Pets

8 dog-friendly national parks and beaches around the country

Pups welcomed and encouraged.

Going out on a day trip is meant to be a) fun and b) relaxing but when you're a pet parent you're often more stressed about leaving your pup behind than anything - because a bored pet equals a destructive pet. Sure you could book them into a plush pet hotel for the day where you know they'll be looked after but if your budget doesn't allow for such extravagance, then you might want to consider going somewhere that welcomes pups.
From dog-friendly parks to beaches, exploring new ground will stimulate their mind and boost their feel-good endorphins - not to mention tire them out! To nut out where exactly these amazing places are around the country, we asked Aussie pet-sitting network, Mad Paws, for a run down of the best in each state.

For Victorian pet parents....

1. The Great Ocean Road
Not far outside fishing town Apollo Bay is scenic Marengo Beach. Allow your pooch to roam around freely, get some sand between their claws and take a splash in the cooling ocean on the rugged beach that's tucked in between a stretch of striking black rocks.
How to get there: Torquay is positioned 1-2 hours drive from Melbourne CBD, along the Great Ocean Road.

2. Warrandyte River Reserve
This spot has something for both the lazy and active pupper. You can either take your dog on a long walk through the river trail or let them take a relaxing dip in the river. What’s even better is the entire area is pretty much off leash so let your pooch run around freely in between the trail and the river, discovering the native bush inhabitants, while you soak up some sunshine.
How to get there: Warrandyte River Reserve is positioned less than a one hour drive, north east of Melbourne CBD, and offers plenty of free car parks.

For New South Wales pet parents....

3. Heaton State Forest
This beautiful, lush forest is part of the Watagan Mountains. Bring your pup here for an adventure you both won't forget. Play hide and seek in the majestic forest or take them to one of the lookouts to take in the spectacular views of Hunter and Lake Macquire, while letting the fresh air blow through their fur.
How to get there: Heaton State Forest is positioned north west of Toronto on the NSW Central Coast, about two hours from Sydney CBD.

4. Sirius Cove Reserve, Mosman
If you’re after an adventure but don’t want to give up on the sleep in, then Sirius Cove is perfect for you. A quiet hideaway in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, this charming natural retreat offers a sleepy beach, a roomy picnic area and an exciting walking trail. The beach opens up to dogs after 4pm on the weekends so take your pup on a long walk along the scenic trail in the afternoon, followed by a relaxing swim in the sunset. Your dog will be all tuckered out before dinnertime.
How to get there: Sirius Cove is only a 10km drive north west of the CBD.

For Western Australian pet parents....

5. Lowlands Beach
WA is known for its secluded beaches and scenic natural landscapes and Lowland Beach on the Rainbow Coast is one where your dog can come with you. This stunning spot is remotely tucked away in between majestic limestone cliffs so your pup on a well-deserved roam around and a dip in the ocean.
How to get there: Lowlands Beach is located on the South West Coast. Closest cities are Albany 35km to the West and Denmark 25km to the east so it's remote but worth it.

6. Canning River Regional Park and Café
Wind down after a long work week at work by enjoying a lazy breakfast - with options for both you and your pup - followed by a relaxing nature walk. The lush wildlife and many trail options along the Canning River makes this nature park a haven for you and your dog.
How to get there: Another city gem, Canning River Regional Park is only 11km south of Perth CBD.

For South Australian pet parents....

7. Para Wirra Recreation Park
Protected flora, natural bushland, native animal life and walking trails, Para Wirra Recreation Park has all the ingredients for the perfect day adventure for you and your fur baby. Head out for a long walk in the immersive nature land and once you have worked up your appetite then cook up a storm at one of the barbecue facilities.
How to get there: Situated 40km north east of Adelaide, Para Wirra is best reached by car. Keep in mind that car owners are required to buy a $10 pass.

Anstey Hill Recreation Park
Travel back in time and visit the old Newman Nursery ruins at Anstey Hill Recreation Park. Apart from exploring the history of the area, there are plenty of walking tracks to ensure you and your pup get your daily fitness quota in. The walks offer a beautiful setting of wildflowers that frame the footpaths.
How to get there: Anstey Hill Recreation Park is another gem located north east of Adelaide.