Could you handle these hardcore holidays?

There are people whose ideal holiday is travelling no further than the distance between the pool and the cocktail bar and there are those who feel they have failed without a daily run.

We can all agree there are plenty of options for the former, but what if you fall into the latter camp?

Well, we’ve got you. Why not explore our adventure holiday ideas with exercise on your mind?

Step it up

Hiking is a great way to see the world.

Usually we are whizzing by in a car, plane or train with very little time to appreciate the landscape. Hiking is the antidote to a rushed holiday.

There are plenty of specialist hiking travel companies both here and overseas so you will be spoilt for choice.

For a classic European hike, why not consider the Camino de Santiago in Spain, which covers just over 800km and can take more than a month to walk? Known as the Way of St James in English, this classic pilgrimage is open to all comers these days and is well set up to welcome tourists.

While technically you can begin the route from anywhere across Europe, the main trail is in Spain and you don’t have to do the whole trail, maybe a few days is enough for you.

In Australia, if you don’t want to take a guided tour, we are blessed with many national parks with clearly defined walking tracks.

Perhaps the most iconic is the lap around Uluru, which doesn’t sound too bad, but it can take up to four hours. Add the crushing heat, and that’s quite a feat.

Pedal power

Australia should be ideal for bike holidays. Wide open spaces with a generally flat terrain, in theory, provide an excellent backdrop for a holiday in the saddle.

However, the lack of facilities such as bike lanes and general hostility to cyclists on the road mean that off-road cycling is probably safer.

Your best bet once again is Tasmania and the best of Tasmania is the Blue Derby trails, which is now home to one of the world’s best mountain bike networks. And the accommodation offerings aren’t bad either. You can camp for free at a several camping grounds or plenty of paid options from teensy BnBs to the glam experience.

Run on

I know a family whose Christmas holiday is spent at a former scout camp with a few other families and they go running twice a day. This sounds horrible to me, but they keep going back.

If you are looking for something a bit more fancy than a former scout camp, there are plenty of options in Australia.

An acquaintance does ultra-marathon running and his top recommendation for Australia is the Larapinta Stage Race in Central Australia.

The multi-day event covers the famed Larapinta Trail in the MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs in Central Australia.

The superb run through timeless landscape takes in stunning waterholes, rocky ridges and savannah country filled with wildflowers.

It is a race, but the atmosphere of the event is supportive and encouraging. The 2023 event is closed for this year’s applications, but here are a few other multi-day events for the dedicated.

Tri-ing times

Designed for triathletes of all abilities, the triathlon program at Thailand’s Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort features expert coaching in swimming, cycling, running and transitions to help you beat your personal best.

Sounds like hell, especially in a hot country, but it gets a 4.5 rating from more than 400 Google reviews so if you like that sort of thing, why not check it out?

You get some great coaching and a holiday as well. 

And if triathlons are not your thing, the resort also does tennis, swimming, and something called Family Time Together. Sounds nice and squishy, right? But in fact you choose five activities from a list that includes boot camp, triathlon, yoga, muay Thai, spin, cardio tennis, circuit training and core classes. Pass me some water, I’m tired just thinking of it.

Have you ever taken a holiday with exercise in mind? Did you enjoy it? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Destinations to spend your life savings on


Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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