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Dog on a trip with owner
Photograph: cottonbro

The best dog-friendly weekends from Melbourne

Take your four-legged best friend somewhere nice for a weekend

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
Contributor
Time Out editors
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After being cooped up inside for a while, it's time to take a well-deserved holiday. But for pet owners, watching your furry friend's tail droop as you pack your bag for a weekend away makes it hard to even consider leaving home. That sadness and separation anxiety can easily be alleviated with one of these dog-friendly weekend trips. 

Hate leaving your pup at home while you go to work? Try one of these stellar doggie daycares that will make sure your four-legged pal isn't bored and lonely while you're working.

RECOMMENDED: Our guide for Melbourne dog owners.

Many of the beaches surrounding Torquay are dog friendly, and some just outside town are even off-leash, like Jan Juc and Bells Beach. A little past Bells Beach (which is where the experienced surfers hang), there’s a state park that allows on-leash hounds and has a bevvy of great beginners beaches – just look for cars with surfboards on the roof and check signs about dog restrictions.

More info: Torquay, Bells Beach and Jan Juc are along the Great Ocean Road, 1.5 hours from Melbourne CBD. For a comprehensive list of dog-friendly beach areas in Melbourne, click here

Stay here: For pet-friendly accommodation, try Beachy Kean in Jan Juc.

Explore Victoria with your pup on a tour on a dog-friendly chauffeured bus. Gourmet Pawprints offers a number of experiences including pub crawls, winery tours, a walking tour of historic Williamstown, picnic adventures and more. Let your pup have the window seat and ride in style in the spacious luxury bus where they will surely make heaps of furry friends. 

More info: Find all the activities and book tickets through the Gourmet Pawprints website

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  • Hotels
  • Melbourne

The Somerset on Elizabeth manages to provide the privacy and autonomy of an apartment while still offering the hospitality of a hotel. Perhaps the most exciting part of the hotel is that you can bring your whole family – fur babies included. Dog-friendly rooms include a welcome pack (with a treat and a toy), a cosy bed for your four-legged companion and access to a dog-friendly courtyard. Food is provided, as are bags to pick up after your pooch (outside, of course) and bowls for food and water.

More info: Read about Somerset's pet options here.

As winter looms, wine country calls – complete with a roaring fireplace and a case of newly acquired booze. All that’s missing is your pet trying to hog the couch, right? Well, there are plenty of dog-friendly places in Healesville and the Yarra Valley – as well as some great walking tracks in the nearby dog-friendly Maroondah Reservoir Park.

Stay here: Lavender Farm in Healesville allows pets to stay on their six-bedroom rural property by prior arrangement.

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Get the camping bug and bring along your pooch to clean up the burnt snags you accidentally obliterated (always check fires are allowed first, naturally). Try the pretty campsite at Marengo Holiday Park with stunning views over the water, perched just above Apollo Bay on the border of the Otway National Park (1.5 hours from Melbourne CBD). Many of the walks in the Otways are dog friendly on-leash (just check the signs at the start of the trail) or, if you're looking for some off-leash fun, Marengo Beach nearby is dog off-leash all year round.

More info: For something a little closer to Melbourne, head to O'Briens Crossing in the beautiful Lerderderg Gorge in Wombat State Forest (1.5 hours from Melbourne CBD).

Located around the famous mineral springs townships of Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs, this park allows dogs on leash at all times on the extensive walking tracks surrounding the famous Mt Franklins springs. Try the Tipperary Walking Track from the picturesque Lake Daylesford to the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve.

More info: Hepburn Regional Park, Creswick. 1.5 hours from Melbourne CBD.

Stay here: Daylesford Country Cottages.

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Fancy taking a little longer than a weekend, and want to bring your best friend? Try Tasmania! Not many people know that Spirit of Tasmania has kennel decks where your dog can take the ride along with you across the pond. And the best bit about it is that you can bring your own car over on the Spirit too (and avoid those pesky pet cleaning fees on a rental).

If you're not too keen on camping but you still want to be surrounded by the great outdoors, book this dog-friendly accommodation on Riparide. The entire property is fenced and safe for your pup to roam while you take a relaxing dip in the outdoor hot tub. If you feel like heading out and exploring, there's a shallow river nearby that's safe for your pup to splash around in. 

Other dog-friendly escapes: You can book this home on Apollo Bay or this cottage in Daylesford for you and your furry friend. 

Can't get out of town?

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