Australia stages many events where you can test your sporting stamina. Competitors from around the world come to run, swim, paddle and cycle against some spectacular scenery, from tropical beaches to stylish cities. Show your skills in the Ironman Finals at Port Macquarie or Busselton, Western Australia. Tackle a triathlon in scenic locations such as Sydney Harbour, Port Douglas and Broome’s Cable Beach. See the Australian Swim Team in the Aquatic Super Series. Meet athletes from across the Asia-Pacific in Darwin’s biennial Arafura Games. There is something for everyone from elite athletes to those who just want to have fun.
Aquatic Super Series
Perth, Western Australia
The Aquatic Super Series combines a unique festival of elite and mass participation aquatic sport, headlined by the Australian Swim Team taking on the might of China and South Africa. A world-class program of pool events held at Challenge Stadium in Perth, along with two international water polo matches and a series of elite and mass participation open-water races, make up this iconic international aquatic event. The Aquatic Super Series is the only time that the Australian Water Polo and Swim Teams get to compete on the same stage, with the exception of the World Championships or Olympic Games.
Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne
The world's toughest athletes will tackle the most revered endurance event on the planet in the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne. This world-class event was first staged in Melbourne in 2012 and is one of nearly 30 events worldwide. The challenging 226 kilometre race through Melbourne's south east and bayside suburbs will see over 2000 competitors take between eight and 17 hours to complete. The spectator-friendly course includes a 3.8km swim along the Frankston Foreshore, a 180km cycle on the Eastlink Tollway and a 42.2km run from Frankston to the finish line at the St. Kilda Sea Baths.
March - April
The Stawell Gift has been running for more than 130 years and is a peak event on the Australian running race calendar. Open to both male and female athletes, event distances range from 70 metres to 3200 metres in the 65 events that are held over the three competition days. More than 700 participants, from elite to recreational, are expected to take to the track over the event weekend. There is plenty of fun action off the track too for the more than 10,000 spectators who attend the event, including a betting ring, fashion parade, and children’s entertainment.
Three Peaks Race
Launceston and Hobart, Tasmania
The Australian Three Peaks Race is Australia’s ultimate sailing and mountain running endurance race held every Easter in Tasmania. The non-stop race starts at Beauty Point on the Tamar River just north of Launceston and finishes in Hobart on the Derwent River. Each year competitors from around Australia and the world take part in the event. Spectators can watch the action at designated points. The event offers an interesting alternative for the yachting fraternity and a challenging new activity for runners, climbers and bushwalkers. It is this unique combination of sailing and running that makes for such a challenging event.
Port Macquarie, New South Wales
The annual Ironman and Ironwoman Australia contest is held in Port Macquarie in May. It is an event where competitors need both speed and technical skill to excel. See these sporting super-heroes display their diversity as they compete for one of 40 places at the Ironman World Championship. Ironman Australia is part of an international series of Ironman events staged around the world. Save some energy for exploring pretty Port Macquarie, halfway along the Pacific Coast Touring Route between Sydney andBrisbane.
Darwin, Northern Territory
Athletes from more than 30 countries compete in the Arafura Games, held in Darwinevery second May. There’s a spirit of camaraderie at the week-long event, which is aimed at nurturing up-and-coming athletes from across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. See a new generation of sporting superstars prove themselves across almost 20 sports, including basketball, boxing, swimming, running, football, golf and international life saving. Spectators can also watch the world’s top paralympians compete in the Oceania Paralympic Championships. With its multicultural population and relaxed, tropical vibe, Darwin is the perfect backdrop to this inspirational international sporting convention.
Cairns Airport Adventure Festival
Set in the idyllic tropics of Cairns, the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival features ten days of events for people of all ages and abilities. The pinnacle event of the festival is the Cairns Airport Ironman a gruelling long-distance triathlon that features a 3.8 kilometre swim; a challenging but scenic 180 kilometre coastal bike ride towards Port Douglas; and a 42.2 kilometre run that finishes in the heart of Cairns. Other events include a mountain bike challenge; the Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge; Ironkids Cairns, a triathlon designed especially for children; and a family carnival for all.
Cable Beach Triathlon
Broome, Western Australia
Broome’s balmy winter skies beam down on this friendly triathlon, held on Cable Beach over a weekend in September. Competitors of all ages and experience are welcomed at the event, which also has a dedicated children’s triathlon. The short course consists of a 300 metre swim, 10 kilometre bike ride and 2.5 kilometre run. The long course doubles each of those distances. With its relaxed family atmosphere and relatively easy course, the Cable Beach Triathlon is ideal for training or just having some healthy holiday fun. Afterwards, explore exotic Broome, the gateway to the Kimberley outback.
The Straddie Salute Multisport Festival
The Straddie Salute Multisport Festival combines three events over two days in one big weekend of adventure. Swim the crystal clear waters in the Straddie (Stradbroke Island) 1000 Ocean Swim; venture out along one of Queensland's most beautiful coastal trails in the 8 kilometre Adventure Run and Walk; or conquer the famous Straddie Salute Triathlon, which features road and off-road cycle courses for both road and mountain bikes. North Stradbroke Island boasts some of the best surfing, whale watching, snorkelling, diving and 4WDing in Queensland so be sure to make time to sample all that the island has to offer.
Anaconda Adventure Race
Noosa, Queensland; Augusta, Western Australia; Lorne, Victoria
November - December
The Anaconda Adventure Race Series is regarded as Australia’s premier adventure race. Swim, paddle, run and ride through some of the most spectacular locations in Australia. The Anaconda Adventure Race series starts in Noosa, Queensland; followed by Augusta, Western Australia for the largest adventure race in the world; then Lorne, on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road for the last race in the series. The Anaconda Adventure Race attracts everyone, not just elite athletes. Each race comprises a trail run, ocean swim, beach run, ocean paddle and a mountain bike ride. While it is a challenging event the atmosphere is fun and relaxed.
Noosa Tri Multisport Festival
More than 8000 national and international competitors head to Noosa for this diverse sporting festival in October. More than 5000 enter the Noosa Triathlon, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest triathlon. Professional triathletes compete in their own category, but the event also caters for experienced amateur athletes and the general public, from juniors and families to older competitors. Other festival events include a breakfast fun run, celebrity and corporate golf days, a 1000 metre ocean swim, road race and ‘Grand Prix’ cycling events for men and women. There are also tailored triathlons for established champions, children and people with special needs.
Ironman Western Australia
Busselton, Western Australia
The sleepy beach town of Busselton, close to the Margaret River region, is the backdrop for this tough triathlon in December. The race starts at dawn and includes a 3.8 kilometre swim, 180 kilometre bike ride and 42.2 kilometre run. Competitors can relax in the bustling Ironman Village, warm-up with practice swims off Busselton Jetty and celebrate at the post-race party and awards ceremony. Afterwards explore the scenicMargaret River region. Snorkel turquoise bays, surf from spotless beaches, trek through towering forests and indulge in divine food and wine from internationally acclaimed vineyards.
[Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain] Ironman & Ironwoman Series
December - February
There are five events in this iconic Ironman series held across January and February. The first four take place on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, while the final is traditionally staged on Sydney’s Cronulla Beach. See Australia’s toughest surf life saving athletes prove their skills in surf ski, board paddle, ocean swims and beach sprints. At the Cronulla final, two male and female wildcard entrants enter the elite competition. Follow the series south along the Pacific Coast Touring Route, stopping at Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour and Port Stephens along the way.