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A FITNESS GUIDE TO THE SUNSHINE COAST

There’s more to do on the Sunshine Coast than just relaxing on a vanilla-white beach, or so says local yogi Kat Harding. She’s Australia’s first certified SUP yoga teacher. Yep, that yoga on a stand up paddle board – it’s a killer workout for your core and your balance! She runs her own luxury SUP retreats, is a teacher at Wanderlust yoga and music festival and hosts SUP classes on the clear waters of Noosa Heads. We shared a green juice with the lady herself to find out the best places to break a sweat on her home ground.

What do you love about the Sunshine Coast? “I love it’s laid back attitude; there are hubs like Noosa that are full of amazing organic, locally sourced food options and there are so many stunning beaches to choose from with perfect white sand and crystal clear water.”

What’s your favourite view? “It would have to be Hell’s Gates in the Noosa National Park. It has a small gorge where you can spot turtles; there are often pods of dolphins playing below the cliff and it’s a great place to whale watch. On top of that the water is crystal clear, it has incredible views to Noosa Northshore and towards the rest of the Sunshine Coast, and is a great quiet place to stop and enjoy nature. My second favourite is from the top of the stairs or the boardwalk overlooking Little Cove beach.”

Where is the best place to SUP? “I may be a little biased, but Little Cove at Noosa. With warm water temperatures, crystal clear turquoise water and gorgeous views of the bay and the national park entrance you honestly can’t beat it. Plus, Noosa has the only national park headland of the Sunshine Coast so it’s a pretty special place to be.”

Which are your favourite swimming beaches? “Definitely Kings Beach at Caloundra because that’s where I grew up swimming as a toddler and nipper, and also any of the beaches around Noosa. I’m a bit spoilt when it comes to beaches and a sucker for clear, calm waters so that I can float in the sunshine.”

Where would be find you on a sunny Saturday morning? “Sharing the practice of SUP Yoga on the Noosa river as part of one of my retreats or regular classes followed by a national park walk to spot dolphins or an Acai bowl at Depot Cafe.”

 Where is the best brunch cafe? “I’d say, Vanilla Food at Belmondos Organic Market.  Nilla’s food not only looks incredible but is 100% organic and good for you. They cater for every single dietary requirement and I highly recommend their vegan pizza, I don’t know how they do it but it tastes exactly like a proper Italian pizza!”

What’s the most unusual way to break a sweat on the Sunshine Coast? “You’ve got me here… I can’t think of anything that I would consider unusual! Perhaps learning to SUP on Noosa River in the middle of the day when the jetski’s are out, that will definitely get you working hard to try to stay on the board!”

What’s your favourite day trip? “I quite like going for drives to Maleny/ Montville – it’s really quaint and relaxed and has incredible views of the coast. Kondalilla Falls is a must do trek with incredible views of the Great Dividing Range. If I had a 4WD I would also spend more time going up to Noosa’s North Shore.”

Where is the most scenic place for a run and best place to practise yoga? “My choice is Noosa National Park. It’s a challenging run, and I have to admit I’m more of a ‘walker’ but the Tanglewood track provides a nice quiet 4.3km of sand and gravel to run on, partly in the shade and with glimpses of the water. Noosa main beach is great for yoga and so is Sunshine Beach. In fact, most of the beaches are pretty perfect for yoga. If you’re looking for a studio try Yoga NRG at Moffatt Beach (Tammy it’s founder is an incredible mindfulness teacher), Bloomin’ Lotus Yoga at Currimundi and a new studio, Noosa Flow which is opening up in November this year, just in time for summer.”

What’s some ways adrenaline junkies can get a fix? “I guess it depends on what you like to do, I’m a bit scared of heights so walking up Mt Cooroora (actually climbing at the end) gives me a bit of a hit… otherwise surfing is popular with so many great breaks to choose from, you can go water skiing in Bli Bli and you can also jump on a glider and cruise over the coast if you want. I’ve also got horse riding on Noosa North Shore’s beach on my bucket list as well as a 4WD beach tour up to Double Island Point to surf.”

What is your favourite fitness event on the Sunshine Coast? “Wanderlust is the highlight of my schedule, it’s the more achievable well rounded festival that comes to the coast each year. It covers a wide range of activities based around moving the body & mind (yoga, mindfulness, slack-lining, acro yoga etc) with some more ‘extreme’ sports like surfing… just kidding surfing is not extreme but it is a lot of fun to be out in the waves even if you’ve never done it before. Plus, Wanderlust fuels you with great food, music to  energise you and it’s based right on the beach. Now that’s my idea of a fitness event!”

Lastly, what’s a place only locals know? “I think the secret is starting to get out, but Belmondos Organic Market, located at the back of Noosaville in the industrial estate is an incredible organic store where you can do your shopping, get an Ayurvedic treatment, practice yoga, drink good coffee & eat incredible, healthy food. Definitely go with an empty stomach…”

Interested in active adventures in Sydney and around Australia? Check out our adventure travel pages.