Nonetheless, you can always find an outdoor exercise spot in Melbourne, regardless of the weather.
The cost of a gym membership is not necessary to achieve fitness goals. Instead, take advantage of the many running groups, public gyms, and health centres that the city of Melbourne provides.
Going outside and getting some exercise is simple and doesn't cost a dime. Here are some of the finest open-access gyms in Melbourne.
FAQs About Melbourne
Studies have shown that physical activity outdoors lowers blood pressure and heart rate. As a result, exercise outdoors feels less strenuous than similar exercise indoors, which, in turn, pushes you closer to your maximum performance.
Outdoor fitness can be a structured exercise program that takes advantage of natural terrain to get you in shape, or it can be as simple as a brisk walk around the block.
The weather can be unpredictable, and it may cause you to discontinue your workout routine. For example, working out during summer may lead to heat exhaustion and dehydration, and doing it during winter may give you hypothermia.
Studies show that exercising in natural environments can positively affect self-esteem and improve mood. The effect is especially noticed in people with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Exercising around water may be optimal, but any natural environment is beneficial.
Your bones and blood cells need a lot of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D for them to be healthy. Working out under the sunlight helps your body to absorb these minerals seamlessly. Also, getting 5-15 minutes of sun at least once every two days gives your body all the Vitamin D it needs.
The Best Places To Exercise In Melbourne
Why pound away at the treadmill when there is so much to see? Instead, get your workout done in some of Melbourne's best parks and trails, with options for all fitness levels. Many parks have basic exercise equipment dotted around the walking tracks so that you can combine your walk with some bodyweight exercises.
1000 Steps / Kokoda Track Memorial Walk
Not for the faint-hearted. Among the peaks of the Dandenong Ranges sits One Tree Hill — a 2.8km and 1000-step climb, which forms the Kokoda Track Memorial Trail. Remember to bring a water bottle and decent pair of hiking or running shoes. Maybe even bring a stopwatch and beat your personal best each weekend. A favourite among Victorians with a stunning view from the top.
The 1000 Steps in Ferntree Gully is a popular and challenging workout favoured by fitness buffs and casual walkers. The Steps are in beautiful forest surrounds, but this is no stroll. So be prepared to sweat as you battle your way to the top.
Capital City Trail
Visit Melbourne's landmarks in four hours by cycling the Capital City Trail. The 29km track follows the Yarra River and the old Inner Circle Railway. You can cycle from Southbank to Docklands, passing through gardens, parks and the Polly Woodside Maritime Museum along the way. It's an easy circuit combining exercise and tourism.
A favourite with everyone from office workers to footy stars. Located in the heart of Melbourne, the 3.8km track allows you to explore King's Domain and the Botanic Gardens. Want to get serious? Join the Victorian Road Runners on the first Saturday of every month at 7.30 am for a 4km or 8km time trial.
The Tan Track, which circles the stunning Royal Botanic Gardens, is an iconic track loved by serious runners and casual walkers alike. The nearly four-kilometre long circuit is conveniently located in South Yarra with distance markers and drinking taps. The track will not be too hard on your ankles and feet with a soft sandy surface should you choose to run or jog.
The Bay Trail
Take in the scenery of the Mornington Peninsula while you cycle, walk or jog part of this 17km stretch. Begin the circuit at Anthony's Nose, nestled between Dromana and Rosebud, and discover the coastline's townships until you make your way to Sorrento. Stop at Rye's White Cliffs or discover Rosebud's, Coleman Park. Complete sections of the trail at your leisure.
Dandenong Creek Trail
The Dandenong Creek Trail passes through Melbourne suburbs and railway stations, Jells Park, and Dandenong Valley Wetlands. You might find yourself navigating an obstacle course at times as you come across intersections between major highways and connecting bike trails. Who doesn't love a challenge and some beautiful scenery, though? You can access and depart the trail at any time, with signs mapping the way to other bike circuits.
Coburg Lake Reserve
Try completing a full workout session, but not in your usual gym. Coburg Lake Reserve has an array of outdoor fitness equipment, complete with walking and running tracks. Sweat it out on the cross-trainer or rowing machine while the kids roam free in the playgrounds. After you're done, cook up a healthy treat on the barbecue and take a leisurely walk around the parklands.
Maribyrnong River Trail
Enjoy stunning views while exercising at your own pace on the Maribyrnong River Trail. The track can be used for walking, running, or cycling. Attempt the entire 28-kilometre track starting from Southbank, or tackle the smaller section within the park.
Burnley Bouldering Wall
For something a little different, try your hands (and feet) at the free Burnley Bouldering Wall. Bouldering, a type of rock climbing where you do not climb too far from the ground, is mentally and physically challenging.
There are three artificial rock climbing walls under the Monash Freeway in Richmond, each with a different gradient. The climb is suitable for beginners. Wear comfortable exercise gear and remember to follow the colours to get across the wall.
The Mo Moran Outdoor Reserve Gym
For some of the best free outside fitness gatherings, head to Mo Moran Reserve Open-air Gym, where you can join friends or take your family for strength training. After using the equipment, there is easy access to the beach for a bit of family fun, where you can enjoy the sand and some casual paddling. Then, for a bite with your friends or loved ones, head to Jerry's Milk Bar – just a short walk away.
Look no further than South Yarra's Fawkner Park for an all women's boot camp. The outdoor fitness Melbourne gatherings are different each time and you. The exercises will see you working up a sweat from engaging on your abs, thighs, and butts by doing circuits, boxing and cardio. After your workout, visit the luxury hotspot Bench Coffee for a morning brew.
Whatever type of gym practice you're into, there is a range of exercise opportunities that start in the Edingburgh Gardens. These can be tailored to your group – from mums and bubs, corporate group classes or even lone rangers. They have mastered the art of boot camp-style gym sessions. Tin Pot Cafe is a short walk from the gardens where you and your workout buddy can meet for brunch or a delicious cup of tea.
Merri Creek Trail
The Merri Creek Trail connects many of Melbourne's suburbs and provides a scenic route for biking, jogging, or walking your dog while providing a great opportunity to get some exercise or meet up with friends. If you head south, you can meet up with your pals at Cam's Kiosk in the Abbotsford Convent for a cup of joe.
Cheap Health And Fitness In Melbourne
If you like running, it's one of the best ways to explore the city. Join a local running club if you like getting pumped with other runners. Many are free or charge an annual fee and are open to runners of all abilities. A couple of our favourites are the Crosbie Crew, which hits the Tan weekly for an annual membership fee of $60, and the Gunn Runners bunch, who pound the Albert Park Lake track every Tuesday. No membership is required to run with the Gunn crew, but bring $5 for a post-run bevvy at the pub.
The Melbourne Healthy Lifestyle group offers free fitness classes around Melbourne, including Zumba classes and group exercise classes. All you need to do is register to secure your spot, wear workout clothes (make sure you wear layers, because, you know, Melbourne) and bring a water bottle. After the workout, there is the option to join the team for a muscle recovery smoothie for just $5.
No wonder the Carlton footy club calls Princes Park home; the sprawling park just north of the CBD is a haven for those who love working out outdoors. There's a 3.2k running track around the park with an adjoining cycleway and outdoor gyms if you want to pump out a few sets on the bars. So bring a ball for an impromptu footy game, and eyeball the players during training season.
About 4km north of Melbourne's centre, the iconic Princes and Royal Parks sit side by side and allow sporting clubs, casual joggers, and tennis players to train for fun or peak performance. So escape the city during lunch without straying too far from the office and try your best at spotting sporting greats.
Jessica Dewar Yoga
Yoga is a very expensive sport for a discipline that you can do in your pyjamas. Studios are often expensive, but yoga teacher Jessica Dewar wanted to make the discipline accessible for everyone. So her studio offers yoga classes for everyone, and you can pay whatever you feel the classes are worth (or what you can afford). There are suggested donations, but really, it's up to you.
St Kilda Foreshore
Yes, we know there are no waves on Melbourne beaches. But that is all for the best if you're thinking of swimming into the ocean and don't want to get crushed by monster waves. Then, of course, you could join a fitness club with a pool, but if you're on a budget, throw on your bathers and go for a refreshing swim, just as Mother Nature intended.
Top Destinations For Park Workouts In Melbourne
Oldis Gardens, Northcote
A centrepiece of the Northcote neighbourhood, Oldis Gardens offers a fantastic place to run through your workout routine. Despite its central location, the park has ample space for any exercises you have planned. There is a prominent wooden playground with a solid structure (including monkey rungs and a balance beam) that you can incorporate into extra-creative workouts (once the kids are gone, of course). The well-kept trees and creek mean that this can be a great option for an outdoor workout in Melbourne, even on hot days. If you're not within walking distance, there are also several metro stations and bus stops that allow easy access to the park.
Princes Park, Carlton
The wide-open spaces here make it the perfect location for those more explosive workouts, and the well-manicured lawns mean it's a pleasure to be there. Similar to Oldis Gardens, there is a sturdy playground that you can utilise for your workout, but the real draw here is the large, open green spaces. There is a great atmosphere, and numerous other people use the space to exercise, meaning there's a good chance you'll see others going through their routines. Additionally, the open nature of this park means plenty of sunshine on a good day, helping boost mood while you exercise and providing you with that all-important vitamin D. And, with Ikon Park stadium just around the corner, maybe you can draw a little inspiration.
Queens Park, Moonee Ponds
Amongst the abundant vegetation and winding paths, you might mistake this place for a scene from Jurassic Park. The park is a great place to get some exercise in and clear your mind from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets. There is a cafe in Queens Park, perfect for refuelling with a drink after (or before) your workout. There is also an outdoor public pool that is accessible to the public from Monday through Friday, 6 am to 7 pm, and on the weekends, 9 am to 7 pm. As you enter this historic park, the first thing you'll notice is the massive lake that serves as its centrepiece. While this means there's less room for you to get your heart rate up, it also makes for a stunning backdrop for your workout and helps keep the temperature down on hotter days. Large trees provide ample shade if you plan on working out during the hottest parts of the day, and two playgrounds provide variety to your workouts.
Clifton Park, Brunswick West
Slightly smaller than some other public spaces, Clifton Park still packs a wallop with a massive range of amenities. First, the synthetic public soccer pitch allows for a range of activities that would otherwise be dampened by bad weather, as well as group sports. Additionally, there is a basketball ring that can allow you to mix some hoops into your routine, as well as a walking circuit for warmups and cooldowns. Clifton Parks substantial skate park may not be ideal for you and your workout, but the range of options means that a trip to the park can be a family outing, with each member doing their own thing, from running laps and shooting hoops to a kickabout with friends and riding the bowl.
Beauty Park, Frankston
On a fresh winter's day, it might be too cold to dip your toes into the ocean, but that doesn't mean you have to stay away from the waterfront. Visit Frankston's Beauty Park, which connects the Frankston Waterfront with the George Pentland Botanic Gardens. There's a playground for the kids, art sculptures to gaze at, as well as a fitness tracker with three exercise stations. Afterwards, pick up some fresh fruit and veg from the nearby Frankston Farmers' Market.
Aberfeldie Park, Moonee Ponds
This large park located in Moonee Ponds is ideally suited for running in their workout routine; the green haven offers a large compacted-earth track that makes for a fantastic alternative to the concrete and tarmac of surrounding streets. As well as the earthen path, there are also large grassy areas, plenty big enough to accommodate even the largest group workouts. Don't fancy running on dirt? Aberfeldie also has a 400m athletics track in the centre of the park, meaning you can pit yourself against the clock and get some laps in on this professional-grade public space. While you usually have to get creative in a park workout (and you totally can here, using the playground), Aberfeldie has public gym equipment that you can use to add new exercises into your regime that might otherwise be hard in an outdoor environment.
Situated in the Maribyrnong Valley Parklands and alongside the Horseshoe Farm Bend is Brimbank Park, where you can immerse yourself in nature. Be one with the birds and enjoy a scenic bike ride, casual walk or run. Try your luck at fishing or test your endurance and balance by canoeing in the Maribyrnong River. Explore the 4.3km circuit around the park's perimeter or join the Maribyrnong River trail, taking you to the city.
Albert Park Lake
Perhaps you're not looking for such a steep ascent up 1000 Steps. If you want a mountain-free, scenic, and long walking track, look no further than Albert Park. The five-kilometer path that circles the lake is completely level. You can walk or run on it with no problems. Two outdoor workout stations provide access to the bare essentials.
Play a game of soccer or football, let the kids run around in the playground, or plan a picnic in the park. You can sail or row around the lake while you watch birds and other wildlife on the 5-kilometer track. Albert Park, site of the Formula One Australian Grand Prix and the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, provides a wide range of activities for visitors to partake in at no cost.
A wide variety of animals and plants call the park's shimmering lake home, giving visitors to Albert Park plenty to take in as they stroll around. Black swans, ducks, coots, and other birds can all be found in the area.
Working outside offers such benefits as a boosted mood and better mental health, exponentially increasing in green spaces such as Queens Park. Additionally, parks have the bonus of being easily accessible to those living in cities, so whether you're based in Moonee Ponds, Northcote, Brunswick West or any other neighbourhood with a bus connection, you can fit an outdoor workout into your week. Plus, they're free! Public parks mean everyone has access to use them, and with areas such as Aberfeldie containing free exercise equipment, it can be a great way to change up your routine at no extra cost.