Gyms in Oceania
G’day and welcome to my page on Gyms in Oceania!
Gyms in Australia
Note that so far, these are all in Western Australia, until I get around to travelling the rest of it again.
Gyms in Australia are generally of a very high standard, as you’d expect in Western society. The chains I came across were Plus Fitness, GoodLife, Anytime Fitness, Jetts and Snap Fitness, all of which were to a good-excellent standard. Equipment was modern, gyms were all medium to large in size and well-maintained. That said, I didn’t really find a gym in Australia that was bad, especially having used some run-down places in Asia in the past couple of years!
It’s common for the chains to offer 24 hour access for members, but to be quite limited on staffed hours for the public. On weekdays, it’s usually just a few hours each morning, and again from mid afternoon to early evening, so check and plan your visit accordingly. And don’t expect gyms to be staffed on Sundays – this is rare!
Note that some small towns in Australia don’t have gyms at all, and in WA, public transport can be pretty scarce outside the cities, so if you need a gym most days, then check options before going. Other smallish towns like Pemberton and Walpole may only have one gym (pr recreation centre as they call it) with limited staffed hours – check beforehand and perhaps drop them a line. I found staff to be very accommodating in smaller towns where limited hours, (or even days!) are specified.
Currency approximation: AU$1 = US$0.67 = €0.61 = £0.54 at the time of writing.
The larger chains in cities usually charged around AU$15 for a casual session. $40 – $45 per week was common as a weekly casual rate. However, some chains offer excellent weekly rates of around $15 – without a lock-in period. You would however need to set up a direct debit to get this rate, but this can be cancelled any time. Well worth considering if you’re likely to be somewhere a couple of weeks and want to save some dollars whilst keeping up the training. Naturally long-term memberships have much better rates.
Small-town gyms typically charge lower casual rates of $8 – $10. Expect the facilities to be much smaller and with older equipment, though all the ones I went to were clean and well maintained.
All the clubs I used were a comfortable training temperature with aircon and fans as appropriate. Admittedly I was there during early spring when aircon was largely unnecessary, as it’s wasn’t too warm!
Gyms in New Zealand
Gyms in New Zealand are generally of the same high standard you can expect from any Western country. Prices vary from $5 to $25 a visit, with some gyms being considerably more backpacker friendly than others, and some refusing casual visits altogether. Occasionally hostels will have deals with local gyms offering a special rate, although this was not as common as I’d like!
Currency approximation: US$1 = NZ$1.38, €1 = NZ$1.70, £1 = NZ$1.93, AU$1 = NZ$1.06
at the time of writing.
The main chains of gyms in New Zealand I have come across are Jetts Fitness, Snap Fitness, Anytime Fitness and City Fitness – see general comments below, or simply select an area from the list:
Staffed hours: Vary across the clubs, but generally around 7-10 hours on weekdays and less/closed on weekends.
Access is 24/7 for members via a swipe card.
Jetts Free Trials
Many Jetts clubs offer free 3 (consecutive) day trials during staffed hours Monday to Thursday, yet the small print states you must be a resident in New Zealand. I went along to a few clubs across the country to see if staff were likely to check my residency, saying as little as possible in the hope they wouldn’t notice I don’t have a local accent. Results varied; one club let me in without question, another refused me, but only on the grounds I had turned up on a Saturday – the free trial states Mon – Thu only (Why? Gym bunnies do not need four days off a week and the club was staffed?!). He said I was welcome to come back on Monday and never questioned my residency – but unfortunately I was leaving the area.
The third club let me in, even though they asked if I lived there and was likely to join. I didn’t lie, and was therefore let in – on the proviso that I did not attempt to get free trials at every Jetts club in the country whilst I was travelling. I’d say three is acceptable though. ? It was unclear whether there was a central computer system recording my attempts, but no-one mentioned it if so!
The gyms varied noticeably in size from medium-large, all with high quality, modern equipment as you’d expect in any large chain. They offered the usual range of cardio, resistance equipment and free-weights, along with a dedicated floor area. Some offered a considerable variety of functional training equipment as well.
Note, there were no lockers in the clubs I visited. There were open cubbyholes located near the reception of each club, labelled “Open lockers”. I think “Lockers” is stretching it, Jetts! And whilst there are no changing rooms as such there are several individual unisex showers and toilets (or a combination of the two). Either leave your valuables in your accommodation or carry them around the gym with you.
Overall, this chain is my top pick of gyms in New Zealand and I would say your best chance of getting in for free. All staff were very friendly across the clubs, which all had excellent workout facilities – it’s absolutely worth taking a free trial here if the days and hours fit your schedule and they let you in.
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