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Get fit without the gym

3rd July 2020

Want to stay fit and healthy, but not into visiting the neighborhood gym or lugging weights around? Then head outdoors, and get fit with views that are amoung some of Australia's most iconic - all within an hour's drive of Townsville North Queensland! Mixing adventure with healthy habits...count us in!

Whichever way you choose to explore the outdoors, there are numerous benefits to taking the active wear out of the gym and into nature:

  • A 'harder' workoutwhether you’re running on the beach or hiking up a mountain — your body is encountering a constantly changing environment, encouraging your body to work harder than it would on a treadmill or stair machine. As they say, it's all about working smarter...not harder!
  • Clean air: it's just a fact - in the natural environment you are going to encounter a cool sea breeze or the crisp mountain air. We think any breath is better outdoors, and I bet you'd have to agree after sweating it out next to Brenda from Accounts on the treadmill!
  • Daily dose of vitamin D: being outdoors helps us get our daily hit of sunshine, and with over 300 days of it in Townsville North Queensland it's as simple as a stroll on the foreshore, or a trip around the block. Don't forget to slip, slop, slap - we may turn up the 'Vitamin D dial' a bit more in Summer!
  • Exercise for your mind: simply 'being' in a beautiful natural environment really can benefit your mental health - it's just science! And we're literally spoilt for choice - after all our backyard is Mother Nature's playground!

So, now you know the benefits "Where to start, oh wise one", we hear you ask? Well we've rated our top ways to get active outdoors! Ditch the burpees and forget the fad diets, here are some epic active adventures that you (and your fitness tracker) will actually enjoy. From chasing waterfalls to climbing mountains and everything in between, you’ll be clocking up the steps and taking in the best that nature has to offer with these holiday activities.

On land

Whether you are conquering the iconic Castle Hill, hiking the jurassic Thorsborne Trail, or counting steps to a jaw-dropping view of Wallaman Falls, Townsville North Queensland is peppered with nature trails and treks to suit every fitness levels. Here's our top 3!

Hike: Castle Hill, Townsville
Active Level: Medium
Distance: 5.2km return
Approx Step Count: 6,864
Why? The views!
Top tips: Tackle Castle Hill in the early morning or late afternoon to beat the heat. Take water and don’t forget the camera – you’ll want photos at the top.

Hike: Thorsborne TrailHinchinbrook Island
Active Level: Very High
Distance: 32km (allow 4 days and 3 nights)
Approximate Step Count: 42,240 Why? Described as the ‘holy grail for walkers’ (Lonely Planet)
Top tips: Catch a transfer from Lucinda and be prepared to live completely self-sufficient for four days. This is a grade 5 hike, so make sure you’re well trained to tackle this one!

Hike: Mt Inkerman Nature Trail, Burdekin region
Active Level: Moderate
Distance: 2km return (30-45 minute return)
Why? Take in the stunning view from the lookout
Top Tips: Pack a picnic, and enjoy the BBQ facilities at the summit

On the water

Now we aren't talking about laps at the local pool! We're talking fresh water oasis, beaches and bays, and cool waterholes, where - sure, you can increase the heart rate with the odd splash and kick - but these places are best enjoyed with water activities like canoeing, kayaking, and fishing! So let's dive right in to our top 3!

Swim: Charters Towers region
Active Level: Medium
Locations: Anabranch, Big Bend, Burdekin River, Fletcher Creek
Why? Quintessential Outback setting
Top tips: Probably not your first thought when you hear 'Outback' but the entire Charter Towers region is brimming with hidden swim spots!

Swim: Magnetic Island
Active Level: Medium
Locations: Alma Bay, or Horseshoe Bay
Why? Calm sheltered bays to bask in the sun, or splash in the sea
Top tips: If you're looking for something more active, Horseshoe Bay is our tip pick - with jet skis and watersports aplenty!

Swim: Palmua Range National Park
Active Level: Medium
Locations: Jourama Falls, Little Crystal Creek
Why? Cool mountain streams steeped in history
Top tips: Pack a lunch and spend the day exploring!

Looking for something on wheels? Then check out some of the great mountain bike trails around Townsville North Queensland!

Douglas Mountain Bike Reserve - Take in views from the hill, and only 15 minutes from the Townsville CBD. With over 30km of trails, and accessible 24/7 - this location is set to get your wheels turning, and heart pumping!

Cape Pallarenda & Town Common - Put the peddle to the metal, and see beach, ocean and island views, dense jungle, mangroves and open savannah country all in 10km of single track. Local tip: "Under the Radar" trail is the best bet to take in the vast natural landscapes of Townsville - be sure to bring your camera to capture wetland bird life.

Mount Stuart Down Hill -  Got the need for speed? Then this downhill track will get the heart racing with tracks either side of the bitumen public road to Mount Stuart. Local tip: Another spectacular viewpoint to see Townsville from a different angle!

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