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Happy dog on grass
Photograph: Jane Duursma/Unsplash

The best off-leash dog areas in Melbourne

You and your best friend can both run free at these off-leash dog parks and beaches in the city

By Time Out editors

If you and your dog are sick of always making the same rounds on your neighbourhood pavement, try one of these parks and beaches for a change in scenery. Let them sniff some new smells and get some grass between their toes, and they may even make some new furry friends. 

Looking for more dog-friendly spots in the city? Check out our guide, which includes the best pubs and cafés for you and your furball to enjoy together.

Off-leash dog parks and beaches

at Edinburgh Gardens Melbourne
Photograph: Philip Mallis

Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy North

Things to do Fitzroy North

Not far from the North Fitzroy café strip, these 140-year-old gardens are an ideal place to laze about with your pup. Roughly half of the park is designated dog off-leash, making it easy for your furry friend to meet new two-legged and four-legged friends.

You can find a map of the off-leash dog area sections here

Royal Park, Parkville

Things to do Parkville

Royal Park is the largest of Melbourne’s parks, covering 170 hectares. It offers three off-leash dog areas, and you can find the map which outlines these sections here. Make your way to the native grassland circle with your pup and after you've both grown tired of throwing a ball around, have a lie down in the circle together. 


Albert Park, South Melbourne

Sport and fitness South Melbourne

A huge 225 hectares of parkland takes in the areas around Albert Park and the Albert Park Lake – but did you know there are two off-leash areas too? Albert Park has two off-leash areas; the northern end near Albert Road and the area west of Aughtie Drive, near the sports fields. These areas are only off-leash when not being used for events or sport.

Altona Dog Beach
Photograph: Altona Dog Beach

Altona Dog Beach

During winter, this beach allows off-leash dog access. Head there at low tide with your pup and run along the water together. There are heaps of weathered rocks and an old shipwreck you can explore, and afterwards, you can wash sandy feet and paws at the nearby showers. 

In the warmer months, your dog must be kept on a leash to protect conservation efforts for migratory birds. 


All Nations Park, Northcote

Things to do Northcote

You'll find dogs of every breed running around at this popular park in the heart of Northcote. It also offers a skate park, basketball court, walking and bike tracks, kids park and barbecue area.  

Apex Park, Altona

Things to do Altona

Apex Park sits right on the water in Altona, with large open spaces and a small playground. You'll need to keep your dog leashed as you make your way into the park, but you'll soon hit the off-leash dog areas where your pup can run freely on the beach and grass. 

Victoria Gardens
Photograph: City of Stonnington

Victoria Gardens, Prahran

Things to do Prahran

Victoria Gardens covers two hectares and has maintained some of its original Victorian character elements. Located in a residential area, the charming park is a great getaway from the bustling surrounding streets and is perfect for a picnic when the weather permits. There are many shady areas and water features with bowls so you can keep ensuring your dog doesn't get too much sun and is hydrated. 

Darebin Parklands, Alphington

Things to do Ivanhoe

It’s almost too good to be true: 33 hectares of parklands including a huge off-leash area, free electric barbecues, and on-leash walking trails – all only eight kilometres from the city. Enter either via Separation St, Alphington, or from Rockbeare Grove, Ivanhoe. For more directions, visit the website.


Merri Creek Trail, Fitzroy

Sport and fitness Fitzroy North

This 25km-long trail zigs and zags through parks, wetlands, Coburg Lake Reserve, the Brunswick Velodrome and CERES Community Environment Park (where you can stop for a coffee). As you dip down into the greenery following the creek, you’d barely know that bustling Brunswick and North Fitzroy were just around the corner. Dogs must be on-lead while on the shared trail but can go off-leash at W.H. Robinson Reserve and A.H. Capp Reserve.

Fawkner Park, South Yarra

Things to do South Yarra

With uninterrupted landscapes and manicured lawns, Fawkner Park is the perfect location to bask in the summer sun and a stunning spot to take your pup. After you've made your rounds, you can go for a stroll along the streets of South Yarra with your pup and do a bit of shopping. 

You can find a map of the off-leash areas here


Brighton Beach, Brighton

Things to do Brighton

You can take your best mate to see Brighton's famed beach boxes off lead between 7.30pm and 10am from November 1 to March 31, and off lead at all times between April 1 and October 31. Have a look at this map for all the details. 

Princes Park, Parkville

Things to do Carlton North

There are two designated off-leash areas in this Carlton North oasis. The more popular one is off Bowen Crescent – stop off for some doggy socialising before jogging the circuit complete with interval exercise stations. Plus, all the cafés on Rathdowne Street are only metres away. Or if you're coming from the southern end, the area around Crawford Oval is off-leash friendly, too.


St Kilda dog beaches

Things to do St Kilda

There are two off-leash dog beaches in St Kilda where you and your bestie can frolic in the shallow water all year round. Choose from either the off-leash beach between Pier Road and the drainage channel at the northwest end of Pier Road or between Brooks Jetty and the northern end of the car park towards St Kilda Marina (just down from Luna Park). 

Melbourne for dog lovers

A brown dog panting
Photograph: Daniel Boud

Dog-friendly Melbourne guide

Things to do

Melbourne is a city of canine-lovin' legends, from yappy Toorak to bounding Brunswick. We've found some of the very best things this city has to offer your four-legged friend.


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