Of the people. By the people. For the people.

Monday, September 30, 2013 Permalink

I’ve already talked about some of the fabulous activities made available to us by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) during a recent famil* on the Gold Coast (namely, stand up paddleboarding; and a raw food cooking demonstration).

Well… as it happens, the fun did not end there. In fact, it actually started elsewhere because our merry little band of bloggers actually began the day with yoga on the esplanade at Broadbeach.

I’m sure you will recall (being such devoted readers ‘n’ all!) I’ve been attending Saturday morning beachside yoga in my hometown of Hervey Bay so was already privy to the zenness of a yoga class with waves crashing in the background.

Laura from the Gold Coast’s Essence of Living (yoga and pilates studio) put us through our paces. She obviously knew what she was doing and constantly provided a range of options for the less *ahem* able (like moi!).

We didn’t visit the Essence of Living studio – located at Mermaid Beach – but before our lesson I sussed out their website and Facebook page and was very impressed with what I saw on offer. Indeed, since returning to Hervey Bay I’ve pointed my local studio (The Holistic Hub) in its direction – as I’d read that the Gold Coast studio is hosting a yoga and whale watching tour here in coming weeks.


I enjoyed the session and it was a bit more challenging than my usual Yoga Chi Gung class, but most memorable for me was an incident which took place during the lesson. We’d only just started when we were approached by a woman. “Is this a private class, or can anyone join in?” she asked.

She happily left after Laura explained it was a private lesson but I was tickled pink at the idea that this older lady (whether she be a local or a tourist) thought free classes might be on offer.

I was even more impressed when I was reliably informed by Shelley (from TEQ) and Laura that the Gold Coast City Council does, in fact, offer free yoga classes as well as a range of other activities. Indeed, Essence of Living actually teaches a number of free and subsidised classes.

What. A. Fabulous. Initiative.

I LOVE the fact that some of our local Councils here in Queensland are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to promoting fit and healthy communities. Not to mention the fact that they’re making use of existing and highly qualified schools and instructors, so there can be no question about the quality of activities on offer!

When I worked in Brisbane I had the opportunity to go to a Brisbane City Council gym (available FREE to Council employees, or for a low-cost to other organisations on site!) and was impressed that Council provided such a service.

And, here on the Fraser Coast, the Council recently held 8 weeks of exercise classes – catering to a range of interests and levels of fitness.

Exercise options along the esplanade in Hervey Bay

Exercise options along the esplanade in Hervey Bay

On top of that, in my hometown there is a fabulous path stretching from one end of Hervey Bay to the other that just cries out for locals and visitors to walk or ride along it. Council has also installed a number of exercise machines so the more-enthusiastic can stop enroute AND (given the popularity of cycling the path) and has scattered basic bicycle repair stations along the Esplanade.

I must confess I’m one of the first to criticise my local Council for various slights against my hip pocket or (always-correct) point of view, and I don’t offer up enough kudos for the good work they do. So, I’m taking the opportunity to apologise.

I love that Councils here in Queensland are taking their community’s health seriously and hope to see more of it.

Does your local government (or equivalent) offer similar experiences and activities?

For more information about the Gold Coast’s Active and Healthy program, click here.

*Familiarisation event/activity, for those not in the know! 😉

 Disclaimer: I had the opportunity to try yoga compliments of Tourism and Events Queensland. Thanks to our lovely host Shelley (from TEQ) and Laura from Essence of Living.


  • Belinda
    October 1, 2013

    It was great to spend the day with you Deb. I am also a big fan of free council fitness initiatives, and was really impressed that Gold Coast residents could experience a class like we did at no or little cost. Just awesome! I’ll have to try your beach yoga next time I’m up at the H Bay! Belx

    • Debbish
      October 1, 2013

      Absolutely. Let me know if / when you’re coming this way as I’d love to catch up!

  • Char
    October 1, 2013

    I know that there’s quite a few free fitness events in Brisbane. I’ve seen ads in the local rag and there’s also information on the Brisbane City Council web site. It’s so good that they have these positive initiatives in place so that there’s really no excuse for people who need guidance with getting fit.

    • Debbish
      October 1, 2013

      It’s such a change from the old days of local governments and their focus on ‘roads, rates and rubbish’. I love that it also means there’s no excuse re affordability! That was the best thing about my old gym in Brisbane’s Green Square Close. As I wasn’t a Council employee (but on-site) I had to pay, but at $50/mth (all inclusive) it was great. There weren’t a lot of classes but it was still great value for money and Council took great care in who they employed there.

  • Jackie
    October 1, 2013

    New Zealand could learn a lot from Aussie, when we go on holiday there we are always saying that Aussie accommodates to the tourists heaps better than NZ, and sounds like they are good with the locals as well 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 1, 2013

      Yes, I suspect other Councils are doing similar things and I think it’s a great initiative!

  • Annaleis from Teapots and Tractors
    October 1, 2013

    Our ‘local’ gym in in the next town and we are fighting to keep our oval because the local shire think that we don’t use it. After 150 people turned up on the weekend to particiapte in a funrun I don’t know what they are talking about.

    I think its great that these places are offering these opportunities for the locals. Healthy residents must cost less in the long run one would think.

    I wish there was yoga because I would love to do that because my flexibility isn’t so great!

    • Debbish
      October 2, 2013

      I can’t imagine what it would be like in such a remote community Annaleis. I hope you win your battle to keep the oval. (Perhaps a social media campaign is required?! 😉 )

  • Satu
    October 3, 2013

    I’m very envious about the fact that businesses give local bloggers an opportunity to sample their services! I would be very eager to try supping and other activities…

    I have exercise machines close to my place too. I must admit though that I’m more excited by the army obstacle course that in a nearby park. I’ve visited the place once. I think I would totally excel at crawling under the net. 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 4, 2013

      Oh, an army obstacle course! That sounds a bit keen Satu. Will that be your ‘try something new’ for October?

  • personal trainer toronto
    October 20, 2013

    great post. Continue to stay proactive.

    Michael Kelly Personal Trainer Expert

    Personal Trainer Toronto

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