Shake up your usual running routine by exploring one of these scenic routes around Sydney. There are coastal stretches, loops around lakes and tracks that map the contours of our harbour shoreline.
The harbour loop: Iron Cove
Your blood will flow lucid like the mighty Parramatta River on completing the 7km Bay Run loop around Iron Cove that takes in the sights of riverside Rozelle, Lilyfield, Haberfield, Five Dock, Rodd Point and Russell Lea. The route is mostly flat, includes the Iron Cove Bridge and if you think you're competitive, an official Bay Run race happens each year.
The coastal run: Bondi to Coogee
The 5km Bondi to Coogee presents you with prime seaside Sydney. Begin at Bondi Beach and head south, to Notts Avenue, then along the coastal path to MacKenzie's Bay then to Bronte via Tamarama. Wave at winter swimmers as you swing past the quieting waters of Clovelly and Gordon's Bay, followed by stark Dunningham Reserve headland, until suddenly you're on Coogee Beach. Then all you've got to do is run back. Perfect. Waverley Cemetery is a highlight.
The sea eagle run: Manly to North Head
Start from the ferry wharf in Manly and follow the mall to the beach. Turn right and move along the Esplanade until you've reached the coastal path to Shelly Beach. Double back until you're at Bower Lane – follow the lane through Bower Street to Reddall Street, opt left for Addison Road and take it until you intercept the North Head Scenic Drive. This takes you down to secluded lookouts along the cliffs. The ocean views are well worth the 4km down, while the 4km back to Manly are worthy of a good rest.
The easy west: Parramatta Lakes
If you like your jogging picturesque and breezy this is the place for you: there are three tracks – 1.5km, 2.4km and 4.2km – and tonnes of native fauna to gawp at as you trudge through them.
Go bush: Lane Cove National Park
Want to go running in the bush right in the heart of the city? If so, you're like the numerous others who've chosen the Lane Cove National Park for inner-city bush-running pursuits. The park provides tracks including the Fiddens Wharf and Riverside walking tracks. Each is enveloped in eucalypts and overlooked by kookaburras and lorikeets. It's the right kind of serene locale to get the heart pounding.
The point push: Cremorne Point Circuit
Start at Cremorne Point wharf, head uphill to your left and slip through the wooden fence. You're on picnic turf now, so keep moving with your eye out for a green picket fence. Follow this – you'll be MacCallum Poolside and the views are news to the scenic-minded. Follow the main path to the end, cut through Bogata Avenue and hit the stairs running. Cross Milson's Road to the stairs then stay true to Hodgson Avenue where even more stairs return you to the Cremorne Point path. Turn right, follow the fringe of Mosman Bay and three paths appear: the left takes you to zoo views, another to a 1904 lighthouse. Some final stairs complete the theme and return you to where it began.
The pool to pool: North Sydney
Does sightseeing Sydney Harbour in quicktime constitute your idea of a good time? This dash is catnip to the urban hot-footer, kicking off at North Sydney Pool. Jog over the Harbour Bridge, chase the Cahill Expressway and arrive at Circular Quay footloose and worry-free. What remains of the run closely follows Sydney Botanic Parkland. On the far side of Farm Cove you'll encounter a sandstone overhang where the path forks – take the lower trail and visit Mrs. Macquarie's Chair. The same trail should spear you toward Andrew Boy Charlton Pool.
The two-bay: Double Bay to Rose Bay
If you generally follow the shoreline without heading off around Point Piper, this is 4km of easy, sea-breezy cardio, replete with water views. It's historic, too – end your sojourn at Rose Bay wharf, which was a seaplane airport during WWII. Double Bay to Rose Bay.
The Lake laps: Chipping Norton Lakes
For the southwest runner, it's hard to look past Chipping Norton Lakes. Paths course around the 120 acres of picturesque lake, and for those fans of our avian brothers there is a cavalcade of birds to be found in the vicinity: pardalote, sacred ibis, purple swamphens – even ducks! Quack, quack, run!
Why not enter a race?
Sydney has a few major running festivals every year, including one marathon that traces the streets of the city over Sydney Harbour Bridge and through Centennial Park. For events of a more manageable distance, there are regular 5K, 10K and half marathons that take place in every season.