Where are Australia's best trail runs? Whether you are out for a short hike, a recreational jog or hard training run, here are some of my favourite places.
Number one on my list is the world famous Bells Track in Victoria. Start at the Torquay Surf Club and head west along the track through Jan Juc to Bells Beach. The trail is spectacular! It follows the coastal cliffs and the views of the coastline and coastal vegetation are breathtaking. The popular trail is undulating but maintained well enough for people to push prams along. And the prize at the end is the cliff top views of Bells Beach at the five kilometre turnaround.
If you want more of a challenge then continue west, past Bells towards Pt Addis. The views get better and you move into some brilliant bush vegetation. The trail has some solid hills that will test you as you approach the Point. If the tides are favourable and you are careful you can do part of the return along the beach.
Number two is the tight walking tracks around Binna Burra and O'Reilly's in the Gold Coast hinterland, Queensland. The tropical rainforest is the drawcard. The soft tracks and cool mountain air hold a host of trails for all abilities.
Number three is Lysterfield Lake in the foothills of Melbourne's Dandenong Mountain. The 4WD tracks around the lake are well used by walkers, runners and mountain bike riders. And the jewel in the crown of this trail is the lake surrounded by the forest. Few runs offer the chance to cool off in a lake or laze around its beach post run.
Number four Wilson Promontory. The Prom is about two hours south east of Melbourne. This southern most section of mainland Australia has 100kms of tracks and the variety is outstanding. From the wetlands in the north to the exposed coastal cliffs near the lighthouse on the south, the Prom is a favourite hiking location. The eastern side around Sealers Cove has some of the best beaches and trails as well as being slightly more protected from the sometimes brutal weather coming up from the south west.
Number five Larapinta trail, Alice Springs. With some of the outback's most amazing scenery the Larapinta trail covers 223kms from Mt Sonder in the west to Alice Springs in the east. The desert colours and vegetation combine with the numerous waterholes and outback hospitality make this one of the most memorable trails in the country. The trail is broken up into sections between campsites. Each section has a different feel with scenery ranging from views over the outback to outback waterholes.
These are just five of my top spots. Be inspired to explore some of these spectacular trails.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html