Community

Guide to fitness and recreation in Melbourne

19 March 2024

Move it your way in your neighbourhood with affordable access to top-notch gyms and pools with accessible facilities, group fitness classes, club sports, tranquil tracks for walking and cycling, welcoming skate parks and more.

Read on or follow the links to jump to sections of interest.

Why exercise matters

We want physical activity to be part of everyday life for the people who live work and play in Melbourne.

​​​Physical activity is more than just organised exercise. Little changes like commuting to work, walking to a meeting or taking the stairs can make a huge difference.

Research shows that more than half of Australian adults are not active enough, which can contribute to heart disease, type-two diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer.

Getting active can help you to build strong muscles and bones, improve your mental health and provide opportunities to connect with others. So move your own way and reap the rewards.

Walk, run or cycle along scenic tracks in Melbourne

What’s a healthy amount of exercise for an adult?

The Australian Government’s physical activity and exercise guidelines tell us that adults should be active most days, or ideally every day.

Every week, adults should complete:

  • 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity such as a brisk walk, golf, mowing the lawn or swimming; or
  • 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, soccer or netball; or
  • an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.

Walking, running and cycling

The City of Melbourne’s parks and gardens are an ideal setting for leisurely walking, jogging and fast-paced running. Enjoy our walking and running tracks of different lengths in the following locations:

  • Fawkner Park (2.34 km and 2.45 km)
  • Fawkner Park / Shrine Reserve (6.21 km)
  • Fitzroy / Treasury Gardens (2.2 km)
  • Kings Domain / Tan Track (3.85 km)
  • Princes Park (2.09 km and 3.17 km)
  • Royal Park (3.81 km)
  • Royal / Princes Park (10.44 km)
  • Yarra Park (3.33 km).

To view a map of local tracks, visit Walking and running. You can also browse our Guide to parks and gardens.

Cycling is also a great way to get around the city as well as keep fit. The City of Melbourne’s cycling network has over 135 km of on- and off-road routes. To learn more, visit Cycling.

Olympic middle-distance runner Peter Bol with Lord Mayor Sally Capp AO celebrating the unveiling of two new digital clocks at the beloved Tan Track
An adult riding a bike with a child on the back. Both are wearing helmets and riding along a path in a park.
A tranquil cycle path in Royal Park, Parkville

Pools, gyms and recreation centres in the City of Melbourne

Each of our recreation centre locations offers a unique community vibe with supportive and friendly staff members to support you on your fitness journey.

Our hot tip is to explore them all. You’ll be amazed at the facilities that are available on your doorstep to keep you moving year-round.

  • Melbourne City Baths
    420 Swanston Street, Melbourne
    Take a dip in the largest swimming pool in the CBD, then enjoy the spa, sauna, squash courts or gym amid historic surrounds.
The historic Melbourne City Baths building with a tram passing by
Tram over to Melbourne City Baths for a workout in historic surrounds
The pool at Melbourne City Baths
  • Carlton Baths Community Centre
    216/248 Rathdowne Street, Carton
    Enjoy the heated outdoor pool, well-equipped gym and extensive group fitness program. 
  • North Melbourne Recreation Centre 
    204-206 Arden Street, North Melbourne
    Explore top-notch gym, multi-purpose stadium, seasonal aquatic facilities and a wide range of fitness programs. 
A sports oval with a city skyline beyond
A pristine sports field next to North Melbourne Recreation Centre
  • North Melbourne Community Centre
    49-53 Buncle Street, North Melbourne
    Discover a community health club with sporting facilities and health and fitness classes in your neighbourhood. 
A rotunda and playground in an urban parkland
A peaceful park and playground at the entrance to North Melbourne Community Centre

Under redevelopment

  • Kensington Community Recreation Centre
    11 Altona Street, Kensington
    Currently closed for an exciting redevelopment. Take a peek at the plans, which include a 25-metre pool, improved gym facilities, a children’s water-play area, three full-sized multipurposed courts, health and wellness areas, a new cafe and accesssible change rooms, including a Changing Places toilet. The centre is schedule to reopen in 2025.
An artist’s impression of the new Kensington Community Aquatic and Recreation Centre

Group fitness classes

Take your pick from reformer pilates, circuit training, spin, virtual dance, boxing, HIIT, BodyPump, yoga, meditation, AquaFit, tai chi and more at your local recreation centre.

We also offer specialised Prime, Young at Heart and low-impact cardio sessions for older adults, people just starting their exercise journey, and people recovering from injury.

Follow the links to browse Group Fitness classes and timetables at your local recreation centre:

A smiling woman floating in a pool with a pool noodle, her hands raised in greeting
We offer a huge range of group exercise classes to suit all Melburnians

Active Melbourne membership information

We have affordable options to suit you, whether you want to enjoy casual entry, unlimited swims from October to April, personalised gym consultations or reciprocal access to all our recreation centre locations.

For example, sign up for our Active Melbourne membership for the highest access to Melbourne City Baths facilities and services along with access to Carlton Baths, North Melbourne Recreation Centre and, when it reopens, Kensington Community Recreation Centre.

A group of people in a park holding onto yoga mats and drink bottles.
Exercise is great for your mind, body and community connections

The benefits of an Active Melbourne membership include the following offerings at Melbourne City Baths, with many more to discover at our other recreation facilities: 

  • unlimited gym access (including machine and free weights area, reformer pilates beds, stretching studio, cardio studio and more) 
  • unlimited group fitness classes 
  • unlimited access to pool, spa and sauna 
  • free locker use 
  • access to change rooms including shower facilities, hair dryers, straighteners (female only), ironing boards and more 
  • welcome pack including a drink bottle or shaker and a work-out towel 
  • 12 consultations with a gym instructor each year to keep you on track to achieve your goals 
  • one hour free off-peak squash court hire per day. 

Members can also access hundreds of virtual classes, tailored programs, workouts of the day, progress-tracking and bookings on the Active Melbourne app.

Drop by any of our recreation centres to chat to a member of our friendly team to find a membership option that suits you. Or browse more information at Sports and recreation.

Three woman laughing in a dance class
Join a group fitness class to get active in your neighbourhood and meet new people

Access and inclusion

Whether you’re seeking a female-only gym session, accessible change rooms, swimming pool hoists or something completely different, we have accessible experiences that offer people of all abilities a welcoming workout.

For example, you can join a fitness session tailored to female-identifying participants on Wednesdays from 7 to 8pm at Carlton Baths, or join Melbourne Uni’s first Victorian all-abilities touch football program in Parkville.

Meanwhile at North Melbourne Community Centre, you can join in or volunteer with Y Streetball – this feel-good program invites people experiencing hardship, homelessness or disadvantage to get active, and offers free meals and showers.

Plus, drop by Fawkner Park where talented cricketers with vision impairment hit sixes. We’ve recently adapted a small oval into a competition-standard pitch for weekly blind cricket games.

Read on to learn more about some of our accessible fitness initiatives.

A person bouncing a basketball being defended by another person.
Our recreation centres are accessible to all
Swimming safety for people of all ages and backgrounds

Enrol in adult swimming classes at our pools to get confident in the water. If you’re over 55, our four-week Grey Medallion program at Melbourne City Baths is a great way to learn essential water-safety skills.

We’ve also launched Swimm(her) at North Melbourne Recreation Centre. Co-designed with people from culturally diverse communities, this program prioritises safety, privacy, and inclusivity for women and girls learning to swim.

Pool locations in the City of Melbourne:

Positive exercise experiences for people with Down syndrome

The FitSkills program connects people with Down syndrome with volunteer partners for twice-weekly exercise sessions at Melbourne City Baths. Participants report improved health and wellbeing, and a greater sense of community belonging.

With new clients and volunteers already on the waitlist, the team is also looking to expand the program into the pool. If you’re interested in getting involved as a volunteer, sign up on the Down Syndrome Australia website.

Inclusion Coach with lived experience of disability

We’ve employed a new Inclusion Coach through the nationwide Sport4All program, which is dedicated to facilitating accessible and inclusive sport programs for people with disability.

Employing someone with lived experience of disability allows for more dedicated and insightful engagement with local clubs and schools, to build connections and create opportunities that didn’t exist before.

Inclusive sport and recreation grants

Get a grant to support your sporting dreams, whether you are an individual athlete participating at an elite level or a parent or guardian of a child needing assisting to access local recreation opportunities due to financial hardship.

To learn more, visit Inclusive sport and recreation grants.

Three women in a locker room
Local athletes in the new inclusive change rooms at Brens Pavilion in Royal Park, Parkville

Search Active Melbourne for team sports, martial arts, swordcraft and more

Did you know there are regular swordcraft sessions in the City of Melbourne with live-action battles? It’s all in good fun, of course.

Search our Active Melbourne directory to find team sports galore, including basketball, cricket, touch football and volleyball. You can even try your hand at martial arts, ultimate frisbee and dragon boating.

Members of the Dragons Abreast Pink Phoenix dragon boating team
Tennis clubs in Carlton, North Melbourne and Parkville

The City of Melbourne is home to several beloved and historic community tennis clubs, and now it’s even easier to access the courts, thanks to a trial of automated gate- and light-access technology.

With support from Tennis Australia, the Opening Up Tennis program uses an online booking system called Book A Court that links to PIN pad controlled entry gates and lights.

The booking system dispenses with the need for many of our tennis courts to be staffed at all times or for club keys to be picked up, dropped off or cut, making it easier for tennis lovers to have a hit when it works for them.

Go to the following club websites for online bookings:

“Tennis is one of the few sports that can be played at all ages – from toddlers through to the elderly. It caters for all levels of skill and adds to our members’ wellbeing, physically and mentally. Tennis also provides many opportunities for social interaction, and it can be played for a short or long period of time.

“We really value the fabulous support we get from the City of Melbourne in maintaining and upgrading our facilities and in enabling some of our social programs.”

Caryle Demarte, Tennis Victoria

Golf

Lush and spacious, Royal Park is the largest open space in the City of Melbourne, covering 188 hectares. It is protected under the Victorian Heritage Register and its vast treed native vegetation landscape is an oasis on the edge of the city.  

In addition to vast bushland, wetlands and award-winning nature play, Royal Park is also home to a nine-hole course with well maintained fairways, practice putting green and driving nets.

The course offers a booking service for weekend use, equipment hire, a pro shop and social and corporate golf days. Private and group lessons are available. The course is open seven days a week to the public.

For more information, visit Royal Park Golf Course.

Royal Park parkland and Melbourne city skyline
An aerial view of Royal Park

Skating

Skating is a popular activity in the City of Melbourne, with hundreds of local and visiting skaters using the city’s skate parks and other public spaces each week.

We have great facilities at Riverslide Skate Park in the Alexandra Gardens and in JJ Holland Park in Kensington, which offer All Aboard sessions for new skaters of all ages, and dedicated sessions for women and girls.

To learn more, visit our Guide to skating in the City of Melbourne.

“I grew up in the City of Melbourne and I’ve skated since QV was a car park with ramps and the YMCA managed the facility out of a shipping container there. The city has changed so much since then, and society has become more accepting of skateboarding. I’d say Melbourne is among the top three skating cities in the world.

“Melbourne and Victoria are used as a model for what community engagement around skateboarding can be, and we’re sharing this with other cities and countries through our World Skate connections.”

Skate coach Richard Flude
Young women chat in a skate spark
Skaters connect at Riverslide Skate Park in the Alexandra Gardens

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