The Red Arrow Walk, Cairns, Australia

They come from miles around to get fit, shed a few kilos, drip sweat droplets and look good. Most have made the short 10 minute journey from town to the bottom of Mt Whitfield in their medium-sized cars, and they park on the side of the road in an orderly fashion. With one leg hoisted onto the car bonnet, they tie their shoelaces tightly and prepare for the exercise adventure that lies ahead.

Between 4:30PM and 6:30PM every weekday, and anytime on the weekend, this ritual is played out at the Red Arrow Walk in Whitfield. It is the bastion of after-work fitness freaks who prefer to exercise among the trees and fresh air rather than pay to lift heavy iron objects in a small room smelling of sweat.

The Red Arrow Walk, Cairns, Australia

The 1.3 km Red Arrow circuit is one of a pair of tracks leading up the Mt. Whitfield Conservation Park behind the Cairns Botanical Gardens. The hike takes approximately 40 minutes to one hour to complete, has fantastic views of the natural environment, is frequented by beautiful looking people, and can be walked or run no matter what your fitness level is, the Red Arrow is the track of choice. Beware the high number of steps along the path – they are superb for exercising your legs, but can be a pain after the first hundred or so.

Approximately halfway up the Red Arrow Walk, the track splits into two and forms The Blue Arrow walk. This steep climb, which ascends the mountain to a height of 365 metres above sea level, is reserved for those among us that are masochistically fit and yearn for the burn. It is 5.4 km long, and drinking water should be taken.

The vegetation on the mountain is predominantly rainforest with patches of eucalyptus, grasslands, and tall bamboo. Scrub Turkeys are everywhere and are very friendly in a turkey sort of way. Agile Wallabies can be seen in the early morning or late afternoon in the grasslands, however they are much shier than the turkeys. Along the path are informative signs that provide details of animal and plant life, including birds.

At the top of the Red Arrow walk is spectacular views of Trinity Inlet, the Coral Sea and Cairns city, and the fresh breeze is a welcome relief from the rainforest heat.

So join us on the Cairns locals’ hiking track. Pull on a pair of runners, stretch your legs for a few moments and begin the hike through the beautiful Mt. Whitfield rainforest.