The Ultimate Pet-Friendly Guide to Fun-filled Winter Activities

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There’s no doubt that winter is here. And while the temperature may have plummeted a few degrees and we get fewer sunny days and more cold winds, there’s no shortage of fun, pet-friendly activities, places to discover, and new things to try.

For pet lovers and owners like us, our favourite fun-loving pets don’t just warm our hearts all year round; they come with health, mood-boosting benefits that keep us active, creative, and spontaneous. And just like people, pets have different interests and personalities too, so when choosing or trying an activity, make sure there’s something that suits their style. Let’s say you have an athletic dog like an energy-packed Labrador or an active Border Collie; you might opt for some dog sledding or skijoring.

Got an artistically inclined pet who would enjoy expressing themselves through art or creative activity? You could whip up your own pet-safe paint (also kid-friendly!), toss them a paintbrush and get ready to be surprised by your very own paw-casso. Or read on to see what we’ve lined up to keep them busy.

So to get you through the winter days, here’s our ultimate list of events, indoor-outdoor activities, and stay-at-home DIY ideas. Purr-fect for every fun-loving creature, big or small, human or animal — who is on the lookout for something new or exciting to sink their teeth or paw into.

Top June-August winter events

There’s nothing better than going to events where humans can enjoy themselves and dogs can have a great time too. Here’s our list of favourite pet-friendly events around the country. For more options, tap into our Baxta app.

#1 Paint & Slurp

Think your dog might be the next Paw-casso? To find out, IIKO Mazesoba, a dog-friendly restaurant is hosting their series of “Paint & Slurp” events. Book the “Artistic Pooch” session to watch your pup create a masterpiece using Sven & Ari’s pet painting kits. Prefer to have your dog as your muse? Then go for the “Paint Your Pooch” session where you will be guided by Madam Goose to create a watercolour rendition of your pup. Delicious IIKO Mazesoba noodles, Baxta goodie bags, and loads of prizes are all part of the package.

Date: Saturday, 12th June 11:30am-3:30pm
Sunday, 13th June 11:30am-3:30pm
Saturday 19th June 2:00pm-4:30pm
Sunday 20th June 2:00pm-4:30pm
Location: IIKO Mazesoba
86 Hay Street, Haymarket NSW 2000

#2 World Record Dog Wash

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Ever wanted to beat a world record? Here’s your chance. Head down to Dapto Showgrounds, where Jim’s Dog Wash is planning to wash more than 1,037 dogs in one day and break the current world record. Chip in $10 to help break a world record and get your dog cleaned. You’ll also be supporting Best Friends Forever, a not-for-profit that helps dogs in need.

Date: Saturday, 12 June
Time:  8am- 4pm
Location: Dapto Showground
89-99 Princes Highway, Dapto NSW 2530

#3 A Pooch Affair

Horses braying, cows mooing, chickens clucking, and sheeps bleating. The theme for this year’s event is — A doggie day out the Barnyard. Dress your dog in plaid, overalls, or as another animal for your chance to win the best-dressed competition. Peruse the doggie markets, be wowed by dog sport demos, get your pup’s nails clipped for free, and more!

Date: Saturday, 19 June
Time: 10am-3pm
Location: 2/10 Maryborough Street
Fyshwick ACT 2609

#4 Parks and Barks

Adventure out and explore the Ironbark Track in Karawatha Forest. Don’t worry about getting lost. You’ll have a tour guide leading the way and sharing tips on how to be a responsible dog owner when exploring the outdoors.

Date: Saturday, 3 July
Time: 9:30am-11am
Location: Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre
149 Acacia Road
Karawatha WLD 4117

#5 Dogs on the Green

A dog-friendly Sunday market? Count us in! Dogs on the Green is a free community market where your pooch can sniff its way past different stalls, make new friends, and taste new treats. Make sure you enter the raffle to support numerous rescue groups at 12:30 pm on the day.

Date: Sunday, 18th July
Time: 9:00am-1:00pm
Location: Benowa State Primary School, Gold Coast

#6 Riverwood Trail Run

Located at the picturesque Riverwood Downs, the Riverwood Trail Run is a dog-friendly running event that is not to be missed. There are four different types of courses that cater to all (15km, 30k, 55km, and a 4k family fun run). Once you’ve finished your trail run, relax in the Games Room or grab a bite to eat at the Barrington Bar and Grill.

Date: Saturday, 24th July – Sunday, 25th July
Time: See website for more details
Location: Riverwood Downs of Barrington Tops, Monkerai NSW 2415

#7 Dogs in the Park

As Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson have sung it out, “The best things in life are freeeee…”. And that’s what Dogs in the Park, a not-for-profit organization, brings to local communities. If you are in and around Castle Hill, check out their latest event in August — Dogs in the Park. It’s jam-packed with activities like dog sport demonstrations, rescue pup meetups, and best-dressed competitions to join in. Plus a line-up of interactive stalls for all pups and people.

Date: Sunday, 15th August
Time: 10:00am-2:00pm
Location: Castle Hill Showground, Showground Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154

#8 Puppy Pawty

Recently become a parent to a puppy? Not sure where to start? Bring your unvaccinated pup to Puppy Pawty and let them learn how to socialise with other breeds while they get used to new sounds and smells in a safe place. Swap and share stories with other new parents, and ask the staff any questions on how to raise a puppy.

Date:               Every Wednesday
Time:              7:30pm-8:30pm
Location:        Southern Cross Vet Clinic
                        60 Princes Highway, St Peters NSW 2044
Website:     148546164577?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Watch our Baxta video on why you should vaccinate.

#9 Eat Street

Can’t decide what to eat? Head over to Eat Street where you’ll be spoilt with choice. Japanese pizza, homemade ginger beer, Peruvian paella, fresh oysters, you name it, it’s all there! Every weekend, there’s live music and performances so you get a new experience each time you visit. Open all year round, it’s the perfect answer to “What should we do this weekend?” Entry is $5 per person.

Date: Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Time: See website for more details
Location: 221D Macarthur Avenue
Hamilton QLD 4007

#10 Puppy Pub Crawl

Hate leaving your pup at home on the weekends? Bring them along to a pub crawl and meet new furry and human friends. Eat and drink your way through different parts of Melbourne on your quest to find your favourite dog-friendly pub.

Date: See website for more details
Location: See website for more details

Top wine, dine, and out about places for foodie pups

#1 Indulge in olive oil at Petra Olive Oil Estate

There’s nothing better than a dog-friendly luxury farm stay getaway at Petra Olive Oil Estate with your pup. For just an extra $25, dogs are welcome to stay. To top it off, learn how olive oil is produced, enjoy a delicious tasting experience, and there’s gourmet foodstuff to take home.

Location: 251 Sheoak Drive, Yallingup WA 6282

#2 Pinot and pooch

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Pack your bags; it’s wine time! We’ve rounded up the best dog-friendly wineries across Australia. Enjoy a glass of Jacob Stein’s award-winning shiraz from Megalong Creek Estate as your pooch explores the open grounds of this boutique winery. Indulge in vegan-friendly wines from Oakvale, with snacks and water for your furry friend upon arrival at the best pet-friendly winery in the Hunter Valley!

Why not take a stroll through the lush vineyards of Dog Ridge Cellar Door? As the name suggests, this small winery welcomes all pooches and has over 90 acres of land for your pup to explore. If you’re in Western Australia, then the award-winning wines from Cape Naturaliste Vineyard is a must try. Your pooch will be rewarded with a treat on arrival and have its photo added to their pooch wall of fame!

#3 Brisbane Paddington Pup Crawl

Why head home early this winter? Bring your best furry mate along for dinner or a nightcap! Kick off with a burger and a drink from Reuben’s Deli and Bar and hang outside with your pooch. Then take a walk to Kettle and Tin where your pup can enjoy a drink from its complimentary water bowl. Finish your night on a high note at Hope and Anchor as you sip on a cold glass of wine in the outdoor seating area with your little mate.

#4 Margaret River Chocolate Factory

Live out your Willy Wonka dreams at Margaret River Chocolate Factory. Treat yourself to some hand-made truffles while your pooch frolics and explores the grass area. A picnic rug will come in handy.

#5 Use your Dine and Discover vouchers

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If you haven’t already cashed in on your Dine & Discover vouchers then here’s a nice surprise — the deadline is now extended until 31st of July. So there’s no better excuse to indulge you and your favourite doggy with something yummy at some of the best pet-friendly cafes and restaurants like IIKO Mazesoba, The Golden Sheaf, The Winery, Sneaky Possum and Erko to name a few. You can find more businesses here.

#6 Get crafty with some beer

Dog-loving, passionate beer enthusiasts can now bring their pooches on an amazing beer tasting journey at some of the best dog-friendly breweries in Australia. Hit the road to Yulli’s Brew and you can even make the most of your $25 NSW dine voucher and have your meal or drinks sorted. In Queensland? Visit Brouhaha Brewery and try their Strawberry Rhubarb Sour beer made from natural yoghurt. If you’re in South Australia, stop by Little Bang Brewing Company or Barossa Valley Brewing to enjoy food and beer pairings.

Top outdoor activities

#1 Become an expert at snow sports with your dog

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Skijoring, Dog Sledding, Snowshoeing. Got a snow-loving winter dog? Breeds like Siberian Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, Alaskan Malamute, and St. Bernard’s love, love, love snow play. If your pooch can handle pulling, Skijoring is bound to get their tail wagging. This sport involves the dog and human being attached via a bungee leash. The human uses the cross country skis and the two work together to move along the snow. 

For a more relaxing activity, try SnowShoeing instead! All you’ll need is a pair of snowshoes. To get the most of this activity, try a hands-free leash.

Before hitting the slopes, it’s best to ask your vet about the appropriate gear and which winter sports are suitable for your pet.

#2 Explore a pet-friendly winter wonderland

Swap the fast-paced city life for a relaxing weekend in the Snowy Mountains with your best friend at Bimblegumbie Mountain Lodge, a dog-friendly eco-retreat in Thredbo Valley. It’s just 5 minutes from the ski tube slope, or you can explore the nearby walking tracks with your furry companion.

Dash through the snow with your pooch at one of Australia’s best snow play destinations! With loads of dog-friendly accommodation to choose from, Dinner Plain is the ideal place to perfect your pup’s snow sport skills. For some extra fun, book your trip in line with the annual Sled Dog Racing Show, a 2-day event from the 14th and 15th of August. Quick tip — While Dinner Plain welcomes all furry friends, dogs must be registered with your local council to visit and are required to be on a leash when in public.

#3 Stay fit with these dog-friendly hikes

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Adventure with your pooch through the late wintertime and witness the vibrant wildflowers of Wolli Creek Regional Park. This 20-30 minute walk is great for beginners. With birdlife and a range of native plants, your pup will have a field day when sniffing on all that nature has to offer.

Raise your pup’s fitness levels by navigating through the terrain of La La Falls. For a theatrical experience, it’s best to visit after heavy rainfall as this is when the waterfalls are most powerful. The large grassy area is perfect for picnics and playtime with your pooch.

Take your pooch on a jam-packed 3.6 km adventure at Noble Falls Walk trail. There are even sections of the walk where your pup can stop for a swim. To rest and recharge check out the BBQ or picnic area in the reserve or head down to the Noble Falls Tavern to their dog-friendly beer garden and balcony.

#4 Relax with your pooch near the big screen

Snack on some pup-corn and bring your pooch to Five Star Cinemas, Brisbane’s first dog-friendly drive-in cinema. You can choose to sit in either the comfort of your car or in the outdoor seating area. Be sure to pack some pillows and blankets for that at-home feeling. Dogs will need to be on a leash at all times.

#5 Adopt a new pet

Having a pet is incredibly rewarding for any family. Kids learn valuable life lessons just from looking after a pet, whether it’s a bunny, a guinea pig, cat or dog. Rescue pets centers are a great place to find a new addition to your family, and it makes a great family activity if you are searching for the purr-fect pet to love.

Some great places to adopt from are AWL, Maggie’s Rescue, Animal Trust Society and Liberty Foundation. Plus, adopt this winter to go in the draw to receive one of four $100 Visa gift cards from Baxta’s Fur-ever home kickstart.

#6 Shop till you drop with your best friend

Whip out the credit card and take your furry companion to Chapel Street in Melbourne, Australia’s first pet-friendly shopping centre! With over 500 pet-friendly businesses in the precinct, you’ll be able to shop all day long. Participating stores will have a paw stuck on their door.

#7 Adventure out to the Blue Mountains

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Begin your adventure with a walk through Birdwood Gully Springwood. This dog-friendly walk has waterfalls, glow worms and native foliage that will keep your pup energised. Be sure to pack some water as this walk will take approximately 1hr to complete.

Once you’re done exploring, you can head to Eagle Hawk Lookout where you and your pooch can catch a distant view of the Three Sisters and watch the sunset over a thermos of hot tea.

If you’re in need of some pet-friendly accommodation, Secret Garden Cottage in Katoomba is a cosy holiday cottage that has a secure fenced yard and allows pets to sleep inside.

Top stay-at-home activities

#1 Whip up the paw-fect treat

Lockdown isn’t the only time when you can bake up a storm… Warm up in winter with the smell of freshly baked treats. What are you waiting for? Put on your oven mitts and let’s get to it! For a fancy sit down meal with your pooch, make a delicious Muttloaf and pair it with a fresh Watermelon Cocktail (for both you and your pup). If your pup still has room for more, finish the meal with a Peanut Butter Delight Biscuit.

Have a barkday coming up? Practice your pupcake making skills with these recipes:

#2 Cheese and wine night with your dog

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Want to enjoy a cheese and wine night without having people over? Make your dog a barkuterie board – a charcuterie board but for dogs! Load up a cheese board with strawberries, apple slices, cheese sticks, sardines, peanut butter dips, chicken strips, and whatever else you can find. Pour a glass of wine for yourself and voila, the perfect night in.

#3 At-home pet pamper night

Keep your furbaby looking fresh from head to paw with an at-home spa night! Begin with a gentle massage to help them feel relaxed; then it’s time to scrub a-dub-dub! For dogs, try putting peanut butter on the side of the bathtub. Your pet’s paws need more TLC during the wintertime, so keep them hydrated with paw balm. End the glow-up process by clipping their nails and reward your furbaby with a treat!

#4 Keep your pooch zen with ‘Doga’

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Yes, you read that right- dogs can do yoga! ‘Doga’ can help improve your dog’s circulation and calm its anxiety. Before you begin, you may want to learn a thing or two from Secret, an Australian Shepherd dog who is a ‘doga’ pro!

Feel relaxed with these simple poses:

  1. Quiet Lotus Pose
  2. Puppy Paw Mudra
  3. Wonderpaw Wheelbarrow
  4. Warrior One
  5. Satisfying Savasana

#5 Learn to groom your dog

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Does your pet hate going to the groomers? Dr Simone Maher is here to teach you some tips and tricks on how to create a positive experience at home. Watch this video to save a trip to your groomers. You’ll be trimming your pet’s nails in no time! Head in-app for more vet advice from Dr Simone Maher.

  1. Open/ download the Baxta app
  2. Tap on ‘Explore’ on the bottom panel of the app
  3. Tap on ‘Baxta Vet’

#6 Make your pet an influencer

Insta-famous felines. Popular pooches. Scroll-stopping chipmunks on Tik Tok. Social savvy squirrels. Top dogs on Twitter. If they can do it, so can your very own furry companion. We’ve got all the tips and tricks to jumpstart your likes on your Baxta social feed. Attract that instant flow of fans and followers, and make your pet’s profile pop. Learn about the ins and outs of prepping and primping your pet for social stardom in our blog, “How to turn your dog or cat into a pet influencer”.

#7 Start a group on Australia’s #1 social networking app for pets

Are you an animal art lover, a fashionable feline, or looking for like-minded songbird trainers? Join or create your own unique pet group on your Baxta app. Chat, meet for playdates, get to know other pet lovers. It’s all up to you.

  1. Download the Baxta app and create a profile
  2. Tap on “Pet Groups”
  3. Tap “+” on the top right-hand corner

#8 Shop online and treat your furry friend

Running out of treats? Need fur-shionable winter clothes? Or are your pet’s toys hanging on by its threads? Boot up your laptop, hop online, and get shopping!

#9 Put on your creative hat and DIY

Spent hours trawling through online websites but couldn’t find the perfect bandana? Head out to Spotlight, buy your desired pattern and watch this tutorial to get started. If you have leftover fabric, make a matching collar to complete your pet’s outfit.

You can even upcycle old toys and make something new to entertain your pet. Grab a t-shirt, a tennis ball, and some scissors and create a brand new ball and tug toy. Does your dog love plastic water bottles? Add some leftover fabric to make a ‘new’ and improved water bottle toy. Does your cat love playing with a laser pointer? Make a fishing pole for a safer option that’s just as much fun!

#10 Indoor scavenger hunt

Put your pet’s detective skills to the test with an exciting scavenger hunt. Scattering treats around the house is an easy way of boosting your pet’s enrichment. Got a rabbit? Try hiding its food inside of an object- this will get their senses going! To spice it up, use some of your furry companion’s favourite toys.