climb it!
Looking for more things to do on the Gold Coast to keep fit? Check out this round up of FUN fitness classes to get you moving in the best way possible.
Photo Credit: Kayla Itsines