Top 15 dog-friendly places to visit around Australia
Travelling with your family means making memories and exploring new, unspoiled destinations. Happy as they are, these memories are made better by having your dog with you.
However, it isn’t easy planning a holiday with our four-legged family members. From finding pet-friendly holiday locations and accommodation to maintaining a safe environment for your dog while on your trip, pet travel options can be limited. Fortunately, we’ve identified several dog-friendly holiday and adventure destinations!
Travelling Australia with a dog
Read through our handy list of best places to travel with your dog and choose one that’s right for every member of your family – including your furry, four-legged friend.
New South Wales
Delicate Campground, Goolawah Regional Park, Crescent Head
On New South Wales’ North Coast lies Goolawah Regional Park, a dog-friendly campground surrounded by kilometres of sheltered leash-free dog beaches. The campground has picnic tables, an amenity block and barbecue facilities where you can cook up some sausages for both you and your dog.
Rainbow Loop Track, Orara East State Forest, Coffs Harbour
Enjoy the beauty of a subtropical rainforest at the Orara East State Forest, just 30-minutes’ drive from Coffs Harbour. The area features four different dog-friendly walking tracks, including The Rainforest Loop Track.
Reproduced with permission from the Forestry Corporation for use on the Choosi website.
Callala Beach, Shoalhaven
On the south coast of New South Wales is Callala Beach, a beautiful coastal town in Jervis Bay with picturesque dog-friendly and leash-free beaches, creeks that are perfect for fishing, and plenty of pet-friendly accommodation such as luxury beach houses, bayside holiday houses, caravans, and camping sites.
Even though the beach is a leash-free zone, areas like car parks and paths leading to the beach will require you to have your dog on a leash.
Australian Capital Territory
Uriarra Crossing, Uriarra Road, Murrumbidgee River
Just a short trip from Canberra, the Uriarra Crossing on the Murrumbidgee River is a perfect place to go day-tripping with your loved ones. Head out with a picnic basket and your swimmers because the riverbanks are great for your family and dog to swim in.
Since both the east and west banks of the river are off-leash areas, your dog has plenty of space to explore the river bank upstream. The banks slope gradually and the river bottom is sandy, so it is easy for more timid dogs to enter the water too. Remember to bring rubbish bags because there aren’t any bins in the area, so you’ll need to carry all waste back with you!
Great Otway National Park, Southern Victoria
Along the Great Ocean Road is where you can find the Otways, considered to be the home of some of Australia’s most beautiful rainforest scenery. Head to the beach, walk through stretches of national park to see the rainforest and waterfalls, or go camping around the lake! The Otways are also home to the Great Otway National Park and Otway Forest Park, both places that you can go walking with your dog. Dogs are also allowed in areas like the Cape Otway Light Station carpark, Johanna Beach camping areas, and more.
Hepburn Regional Park, Daylesford
A couple of hours outside Melbourne, you will find the Hepburn Regional Park. Located around mineral spring townships and gold mining era relics in bush surroundings, it’s a beautiful park for a picnic or short camping trip. The area features an extinct volcanic crater, blowholes, and much more. It’s also a dog-friendly area, where you can go bushwalking so remember to manage any waste, carry water and always keep your dog on a leash.
The Spit, Gold Coast
The Spit is a 5 km long sandy isthmus starting from Main Beach and stretching all the way to the seaway, where Broadwater meets the Pacific Ocean. The Spit is a popular location for fishing, swimming, boating, bushwalking and relaxing. For dogs, there is a 3–4 km open area where they can run and play. Broadwater Beach is dog-friendly and there is a 6 km coastal bushwalk called Federation Walk which is also dog-friendly.
Amamoor State Forest and Forest Reserve, Sunshine Coast
If you’re after more of an adventure, the Amamoor State Forest Reserve is about 180 km north of Brisbane, where you and your dog can camp at the Amamoor Creek camping area. Go on a hiking trail with your dog and explore the lush flora of the rainforest, creeks, waterfalls, and waterholes. There are four different hikes to choose from. Just remember to carry plastic bags to clean up after your dog, and always keep a leash on when in the Amamoor Creek camping area.
Tip: There are two camping areas in Amamoor State Forest, Cedar Grove and Amamoor Creek. Dogs are only permitted in the Amamoor Creek camping area.
Casuarina Beach, Darwin
Casuarina Beach is the city’s longest and most popular beach, stretching about 8 km from one end to the other. However, only the first section of the beach, from Rapid Creek to Dripstone Cliffs, is dog-friendly. If your dog loves to meet and play with other pups, the area fills with playful canines every afternoon. Once you’ve been to the beach, wander up to Dripstone Cliffs for a picnic dinner while watching the red sun set over Darwin Harbour.
Sturt Gorge Recreation Park, Adelaide
Home to a rock formation known as the Sturt Tillite, believed to have been formed from glacial material 800 million years ago, Sturt Gorge Recreation Park is a must-see. Along with being home to beautiful natural history, the park is also dog-friendly. Some of the things you can see and do with your furry-friend include hiking along the River Trail beside the Sturt River while discovering the beauty of Sturt Gorge, stopping to swim at the waterholes along the way. Alternatively, you can take the Walk the Dog trail, a shorter and easier hike.
Lyrup Flats, Murray River National Park, Katarapko
Situated within the Murray River National Park, Lyrup Flats encompasses 2,000 hectares along the floodplain near Lyrup. With areas for fishing and camping, it’s a great place to spend a day exploring with your dog. Remember to keep your pooch on a leash and carry plenty of drinking water and plastic bags to pick up any mess they make.
Margaret River is a small town south of Perth in Western Australia, known for its wineries, breweries, surf breaks, and whale sightings. Many of the beaches, campsites, wineries and breweries are dog-friendly, making Margaret River the ideal holiday spot to bring your pup. If they like the water, you can take them canoeing or even stand-up paddle boarding!
Cable Beach, Broome
Featuring 22 km of pristine white sands and some stunning views of the Indian Ocean, Cable Beach is a beautiful holiday spot that will keep the whole family entertained – from camel riding to lazing around on the beach and watching the sun set. The Tarangau Caravan Park at Cable Beach has pet-friendly accommodation options, and the beach itself has a few designated areas where dogs can exercise if they’re on a leash. Remember to carry bags to clean up any waste your dog might leave behind.
Home Valley Station, East Kimberley
In the midst of the Kimberley wilderness, at the foot of the majestic Cockburn Range, lies Home Valley Station, an outback adventure playground offering two dog-friendly campsites. You can choose to set up camp at the Homestead or by the Pentecost River. Experience the locals rounding up cattle on the dry open plains, explore walking trails where you’ll find waterfalls, billabongs, waterholes and towering gorges, and at night enjoy sitting around a log fire with your pooch by your side admiring the starry night sky.
Slightly north of Tasmania lies King Island, a place of immense natural beauty. Featuring Australia’s tallest lighthouse, over 60 known shipwrecks, beach, camping, golfing, fishing and picnic spots and trails. If camping isn’t your thing, there is plenty of pet-friendly accommodation available on the island.
City to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens Loop, Hobart
Tasmania is one of Australia’s most beautiful states, and its capital city of Hobart is one of the oldest cities in the country. Featuring some of the country’s oldest buildings, and situated close to Mount Wellington, it’s a great place for a holiday. Within the city, a walking loop takes you through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens while showing you some of the city’s key cultural, natural and heritage features. You can walk the loop with your dog spending a lovely half day exploring the best parts of the city.
Other things to consider
Have the time of your life with your pet but remember that safety always comes first.
Before you go
- Dogs are susceptible to ticks that may be prevalent in many areas, leeches and worms may also be a problem. There may be other concerns, depending on the area you choose to visit so consult your veterinarian and take the right preventative precautions.
- Snakes and spiders are also a real risk in rural and wilderness environments, as well as more populated areas. Learning to recognise the symptoms of a snake or spider bite and how to treat your dog is important.
On your trip
- In areas where snakes are likely to be, keep your dog on a leash and stick to the paths. Don’t let your dog enter tree hollows, scout under logs or rocks, or play with dead snakes.
- Plastic poop bags
- Collar with identification
- Plenty of water and water bowl
- First aid kit
Curious canines can be a handful at the best of times, let alone when you’re out exploring exciting new places. But with proper planning and a little research, anyone can help ensure that travelling with dogs is relatively stress free.
Before you set out on your next adventure together, consider protecting your furry travel companion with pet insurance.
22 Jun 2017