A fit traveller’s guide to Tropical North Queensland
If you like a bit of huffy-puffy on holiday, look no further than Tropical North Queensland. It’s the very definition of #fitspo with more cafes, spas and outdoor activities than you can poke a Fitbit at.
This is the kind of destination where packing essentials look a bit more like a triathlon kit (think swimmers, running shoes and a hat). Especially when you let the rainforest-clad mountains surrounding Cairns become your jungle gym with this fit travel guide.
Where to work out in nature:
Swap the windowless sweatbox (read: gym) for a destination that positively charges ions. Up here, the oxygen is brought to you by Australia’s largest rainforest, The Wet Tropics, which promises a destination not just full of clean eating but breathing too.
If you’re up for a challenge, take a real-life step class and tackle Queensland’s tallest peak, Mt. Bartle Frere. The 15km trail climbs all 1611m of this monster mountain. You can technically complete it in a day if you go at a Usain Bolt speed.
Keen on a bigger challenge and have a high fitness level? Pack your hiking tent for an overnight stay at one of four bush-campsites on the trail so you can tackle it at a fit-holiday pace.
The trail can be accessed from Josephine Falls, which incidentally is one of the prettiest waterfalls on this list. Time your hike for a clear day and enjoy views all the way out to the coast and across the Atherton Tablelands.
For something less intense but still bum-burning, set your sights on the tallest natural pyramid in the world, Walsh’s Pyramid. This three-hour return walk, that climbs 922m, rewards you with 360-degree views from the summit.
If you don’t have time for a mountain climb, hit the Red Arrow, the shortest circuit behind Flecker Botanic Gardens in Cairns. You could also book into Mission Beach Kayak Adventure for a multi-day paddle trek. It makes arm-day at the gym seem like a cinch.
Bonus Reps: Just because you’re not working out, doesn’t mean you won’t get the benefits up here. You can still get all the endorphins that go with exercise when you:
- Chase these waterfalls
- Explore all six precincts of The Wet Tropics
- Discover Mission Beach with this four-day nature itinerary
Where to eat healthy in Cairns
Just as you’re guaranteed heat and humidity in Tropical North Queensland, you’ll find healthy food too.
For breakfast worthy of a place on this best breakfast list, check out Caffiend in Grafton Street Cairns. It’s the place to be if you like a protein hit rather than a carb-fest for your day-starter. Order the miso infused free-range scrambled eggs, which comes decorated with bonito and shichimi Japanese pepper.
Just nearby, stock your pockets at Rusty’s Markets. Open every Friday – Sunday you’ll find over 180 stalls stocked with the kind of snacks that make eating healthy pure joy. Pick up a cold fresh coconut to drink once you’ve finished fossicking through the market treasures.
What if we told you that you could find a degustation that was healthy? Well… as long as you don’t order the matching wines. Set your sights on Nu Nu in Palm Cove for modern-Thai served with the best beachfront view in Palm Cove. On the menu, you’ll find the likes of local line-caught reef fish with smoked zucchini, green masala and curry leaf, so you can eat like a king or queen without dropping the diet ball.
For a sweet-hit, don’t rule all ice-creameries out as peddlers of high-fat snacks. Daintree Ice Cream serves up frosty treats, packed with fruit grown onsite.
Bonus Reps: For takeaway snacks in Cairns that are on every fitness junkie’s list, visit Snoogies Health Bar in the Main Street Arcade. It can be hard to find, but fitness gurus like to keep it that way, at least so they can keep the vegan nachos to themselves. And you know you’re not in a big city anymore when a fresh juice sets you back $6 and has the freshest local ingredients.
Where to practice self-care
If lying on the massage table is more your kind of healthy holiday, then you’ve come to the right place.
You’ll find spas and salons with reef and rainforest views, depending on how you like your rest and relaxation served.
For a massage with a dose of mineral ions, book yourself in for a pamper session in the Daintree Rainforest at Silky Oaks Lodge‘s Healing Waters Spa. The stories of the traditional owners of the land – and their belief the Mossman River has a life-giving force – inspires the treatment menu. All products used are chemical free and use natural elements from the land, earth and sea.
For a treatment that’s as memorable as the interior styling of the hotel, check out SpaQ at QT Port Douglas. With a full-body treatment called Metamorphosis, which promises to transform you, and Skin Rescue to remedy overexposed skin (which might be critical if you’ve done of these Great Barrier Reef tours the day before), it provides the perfect balance in your fitness holiday.
Inside the cocoon of Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort in Port Douglas, you’ll find Shantara Port Douglas shaking up the three R’s to Rest, Revive and Renew. The day spa provides everything from grooming essentials to life’s luxuries with relaxing, pregnancy, hot stones and remedial massage. Using products from Daintree Naturals, everything about these treatments is a localised experience.
Where to catch the action afterward
They say Tropical North Queensland is a destination defined by seasons. There’s wet season, dry season and most importantly for you, fit traveller, event season.
Test your fitness (and we’re not talking beep test style) with one of these Tropical North Queensland world-class events:
- Dial up the action with the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival (10 June 2018)
- Forget the Tour de France with the Reef to Reef Mountain Bike Stage Race (24-27 May 2018)
- Run the most picturesque marathon in the world, Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival (28 October 2018)
- Swap lane ropes for the big blue sea with Great Adventures Green Island Ocean Swim (7 June 2018)
Need to start training? We’ve got you covered with this beginners guide.
Done these events? Why not try to tick off all of these endurance events.