IMAGE VIA ANDREW (BOY) CHARLTON POOL | FACEBOOK
While we love a good warehouse training facility or lofty, light-filled yoga studio, you just can’t beat a workout in the great outdoors. Thankfully, we’re blessed with pretty temperate weather here in Sydney, along with some kick-ass outdoor spaces right across the city’s reaches. So, ditch the sweat box and kick open the door to one of our top open-air workout spaces!
Picturesque water views, luscious grassy fields, and an abundance of workout-friendly facilities (hello, water fountain and public bathrooms!) make for one of our best inner-city exercise zones. Here, you can get lost amongst the native flora as you run laps around the botanic gardens, sprint past Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, or indulge in a yoga session overlooking the beauty of the Harbour Bridge. Finish your workout with a gruelling stair run on the north side of the park, and don’t forget to celebrate with a scenic selfie from the top!
An absolute paradise for the outdoor fitness junkie, Centennial Park offers spaces and facilities for all styles of training. You’ll find challenging running tracks, designated cycling areas, a large outdoor resistance and free weights space, and even a dressage pen and multiple horse-friendly trails for the equine-inclined out there! There are bootcamps, there are sunrise yoga sessions, there are mums and bubs fitness classes — if it’s an outdoor fitness movement which exists, you’ll find it in Centennial Parklands! And since it’s less than two kilometres from the centre of the city, it’s the perfect place for you to get sweaty.
An obvious one for those aquatically gifted, Australia’s most famous beach is also an excellent spot for some calisthenics or resistance training. Sydney’s answer to Muscle Beach, the Bondi Bars are a great place to get a pump on or perform some pretty impressive gymnastic feats. Cool off with a dip in the ocean and celebrate your fitness feat with a post-workout acai bowl from one of the trendy esplanade cafes. This is paradise.
The Tamarama Stairs are not for the faint-hearted or weak-legged. Tackle these bad boys during your next running session, or treat them as an interval session by throwing in some strength or resistance exercises after each ascent. Tucked in between two of Sydney’s best beaches, with a gorgeous view of the eastern bays, a couple of rounds of these will get your heart rate (and spirits!) soaring.
Nestled next to the Chinese Friendship Garden, Tumbalong Park is a haven for lap runners and exercisers in the CBD. The site of the annual Bloomberg Square Mile Relay, this spot is a sprawling five hectares featuring plenty of opportunities for outdoor fitness activity with well-maintained grounds and excellent facilities, whatever your training style. And if you’ve got kids in tow, there’s a huge children’s play area complete with mega slides, swings, a flying fox and climbing ropes — it will keep them entertained for hours!
If you’re not a fan of running or cycling, why not opt for something lower resistance but that offers an equally as effective workout? A good old-fashioned outdoor swim can get you there without any of the stress on knees and ankles that plagues many outdoor runners. Get your fix down in Clovelly’s ocean pool.
The Inner West’s answer to Centennial Parklands, Sydney Park boasts a range of running and riding trails for you to take advantage of. Start with a hill sprint to the top of the park’s steepest hill, then meander down the backstretch through some beautiful local wetlands, with both dirt and grass terrain to suit every running style. Best of all, this area is dog-friendly, so if you love to exercise with your four-legged friend, there is ample off-leash space to do so.
Arguably Sydney’s most beautiful city park (and there’s some stiff competition), Rushcutters Bay is ideal for anything outdoor. From outdoor picnics to sports matches, this area is a hive of activity on weekend mornings. You can run or bike laps of the park (in total, around 3.5km of trail), challenge yourself on one of the sets of stairs, or climb up Loftus Street on the east side. If you want a little extra motivation, there are also a bunch of small group training classes—like Dangerously Fit Boot Camp or Evolution to Wellbeing—that run throughout the week and weekend.
Running track? Tick. Open-air gym equipment? Tick. Basketball and tennis courts? Sydney’s only heated outdoor public pool? Tick and tick! Redesigned in 2013, Prince Alfred Park sees fitness enthusiasts flock from all over the city and state! And thanks to its connecting pathways to Sydney’s Central Station, it’s accessible from everywhere from Narrabeen to Newcastle. The pool, in particular, is a big drawcard (outdoor AND heated is a luxury). And, after you’ve run, swam, and dribbled your way to a post-workout appetite, there is a huge variety of cafés on Redfern’s Cleveland Street, about a 10-minute walk south.
If you’re an inner-city runner, you will 100% have come across this little gem! In newly-developed Barangaroo, the winding reserve is a hot spot for lunchtime workouts. There’s still development in the works to connect the main circuit to the easternmost stretches of Barangaroo’s Eat Street, but even as it is, it’s a fabulous place to get some fresh air and work up a sweat. We love the multiple sets of stairs dotted around the harbourside running trail — no excuse to stick to the flat when the top of the hill offers such stunning Harbour Bridge views! Drag your workmates out for a midday jog, and take in the crystal clear waters of Sydney Harbour while you’re at it.
An institution among eager swimmers and sporadic sunbathers alike, Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Pool has a reputation as the best-positioned pool in the city — a well-earned reputation at that! Perched on the hillside of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, this eight-lane aquatic facility will tempt even those who usually eschew the pool. There are one-off, weekly, and monthly memberships available, and you can choose to simply show up and swim or to take part in one of the many organised fitness classes. Combine it with a bit of a warm-up jog and you’ve got one of inner Sydney’s best functional fitness options.
We couldn’t make a list of Sydney’s best outdoor workout spots without mentioning the Burrows Park Sportsfield because this 13-station fresh-air gym is a step above the rest. Sure, there are your typical pull-up and push-up bars, but among the exercise equipment is a rowing machine and a treadmill. Even better, it’s situated right along the Clovelly Beach coastal walk, so you’ll have some pretty incredible views to help carry you through the muscle burn.
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