9 of the best fitness holidays in Queensland
Taking a vacay doesn’t mean kicking the active grind. Life is best lived with balance, right? Though we all love a flop-and-drop holiday, an off-the-beaten-track adventure will test your limits and get the adrenaline pumping.
With 6/10 of Australia’s best (and most beautiful) beaches, rugged outback country, and rolling hinterland both serene and alluring, it’s hard not to opt for the outdoors in Queensland.
Each region boasts individual beauty and picturesque backdrops worthy of your Instagram story. So, grab your favourite sneakers and book yourself a fitness holiday. We promise your activewear is always appropriate for these escapes:
Walk on Water: Fraser Island Great Walk
Ditch the bone-jangling 4WD drive – the best way to explore the largest sand island in the world is by two feet, hiking 90kms through lush rainforest, sandy straits and towering ancient hoop pines that make you feel like a speck of dust in a pile of leaves.
Put your best hiking boots forward on a narrow foot track of the Fraser Island Great Walk, winding around freshwater lakes, over desert-like sand blows and under trees evergreen from Dilli Village to Happy Valley. The full trail takes around 6-8 days to complete, with short walks available from various points.
Not a camper? Kingfisher Bay Resort offers Great Walk packages that include transfers to and from parts of the walking trail, where your efforts are met with a hot spa bath and a fresh, locally-sourced meal.
A raft of aqua-fitness options are on offer at the resort, like a canoe paddle through the mangroves of Dundonga Creek and guided walks along the skirting beach.
Rainforest Luxury: Narrows Escape and Tropical Treks
A chic wooden treehouse immersed in green foliage, whistling with the faint breath of wind, harmonised with singing birds. This tranquil haven lies 30 minutes from the Sunshine Coast beaches, known as Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat in Montville.
They’ve teamed up with Tropical Treks to offer a ‘Luxe Trekking’ package, complete with two nights in a luxurious rainforest pavilion, a full-day guided walk through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland with a picnic lunch, a breakfast spread of the finest local produce, optional self-guided short walks, dinner in Montville and a barbecue dinner at Narrows.
Add an extra day or two to your itinerary and venture north to Noosa – an aqua playground! Paddle out on a longboard to catch right-handers off the Main Beach surf break, wander the 5.4km Coastal Track of Noosa National Park, stopping to admire miles of untouched coastline from Hell’s Gates, followed by a dip at tucked-away beaches. Try your hand (and balance) at SUP yoga with Kat Harding on the Noosa River, or head inland to discover the magic of the Noosa Everglades.
Natural Elegance: Spicers Scenic Rim Trail
Long known for luxury getaways, the Spicers Group offer guests elegant accommodation options and food second-to-none. Their properties are often set on acres of national park far away from life’s stresses, so they understand the importance for guests to explore their surroundings.
Their Spicers Scenic Rim Trail is a comfortable way to explore World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest, following a two- or four-day itinerary through the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and 2000 hectares of a Spicers-owned private nature refuge.
Glamp in style for one or two nights at the Spicers Canopy eco-site, complete with 10 deluxe safari-style tents, a wooden-floored communal dining area with stone fireplace and private bathrooms.
Sitting pretty atop your trails’ ascent is Spicers Peak Lodge – 10,000 acres housing luxury suites, an infinity pool, a viewing deck and a raft of bookable activities, sitting 1100 metres about sea level. Celebrate the final evening of your trek and reward your efforts with a five-course degustation dinner with matched wines.
Mary Valley Triathlon: Ride On Mary
Welcome to the Mary Valley triathlon – a kayak, hike and bike adventure spanning 28kms of charming farmland. UK-born Ian Harling fell captive to the regions rustic allure upon visiting 13 years ago, so much so that he stayed, residing in Imbil where Ride On Mary was born.
Rise and shine for an 8km kayak along Yabba Creek, home to placid platypus, kingfisher birds and saratogas. Your 3km walking trail will take you through Imbil’s main strip following the old Mary Valley Rattler train tracks, before Ian pops up with your mountain bikes to ride 17kms over steep ascents, down across creek crossings and through the majestic valley. Keep your eyes peeled for horses and cattle – you may cross a keen cow having a gander at your athletic attire!
Mother Nature’s Calling: Gold Coast
When there’s a seemingly endless shoreline that meets the city, flowing onto mountainous hinterland, why wouldn’t you take advantage of the outdoors?
The Gold Coast is like a fine wine – it gets better with age – and with around 300 days of sunshine each year, it’s always booming with new active adventures, from free and self-guided experiences to retreats and day tours.
So many surf breaks to choose from and so little time? You’re telling us! Beginners can cruise the right-handers at Currumbin Alley, while the more experienced get pitted at Snapper Rocks.
Take a day to be at one with nature and tackle the 54km Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk (or part of it). For a dose of wellness, join a retreat at Gwinganna in the Tallebudgera Valley, fully immersed in nature, with activities and exercise that provide mental and physical balance.
With a string of active experiences that beckon fit travellers, it’s no wonder this lively town is the host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games!
Island Dreaming: Whitsunday Health and Wellness Retreat
Sailing is great and all, but have you tried yoga? It calms the mind a little more than vitamin-sea, and brings stillness and stability (rather than sea sickness).
Escape the corporate grind to a tropical haven where the only intentions you’ll set for the day are mindfulness, personal wellbeing and stretching of the limbs. Whitsunday Health and Wellness Retreats whisk guests to the lavish Pepperberry House in Airlie Beach for Personal Transformation and Yoga, and Holistic Health and Wellbeing Retreats, overlooking the pristine beaches and blue hues of The Whitsundays.
Choose from two and four-day group retreats, couples retreats and private coaching.
Riders Delight: Mountain Biking in Tropical North Queensland
I challenge you to find a more beautiful mountain biking destination than Tropical North Queensland, with trails that wind through the flora and fauna of the rainforest surrounding the coastline and overlook the Great Barrier Reef.
Smithfield Mountain Bike Park in Cairns is an avid riders’ dream, featuring a 60km network of rainforest trails suitable for beginners and professionals alike. As host of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup (5-10 September) two years running, these trails have been dubbed by the mountain biking community as some of the best in the world.
If Smithfield is a little too advanced, head south to the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park. Beginners can easily manoeuvre comfortably along purpose-built trails through the Herberton Range State Forest, where cascading waterfalls meet beautiful lakes huddled beneath foliage. There’s around 54kms to explore with 17 single-track networks.
State of Endurance: Queensland Events
As Queenslanders, we embrace our scenic surrounds, and host a variety of endurance events each year that place world-class events in postcard-worthy destinations (making the gain worth the pain).
Check out Queensland’s State of Endurance events here and start planning ahead!
Unplug and Unwind: Wanderlust Festival Sunshine Coast
From live music to mass yoga classes, the Wanderlust Festival encourages you to find your true north and to cultivate your best self. Get back in touch with nature on peaceful guided tours, sit in on talks with yoga teachers or indulge and feast on sustainable, yummy goodness.
Move over Chicken Soup for the Soul, this four-day festival is more than a retreat, it’s a transformational experience for your mind, body and soul.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ACTIVE ADVENTURE IN QUEENSLAND?
Share it with us here.