Brisbane: the city of FIT
"Beautiful one day, perfect the next."
While this unashamedly boastful tagline no doubt continues to generate an eye roll or two from Brisbane’s chillier southern neighbours, this sweeping claim is not without merit. No matter the season, picturesque, sunshine-filled days lend themselves to a smorgasbord of outdoor fitness pursuits easily accessible from the CBD. Visitors coming to Brisbane for work or play will no doubt be impressed with the robust array of free and ultra-cheap activities available all year round.
Historic Mt Coo-tha
Enthusiasts of hiking, trail running and mountain biking need look no further than iconic Mt Coo-tha. Located just 5 kilometres from the heart of Brisbane, Mt Coo-tha is Brisbane’s highest peak and provides a range of trails to suit various fitness levels. The Summit Track is one of the mountain’s most popular walks; starting at the JD Slaughter Falls entry point and winding its way up the eastern side with a mixture of fire trails and rough, single lane paths. Visitors who take the 30-minute journey through lush eucalypt bushland are treated to panoramic views of Brisbane, Moreton Bay and more at Mt Coo-tha Lookout. Those wanting to linger a little longer can grab a coffee and a casual bite from Kuta Café before heading back on the return trip. For mountain bikers, trails aplenty await; beginners should start with the Rocket Frog Trail or Gap Creek Circuit while experienced riders can face off against the challenges of the Cubberla Creek Trail or Pipeline Trail.
Cliff top views from Kangaroo Point
Fit travellers wanting something a little more daring should head directly to Riverlife at Kangaroo Point. This inner-city adventure hub is an easy boat ride across the Brisbane River from Riverside Ferry Terminal on the east side of the city and offers a variety of must-try water and land based activities. The river provides the perfect setting for trying your hand at kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding while the Kangaroo Point cliffs are a prime location for rock climbing or abseiling, combining breath-taking experiences for both beginners and advanced climbers with a sensational, cross- river view of the city. Riverlife also offers a number of bike and segway tours; follow winding paths around the expanse of the river to Southbank, Brisbane’s cultural centrepiece and be dazzled by lush parklands, inviting sandy lagoons perfect for an afternoon swim and a plentiful array of dining options. Alternatively, adventurers who love food as much as fitness can combine the two pursuits with an adventure-dining package through Riverlife; the savvy operator takes full advantage of the exquisite, CBD-by-night views by offering ‘Sunset Paddle, Dips and Drinks’ experiences.
The river also provides an abundance of easy (and inexpensive) exercise opportunities, for those travellers who prefer to keep things simple. CityCycle bike zones are locate at various points throughout the CBD and inner-city suburbs, offering free bike and helmet hire for up to 30 minutes (usage fees apply for longer trips). Both pedestrian and cycling paths scenically hug the water; jump on at Eagle Street Pier and head south through the Botanical Gardens along the Bicentennial Bikeway to the scenic Queensland University of Technology campus and upriver towards the trendy urban centre of Toowong. Alternatively, follow the north side of the river to the Story Bridge. Cyclists continuing down the Brisbane Riverwalk will enjoy a leisurely ride over the floating walkway and around the Merthyr bend to find themselves in the stunning grounds of New Farm Park and the historic Brisbane Powerhouse. If you’re feeling particularly robust, a range of outdoor fitness equipment is primly positioned at both the Sydney Street ferry terminal (on route from the city) and on the Teneriffe side of the Powerhouse. Both locations offer pristine views and cool river breezes to enjoy as you train.
No matter the season, or the reason for your visit, travellers to Brisbane will find few excuses for not staying fit and active. Be sure to pack your workout gear and travel fit mindset the next time you’re in town; who knows where a bit of ‘fitspiration’ in the River City could take you?