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The Five Best Scenic Running Routes in Melbourne

One of the best bits about running is exploring new suburbs and parks like these.
By Hilary Simmons
February 11, 2013
By Hilary Simmons
February 11, 2013

Running. Running away from responsibility. Running away from your stalker. Running to keep fit. I love running in all its forms. I love discovering new paths and leafy trails. I love seeing other runners toiling along and feeling like I'm in some kind of elite pack or club dedicated to pummelling the pavement and beating the hills. Best of all, running means exploring new suburbs and secret parks, of the kind collected below.

abbotsford convent


The garden and grounds are accessible via pathways that are mostly bitumen, although some are dirt. You can run right past the Collingwood Children's Farm and see the resident donkey named Mickie before you've had breakfast. The paths wind along the river and there are no active nuns on site. It's a choose-your-own-adventure kind of running route.


Perfectly flat and phenomenally popular, Princes Park is ridiculously close to the city and Melbourne University. This is the place to run if you wan to check out sports teams playing in the park, as the 3.2km running circuit loops right around it. It's well lit at night, walker friendly, and you can even race the trams whiffling up Elizabeth Street.


The Capital City Trail provides an uninterrupted linear link around Melbourne's existing parks and river corridors. The furthermost point on the Capital City Trail is only 5km from the city's centre, and it's a shared-use path for cyclists and pedestrians, so sprint with care — the path is mainly concrete.


This running trail had to make the cut, right? The Tan used to be a horse carriage drive for the well-off in Melbourne and sits just south of the Yarra River. It's shaded for its entire length by the most beautiful trees. You can follow it to Kings, the Old Melbourne Observatory, and the Shrine of Remembrance and tell everyone you've run it over your morning coffee.


This is one of Melbourne's prettiest (and easiest) running routes, with soft grass and gentle slopes. The 3km outer circuit is bitumen paved and the gardens themselves are crisscrossed by paths. It's across the road from the MCG, contains Captain Cook's Cottage and a fairy tree, and you can use the nearby stairs at Parliament to warm up.

Princes Park and Capital City Trail image by Mat Connelly, Fitzroy Gardens image by edwin.11.

Published on February 11, 2013 by Hilary Simmons

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  • Reader comments...

    Patrick Varney - April 8, 2015

    My best run follows the Bayside Coastal Art trail to some extent....a beautiful run on soft surfaces from Sandringham to Black it..

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