Australia has a host of laws and rules that prohibit dogs and other pets from coming into contact with local wildlife. As such, it can come across as being unfriendly to pets. The rules are there to protect wild animals and their habitat, and if you know where to go, it is possible to enjoy a great holiday in Oz.
It is a good idea to ensure that you check local laws and statutes before traveling, to avoid disappointment, but below we have included 10 of the best dog-friendly vacation destinations in Australia so that you can enjoy your trip without having to leave your pup out.
The 10 Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Australia
1. South Coast
To the south of Sydney is the South Coast of New South Wales. There are some quieter beaches here, and there are numerous fishing villages and surf beaches along the way. You can also go whale watching and dolphin watching, or even visit the killer whale museum in Eden.
If you don’t want to hire a campervan and stay at the multitude of campsites and caravan sites, there are some dog-friendly hotels in the area, including Beachhouse Sharkies in Coledale, which has its own enclosed rear garden.
Like much of the country, the beaches on the South Coast are restricted to dogs. But, while some don’t allow dogs at all, you can visit Currarong and Callala Beach between the hours of 4 pm and 8 am with your pup.
2. Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island, South Australia, also has its share of beaches, most of them considered natural beaches and some of which are largely free of tourists. However, it is the wildlife and nature that most people visit Kangaroo Island for. Discovery Lagoon cabins offer dog-friendly accommodation, including a campsite that is run entirely on renewable energy.
3. Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula is not only beautiful in its own rights, reminiscent of a small European harbour town, but it is also a very dog-friendly place to stay. Blue Moon Cottages are especially suitable. Your dog can stay in one of the four cottages with you and you are only a short walk from Rye’s dog beach, as well as a host of dog-friendly restaurants and places to eat. You will have to check times for Rye Beach because dogs are prohibited at certain times and during certain times of the year.
4. South Yarra
South Yarra sits on Melbourne’s coast and can be considered one of the pet-friendlier built-up areas of Australia. Enjoy a walk down the promenade and visit the numerous dog-friendly bars, cafes, and restaurants, while staying at one of the many dog-friendly hotels, like the St Kilda in Melbourne. The Botanic Gardens are also nearby, and these are also dog friendly, so you can easily whittle away a few hours with your four-legged friend.
5. Tasmania Peninsula
The whole of Tasmania is considered a dog-friendly destination to visit, but the Tasman Peninsula, in particular, is great for dog owners and their pets. You can take your dog with you to the Port Arthur Historic Site, the Coal Mines Historic Site, and across the Tessellated Pavement at the beginning of the Peninsula. You can even stay at the Port Arthur Beachfront Retreat. As well as being pet friendly, there are no pet additional pet surcharges, and the accommodation welcomes large dog breeds.
6. Atherton Tablelands
The Atherton Tablelands is inland from Cairns and it is a little less humid than a lot of other areas, which will be a blessed relief for some visitors, whether on four legs or two. And visiting the Crystal Caves, which welcomes canine visitors as well as humans, is another way to really cool down. You can also go platypus spotting while walking your dog by the creeks, and shop from the many fruit and vegetable stalls at the sides of roads. For a luxury, pet-friendly stay, you can stay at the Sharlynn by the River, which even offers its own natural pool.
7. Great Keppel Island
Of all the islands of Queensland, Great Keppel Island is arguably the most dog friendly. For a start, the island isn’t a national park and they can be taken over on the ferry. The beaches are dog-friendly, and as long as you have somebody with you to look after the dogs, you can go snorkelling while you’re there. You can also eat at the dog-friendly Island Hideaway. However, as friendly as the island is for a visit with your dogs, you can’t stay overnight with them.
8. Batemans Bay
Batemans Bay, in New South Wales, is another great area for dog owners. There are multiple dog-friendly beaches—in fact, there are around a dozen beaches that allow dogs off leash throughout the day, so there aren’t even any time restrictions like there are on a lot of the Australian dog beaches. As ever, when visiting dog beaches and letting your dog off the leash, though, you do need to ensure that they remain under control and that you clear up any mess they might leave behind.
9. Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are an ideal getaway for those that love the rugged outdoors, rather than pristine beaches. There are numerous peaks and rock formations, and the mountains are largely dog friendly. The Lilianfels Resort, for example, not only lets dogs stay but it has a dog package so that a bed and bowl are included and you won’t need to bring your own. You’ll even get a complimentary dog treat on arrival.
10. Coffs Harbour
As well as a large choice of beaches, including many that are dog friendly, Coffs Harbour and the surrounding areas have plenty of activities for you and your dog to partake in. There’s even an off-leash dog park at the end of Urunga Boardwalk, complete with trails and a picnic area. There’s also a lookout where you can see seals and other sea life, and that welcomes canine visitors. And do make sure you get a selfie with your dog standing in front of the giant banana!
Australia does have some strict rules regarding where dogs can roam and where they are allowed to run and play. However, beaches and other venues have been set aside and established for the benefit of our canine friends and their companions. Always double-check before visiting an area, because venues are prone to change and you wouldn’t want to be disappointed. Happy vacationing with your dog!
Featured Image Credit: Eric Krouse, Shutterstock