If there’s one thing us Perthlings like to boast about to our eastern neighbours, it’s our endless sunny days, pristine, scenic coastline and epic, expansive outdoor spaces. With a natural playground on our doorstep, we on the west coast are fond of an outdoor workout and for good reason. Studies prove that outdoor movement can decrease tension, anger and depression, while getting out into the green spaces will help boost your mood and self-esteem—not a bad way to improve your physical and mental health, all while topping up your vitamin D levels.
To get you out of the gym and into the great outdoors, here’s a roundup of the best outdoor workouts in Perth.
Rottnest Island Bike Loop
As if you needed any other excuse to make a trip over to Rotto, this island paradise is home to one of Perth’s most scenic bike routes. Hire a bike or BYO on the ferry and get pedalling on the 25km bike loop around the island, showcasing all the very best Rotto highlights—lighthouses, hidden coves, snorkelling bays, a quokka or two—and it throws in a few hills for good measure as you make your way to the most western point of the island. You can cruise the loop in a few hours’ time, then cool off for a dip in the pristine island waters, or a cheeky pint at the pub…
The Bridges Scenic Running Route
One of the most popular running routes in town, The Bridges 10km loop showcases city views and cultural highlights dotted along the riverside. Taking off and finishing back at McCallum Park in South Perth, you can run the loop in either direction (though apparently “real” runners only go anti-clockwise) and still be blown away by the scenery. As you hug the river the whole way, this flat path is perfect for a distance run or if intervals are your thing, you can practice your sprints amongst the markers between Mends Street and The Swan River Trust, placed at every 200m.
In one of Perth’s most iconic locations—Kings Park, of course—is the torturous secret weapon to getting fit and toned, fast. Jacobs Ladder is 242 lung bursting steps that will accelerate your cardiovascular fitness levels and provide you with some note-worthy HIIT intervals—perfect for that afterburn effect. Move over squat rack, hitting these stairs will whip your posterior chain (a fancy term for the backside of your body, including your booty, thighs and calves) into shape in no time. Plus, if you’re going to be doubled over trying to catch your breath anywhere, let it be at the peak of this staircase as you gaze out over the city skyline.
There are numerous ways you get a workout in amongst the waves (if you need some more inspo, we got you), but the West Aussie’s favourite? Surfing, of course. A killer workout for the core and upper body while honing your balance and co-ordination skills, surfing is also a great way to connect to nature and an incredible mindful movement practice—you’ll be so focused on getting onto those waves there will be no time to worry about anything else! If your status is more grom than shredder, don’t worry, some helpful advice from the experienced team at Surf School Perth will have you carving up the waves in no time.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Looking for another way to get active in the water without getting your hair wet? Then choose this core-building, arm-toning, balance boosting workout. Stand up paddle boarding requires minimal skill, so after hiring a board from the crew at one of these spots it will take just a few minutes to get your balance atop the wide, stable board. Then you can get paddling down the river or calm coastline—trust us, it’s a dreamy way to start your day before the Freo Doctor rolls in—and be rewarded with zen vibes, prime photo-ops (SUP yoga anyone?!) and a total body, low impact sweat session.
A class that's great for accountability and fun while whipping your butt into shape and a chance to top up your tan? Count us in! Outdoor boot camps are a staple of the Perth fitness scene and it’s just about certain that any local park you pass by will have a team sweating it out as they sprint, squat, box and high five each other—all in the name of healthy living. If you’re looking for a challenging, but fun and friendly group to join south of the river, look no further than CounterBalance Health in Ardross and Winthrop. These boot camp sessions incorporate HIIT, boxing, cardio drills and bodyweight exercises to help you build functional strength and fitness prowess, all while promoting a balanced lifestyle and health focused culture. PS. Busy mums these sessions are totally kid friendly, so they can play on the side-lines as you get sweaty!
What could be more zen that saluting the sun as it rises high above the ocean? Start your day with intention as you stretch it out with energising and restorative sunrise yoga sessions with Spanda Yoga School. Held on the foreshore at South Beach, your moving meditation practice is suitable for all levels and enhanced by the salty breeze and sunshine as you soak up the energy of Fremantle. After all that flowing, simply refresh yourself with a quick dive into the ocean–perfection!
West Aussies love a good outdoor walk, and there is none more iconic for the avid hiker than the Bibbulmun Track. Showcasing the best of our very own backyard, the track spans 900km from Kalamunda to Albany, but for something a little closer to home (and more palatable for a one day adventure), try Perth’s best hike from Mundaring Weir Hotel to the Golden View Lookout in Kalamunda. Expect beautiful Instagram shoot backdrops—I mean, scenic views—over Mundaring Weir and Lake CY O’Connor (important historical landmarks FYI) as you hike your way around the 7.4km trail. PS. Don’t forget the water, sunscreen and fly spray!
Want more? Check out these walks and hikes in Perth.
Image credit: Susan Yin