Ten Ways to Get Fit in and Around Melbourne's Docklands
Exercise with a side of fresh air and harbour views.
January 15, 2018
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With its flat, open spaces and stretches of waterfront, Docklands and its surrounds are primed for those al fresco workouts. Make the most of the great outdoors with one of the area's many great walks, running tracks and bike trails, or take to the Yarra for a water-based workout. There are options for solo exercisers as well as those who prefer the motivation of a group. Best of all, plenty of them are free, so you can get your sweat on without spending the big bucks.
Read on to discover some top spots to sweat it out in the area.
MOONLIGHT KAYAK DOWN THE YARRA
See the city from a different angle — and score a sneaky arm workout at the same time — with a moonlight kayak tour down the Yarra. Geared for paddlers of all skill levels, this guided 2.5-hour jaunt will see you cruising through Melbourne's scenic waterways as the sun sets. It kicks off in Victoria Harbour and wraps up at the rowing sheds across from Federation Square. Participants get back to basics with a quick paddling technique session before they hit the water — and they even enjoy a feed of fish and chips in their kayaks along the way.
CAPITAL CITY BIKE TRAIL
For a two-wheeled tour of the city limits, hit the Capital City Bike Trail. Cutting right through Victoria Harbour, this 29-kilometre looped track provides a solid few hours of endorphin-boosting cycling. Depending on how much you want to tackle, you'll be rolling past a swag of Melbourne icons, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, the MCG, Princes Park, the Studley Park Boathouse and Melbourne Zoo. Make a half-day of it and stop in for some lunch at the Abbotsford Convent on your way through.
DOCKSIDE HERITAGE WALKING TOUR
Get in a few steps and learn something new about Docklands in the process with the Dockside Heritage Walking Tour. Available for free through the Docklands Walking Tours mobile app, this self-guided trek clocks in at 4.5 kilometres, hitting 25 significant stops along the way. As you go, the supplied images, audio and information will find you diving deep into the area's maritime history and learning all about the wharfies and railway workers who made it what it is today.
VICTORIA HARBOUR OUTDOOR GYM
When the weather's playing ball, the last thing you want is to be cooped up in a gym. Instead, boost those endorphins while loading up on fresh air with a sweat session at Victoria Harbour's outdoor fitness zone. Adjacent to the basketball court at Buluk Park, you'll find a series of modern workout equipment, along with almost everything you need for a full-body workout. An off-leash dog area means you can even bring your pooch along for some exercise of their own.
WALK AROUND ALBERT PARK LAKE
The trail that loops around the perimeter of Albert Park Lake makes for one picturesque exercise spot, no matter what your speed. And we all know how much easier that jog is when you've got some good scenery to distract you. Easily accessed via public transport, the track is a tidy five kilometres long, winding past the park's lush green sports fields and golf course. If you fancy some company, Park Run hosts a weekly Saturday morning group run here, meeting at 7.50am at the Coot Picnic Area.
PORT MELBOURNE BEACH
One of the closest beaches to Melbourne's CBD, Port Melbourne's sandy bayside stretch sits just a few short kilometres from Docklands, making it a winning option for those after-work dips. Usually a little more serene than its St Kilda neighbour, the beach is a family-friendly spot for swimming, kite-surfing, paddleboarding or simply a bit of beachside relaxation. Get in an aquatic workout, then stroll to the buzzing strip of nearby Beach Street to treat yourself to a post-paddle feed or bev.
WALK THROUGH SOUTH MELBOURNE
With the iconic markets at its heart, surrounded by an eclectic mix of cafes, boutiques and pubs, the inner-city suburb of South Melbourne is made for weekend explorations. It'll take you less than an hour to clock most of the main landmarks, including the National Trust-registered St Vincent Gardens, the South Melbourne Town Hall and Albert Park Lake, where you can tack on an extended walk. What's more, in this neck of the woods, you're completely spoilt for choice when it comes to both pre-walk caffeine fixes and that post-walk recovery parma and pint.
RUN THE TAN TRACK
Looping 3.8 kilometres around the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Tan Track is one of Melbourne's most popular options for al fresco fitness, whether you're a marathon runner or prefer a low-key powerwalk. Overall, it's picturesque and not too savage, though it helps to mentally prepare for the rise known as Heartbreak Hill, which sits about 1 kilometre in. Cap off your session with a cheeky post-run reward at Domain Road institution The Botanical, either in the form of some modern Australian bistro fare or a sophisticated tipple.
VICTORIA HARBOUR STROLL
If you'd rather play explorer at your own pace, opt for a DIY tour, as navigated by Walking Maps' self-guided Victoria Harbour Stroll. The downloadable map features a bite-sized waterfront jaunt that'll take you past five of the area's landmarks, including Wang Shugang's NewQuay artwork, Ari Purhonen's shimmering harbourside installation and the iconic Etihad Stadium. What's more, clocking in at an easy 23 minutes, this is a stroll you could even squeeze into your lunchbreak, sandwich in hand.
DRAGON BOAT RACING
When the weather's decent, the best kind of sports are the ones involving water and plenty of sunshine. If that sounds like your jam, make the most of Docklands' riverside location and get acquainted with the world of dragon boat racing. It's a team sport originating in ancient China, where 22-person boat crews battle it out in a test of endurance, speed and synchronisation. Docklands is home to six of Dragon Boat Victoria's 23 affiliated clubs, welcoming rowers of all ages and skill levels. Head along for a casual paddle, or join a team.
Surround yourself with everything Docklands has to offer at the new 883 Collins Street development. Top restaurants, cafes, bars and activities are just a stone's throw away.