Event Profile

Nambour parkrun

This story originally featured in issue 1 of the Runs With A Barcode magazine.

In a game of word association Nambour parkrun would most likely be followed by Fluffy – the resident emu.

But there’s a lot more to the Sunshine Coast parkrun than the friendly native bird.

Nambour parkrun started in November 21, 2015 and is often a parkrun listed by tourists when naming their bucket list parkruns.

It was also the main event for this year’s PALM (parkrun Adventurers’ Listener Meet-up).

The parkrun Adventurers meet Fluffy

“Nambour parkrun is a unique experience in the Aussie bush and there is nothing better than bush therapy to lift your spirits,” says event director Melissa Taylor.

“Running, walking through the bush with no traffic noise or smell, just the smell of the bush, the sights and sounds of wildlife, it heals the soul.

“It is a tough course and a fast way to develop fitness and get healthy all the while with support and encouragement from your fellow parkunners.”


Nambour parkrun evolved after conversations with Darrin Voss, a local gym owner, who had a vision to bring parkrun to the town.

That was in March 2015.

“Nambour was a small town that was struggling since the main industry of sugar cane was shut down.

“We visited many parks to find a suitable location, but they were all the same, concrete, crowded and traffic.

“There would be no point of difference with any other parkrun and no reason to bring people to the town.

“We were heading back from a park one day when I looked up at the hills I ran in.

“I mentioned I knew of a 5km course but there was no way they would agree to a parkrun there because it was 100% bush trails, no water and no toilets.”

The perfect course

Melissa took Darrin for a look and immediately it became apparent this was what they were looking for.

Nambour has two start-lines to choose from.

“It is held on forestry trails so you will get dirty, possibly muddy and we have plenty of hills, in fact 165m of elevation on the normal course, add an extra 20m for Plan B.

“Our normal course is a 5km circuit utilising the Rocky Creek Trail. The first hill to greet you is the warm-up walk to the start line. The final hill is the cool down run to the finish.

“In between Nambour offers a variety of other hills.

“Your hills will be broken up by dirt, mud, rainforests and a creek crossing at the half way point (Rocky Creek). But, if it rains, there will be no crossing of creeks as the water rises quickly.

“With Plan B everyone turns around at Rocky Creek and excitingly this means you get to run back up the biggest hill on the course affectionately known as The Twins.

“We get some pretty extreme reactions from people ranging from ‘brutal but beautiful’, to the ‘we thought the Kawana Beach course was tough, but this is worse and we’re not coming back’.”

Meet Fluffy

Of course most people who have heard of Nambour parkrun will likely have heard about Fluffy, “an inappropriate” emu.

If planning a visit to see Fluffy, the local celebrity, Melissa says visit in the cooler months.

“Fluffy has no concept of personal space, let alone social distancing.

“He is a huge distraction when he shows up at the run briefing. Our RDs have huge trouble keeping everyone’s attention when Fluffy is strutting about among the crowd demanding his own attention.

“Fluffy loves to show off by doing his warm up zoomies as we all walk up to the start line, he can’t contain his excitement about the run.

“He loves running with the parkrunners, but only in short spurts, then he needs a breather before pacing the next lot.

“Fluffy also has a fetish for ears. In fact getting an ear nibble from Fluffy is part of the Nambour experience.”

While at Nambour

We have heaps of mountains to climb in the area with Mt Ninderry and Mt Eerwah being the closest.

For more bush therapy head up the road to the beautiful Blackall ranges. There’s so much to explore up there. Many beautiful trails and waterfalls, with safe swimming holes.

If running with Fluffy isn’t enough wildlife experience then down the road at the Big Pineapple we have Wildlife HQ.

Then a 45-minute drive away is Australia Zoo in Beerwah.

The Sunshine Coast is the most beautiful place to visit in Queensland. You can be staying in the hinterland up in the bush and 15 minutes drive away you can be down at the beach.

– Melissa Taylor

What’s In A Name

Nambour was the name of the first cattle station in the district. It came from the aboriginal word Nambaa meaning red flowering tea tree.

Nambour parkrun is located in Parklands Conservation park which has four towns including Nambour bordering it.

In memoriam: Darrin Voss died in September 2020 after a short illness. He was instrumental in getting the funding to start Nambour parkrun, Mel says. She says his memory will live on through Nambour parkrun and the contributions he made to the town.

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