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Melbourne's Most Scenic Runs

Home > Melbourne > Parks | Outdoor | Health and Fitness | Lists
by Marguerite Bravay (subscribe)
Copywriter by day, fashion blogger in my spare time. For more, read me at
Published September 23rd 2012
Get in shape while you get your scenic fix
It's so easy to get stuck in an exercise rut. But running in Melbourne takes on a new dimension with a little creativity. To stay motivated, your exercise routine has to be fun and exciting, and it always will be if you switch up the scenery. Melbourne's top scenic runs are tailored to suit your mood, whether you yearn for the seaside, wish to take in urban beauty or commune with nature. Don't stick to the same old run. Read on for Melbourne's most scenic- and varied- runs.

Carlton Gardens: When Exercise is Like a Walk in the Park

Melburnians are fortunate enough to live in a city where green spaces abound. In this category, my favourite place to run is the Carlton Gardens, a World Heritage Site right in the middle of the city! This 64 acre park is home to the renowned Exhibition Building, but it offers so much more, especially for runners.

Don't just run the 2.15 km around the park, however. To take in the best of the Carlton Gardens, zigzag through the interior. Plan your run beforehand with the help of Google Maps: choose which paths to run on and create your customized route. You cannot miss the Exhibition Building for you'll catch a glimpse of it regardless of your angle, but it's worth running by just to take in the stately presence. Directly opposite the dome, in the forecourt, is the Circular French Fountain (c. 1880) and just beyond, a manmade lake, surrounded by a gravel path. On the South side of the Exhibition Building is the award-winning children's playground. The Carlton Gardens provides a fairly pleasant space for running, with only slight uphill when you go towards the city.

Carlton Gardens' man-made lake
This is perhaps the most beautiful spot in the Gardens!

It's Gets Even Better After Dark

For a unique experience, run through the Carlton Gardens at night. After dark, the World Heritage Site comes alive with an almost magical fusion of the natural and urban worlds. This is a perfectly safe option, for the park is never empty. The Imax Cinema being a feature of the Carlton Gardens, you'll always run into movie-goers, other joggers or people enjoying an after-dinner stroll, but it isn't overcrowded, either, if you're after some tranquillity. If you glance towards the city, you'll see the CBD's skyscrapers lit up beyond the trees and, once you've completed your run, take a break to star-gaze. In the Gardens after dark, you'll always spy some possums, which, for Northern Hemisphere newcomers like me, provides a little thrill every time.

The Exhibition Building at night
How beautiful is the Exhibition Building at night?!

Why Not Try a St Kilda Sunset?

Run along St Kilda's Beach to feel miles away from the CBD. You can either run directly on the sand or on the manmade path a few meters away. While it's undeniably tougher to run directly on the sand, hearing the waves rhythmically crash onto the surf beside you makes the experience worthwhile. Wear shoes you don't care about and take in the sounds, sights and smells of the bay. The best time to run is sunset (or sunrise, if you're up for an early morning trek), for the end of day's colours cascade onto the rippling water, making it a sight you'll never forget. For the first time, try this 3.5 km route from St Kilda to Kerford Road, which alternates between paths and being directly on the beach.

Run along St Kilda Beach
You can't go wrong with a beach run!

They say variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to exercise, nothing could be truer. Ditch that circular run around your neighbourhood and revitalize your workout. For running inspiration, visit Walk Jog Run, a website where people from all over the world have posted their favourite runs. Just type in your address and see what other Melburnians have added.

Now, go work out, and more importantly, go have fun!
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Why? To make working out something to talk about
When: Whenever you feel like it, night or day!
Where: Carlton Gardens and St Kilda Beach
Cost: Free
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