Best triathlons in Queensland

Nine of the best triathlons to tick off in Queensland

Whether you’re an ambitious athlete or a fit first-timer, if you crave a challenge, it’s time to swim, spin and sprint your way into one of Queensland’s best triathlons.

From the Outback to the Tropics and everywhere in between, Queensland delivers a year-round calendar of gold-medal worthy triathlons.

We’ve saved you a spot on the starting line, so get training for nine of the best triathlons in Queensland.

1. Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival

Top triathlons in Queensland

When: 30 October – 3 November 2019
 Noosa, Sunshine Coast 

There are many reasons why the Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival is the largest Olympic distance (1.5km/40km/10km) triathlon in the world.

The course. The location. The history. The after-party.

Above all, it’s just a fabulous time.

Which is the reason why so many athletes come back year-on-year to what has become triathlon’s version of Shangri La. Try it once and chances are you’ll be booking your return tickets as soon as you break the finishing tape.

The triathlon is the main event, but there’s also the Australian Open Criterium, Asics Bolt, Legends Triathlon and Run Swim Run events.

Even the little ones can have a go at the Superkidz tri in the morning.

Insider’s tip: You’ll have to practice self-control running past the beautiful restaurants of Noosa because you might be inclined to stop mid-race.

2. The Festival of Hell

 Top triathlons in Queensland

When: 7-9 February 2020
GoondiwindiSouthern Queensland Country

As the name suggests, the Festival of Hell is the ultimate test of endurance and, well, guts.

Swim 2km through the Macintyre River, cycle 80km along the Baryon Highway and run the 20km circuit towards the western edge of Goondiwindi.

No matter where you place in this tri, you will emerge a champion.

Insider’s Tip: Reward yourself after the big race with a holiday through Southern Queensland Country.

3. Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival

Top triathlons in Queensland

When: 13-15 March 2020 
 Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast   

A tri that’s been going for over 25 years has got to be worth doing, right?

The Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival has become a Sunshine Coast and Australian icon and is an ITU Triathlon World Cup event that brings together the world’s best triathletes.

Set your own pace as you brush shoulders with the world’s best and track towards your own PB around this spectacular course.

Insider’s Tip: Keep the fit-cation going with this fit traveller’s guide to the Sunshine Coast.

4. Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival

Top triathlons in Queensland

When: 17-19 April 2020 
Julia CreekOutback Queensland

Make the pilgrimage to Outback Queensland and join the 3,000 spectators who flock to the small town of Julia Creek for the annual Dirt n Dust Festival.

This is the home of one of Australia’s toughest triathlons where swimmers wade through murky conditions, bikers cover corrugated dirt roads and runners race through the blistering desert heat.

This isn’t a course that does you any favours, and therein lies the challenge.

They breed them tough in the Outback and it’s only fitting that the events match the rugged landscape.

Insider’s tip: Not only can you compete to be a tri-champion but you can also compete for Australia’s Best Bum. If derrieres in denim don’t grab your attention, the event is laden with opportunities to flex your outback muscle with the bike and bull events.

5. Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship

Top triathlons in Queensland

When: 7 June 2020
Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

This is the big one.

The Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship and Ironman 70.3 Cairns is the challenge to end all challenges.

A 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run is going to hurt. Even if it all does take place in paradise, aka the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

The cycle course is the star of the show here, winding its way along the coastline from Cairns to Port Douglas.

If you’re not up to a full IRONMAN yet, the half distance 70.3 also takes place on the same day.

Insider’s tip: You deserve a holiday after completing an Ironman. Disconnect and recharge with four days in Tropical North Queensland.

6. Townsville Triathlon Festival

Top triathlons in Queensland

When: 14-23 August 2020
Townsville North Queensland

With an average of 320 days of sunshine per year, doing a tri at the Townsville Triathlon Festival is a no-brainer.

Aspiring and seasoned triathletes can swim, bike and run their way around The Strand and conquer every race under the sun (literally) over the three-day event as competitors can participate in as many races as their legs allow.

While the Triathlon Queensland Club Championships is what all the serious triathletes have in their sights, there’s something for everyone to get active in – from the 1300 Smiles Kids Try to the newly added 1km Ocean Swim.

Insider’s tip: After the race, treat yourself to a couple of days on Magnetic Island.

7. Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast

Top triathlons in Queensland

When: 13 September 2020
Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast

You’d be forgiven for thinking Mooloolaba was just a laid-back beachside town but when the IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast rolls around in August, beach bums transform into Sally Pearson-esque athletes.

While the location is pretty the course is pretty serious spanning 113km in length from Mooloolaba to Mount Coolum and Alexandra Headland.

To crunch the numbers, that’s a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21km run.

Insider’s tip: Don’t let the size of the course throw you off. An 80-year-old legend participated in the race last year so never say never!

8. Hamilton Island Triathlon

Top triathlons in Queensland

When: TBC, normally November
Hamilton IslandThe Whitsundays

Pound the payment and swim the turquoise waters of one of the most beautiful islands in the Whitsundays… sounds like a challenge, right?

The Hamilton Island Triathlon is just one of four events in the Hamilton Island Endurance Series and, luckily for participants, the route is more scenic than a desktop screensaver.

We’re talking a 750m swim in Catseye Bay (the hues of blue are off the colour-chart), a 20km cycle around the southern island (aka paradise) and a 5km run around the marina and resorts.

Insider’s Tip: After the big race, spend some time exploring the Whitsundays with our list of 100 things to do.

9. Straddie Salute

Top triathlons in Queensland

When: Not happening in 2020. Next edition May 2021 
North Stradbroke IslandBrisbane

The Straddie Salute Triathlon Festival serves up epic tri-adventures over a jam-packed weekend, from the Straddie Stride Fun Run and StraddieKidz event, to the pride and joy of the festival… the Straddie Salute.

The original offroad event takes willing participants through a 750m ocean swim from Home Beach to Point Lookout, followed by an 18km cycle across both sealed roads and 4WD trails, and an 8.5km run featuring a mix of coastal trails.

Insider’s tip: Make the most of a weekend on Brisbane’s best-kept secret with this guide to Straddie.