Close

Best Australian road trips to take your pet along

Young woman with golden retriever on the beach

It’s not a family holiday if you’re beloved four-legged friend isn’t along for the ride, and while it might take a little more planning, you won’t regret the incredible memories you make.

We’ve pulled together a selection of pet-friendly hot spots from across Australia, and included some hot tips to help you prepare your dog for their big adventure.

3 tips on road-tripping with pets

  1. If your pet isn’t used to travelling long distances in the car, then it might pay to do a dummy-run and see how they cope – even just a one-hour trip will give you an indication.
  2. Check your approved pet restraints1 are in good working order, for both their safety and yours.
  3. Much like when you travel with kids, pets need to be kept hydrated and fed, and this means regular stops, not just to stretch their legs but for toileting.

Top spot in New South Wales

The Shoalhaven area

The Shoalhaven area in the South Coast offers 22 off-leash areas and is one of the nation’s leading pet-friendly destinations.2 You can enjoy leash-free fun all day at Shoalhaven Heads Beach and River Road Reserve and between 4–8 pm daily there’s sections of beaches, points and reserves that are off-leash including Callala Beach (during restricted hours) and regions of Lake Conjola’s waterfront.

Angler’s Rest in Greenwell Point offers waterfront accommodation and features cabins with gated decks for your precious cargo. Kite Tails and Sand Pails are pet-friendly cottages in the seaside village of Currarong, or more rurally is Mimosa Eco Retreat in Bawley Point.

Tip: Don’t forget to keep checking your dogs for ticks. Sadly, these annoying critters don’t take holidays!

Top spot in Queensland

Sunshine Coast

Your fur babies will love running amok at some of the 13 dog-friendly beaches and 24 off-leash parks across the Sunshine Coast.3 At Coolum Beach, access 67 to 72 are off-leash, giving you kilometres of golden sand to play fetch on. At Maroochydore Park you can picnic while your pooch plays and if you head to Alexandra Headland visit the Attic Café4 or further north try Costa Noosa Espresso; dogs are welcome on the deck.

Plenty of Airbnb holiday homes in this state welcome dogs, or else other options are self-contained beachside apartments at Horizons at Peregian or Jacaranda Cottages in Maleny. Cooroy Country Cottages is set across 97 acres and contains four self-contained luxury cottages so your pal will have the rule of the roost.

Tip: Don’t feel guilty if you’d like a one or two break away from you dog, there’s plenty of kennels or dog sitters available and it will give your pooch a chance to socialise.

Top spot in Victoria

Great Ocean Road

The iconic Great Ocean Road provides plenty of picturesque pit stops, but be mindful dogs are prohibited in the Port Campbell National Park.5 However, they are permitted in areas of the Bay of Island Coastal Park, 18 km west of Port Campbell.

Dogs are allowed on-leash on the trail and beach at Sandy Cove in the Childers Cove area and certain trails and beaches. In the Port Campbell Township there is an off-leash area at the recreational reserve and in the Peterborough Township dogs can frolic at the mouth of the Curdies River.

There’s also pet-friendly accommodation options6 such as:

  • Beeches by the Sea
  • 40 Regent
  • Beach Road Hide-Away
  • Burrum River Retreat
  • Anglesea Overboard Seaside Cottage
  • Aireys Overboard Seaside Cottage

Tip: For added security, make sure your four-legged friend is up-to-date with vaccinations before you leave.

Top spot in Western Australia

The Margaret River Region

The majority of vineyards7 in the Margaret River region welcome pets, but the rule of thumb is to keep their leash on and stick to outdoor areas. To name just a few who mention they are dog-friendly; Juniper Estate, Churchview Estate, Knee Deep Wines, Driftwood Estate, and Bush Shack Brewery.

Once you’re done soaking up the view of the vineyard, basking in the serenity and sampling local produce, you can rest your wary legs (and paws) at more than a dozen spots including Beachside Prevelly Villas, they allow up to two pets, Margaret River Hideaway and Farmstay, Caves Road Chalets Cowaramup, Waters Edge Margaret River or Silversprings Cottages Metricup.

Tip: As a courtesy, when booking accommodation let your provider know how many dogs you’ll be bringing.

Top spot in South Australia

Fleurieu Peninsula

Just 40-minutes south of Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula8 offers some of South Australia’s finest coastal, scenic and culinary experiences. You and your pets can explore gorgeous coastlines and trails such as the Encourage Bikeway, a 31.5 km shared path which links Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor, Middleton and Goolwa. Other walks are Hindmarsh Falls, Kings Head Hike and Heysen Trail; it’s a 6.5 km coastal walk providing plenty of new sights and smells for your beloved canine.

Accommodation-wise there about 40 different types of places you and your pet can stay, including apartments and houses that boast spectacular ocean and scenic views and plenty of space to roam. Check out, Fleurieu Accommodation9, a great manager of holiday homes in the area.

Tip: To avoid your pet getting car sick, feed them a few hours before you start your journey.

Top spot in Tasmania

The Kingborough Region

Your furry companion will thank you for the visit to Kingborough, home to one of the longest coastlines in the state and a huge hit with nature10 lovers. There’s various walks, tracks, reserves, falls, foreshores and beaches to explore in the Kingborough suburbs11 of Blackmans Bay, Coningham, Howden, Kingston, Margate, Snug, Taroona and Tinderbox.

Across Tassie there are plenty of pet-friendly places to stay including cabins and caravan parks, or if you’re in the north-west coast of Tassie, look up Willaway Motel Apartments in Ulverstone, all pets are welcome.

Tip: When travelling at speed it’s best to keep windows closed to avoid your pet being exposed to flying debris or too much cold air.

Keep your pets safe wherever you go with Real Pet Insurance. If you’ve got a question that pertains to your certain circumstances, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.


References

  1. Dog car harness and restraints: the best pet seat beltsCars Guide
  2. Pet-friendly HolidaysVisit NSW
  3. Dog parks and off-leash areasSunshine Coast Council
  4. The best pet-friendly accommodation on the Sunshine CoastThe Urban List
  5. Holiday with your dog [PDF]visit12apostles.com.au
  6. Great Ocean Road dog-friendly accommodationDogs on Holidays
  7. Dog-friendly wineries, breweries, pubs and restaurants – Your Margaret River Region
  8. 9 dog-friendly walking trails – Pet Let
  9. Accommodation Fleurieu PeninsulaHoliday Paws
  10. Dog exercise areasKingborough Council
  11. About KingboroughKingborough Council

Real Insurance is an award-winning provider of pet insurance.

Pet Insurance Request a Free Quote