Get out of town: Dog-friendly campsites in Australia
Are you dreaming of a city escape but don’t want to leave your best friend behind? Avoid the inquisitive ‘Where did you go without me?’ smell down and take your pup on a camping adventure complete with uninterrupted bonding and discovery. Before setting off, though, make sure your dog is up to date with parasite protection and check if you have to notify the campsite that you’ll be bringing them along.
Here are our top picks for dog-friendly campsites by state and territory across the country:
New South Wales
Nestled in the foothills of the Barrington Tops world heritage wilderness, Riverwood Downs Campsite redefines the term ‘pet friendly’. The camping grounds, caravan sites and cabins here all welcome intrepid pups and with 750 acres to explore on or off lead, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Whether you want to play ball on the manicured lawns, discover the walking trails, relax by the beautiful mountain river or even dine out with your pup at the Barrington Bar and Grill – there’s definitely something for everyone.
Set in Goolawah Regional Park near Crescent Head, Delicate Campgrounds is one of the few Northern NSW camping spots that welcomes dogs. For precious bonding time with your pup, enjoy a stroll on the off-leash beach or snuggle together up in your tent at night.
Clancy’s Campground in Benarkin State Forest feels like a world away from the city. Clancy’s welcomes on-leash dogs and caters for a range of camping experiences from tents to caravans and motorhomes. Hike the forest trails, catch a fish for dinner or picnic on the large, open grassy area near Emu Creek – all while taking in the fresh scents of the eucalypt forest.
If you fancy beach camping with your pup, then Minjerribah Camping on idyllic North Stradbroke Island might just be the perfect place to pitch your tent – where stunning native forests meet kilometres of white sandy beaches. Flinders Beach and Main Beach camping areas are both dog friendly but can only be accessed by 4WD.
Australian Capital Territory
Just 45 minutes west of Canberra City, you’ll find the popular Blue Range Campground in Uriarra Forest. Although dogs aren’t allowed in Namadgi National Park, there are still plenty of recreational areas and trails nearby for you to explore together.
Located in Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, Paradise Beach Campground offers a coastal adventure that more than lives up to its name. With 12 unpowered sites for car-based camping, this super secluded paradise is perched between Lake Reeves and the ocean. Access to the beach is easy, giving you and your pup more time to bound along the endless stretch of sand together. You can also give surf fishing a go and enjoy your catch back at the campgrounds under the shelter of a large rotunda.
Stay at Lerdergerg Campground for a truly immersive woodland experience that’s only a one-hour drive from Melbourne. Whether you prefer picnics or bushwalks, this campground is the ultimate treat for nature lovers. Pups are welcome to stay as long as they’re on the lead.
On the western side of Flinders Island, Allports Beach Camping Ground is the perfect escape for beach lovers. Pitch a tent or park the campervan on this unpowered campsite and then mosey down to the spectacular (and dog-friendly) Allports Beach. Once you’ve had a dip and worked up an appetite, fire up the gas BBQ (compliments of Parks and Wildlife) located at the eastern end of the beach. There’s also fresh rainwater for hand washing, but don’t forget to pack your own drinking water and firewood for those chilly nights.
On the banks of the historic Little Roper River, Bitter Springs Cabins and Camping offers a quiet and peaceful bushland retreat for you to unwind from city life. An ideal base from which to explore the Never Never Region and Elsey National Park, the campground is a short walk to Biter Springs Thermal Pools and a 15-minute drive to the Mataranka Falls walking trail. You might even be lucky enough to spot the rare Red Goshawk that nest in the area.
Offering a variety of accommodation options, including cabins and safari tents, Bungle Bungle Caravan Park is an ideal escape for those who want to be immersed in the beautiful natural bush, but don’t want to completely relinquish their creature comforts. After a day of touring the unique Purnululu National Park by bus or helicopter, enjoy a glass of wine at the Bungle Caravan and relax by the fire pit under a blanket of stars.
A stay at Sues Bridge Campground in Blackwood River National Park will have you shedding that city stress in no time. With direct access to the river, it’s great for swimming, fishing or paddling with your pup. 2WDs won’t have trouble accessing this remote wilderness.
On a working station in the Flinders Ranges, Bendleby Ranges Campsites caters for all kinds of adventurers. Need some solitude? Then set up camp on one of the private remote campsites surrounded by pristine bushland. Prefer to be closer to the amenities? No problem, there’s also a large campground near the camp kitchen. Pups are, of course, welcome as long as they’re kept on a leash.
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