Dog friendly parks
Taking your dog to a park will send tails wagging and eyes filling with appreciation. Nothing beats both you and your dog enjoying being out in nature. For the perfect spot to take your dog, look no further than Victoria’s metropolitan, regional and reservoir parks. Dogs are allowed on-lead in many of these parks, so you can enjoy walking, picnics or sightseeing with your four-legged friend. Make sure you plan ahead and check information online and on park signage. Some parks allow dogs in some areas of the park but not the whole park.
Albert Park is a popular spot for dog walking. Take your dog on a walk around the lake or let them run in one of the two off-lead zones. Yarra Bend Park is another great spot for some off-lead fun. Here, dogs can also have a refreshing swim at Deep Rock. Located close to Dights Falls, a rock embarkment allows dogs to easily access the Yarra River. Silvan Reservoir Park is an easy drive from Melbourne and ideal for a great day out. This dog-friendly park is perfect for a picnic or barbecue. Set up on one of the landscaped picnic areas or open lawns surrounded by eucalypt forest. Immerse yourself in Victoria’s colonial past at Point Gellibrand Heritage Park. The Bay Trail is a great way for you and your dog to view the landscape. Stroll beneath Mountain Ash trees at Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens. Walk along the many linking paths and taking in the stunning blooms and foliage.
There’s lot of great opportunities to walk your dog at Macedon Regional Park. Choose from a series of tracks that make up the Macedon Ranges Walking Track. Woowookarung Regional Park is perfect for bushwalking and taking your dog for a walk to scenic lookouts. A happy pooch can take the lead through the rolling green hills of the Strzelecki Ranges at Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve. At 59m, Agnes Falls are the highest single span falls in Victoria. Explore a network of on-road and off-road tracks with canine friends in the rugged Cape Conran Coastal Park. The park features wild ocean beaches, estuaries and inlets and heathlands. Camping with dogs is allowed in some areas.
All state forests, except Murrindindi Scenic Reserve and Steavensons Falls Reserves, are open to dogs. During your visit always keep your dog on a lead and under your control. Check with your local council for restrictions in municipal parks, reserves and beaches.
Dogs in National Parks
If you’re planning on visiting a national park, then you’ll need to leave your four-legged friend at home. Dogs are not allowed in most national parks in Victoria. This includes any beaches that form part of the park. Driving through a national park on a public road with pets in the vehicle is permitted, provided pets remain in the vehicle while crossing the park. Remember, not to leave your dog alone in a vehicle as pets can overheat even when the window is down, or the car is in the shade. Visit the RSPCA to learn more.
There are a few areas within some national and state parks that allow dogs.
Great Otway National Park
There are many areas within the Great Otway National Park that cater for dogs on-lead.
- Near Lorne: St George River Track
- Closer to Forrest: Lake Elizabeth Visitor and Camping Areas and walking tracks.
- Closer to Torquay: Ironbark Basin Picnic Area, Southside Beach, Addiscott Beach, Point Addis to Anglesea via beach and Surf Coast Walk, Ironbark Gorge Walking Track, Ocean View Walking Track.
- Johanna Beach: all areas.
The nearby Otway Forest Park permits dogs on-lead in all areas.
Greater Bendigo National Park
Dogs are allowed on-lead on specified roads and trails in the One Tree Hill section of the park. Dog walking off these roads and trails is not permitted. Nearby Bendigo Regional Park and State Forests permit dog walking. For more information, view the Dog walking in parks and forests around Bendigo map.
Kinglake National Park
Dogs are allowed on-lead in the Frank Thomson Reserve.
Lake Eildon National Park
Dogs are allowed in the Jerusalem Creek Campground.
Heathcote-Graytown National Park
Dogs are allowed on-lead in the McIvor Range area of the park.
Dog friendly parks
Dog walking parks
Make sure you plan ahead and check information on park signage. Some parks allow dogs on/off-lead in particular areas of the park but not the whole park.
Dog walking in Albert Park
Yarra Bend Park
You Yangs Regional Park
Victoria's dog-friendly walking trails
Yarra Valley Parklands
Cape Conran Coastal Park
Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden
Woowookarung Regional Park
When you're there
Keep your dog on lead in permitted parks
Dogs are permitted in many parks and reserves provided they are under control and on leads at all times. Visitors should keep their dog on-lead except in designated off-lead areas. Keeping your dog on a lead ensures you both have a safe park visit.
- Poison baits may be laid to control foxes or other feral animals. Baits can be fatal to dogs.
- Even if your dog is friendly, other dogs may not be.
- Your dog can catch parasites (such as fleas and ticks) from wildlife.
- Snake bites are a real risk in natural areas such as parks.
- Wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas will defend themselves if threatened by a dog and can cause significant injury to or the death of your dog.
Dog-friendly code of conduct
- Consider other park users and ensure that dogs are always kept under effective control.
- Always carry a lead, even when in off-lead areas.
- Bring a friend if you wish to walk with more than two dogs.
- Ensure children are supervised whilst near dogs, as they are vulnerable to attack.
- Ensure your dog’s identification, registration and vaccinations are up to date.
- Minimise any disturbance to native fauna, including birdlife in the park.
- Clean up after your dog and take all rubbish home.
Need to know
Dog friendly parks
Why aren't dogs permitted in National and State Parks?
While dogs and other pets may be a valued part of a family, they’re a real threat to our native animals. Leaving the family dog at home can be difficult when you would like to visit national and state parks, but there are some good reasons why dogs are prohibited.
To protect wildlife
- The purpose of national parks is to provide a much-needed refuge for native plants and animals.
- Dogs are a predator and can scare, injure or kill wildlife. Prey species, such as birds and mammals, react accordingly, regardless of whether the dog is controlled or on a leash, or running free.
- Dogs leave scent in the bush that can keep wildlife away from an area even after the dog has left. The scent of a dog can have an impact on wildlife.
- There are penalties for bringing a dog to the reserve and if a dog is found to impact wildlife, the owner could face court action or substantial fines.
To protect other park visitors
- People visit parks expecting to enjoy the area without dogs.
- Many park visitors wish to see wildlife and dogs may compromise people’s ability to do this.
Assistance dogs are welcome in Parks Victoria parks and reserves. Entry requirements apply for parks and reserves that are usually dog prohibited, such as national parks.
Visiting a park can be more of a challenge for people with disabilities, however, in Victoria there are a wide range of facilities to help people of all abilities enjoy our wonderful parks around the state. Parks Victoria provides a range of a equipment, including all-terrain and beach wheelchairs, facilities, accommodation and accessibility information and programs to help you plan and enjoy your visit to Victoria's parks.