Nothing beats taking your dog for a walk in a park to send tails wagging, tongues lolling and eyes filling with appreciation. Both you and your dog can enjoy being out in nature! However, for conservation reasons, dogs are not allowed in most national parks. And it’s important to check specific areas within a park, as dog restrictions may apply. Dogs on-lead ensure a happy outing for everyone, including other dogs. Visitors should keep them on-lead except in designated off-lead areas. If a dog plays happily with other dogs, and responds to voice commands, off-lead enclosures are ideal for socialising with like-minded people and their excited companions. Dog walking in a park presents opportunities for picnics, sight-seeing, camping and fishing. Cleaning up after dogs allows everyone to enjoy the outdoors together. Check online and on signposts for restricted areas aimed at keeping dogs and wildlife safe and clear of one another. So, grab a lead and a handful of treats, whistle up the dog and head for the park.
Along the eastern banks of the Yarra River under the Westgate Bridge, Westgate Park offers spectacular views to the mouth of the Yarra and the city skyline. After a walk, visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch with friends or family or cycle along the Yarra River or the Port Melbourne foreshore. Discover Victoria's colonial past by visiting Point Gellibrand Heritage Park. Mullum Mullum Park is an important wildlife corridor in Melbourne’s east. This is a great park for cyclists and walkers, with the 1.6km Eastlink Trail running through the park and linking to Melbourne’s wider trail network. With its diverse combination of bushland, cultural heritage and sporting areas, Dandenong Police Paddocks is a good spot for dog walkers, cyclists, birdwatchers and sporting enthusiasts. Set in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, Silvan Reservoir Park is an easy drive from Melbourne and ideal for a great day out. Featuring landscaped picnic areas and open lawns surrounded by an impressive eucalypt forest, this park is perfect for a picnic or barbecue. Cardinia Reservoir Park is a great place for a family day out. The open parklands, picnic and barbecue areas and native bushland of Cardinia Reservoir Park are abounding with native wildlife and flora. Have a picnic among the trees. Watch the Eastern Grey Kangaroos feeding at dusk or basking in the sun along the kangaroo viewing trail. Enjoy panoramic views of the park from the many lookouts and vantage points or take a walk across the dam wall. While dogs are strictly prohibited along the reservoir, they are permitted in the park but must be kept on-lead at all times.
Five dog friendly parks in regional Victoria
Great Otway National Park; 213km from Melbourne
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.
Punchbowl Coastal Reserve; 100km from Melbourne
The George Bass Coastal Walk offers panoramic coastal views from a narrow winding path, along cliff tops rising high above the pounding surf of Bass Strait. Let the dog take the lead on this 7km coastal walk.
Bunurong Coastal Reserve; 147km from Melbourne
Explore the sandy coves and rocky headlands with a dog, along one of Victoria’s most beautiful coastlines. The rugged sandstone cliffs of this park are a striking backdrop for other beach activities such as swimming.
Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve; 220km from Melbourne
A happy pooch can take the lead through the rolling green hills of the Strzelecki Ranges, to the meandering Agnes River. At 59m, Agnes Falls are the highest single span falls in Victoria.
Cape Conran Coastal Park; 403km from Melbourne
Explore a network of on-road and off-road tracks with canine friends in this rugged coastal park. The park features wild ocean beaches, estuaries and inlets, heathlands and banksia woodlands brimming with nectar-feeding birds. Camping with dogs is allowed in some areas.