Though Australia is a nation of people drawn to the outdoors, it’s easily arguable that Sydney is its most active and healthy city. The scenic backdrop certainly doesn’t hurt, with spectacular runs along the bay and historic outdoor pools nestled beneath the Harbour Bridge and along the seafront.
It’s a city with some of the most forward thinking culinary design; healthy food with varied, farm-table ingredients is easy to find, like the inventive paleo restaurant, Ester. Technology and the latest fitness techniques are embraced at the swathe fitness centres situated in Sydney; check out Agoga in Bondi before heading to the world class beaches.
The Icebergs, located next to Bondi Beach, is home to Australia’s most famous swimming club. The exclusive members club draws their name for their penchant for winter swimming, when, even in sunny Sydney, temperatures plummet. However, the facilities are open to non-members all year round. Split onto two levels, the lower level is home to the ocean-filled saltwater pool, while higher up you’ll find a standard pool and sauna. If you feel like getting some training in, there’s a fully equipped gym with indoor and outdoor training areas and masseuses available to loosen you up after your workout.
Hyde Park to Circular Quay
Sydney is a restless, fitness-focussed city. This is particularly noticeable during the middle of the day when the CBD bursts to life with active people squeezing in a run on their lunch break. A popular circuit for a relatively uninterrupted trek takes you from the expansive Hyde Park, down to the Circular Quay ferry port, past the iconic Sydney Opera House, through the verdant Botanic Gardens, and then looping back to Hyde Park. To keep it interesting and the distance challenging, there are plenty of variations you can work in, such as picturesque Darling Harbour, the sharply elevated Rocks and even bustling Chinatown.
Bondi to Coogee
If you want to marvel at the unmatched beauty of harbour-side Sydney, this 12km there-and-back run is unrivalled. The well maintained course has an extremely varied gradient that sweeps close to the rocky edge, past the historic Waverly cemetery and offers tremendous views of the surrounding architecture and seaside along the way (keep an eye out for whales and dolphin pods). The thin trail is popular with walkers and joggers, so patience is necessary at times; use the slow-down to recover from the frequent and challenging stair sections. Driving or cycling to Bondi or Coogee provides the easiest access, but if you feel like braving Sydney’s public transport, there are plenty of connecting buses.
North Sydney Olympic Pool
It’s hard to imagine a more rousingly spectacular spot for a swim than this art-deco olympic pool in Milson’s Point, North Sydney. The monumental sight of the Sydney Harbour Bridge towers almost directly above, while the smiling face of Luna Park and the iconic Opera House add to the scenery. The public facilities, where a staggering 86 world records have been broken, includes a salt-water treated 50-metre outdoor pool and 25-metre indoor pool
Bondi Body Weight Gym
Overlooking the waves rolling into Australia’s most famous beach, this outdoor gym is perfect for those who prefer their exercise À la carte. What's more, there’s never been a better time to visit as the station received a major upgrade and refresh in 2014. The free community workout arena features plenty of bar-based equipment and a mat area to challenge your body through functional and bodyweight movements. If you're looking for some inspiration there is a good chance you will bump into Guiness World Record Holder Marcus Bondi (Inset) doing one arm chin ups. The training area is also a great way to break up a run along the bay or warm up before a dip.