5 holiday destinations for wine-loving runners

If you’re like me, you may have come to the realisation that enjoying a fine drop while tending to a love of all things fitness  and running is a perfectly balanced approach to life. However, tensions can arise between these duelling  passions when planning the family vacation. Should we plan around the country’s best runs so as not to miss out on that ethereal post-race afterglow that we train so hard for? Or should we head for wine country, fitness be damned?  Fear not! It is indeed possible to combine your interests into a truly excellent holiday the whole family will enjoy.

We've pulled together a list of some great holiday destinations for wine-loving runners to help you plan your next getaway.

1.  Perth, Western Australia

Run: Perth City to Surf (4km, 12km, 21.1km and 42.2km)

Wine: Margaret River

When: late August

It doesn’t get much better this; a run through one of Australia’s prettiest cities and a world-renowned wine region combined into one glorious vacation.  The Perth City to Surf showcases many of Perth’s naturally beautiful features, include the famed botanical gardens of King Park, the Swan River and the grounds of the University of Western Australia. Post-race with your buzz firmly intact, hire a car and head straight for Margaret River. Located approximately 3 hours from Perth, the region is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc varieties. Combining some of Australia’s best wineries with spectacular beaches, breathtaking limestone caves and beautiful national parks and forests, Margaret River is the perfect place for the family to refresh and rejuvenate.

2. The Gold Coast, Queensland

Run: Gold Coast Marathon Running Festival (5.7km, 10km, 21.1km, 42.2km and Wheelchair Marathon)

Wine: Stanthorpe

When: early July

The Gold Coast Marathon Running Festival is held in July year, with cooler winter temperatures and a fast, flat course creating the perfect conditions to run a personal best time. Complete your run and get your fill of beach time before heading inland to Stanthorpe, located in Queensland’s famous Granite Belt region and approximately 3 hours’ drive from the Gold Coast. Once considered a minor player in the Australian wine scene, the region is fast gaining a reputation for excellent quality vino, thanks largely to a group of dedicated producers who realised early on the region’s potential and have worked hard to raise its profile.  Varieties produced in the region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Verdelho and Viognier.

3. Melbourne, Victoria

Run: Melbourne Marathon Festival

Wine: Yarra Valley

When: mid-October

What better place to indulge in your passion for fun runs than with a race through Australia’s unofficial sporting capital? With all events finishing up in the iconic MCG, this is your chance to run around the stadium steeped in sporting history. Once you’ve finished up, it’s time to head to the stunning Yarra Valley, Victoria’s premier wine region. An easy hours’ drive from Melbourne, this region is known for producing world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and outstanding farmgate produce.

4. Adelaide, South Australia

Run: Barossa Marathon Festival (5km, 10km, 21.1km and 42.2km)

Wine: Barossa Valley

When: mid-August

What better way to indulge your duelling passions than with a running event set within the beautiful Barossa region? The Barossa Marathon Festival is held each year in Tanunda and offers another flat, fast course if you’re looking to post a quick time. Due to this event’s prime location, you don’t have to go very far to begin sampling some of Australia’s finest wines post-race.  The Barossa produces world class wines and is particularly well known for its Shiraz varieties; hire a bike or take a cycling tour to experience the region at its best.

5. Sydney, New South Wales

Run: City to Surf (14km)

Wine: Hunter Valley

When: mid-August

Sydney’s City to Surf is one of the most popular running events in Australia, with eager runners travelling from around the country to battle their way up the race’s notorious ‘Heart Break Hill’ before stretching out on the way to the finish line at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. Take in the stunning sights before heading down to the beautiful Hunter Valley. Australia’s oldest wine producing region is best known for its Shiraz and Semillon varieties and local stores spruiking delectable local produce such as gourmet chocolate, cheese and olives. Once you’ve had your fill, explore the beautiful surrounding landscape, with Yengo National Park, Watagans National Park, Lake St Clair and the beautiful beaches of the Central Coast waiting to be explored.

Feeling inspired to take a holiday? Book your flights today with Virgin Australia's great range of Australian domestic fares.

Words by Rebecca Walker. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland - Published 9 July 2019
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