Our original Noosa Lazy Runner Marie Bean shares her Noosa running secrets...
It would be very hard to find a better place to run in than Noosa Heads, Queensland. It has everything for runners; you can run on the beaches, the boardwalks, along river fronts but the best place to run in Noosa, or dare I say the world, is the stunning Noosa National Park.
I have run all over the world, across 6 continents and I still find the Noosa National Park runs hard to rival.
The Noosa National park is just a short one km drive from iconic Hastings Street past Little Cove, and you are there. A small National park compared to a lot of Queensland’s standards, but just right for runners.
There are many paths to take, and the colour coded map at the main entrance gives you a good idea of the tracks and level of difficulty. But my personal favourite is to run up the middle, on Tanglewood track, where it is cool, shaded, a little undulating and lovely soft turf underfoot. Tanglewood track will lead you to Hells Gate in about 4km. Hells Gate is a rocky headland with astonishing views from all angles, make sure you look for the turtles that are often seen between the cliff coves. You may also spot some playful dolphins or at certain times migrating whales are visible from Hells Gate.
Now the best bit, the return. Run back along the coastal path, it a 3.5km stunner. Hugging the cliff faces most of the way, you run high up past some of Australia’s prettiest coastline; just keep an eye on your footing as it’s hard to take your eyes off the sea views. This can be a busy little path so keep your wits about you when running, if running with a buddy you will have to run single file. The costal path will take you past three small swimming coves which are also mecca’s for the surfers, so be careful you don’t get impaled by a barefoot surfer running with his long board.
The coastal path takes you back to the start, approx 7km of the best running track ever. If you want to add an extra 1km head into the Palm Cove loop, it’s cool, shady and a great way to finish off your bush run. Want more, Ok head up the boardwalk that will take you past the pretty Little Cove beach, up the hill past First Point, Noosa’s top dollar real estate, and back to Noosa Beach. All up a great 10km run.
However, that is not the end of your Noosa National Park running. Why not head around to Sunshine Beach and attack it from that angle. You can start at the Parkedge Road entrance, once again there is a colour coded map to help you, and there are many paths this end. If you are really keen you can run from Sunshine Beach to Noosa Beach through the park, but remember you have to get back!
My second favourite run in Noosa is to start at the Sunshine Beach Surf Club, run along the beach north for about 500 metres until you get to some killer steps of more than 100. Luckily there is a reward at the top, glorious views of Sunshine beach coastline and then you a have a very pretty, albeit a little rocky run along the headland until you reach what the locals call A Bay, short for Alexandria Beach, a popular nudist beach…so be careful which way you look, it’s a lovely little cove. From there you can access the national park again and head back through the bush to Parkedge Road entrance.
If you are not keen on the back to nature running, Noosa has plenty of road and boardwalk running. Another good 10 km run is to combine the river and beach in one run.
If you are in Noosaville, the river end of Noosa, try starting your run on Gympie Terrace, a wonderful 2km of paths that leads through parks and jetties along the Noosa River. Once at the end of Gympie Terrace you will find yourself on Noosa Parade, a 3km strip of holiday resort and huge waterfront homes. Run over the two bridges the second being the Sheraton Bridge and then you will find yourself on Hastings Street.
You have two choices here, runs straight down Hasting Street, do some window shopping and try to ignore the strong aroma of coffee coming out of the trendy coffee houses, or head up to the beach and run along the boardwalk. Better still run up Hastings Street on the way up and the beach boardwalk on the way back.
If you would like to extend this run to 12km, and you feel like competing with Noosa’s infamous bush turkeys, keep going at the end of Hastings Street and you will find yourself in Noosa Woods, another good shaded course all on concrete paths, this will take you to the Noosa Spit.
Noosa Heads, Noosa Junction and Noosaville are just one big circle with the Weyba River in the middle. So if you would like to see all three on foot just run the circle, it is 7km. If you are in Noosa Heads, head straight up Noosa Hill, it’s a real hill! After that it is downhill past the Junction then on paths along the road until you end up back on Noosa Parade and heading back to Hastings Street. This run is safe and all paths are off the road, and as long as you run in a circle you will always end up back where you started.
This is just a small sample of the great running in and around Noosa Heads. If you like the idea of running with locals who are in the know and can help you find the best runs in the Sunshine Coast contact Lazy Runner. Lazy Runner are running clubs across South East Queensland with the first Lazy Runner Club starting in Noosa Heads four years ago. Lazy Runner is suitable for all types of running abilities and fitness levels, go to www.lazyrunner.com to find out more.