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Why Runcations Are The Coolest New Travel Trend On The Rise
Plus, Australia's top 5 scenic running routes.
There’s a certain therapy that comes from running on a scenic wilderness trail or a winding coastal path. And with more and more Aussies travelling to exotic destinations to combine vacation time with health and wellness, runcations have become all the rage in the last few years!
What is a runcation?
A runcation is a trip planned around a specific running trail or race, allowing you to include your fitness routine in your trip schedule and tick off two goals — holidaying and keeping or getting fit.
Whether you’re participating in a marathon or running a scenic track at your own pace, runcations are a great way to explore a new destination and a fun incentive to stay active and motivated in your training.
Did you know?
94% of wanderlusters prioritise high-quality fitness offerings when choosing the perfect vacation spot.
(Well + Good)
How to organise a runcation:
Step 1: Choose a destination
Just like any other vacation, select a destination that calls to you, activities that thrill you and a duration that will challenge and exhilarate you.
Step 2: Plot your course
With the right tools, it's easy to plan a long run in another city. Just download ‘offline’ maps to your phone and plot a course. If you prefer spontaneity, a city’s hidden treasures are best discovered on foot, so let your feet lead the way! Note: if you’re travelling somewhere ‘off the grid’, make sure you’re prepared with emergency supplies before hitting the trail.
Step 3: Find a running buddy
Running is so much better with a training buddy or a group of friends. Plan your runcation with your besties to save on accommodation costs, participate in an organised running event or plan to meet up with a local running club. Having the company of local residents often leads to surprising perks like local knowledge or party invitations!
5 bucket list worthy runcation destinations in Australia:
Turquoise waters, white sand and frolicking dolphins? Yes, please!
If you love the ocean, surfing and wildlife, Noosa Heads is the runcation destination for you. An idyllic coastal town set 140 kilometres north of Brisbane, this little slice of paradise is a runner’s dream come true.
Lace up your sneakers and hit the trails in the National Park to see post-card perfect cliff faces, crystalline waters, pristine subtropical rainforest and koalas peacefully snoozing in the trees near Tea Tree Bay. With over 15 kilometres worth of trails to explore, there’s something here for every kind of runner
Camping beneath the stars, cool waterholes and sacred Aboriginal sites await you on the Larapinta Trail. But don’t be fooled by the breathtaking outback views — this scenic running route is *not* for the faint-hearted!
Unless you’re an experienced runner with wilderness training, we wouldn’t recommend running the Larapinta alone. Lucky for you, once a year, there’s a 4-day running event along the most spectacular sections of the 223-kilometre trail called Run Larapinta, which is open to runners of all levels.
The event offers both a short and long course, passing through red rocky gorges, wide valleys, high mountain ridges and dry savannah country filled with wildflowers. This is a running trail like no other!
With over 30 kilometres of exceptional trail interspersed with pristine beaches and dramatic pink granite peaks, the Freycinet Peninsula is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful running locations in the world.
Whether you’re looking for a short beginner’s trail or a longer, more challenging run (à la hiking meets jogging style), Freycinet is sure to ‘peak’ your interest. The National Park includes stunning mountain ranges and iconic Wineglass Bay, which was voted by several travel authorities as one of the world's 10 best beaches.
When you’re not busy running, try kayaking, snorkelling, diving or an exhilarating quad bike tour through the native eucalypt forest. There’s so much to see!
The large network of World Heritage running trails in the Gibraltar Range National Park offer ancient eucalypt forests set among ridges and granite tors, lush rainforests and plummeting waterfalls.
Camp in sweet-scented woodlands and listen to giant barred frogs during their nightly chorus. Appreciate the wonders of nature from sweeping lookouts. Swim in cool creeks surrounded by wildflowers and run through towering trees descended from the dinosaur age.
The Gibraltar Range National Park certainly feels like something straight out of an Indiana Jones film. Just don’t forget to pack your natural mosquito repellant!
Stretching 104 kilometres from the seaside village of Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles, the Great Ocean Walk passes along a dramatic coastline of soaring cliffs and remote beaches. Put on your running shoes and connect with nature in this remote and spectacular region. The cliff-top vistas are magnificent!
Highlights of the Great Ocean Walk include Apollo Bay Beach, Cape Otway Lighthouse, Devil’s Kitchen, Milanesia Beach, Ryan’s Den and more. The landscape and wild nature of this iconic long-distance trail will engage your mind, body and soul. Let go of stress and melt into pure natural bliss!