Top 10 Marathon and Triathlon Vacations in Australia and the South Pacific
Aussies and Kiwi’s love their sports and marathon and triathlon events are a dime a dozen. Both nations have produced some of the world’s greatest athletes in recent years so competition will be fierce, even amongst the amateurs. However the climate here is also the best in which to undertake races year round from the flat and fast Gold Coast Marathon to the undulating Great Ocean Road in Victoria or New Zealand’s ultra triathlons or the glamour of the Noosa event in Queensland.
- Noosa Triathlon, Noosa, Queensland
The scenic coastal stretches, canals and luxury waterfront homes of Noosa host one of Australia’s biggest triathlon events each year in November. This event attracts over 8500 competitors on a course that includes a 1500m swim in a sheltered canal, a 40km cycle on undulating roads and a flat 10km run. Thanks to the subtropical climate it’s generally warm and humid on race day and there are plenty of festivities for spectators and athletes alike.
- Xterra off-road triathlon, Rotorua, New Zealand
The Xterra New Zealand Championships are held annually at the stunning Blue Lake in Rotorua and are part of the Xterra Global Tour, although the event here in Rotorua is in fact the largest held anywhere in the world. It consists of a 1km lake swim, 32km mountain bike and 11km trail run. People can also enter in teams or simply do an 11 or 21km walk/run. Most of the routes are off road and attract lots of participants and spectators.
- Great Ocean Road Marathon, Victoria
This famed stretch of coast south of Melbourne is renowned for its unique scenery and popular with tourists and locals alike. However for one weekend a year, in May, the route is closed to traffic and runners can experience ever hill and bend in the gorgeous route on foot. The route from Lorne to Apollo Bay is not the traditional marathon distance at 45km.
- Mooloolabah Triathlon, Mooloolabah, Queensland
This three day event encompasses more than just triathlon - it is a three day celebration of sport. And its location on the beautiful Sunshine Coast is ideal. Elite athletes, amateurs and even relay teams make up the field. The course is looped to provide maximum spectator appeal.
- Antarctica Marathon
This must be running’s greatest adventure on the most mercilessly cold and unforgiving environment imaginable. People have skied and used snowshoes to get to the South Pole but few have ever made it on foot. Take up the challenge for this incredible marathon.
- Buller Gorge Marathon, Westport, New Zealand
This February event is one of New Zealand’s most scenic marathon courses, commencing at Hawkes Crag and heading up the Buller gorge to a turning point near Berlins Hotel. The marathon then turns back down the scenic, undulating Buller Gorge Highway to finish at Victoria Square, Westport.
- World Triathlon Festival, New Plymouth, New Zealand
This annual three-day festival in New Plymouth is the biggest celebration of triathlon in the world. Events for kids, beginners, amateurs, teams and the elite are held to encourage everyone to take part.
- Fletcher Challenge Marathon, Rotorua, New Zealand
This loop around Lake Rotorua provides some nice scenery if you have the energy to look! There are a few mean hills but plenty of spectators to help the miles go quickly. Relax in the thermal springs afterwards to replenish those tired muscles!
- Gold Coast Marathon, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
Australia’s fastest, flattest marathon course is run annually in July, attracting international competitors and a host of Japanese athletes. It’s also the premier run for Australian athletes and those simply wanting to finish. Surfers Paradise provides a pleasant, sunny backdrop for the winter event with mild temperatures.
- Auckland Marathon, New Zealand
This annual event in October is the largest marathon in New Zealand attracting over 10,000 competitors. The main feature on the course is the crossing of Auckland Harbour Bridge, which involves a climb of 108 feet to the highest point.