HALE W18 Masthead

Five places to get free fitness in Canberra

Amanda Whitley

I love to be active. For my body, for my mind, for soooo many reasons. But between running a business and wrangling two kids and doing all the ‘household’ stuff that (sadly) doesn’t do itself, I really struggle to find time to make it to the gym, or Zumba classes, as often as I’d like to.

The problem is THE SCHEDULE. Sometimes it seems like an impossible task to find an hour to get to a group fitness class in a life that is already consumed by a rigid timetable of kids’ swimming/dance/French lessons, or Mr HerCanberra’s work commitments, or mine, or homework, or… You get the picture.

But since I agreed to come on board as one of the ambassadors for the ACT Government’s ‘Find Fitness Outdoors’ campaign, a whole new flexible world has opened up for me. Filming the videos for the campaign took me and celeb trainer, Lee Campbell, from one end of Canberra to the other – from Fadden Pines to Crace Recreation Park – and I admit I had NO IDEA about the free fitness facilities that we have in our neighbourhoods. There’s one near you…I promise. And they’re open 24/7.

Here are five of my favourite spots.

Lakeside at Yarralumla

The facilities here at Yarralumla aren’t fancy and new, but they’re perfect for adding some strength work in to your run or walk – or stretching out afterwards. It’s just a stunning spot, looking out over Lake Burley Griffin, and Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy it. In this video, Lee and I show you how to use the chin up bars (I totally ‘let’ him do the full exercise so he could show off his ‘guns’).

John Knight Memorial Park

I’ve got a half smile on my face in this video because I had just come from sliding down the really big slippery dip just nearby…and it was heaps of fun! That’s probably the best thing about John Knight Memorial Park in Belconnen – it has some great dedicated fitness facilities, like bars and benches, but there are oodles of things to occupy the kids just nearby. There’s also a big open space for running, groundwork, and whatever else you choose to do. Oh, and there’s a lake view here, too. Nice.

Fadden Pines

Fadden Pines is another great spot for exercising if you’ve got the kids with you. What an amazing facility! Heaps of fitness options and just an all round beautiful park. Even though it’s not in our neighbourhood, I’ve made this a regular jaunt for the kids and I. This video is a great one to show how you can use playground equipment to get a great stretch – and how ‘grown ups’ can also use it for agility training. Plus, it’s fun 🙂

Crace Recreation Park

Crace Recreation Park is almost enough to make me want to move northside. It’s amazing! Just like an outdoor gym… You’ll find pretty much all the ‘fixed weight’ equipment you’d find in a standard gym here, but it’s outside, free and accessible to anyone. You could easily DIY a strength training circuit here a few times per week, mix it up with some walking/running/walking on the other days, and that’s you sorted. I want one near me, please.

Chifley Fitness Station

Ok, so it was really hard for me to narrow this list down to five…because there really are so many great facilities around town. But I decided to round out this article with Chifley Fitness Station for a few reasons. Firstly, because it has a great range of activities – from balance beams to parallel bars and more. Plus it’s just near a great big oval and a cracker of a park (and there’s really good coffee just nearby!)

For more information and to start your outdoor fitness journey visit www.act.gov.au/outdoorfitnessThis is just a small selection of the free outdoor fitness facilities that we have all around Canberra. Find one near you or watch the workout videos to remove the mystery from the equipment!


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author