Interview: Best Places To Work Out Outside In Melbourne

I saw her eating a chocolate bar. Later, she was indulging in jelly beans. I asked her if she had a sweet tooth – her habits were starting to resemble mine (I suffer from this also. In Southeast Asia I had a sticky rice with mango addiction). “I’ve gained weight since I’ve been in Australia,” my new roommate told me between bites of a Snickers bar, “I joined a gym and did the cross trainer every day, but after a month I had gained a kilo.”

That one might be an obvious case. But often being on a budget and moving to a new city or traveling can be a big hindrance for staying fit, sometimes without a clear reason. “I find that while traveling on a budget (and with time constraints), I end up skipping meals or going longer without eating than I would otherwise,” my friend Erin explains, “On the other hand, the cheapest or easiest food is often the unhealthiest (i.e., sandwiches… Allison’s and my downfall).” Don’t I know it about those sandwiches…

Here are tips on healthy eating while traveling featured on Nomadic Matt

On a tight grocery budget but want delicious food? Try recipes from Yates Yummies guest post challenge to make seven meals with ten ingredients.

It’s not only about maintaining appearances – it’s important to stay active for your health. Anyone who’s been out of shape and had to work hard to get it back knows it doesn’t come easy. Erin told me, “To stay in shape, one has to make a concerted effort to fit a workout into a somewhat uncooperative schedule.” After living in Melbourne for four months and working awkward four-hour blocks, I hadn’t joined a gym and found my fitness starting to decline.

Naptime.Runningin Melbourne
Please don’t follow Erin’s “obedience” of traffic signs.

I enlisted Erin (you’ve heard her mentioned quite a lot on Yasmine), the hiking extraordinaire who brought you these top 5 Ibiza hikes, to give us her favorite places to work out while living in Melbourne on a budget. If you’re just visiting, staying temporarily or have been a Melbournian your whole life but just need some extra inspiration, these are for you!

Let’s hear about where we can work out for free in Melbourne!

Here are Erin’s top 3 running routes in the city and her explanations:

Map of Melbourne. Taken from
  1. Albert Park, just south of the city. The Park has a 5km dirt running path around its man-made lake, with great views of the city (especially at sunset) and a very family-oriented atmosphere. I haven’t encountered communities of homeless people or drug users like you tend to in St Kilda.
  1. Port Melbourne -> St Kilda. I love running along the boardwalk between Port Melbourne and St Kilda. It’s about 5km of uninterrupted sea views with zero traffic lights. The only negative is that the path is entirely concrete pavement, which I try to avoid for the sake of my knees.
  1. The Tan Track around the Royal Botanic Gardens. This dirt loop is also about 5km and circles the gated botanical gardens. It has a great hill in the southeastern portion, which I describe below. You’ll find a lot of runners and what appear to be school gym classes using the track, which is fantastic for motivation. Whatever pain you’re feeling, you’re never alone!
Erin memorized that map of Melbourne from day 1.

I want my b u t t to b u r n. Where are those stairs?

I also often hear Erin crying with desire for a stair workout. She told me “As Melbourne is a relatively flat city, I had to do quite a bit of research in order to find a place to do hill work.” She even tried stadiums, which she was disappointed to discover didn’t allow public access. But, she found two that she enjoyed.

Erin suggests:

  1. The Tan Track has a fantastic hill on its southeastern side along Anderson Street.
  1. The Shrine of Remembrance (a WWII memorial next to the Royal Botanical Gardens) is set atop a long set of stairs, and is relatively uninhabited on the back side. Verdict is still out on whether this is allowed, however. I haven’t found anything to the contrary, and was actually directed here through someone else’s running blog, but was told off by one woman the last time I was there.

Having previously lived in Thailand and Spain before moving to Australia, Erin says that Melbourne has been the most enjoyable out of those mentioned in terms of workouts.

“I love using running/working out as a tool to explore a new city and for that reason,

Melbourne has been the most fun for me thus far.

Ibiza was much too rural for my taste…You could run two miles down a dirt road and notice no change in the horizon, which I personally find horrifying.

While in Thailand, I was living outside of Bangkok in a smaller metropolitan area. I lived conveniently nearby a nationally recognized Buddhist park (Phutthamonthon Park), which has several running trails, but aside from that, my options were “left or right” down the interstate.”

So if you’re in Melbourne looking for a place to exercise, just remember: at least you’re not on a dirt road with no change in the horizon and at least you’re not alongside an interstate. Now get out there and get active!

Do you work out in Melbourne? Where else do you like to go?

Naptime.Runningin Melbourne4
Here’s one way NOT to stay fit while traveling!

Beyond Melbourne

Not in Melbourne but still want ideas on how to stay fit while traveling? Women’s Health, World of Wanderlust and Katherine Lynn Fitness’s Hotel Room HIIT all have great ideas. Another idea? Pick a few short YouTube videos to do on your break at work or in the morning at your hostel. Kimberly sent me some of her favorites that have quickly become mine: 10-minute abs, Jillian Michaels arms and Kiera LaShae’s reggae/dance hall.

If you’re being honest with yourself, are you feeling kind of lazy about this whole workout thing? Try Greatist’s 30 day Just-Do-Something Challenge.

Are you Ibiza? Don’t know where to run? Here are three running routes.


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