Are you planning a wonderful mid winter escape to tropical Cairns? When you are organising a hire car well in advance, you may want to also think about how you will incorporate your exercise regime into your trip.

Here are four great spots to go for a run, all within spitting distance of Cairns’ bustling CBD.

The Esplanade

The beach between North Cairns and the marina offers  a pleasant flat run with plenty of areas along the way to fill up your drink bottle.

Its 5km length makes this a great practice run  that will help you maintain your fitness – and you can revel in the glorious views of the harbour while you do it.

Start off at the Lagoon and you will end up at the Cairns Fun Ship parkland, which is a great place to take the kids. Alternatively, you could continue along the Airport Mangrove run or follow it up with a jaunt up and around Mount Whitfield.

Airport Mangrove run

If you’d rather run along a board walk than a dirt or concrete path then this may be the run for you. It begins at the Esplanade and takes you along by the airport.

Follow a dirt track to the two mangrove board walk paths, which is the highlight of this spectacular run.

Here, you can pretend you are the lead actor in a film as you run under a canopy of mangrove leaves. To really get the Hollywood treatment, make sure you follow up your run with a refreshing drink at one of the many cafes on offer.

Mount Whitfield Conservation Park

To find this track you will need to head down to Collins Avenue, around 500 metres from Cook Highway.

The entrance is located just before the Botanic Gardens and just after the Tanks Art Centre.

This run will allow you to experience the best of the 300 hectares of forested mountain range that is located in the Cairns region.

Look out for the many patches of eucalyptus and grasslands in this park and if you have time up your sleeve try both routes available.

The Red Arrow Circuit is the shorter of the two at 1.3km and will only take and hour or so to complete, depending on how many photos you want to snap along the way.

Make sure you keep an eye out for the two open viewing areas as these provide stunning views of both the city and airport.

The Blue Arrow Circuit is more suited to experienced runners. At  5.4km long it will take around four to five hours to run there and back.  It’s a rugged track set amongst plenty of bush and features steep climbs, so is best for fit people.

Make sure you keep a water bottle handy, too so you can keep yourself hydrated the entire way.

Smithfield Regional Park

Located around 16km north of Cairns itself, this is a spectacular natural park featuring steep vegetated ridges that extend into the coastal plains on the alluvial flats of Moon and Atika creeks.

You can enjoy a run surrounded by dense rainforest and explore damp gullies and the creek lines of the northern and eastern slopes.

Look out for the emergent pink bloodwoods and eucalyptus trees that are characteristic of the park. These surround the steep slopes and ridgelines of the area.

The trails are geared towards mountain bikers, but there’s no reason you can’t huff and puff your way up and down these slopes. Just make sure you share the path with cyclists and are aware of them – particularly when you turn sharp corners!

However, the Saddle Mountain trail is reserved for walkers and runners and leads on to a long distance walking trail that will take you through Kuranda National Park.