Posted Thu 22 Dec 2022 at 09:00am
Fill up the tank, ditch Melbourne’s bustling city and take your dog on one of these dog-friendly road trips from Melbourne.
Itching to disconnect from Melbourne’s city buzz? Witness natural formations like never before, striking scenic views and introduce your palette to new wines and brews by taking on one of these dog-friendly road trips from Melbourne.
We’ve saved you the trouble of researching the most dog-friendly destinations to visit, it’s now up to you to pick which one!
1. Great Ocean Road
Located over an hour from Melbourne CBD, The Great Ocean Road is a must-visit location for Melbournians and their pups. There are plenty of dog-friendly holiday activities, from bushwalks to lookouts and dog-friendly pubs and bars. While many of the Great Ocean Road’s magical formations are out of bounds to dogs, there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches you can explore. Whites Beach is a 24/7 off-leash dog beach with doggy bags available from the ‘pooch post.’
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Great Ocean Road without a scenic walk! The Surf Coast Walk is a 44km walk situated at the start of the Great Ocean Road region. Dogs are allowed on-leash but steer clear from the national parks, as dogs aren’t permitted there. Check out the dog-friendly zones before embarking on your walk.
Afterwards, visit Apollo Bay Brewhouse for a doggy treat. Unwind in their pet-friendly beer garden that encompasses ocean views, and don’t forget to order your pup a ‘Beerdog’s Bitter’!
2. Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula is known for its colourful houses plotted along the sand, but there is more to the iconic travel destination. Its golden beaches and rich wine country makes for the perfect dog-friendly road trip from Melbourne! Kick off your adventure by visiting Paradigm Hill Winery for a glass of Riesling, Pinot Gris or Shiraz. Delight your palette with a cheeseboard and indulge on the dog-friendly deck with your pup.
During your time at Mornington Peninsula, visit McClelland Sculpture Park – it’s home to many impressive sculpture collections and is dog-friendly! For a small admission, you’ll get to see 100 sculptures.
Interested in seeing what else the peninsula has to offer? Millionaire’s Walk is a popular 500m walk located between Portsea and Sorrento. Dogs will need to be on-leash, but this cliff-top walk is worth the stunning coastline views!
3. Yarra Valley
Calling all wine enthusiasts! The Yarra Valley is a 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne that features over 80 vineyards. It’s a popular dog-friendly road trip from Melbourne for a reason, as plenty of wineries, distilleries and breweries are dotted over the region. Visit Rob Donlan Wines and entertain your dog with a puppuccino while you have your mid-morning wine tasting! Your pet may even get to meet Resident dog Merlot!
If the wines are starting to all taste the same, take a trip to Coldstream Brewery for a beer and pub grub. Dogs are welcome to sit with you in the outdoor shaded area. If you love to wine and dine with your pup, check out one of these 10 dog-friendly restaurants in Melbourne that you can visit back home!
Visiting the Yarra Valley on the weekend? If so, check out the Farmer’s Food Market, which is held on the 3rd Sunday of every month. Bring your furry friend on-leash and stock up on fresh produce and freshly baked goods. Just be careful that Fido doesn’t steal any food!
4. Phillip Island
Philip Island is known for its little penguins, coastlines, wildlife and dog-friendly holiday activities. At sunset, Summerland Beach is filled with travellers who have come to watch the penguin parade.
Work a visit to Fig & Bay into your itinerary – located close to Corinella Bay, Fig & Bay is open all day for breakfast and lunch and has delicious doggy treats!
Hire a Kayak or a Stand Up Paddle Board and venture to a dog-friendly beach with your pup. The island’s geographic location means that at some beaches, you’ll witness both the sunrise and sunset. Cleeland Bright Beach and Ventor Beach Road also allow furry friends to have a splash. Make sure you know Phillip Island’s dog-friendly beach times before heading off.
George Bass Coastal Walk is another must-do dog-friendly holiday activity! Located on the island’s mainland, past San Remo, this coastal walk offers spectacular coastline views. The walk is 8km each way, and dogs must be on-leash. Keep up your coastal adventures by taking on the Balcombe Estuary Broadwalk Circuit in Melbourne.
If you’re looking for a getaway that’s rich in history, then Ballarat is a great dog-friendly road trip from Melbourne to take on. The gold-rush-era and wild west days of the 1850s and 1860s make this town rich in architecture and culture. The good news is that a few national parks allow dogs on lead! Walk through the picturesque Mount Buninyong or have your dog sniff 100-year-old trees from the La Gerche Forest Walk in Creswick.
Venture four kilometres from Ballarat’s CBD and spend a day at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Pack a picnic and take in the garden’s rich culture – mature trees, marble statues, flora, and fauna. Afterwards, you can stop by the Ballarat Tramway Museum for a memorable snap with your dog.
Being Victoria’s second-largest city, Geelong is jam-packed with dog-friendly holiday activities. The city boasts beach-front attractions and several coastal walks. You Yangs Regional Park is located on the freeway from Melbourne to Geelong and allows pups on-leash. Pack your walking shoes and take on Flinders Peak Walk – a 3.5km track with excellent views of Melbourne, Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula. Once you hit Geelong, cool off at Eastern Beach Reserve – dogs can swim on leash, and there are picnic facilities.
All that travelling is bound to work up an appetite, so stop by Sodi Cafe for a bite and grab a puppuccino and pupcake for your dog. In the evening, hit up Little Creatures Brewing for a cold pint – dogs are welcome to sit in the alleyway and will be given a water bowl.
Make visiting the pub with your little mate a regular occurrence by hitting up one of these dog-friendly pubs and bars in Melbourne.
7. High Country
Buckle up and get ready for a three-hour drive to Victoria’s High Country – we promise the distance is worth it! From stunning mountain views to delectable food and wine, this dog-friendly road trip from Melbourne is for those who need a break from the city. Lace-up and explore the remains of gold rush mining at Beechworth Gorge Scenic Walk. Venture through 7km of native forest and witness rock pools and cascades.
Get on cloud wine with your pup at Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard. Compliment your palette with some antipasti and unwind in the dog-friendly outdoor seating area. Fancy a visit to a brewery instead? There are plenty of breweries in the High Country, but a standout is Bright Brewery. This brewery has a separate Instagram dedicated to its furry patrons, so there’s no doubt that your dog won’t be welcome here.
Now that you’ve seen what Victoria has to offer, visit one of these pet-friendly holiday destinations in Australia.