I love nothing more than to take a hike, better yet if I can take my dog!
With our newly adopted, Ziggy, we can't wait to explore the great outdoors as a family! We live an active outdoors lifestyle, so what better way to incorporate our dogs into our lives than this.
Having just adopted our new fur-baby, I wanted to compile an updated list of places we can hike and camp with him. There are so many hiking trails on the Mornington Peninsula (and across Victoria), but were you aware that many you cannot take your dogs into? The wildlife conservation areas, and many of the National Parks, are a big NO as their smell alone (their urine) is threatening for many of our endangered native species, endangering their lives by pushing them from their safe zones (the Parks designed to protect them) and into the urban sprawl where they come into harm from our pets.
PLEASE be mindful of these signs and understand the consequence of your actions.
If you want to explore with your dogs, check out this (by no means extensive, but a start) list of dog-friendly walks and camping locations in Victoria. Many we have visited and stayed at previously and some we can’t wait to explore!
Head to Mornington Peninsula Shire for a downloadable brochure- Dog leash-free and dog-friendly beaches
DOG PARKS/ WALKING TRACKS – MORNINGTON PENINSULA
Starting with the beaches, because what pooch doesn’t love a play in the sand and splash in the water?! Depending on what side of the bay you want to explore, the beaches
Mornington- Safety Beach offers many dog-friendly beaches some off-leash and a safe distance from the roads. You can check out the dog-friendly beaches on the Mornington Peninsula website.
Community Forrest (opposite Balcombe School) Mt Martha
Fenced acreage for off-leash play and large woodland area to explore in the fresh air all year round. Parks near the Briars and walk to the Northern entrance and if your pooch is up for a longer walk, cross the road from the Briars and enjoy the Balcombe Estuary walk to Mt Martha and return.
Hillview Community Reserve Dromana
This expansive, farm-like reserve is completely leash-free and has something for everyone – a dam, BBQ area, pump track and wildlife spotting! The dogs can swim in the Dam (no human swimming) and is leash-free year-round. It does back onto and has access to the NP, so please read the signs and stay out of the NP with your fur-friend.
Merricks- Red Hill Rail Trail
The 6.5 km trail runs from Merricks, behind the horse arena to the back of the Epicurean in Red Hill. A return trip will take you 3-4 hours so make sure you take water and a bowl for your pooch pal. Park at either end and do sections, grab a coffee or late arvo vino at Merricks Store.
The trail offers scenic outlooks across vineyards and farmland and views across to the Nobbies at Phillip Island. Shared with mountain bikers and horses, make sure your dog is on a lead or at least responds when called as the horses can get startled.
Beyond Borders of MP – once these restrictions are over, this is where ill be heading with Ziggy to explore!
The George Bass Coastal Walk
Offering panoramic coastal views from a narrow winding path that hugs cliff tops rising high above the pounding surf of Bass Strait. The 14km return trip along the coastal trail is best started from Kilcunda. Grab a coffee and set off along the trail towards Phillip Island. Walk sections or the entire 14km.
If you are venturing further along the Gippsland Coast, Seaspray Caravan Park permits dogs on leashes to camp within the grounds. The wild beaches offer plenty of space for them to explore and fun for the kids too.
The East-West Walk and Peak trail are some the walks that you can explore within the You Yang’s trails. Dogs must be kept on a lead but free to join the walks through Eucalypt forest and ramble of granite boulders of the You Yangs. Various trail length and intensity so make sure your fur friend has adequate water too.
Princetown- Great Ocean Road
The caravan park here and the trails along the estuary are dog friendly, be mindful that it backs onto the National park along the great ocean walk. This section is not for your fur friend but there are many local walks and short car rides to the dog beaches along the iconic coast.
There are many areas within the Great Otway National Park that accommodate dogs on-lead:
Near Lorne; St George River Track
Closer to Forrest; Lake Elizabeth Visitor and Camping Areas and walking tracks
Closer to Torquay; Ironbark Basin Picnic Area, Southside Beach, Addiscott Beach, Point Addis to Anglesea via beach and Surf Coast Walk, Ironbark Gorge Walking Track, Ocean View Walking Track
Johanna Beach: all areas.
The nearby Otway Forest Park permits dogs on-lead in all areas with many easy graded hikes into waterfalls for both you and your dog to enjoy.
Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve;
In the rolling green hills of the Strzelecki Ranges, the Agnes River falls 59m over the edge of the cliff face. Walks on lead with your dogs can be trailed through the Blue Gum Forest to a viewing area overlooking the falls or relax and enjoy a picnic under the shade of tall blue gums on the grassy banks of the Agnes River.
It’s important to check specific areas within a park, as dog restrictions may apply. Dogs on-lead when training or not yet voice-controlled, make a safer and happier trail time for all. Restrictions also are in force for Day lights savings so be sure to check your local council's websites or parks Victoria for more information.
Whilst Ziggy and I explore our 5km bubble for the next few weeks, we are dreaming of all the places we will explore, now to just get him a backpack...
Meanwhile, If you're lucky enough to be in regional Victoria, check out the following website for more information;