Fancy a day out with your bestie? Take your four-leggeds with you on a wander around Victoria. Head off on a road-trip and see the sights from a ferry, chase a waterfall, a wave, or stretch your legs in a state park. Thirsty work? Explore wine country on a guided dog-friendly tour or while away an afternoon with your BFF in a beer garden. If you have a whole weekend to spare, camp under the stars in pet-friendly parks, or go all out at a pawsome holiday retreat.
We've taken the lead and found the best Fido-friendly places around:
Parks and recreation
Most state forests and regional parks welcome furry friends (on leads) to wander park tracks and trails. Get out and stretch six legs as you explore the lunarscape volcanic wilds of You Yangs Regional Park, tree-framed summit views at Macedon Regional Park, natural springs in bush surrounds at Hepburn Regional Park, picnic-perfect places in Maroondah Reservoir Park and the rockpools of Cape Conran Coastal Park.
Please note lead restrictions apply. Check individual parks on the Parks Victoria website for details.
Waves and waterfalls
We've got more pooch-friendly beaches than you could throw a stick at. Chase the waves at Marengo Beach, near Apollo Bay; Johanna Beach, Great Otway National Park; and Royal Beach, Mornington; and Bells Beach and Jan Juc Beach, Torquay. There are loads more. Sniff them out dogsonholidays.com.au
For a peninsula-to-peninsula beach escape, get all paws on deck and take the SeaRoad Ferry between Sorrento and Queenscliff. Or, go chasing waterfalls: Beauchamp Falls and Stevenson Falls (Great Otway National Park; on-leash) are both pet-friendly – show your pooch some TLC.
Please note lead and beach access restrictions can apply and vary according to season and time of day. Check individual beaches for details.
Pints and pinot
While away an afternoon in perfect company wagging chins and tails in pet-friendly beer gardens. For pubs with great meals and Fido-friendly courtyards, venture to the Farmers Arms Hotel, Daylesford and the Healesville Hotel. Need to share wine time? Sign up for a dog-friendly winery tour with Gourmet Pawprints to explore wineries in the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Daylesford, with food, wine-tastings and pet-friendly transport all taken care of.
Camping and accommodation
While camping in national parks is generally off limits for dogs, there are some exceptions, and plenty of campgrounds in state parks that are pitch perfect for pets. Try some in-tents bonding at Johanna Beach and Lake Elizabeth, Great Otway National Park; Jerusalem Creek, Lake Eildon National Park; Upper Yarra Reservoir Park, Warburton; Shoreline Drive, Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park; Lake Hindmarsh Reserve, and Howqua Hills Historic Area, Mansfield.
For more creature comforts, curl up in a pet-friendly cottage, holiday house or apartment. Blue Moon Cottages in Rye makes room for all the family with a range of options, Tarra Valley's Best Friend Holiday Retreat has off-leash areas including a doggie playground, and, if you really want to treat your best friend, the Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld, has pet-friendly cottages at its Mt Sturgeon Station.