Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails and Adventure Tips

Posted by Jackie Ly on

dog hiking with their dog owner

Table of Contents

  1. Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in New South Wales

  2. Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Victoria

  3. Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Queensland

  4. Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Tasmania

  5. Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Western Australia

  6. Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in South Australia

  7. Hiking with Your Dog: Adventure Essentials and Tips

If you’re a dog owner who has an active lifestyle, or is planning to start one, going on an adventure with your dog adds an extra layer of excitement and companionship! Australia has beautiful scenery, various terrains, and an array of hiking trails, making it an outdoor enthusiast's dream destination. 

Hiking with your dog in Australia can be a very fulfilling experience, but it involves careful planning, the appropriate gear, and obedience to specific guidelines to ensure both of you have a safe and happy trip together.

But yes, you need to see places where you can go first, before you plan the whole trip. Here are some of the most beautiful and dog-friendly hiking trails in Australia.

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in New South Wales

1. Minnehaha Falls

If you're starting with a quicker hike, Minnehaha Falls is a 1.5-kilometer return trip that you and your dog can take on a leash. Katoomba's broad dirt trails, waterfalls, and natural ponds enable you and your dog to connect with nature.

This walk can be steep at times, but there are plenty of places to rest and play or swim. It's also recommended to ride on the rope swing near the watering hole. 

2. Narrabeen Lagoon Bush Trail

The Narrabeen Lagoon Bush Trail is for those with stamina! This 8.4-kilometer return trip requires a leash at all times, although it is also suitable for cycling. You'll see some amazing scenery, including bushlands, a lake, and a variety of birds.

The relaxing hike is a lot of fun and one of the greatest hiking paths for dogs. Swimming at the lake is an excellent way to cool down.

3. Lake Parramatta

This is a 4.2-kilometer looping route near Parramatta, New South Wales. It takes an average of 1 hour to complete this moderately tough walk. Lake Parramatta is a popular place for birding, hiking, and walking, so you're likely to run into other people while exploring.

The route is accessible all year and a great place to explore with your dog at any time, and they can be off-leash in certain areas.

4. Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Walk

Discover the 12.7-kilometer out-and-back trail near Sydney, New South Wales. It takes an average of 2 hours and 44 minutes to complete this trail. It is dog-friendly, but they must be on a leash. 

The trail can get jammed at times, but the breathtaking views and lovely beaches make up for it at every turn. The route begins at Bondi Beach and passes through the Bondi Icebergs swimming club, following the paved path leading to the stunning Coogee Beach.

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Victoria

1. George Bass Coastal Walk: Kilcunda - Punchbowl

This breathtaking seaside hike has sweeping views and some challenging areas that will get your and your pup’s heart racing. Dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas. Several locations along the trip provide beach access, allowing you and your dog to pause and explore the dunes and rock pools.

One route begins from Kilcunda and heads west to Punchbowl Road. You can park at one end and walk the path from point to point. It connects to the Bass Coast Rail Trail and several other trails in the vicinity. Be cautious while visiting after it has rained as the ground may be loose and slippery.

2. Ovens River Canyon Walk

The Canyon Walking Trail begins at Centenary Park in Bright and makes its way along the scenic Ovens River. There are two pleasant bridge crossings along the trail, which forms a loop along both banks of the river.

If you want to shorten the loop, you can cross at an earlier bridge, which you will pass about a third of the way down the trip.

3. Yarra Bend Park Loop

If you and your pup want to get away from the noise and bustle of the city, this trail is for you! Your pup is welcome at this wonderful trail, and must be kept on a leash.

This fantastic trail winds through Yarra Bend Park in Clifton Hill, roughly 4 kilometres north-east of Melbourne's central business district. The reserve protects Melbourne's largest remaining natural bushland. Highlights of this circle walk include Galatea Point, the Deep Rock swimming club, and the river red gum that shades the banks of the water.

4. East Track, Northern Range and Branding Yard Loop

This walking trail explores a stunning stretch of the You Yangs Northern Range Circuit. You can bring your pup but always keep them on leash. 

The trail is well-maintained and isn't exceptionally a difficult hike, with numerous scenic highlights along the way. Some sections are tricky, particularly the gravelly and steep descent on the Northern Ridge section, as well as a few places that require rock jumping, so keep an eye out for your dog, too. 

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Queensland

1. Stevenson Street Trail 

A stroll in a eucalyptus forest might just be what you and your dog need to unwind. Starting near the car park on Table Top Drive, the Stevenson Street Trail goes parallel to the south-east of the Picnic Point bridle trail.

The end of the trail coincides with the beginning of the Road Reserve Trail, so if you and your dog still have energy, you can try both.

2. Road Reserve Trail

The Road Reserve Trail runs along the boundary between Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley. The scenic views of Table Top Mountain are breathtaking on this hike, as  they are not visible from anywhere else in Toowoomba.

Enjoy a fun and rare moment with your dog–taking a breath of fresh air to recharge and come back to the city with a refreshed mind and body. 

3. Mount Coot-tha Loop

A 9.5-km loop trail near Brisbane, Queensland, Mount Coot-tha Loop is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. 

This is a popular exercise route near the centre of Brisbane. The trail has some steep rocky sections that will challenge you and your dog! As you approach the summit of Mt Coot-tha, both of you will be greeted with spectacular views of Brisbane.

4. Quarry Road Track

This is a well-rounded hike for you and your dog, from Daisy Hill Conservation Park ending at the Old Quarry in the Neville Lawrie Reserve. The route is mostly unsealed/gravel road, so make sure your dog wears protective shoes to shield their paws from sharp rocks. The path is straightforward, rolling over a few uphills and downhills without getting too steep. 

The best months to visit this trail are from January to October.

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Tasmania

1. Mayfield Bay Coastal Reserve

Who doesn't appreciate dog-friendly walking pathways with amenities designed specifically for dogs? Mayfield Bay Coastal Reserve is a hidden gem that offers breathtaking views of Freycinet National Park and the famous mountain range The Hazards. 

One of the most appealing parts of Mayfield Bay Coastal Reserve is its dog-friendly beach, which has lots of space for our four-legged friends to run, play, and cool off in the water! There is plenty of room to roam and run with your pet, a great spot for a day trip or a longer stay. This unspoilt beach is a perfect place to enjoy the natural beauty of Tasmania's east coast. 

2. Knocklofty Summit Loop

This is a nice trail through the Knocklofty Reserve, located just a short distance from West Hobart and Mt Stuart. Popular with bushwalkers and dog walkers, you can bring your dog with you, and they are allowed to be off-leash in some areas. Keep an eye on the signage, as numerous trails use the same track.

The views from the top extend throughout the city. Plan your trip and visit the  native bushland that covers the slopes and summits of Knocklofty!

3. Montezuma Falls

Get to know this 10.0-km out-and-back beautiful walking trail near Rosebery, Tasmania. You and your pup should be prepared to be amazed by the waterfall at the end! The falls will be much more striking if you visit just after it has rained, but make sure to wear proper hiking shoes as the pathway is typically muddy and slippery. 

Considered a moderately challenging route, Montezuma Falls takes an average of 2 hours and 54 minutes to complete. 

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Western Australia

1. Whistlepipe Gully and Lesmurdie Falls Loop

This is a combination tour of Mundy Regional Park's most stunning sights! The route combines Whistlepipe Gully and Lesmurdie Falls in an enjoyable package for most skill levels that you and your dog can embark on. 

The route has a few hills, but it is mostly plain terrain with beautiful views and vistas. You'll most likely see kangaroos and hear frogs croaking after the rain! This is undoubtedly one of the best outings around Perth, with spectacular views of the city. Because it's close by, it gets crowded on weekends and holidays so come early, especially in summer to beat the heat.

2. Zamia Trail

The Zamia Trail is Floreat's longest walking trail around Bold Park. You and your pup will be walking through a beautiful natural bush area, with sporadic views of the Indian Ocean and city. The wide trail is family-friendly although there are a few hilly sections starting in a car park near Reabold Hill, Oceanview Lookout, and a stone’s throw from City Beach.   

Explore this 5.3-kilometer loop trail that is generally regarded as an easy course, taking an average of 1 hour and 21 minutes to complete. 

3. Ellis Brook Loop Walk

Ellis Brook Valley is recognised as one of the best places to see wildflowers in the Perth Metropolitan Area, with over 500 varieties to choose from. The best time to visit is from mid-September to early November. Dogs are welcome and can be off-leash in some areas!

The trailhead is located near the car parks just off Rushton Road. Pay attention to the map/GPS, as some of the paths are poorly marked and difficult to follow. Some of the downhills are a little slippery from pea gravel, but the trails are well maintained.

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in South Australia

1. Belair National Park

Belair National Park is a crowd favourite Adelaide Hills location for dog-friendly mountain hikes, with multiple route loops through woodlands and lakes. There is an option for every fitness level here.

The Lorikeet Loop is a lush trail with gum trees that attracts a lot of lorikeets! This route is pram friendly and has an adventure playground, perfect for the whole family. If you want a more difficult challenge, the Microcarpa Hike is a 4km loop that is perfect for people, and dogs, with a lot of energy to burn.

2. Kuitpo Forest

Kuitpo Forest boasts the most picturesque dog-friendly hiking trails. Kuitpo's massive pine trees and beautiful green scenery are easily accessible and dog-friendly, with various routes to explore.

The popular Forest trail is a 2.8-kilometer loop that welcomes mountain bikers, horseback riders, and other visitors, so keep your dog close by. However, leashes are only required in picnic areas or among other creatures.

3. Forth Creek Walk, Morialta Conservation Park 

This 1.4km walk begins in the picnic area of the First Falls car park, and is part dirt track and part bitumen road. Start or end with lunch, then climb to three breathtaking waterfalls! But please take note that your dog will only be permitted in the recreation area.

Hiking with Your Dog: Adventure Essentials and Tips

Train your dog for the adventure

To prepare your dog for hiking adventures, start training them! Here’s a comprehensive article on Training Your Dog for Outdoor Activities. This will help you prepare their stamina and their mind, especially if they’re doing it for the first time!

Bring essential equipment

  • Dog harness and leash - A strong dog collar and leash are essential for maintaining control and guaranteeing your dog's safety when crossing different terrains. 
  • Collapsible food and water bowl - These space-saving accessories can be easily attached to your bag and keep your pet nourished and hydrated throughout the journey.
  • Dog backpack - Let your dog share the weight by carrying their supplies in a dog backpack. This can include food, treats, and some lightweight equipment. Avoid overloading your dog, and gradually introduce the backpack to them before the hike to ensure they are comfortable wearing it.
  • Canine first aid kit - A canine first aid kit is essential for responding quickly to any injuries or emergencies that could happen during the hike.
  • Waste bags - Waste bags are required for appropriate waste disposal and reducing the environmental impact when exploring nature with your dog. 
  • Dog booties - Dog booties protect your dog's paws from sharp pebbles, heated surfaces, and harsh weather conditions, giving them comfort and safety throughout the trip. 
  • Reflective gear - Reflective gear improves visibility in low-light situations, keeping your dog safe and visible to others on the route.
  • Check trail rules

    Not all trails for hiking in Australia are pet-friendly, and some may have special requirements for dogs. Before hitting the trail, do your research to check if dogs are allowed in the area and follow any leash requirements and additional regulations.

    Assess weather conditions

    Australia's weather may be unpredictable, so check the forecast before heading out for a hike with your dog. Avoid hiking in intense heat or other hazardous weather conditions that could harm your pet's health, such as storms or strong winds. 

    Take breaks

    Hiking can be challenging for your dog, especially if they are not used to it. Take periodic breaks, find shaded areas to rest, and allow your dog to recharge as needed.

    Respect other hikers

    Not everyone is comfortable near dogs, so be considerate of other hikers. Keep your dog close and under control, and yield the right of way when encountering other hikers.

    When you go on dog-friendly hiking trails, you are not only taking on an adventure for yourself, but also for your dog. Bringing all necessary gear and following the tips above lets you have a fun and safe trip. Always follow trail guidelines and keep your dog's comfort and safety in mind throughout the adventure. With the proper preparations and a sense of adventure, you and your pet can create wonderful memories while immersing yourselves in nature's beauty.

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