Mornington Peninsula: Northern coast dog walk

You might’ve heard about Mornington Peninsula—it’s one of the many well-known areas in Victoria that are ideal for a dog walk. With plenty of coastal, wooded, and open areas, the entirety of the Mornington Peninsula is dog heaven.

But, be sure to stay away from Mornington Peninsula National Park if you have your dog with you. To better protect the threatened fauna and plants within the park, dogs are not allowed. (Even the scent of our pup friends can cause distress to certain plants!)

Best walking trail in Mornington Peninsula with dogs: Northern coast walk

With wonderfully fascinating scenery for you and all different types of terrain for your pup, a stroll along the northern coast is an ideal choice for people who love finding new areas to walk their dog for an exercise.

The best part—you can make several short dog walks out of this! You can make your own dog-friendly walking trails in Mornington Peninsula. And unless you want to spend literally your entire day walking, we recommend doing just that. We also recommend planning to keep your dog on-lead at all times. There are very few off-leash areas, but most areas require a leash. You can find the list of beaches which are leash-free all year round here

When bringing your pup to the beach, make sure to refer to all signs and the latest official information released by the authorities.

Entire length: 39km
Where: Between Hawker Beach and Shelly Beach
Terrain: Smooth sand, rugged sand, paved gravel
Difficulty: Between easy and moderate (depending on area)
Features: Multiple lookouts, toilet, multiple carparks
Best time for a dog walk in Mornington Peninsula beaches: Outside of the 9am-7pm window during daylight saving time (most beaches follow this rule)

Be careful. There are many different species of animals that inhabit areas close to the water. Be sure to keep your dog on a leash in all areas that require it.

Here’s a quick map snapshot of the entire area:

Important information and features of each area:

Hawker Beach: You can park your car on Esplanade Road. Then, follow the signs to the beach. The area near the water here is on the steeper side. Hawker Beach includes a marked area where dogs can roam off-leash.

Safety Beach: Tassels Cove Beach allows dogs off-leash at all times! All other beaches in this area follow the daylight saving hours we mentioned above. 

McCrae: You can find a carpark conveniently located across from Margaret Street, then start the walk at the McCrae Lighthouse and just follow the Bay Trail.

Koonya Dog Beach: Alongside the sands, there’s a paved gravel path with railings if you don’t want to brave the tougher terrain with your pup.

Shelly Beach, Portsea: Shelly Beach has a carpark, picnic area, and toilets. An off-leash area lies between Franklin Road and Hemston Avenue.

Our pick? We would recommend Shelly Beach’s circuit walk. Only 2km long and just under an hour’s walk, this leads you through many different styles of terrain. And it’s a loop—so you finish where you start! 

So—there you have it! Despite dogs not being allowed in Mornington Peninsula National Park, which takes up much of the south shore, there are still plenty of places for a dog walk around Mornington Peninsula no matter the type of walk you’re looking for.