Best dog walks and dog-friendly hikes in Victoria

A husky being walked in a leafy park

Nicola Dowse

Posted April 20, 2022


Explore more of Victoria with your dog by your side on one of these dog-friendly walks and hikes.

Australia is a nation of animal-lovers, and no animal is loved more than dogs. An estimated 6.3 million pet dogs live in Australia, which means a lot of daily walkies. 

Forget the same 20-minute circuit around your suburb and treat your best friend to new sights and smells.

Melbourne and regional Victoria has plenty of trails that permit dogs, from coastal treks through to mountain climbs. There are even some national parks across the state that permit dogs (as a rule, dogs are banned from national parks in Australia). 

Unless otherwise specified, these walks all require your dog to be on-leash.


Best dog walks and hikes in Melbourne 

Melbourne is a big city, with green and stimulating dog walks available no matter what corner of the city you find yourself in.  

Central

Flagstaff Gardens, Melbourne: This central park is a common pick for city-dwelling dogs out for a stroll and socialising.  

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne: You can even take your dog boating on the lake. 

Westgate Park, Port Melbourne: In summer, amaze your dog when the lake turns bright pink. 

Princes Park, Carlton North: The park features two off-leash areas at Crawford Oval and at the north-end near the bowling club. 

Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne: Doing a loop of this inner-city park is a good way to tire out your dog, plus it has that cute miniature village you can visit.   

East  

Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield: You might not know that this is the largest natural bushland park in Melbourne – and it’s dog -friendly.  

Mathias Track, Olinda: A popular choice among hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders and dog owners, so visit during off-peak (weekdays) periods if you want a quieter experience. 

Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens: The gardens are beautiful, but quite steep in parts so be wary if you or your dog have mobility concerns.  

Outer Circle Trail, Fairfield: This lengthy walking track partly follows the Alamein line through Kew, Camberwell and Deepdene, intersecting the Yarra Trail in the North and Scotchmans Creek Trail in the south.

West

Maribyrnong River Trail, Footscray to Keilor: The trail is long, so consider only completing a section before doubling back (or looping back through the nearby residential streets).

Brimbank Park, Keilor: Tackle the loop walk at this park if your dog’s paws aren’t up to the full Maribyrnong Trail.

Werribee River Park, Werribee: Visit around sunset to see the K Road cliffs at their prettiest. 

Hobsons Bay Coastal trail, Spotswood to Altona Meadows: This trail takes you through wetlands and goes past Altona Dog Beach and the off-leash Doug Grant Reserve. 

 

A family of two adults and two children playing in a grassy field with their fluffy white dog

You don't have to leave the city to take your dog on a leafy walk. Photo: Parks Victoria.


North 

Merri Creek Trail, Fitzroy North to Coburg: Merri Creek is a favourite northern suburbs walk with two off-leash reserves at the corner of Goodwin St and Halwyn Crescent.

Egan Reserve, Thornbury: Sitting opposite the Merri Creek Trail, Egan Reserve is grassy off-leash dog area with a creek for dips.

Plenty Gorge, Bundoora: Dog walking is welcomed at certain areas of Plenty Gorge, including the Middle Gorge and Yarrambat picnic areas. 

Darebin Creek Trail, Reservoir: Another long, leafy walking track – stop in Darebin Parklands in Alphington if you want an off-leash area.

South

Albert Park Lake, Albert Park: Most of Albert Park is an on-leash dog walking zone but there are two off-leash areas near the sports fields and to the park’s north near Albert Road.

Bay Trail, St Kilda: Any section of the Bay Trail is a good option for a dog walk, but taking the trail through St Kilda means passing through two off-leash areas; M.O. Moran Reserve and St Kilda Dog Beach.

Balcombe Estuary Boardwalk, Mount Martha: Follow the wooden boardwalk through trees and past the creek – there’s even an off-leash dog park on the route.  

Scotchmans Creek Trail, Malvern East: A leafy shared path that goes past Chadstone and ends at Jells Park. This is a sizeable park in the outer southeast great for dog walking and it even has an off-leash area.

 

A brown labrador being walked by two people through a bush trail

Some Victorian regional and national parks permit dogs on certain trails. Photo: Parks Victoria.


Best dog walks and hikes in regional Victoria

You don’t have to leave your dog at home if you want to go hiking. There are several trails in Victorian national parks that permit canine visitors, so long as they remain on-leash. Regional parks often allow dog walkers too.

You Yangs 
Just a stone’s throw from Melbourne’s western suburbs and Geelong, the You Yangs Regional Park permits dogs on the Big Rock loop walk as well as on the Flinders Peak walk.

Great Otway National Park  
Next time you visit the Great Ocean Road, bring your dog along and stop for a walk in the Great Otway National Park. You can walk your dog on the St Georges track near Lorne; at the Ironbark Gorge walking track, Ocean View walking track and Surf Coast walking track near Torquay; and at all the Lake Elizabeth walking tracks near Forrest.

Kinglake National Park 
Kinglake makes for an easy daytrip from Melbourne, and one which your dog can join you on. Leashed dogs are welcome at the Frank Thomson reserve within the park.

Heathcote-Graytown National Park 
This national park is close to Bendigo and permits dogs at its McIvor Range reserve park area, which is conveniently close to the Heathcote visitors centre and McIvor Creek.

Also try:

  • Beechworth Gorge, Beechworth.

  • Lake Wendouree, Ballarat.

  • Cherry Walk, Bright.

  • George Bass Coastal Walk, Anderson.

  • Mount Franklin Summit Walk, Mount Franklin.

  • Sanatorium Lake Eco Walking Trail, Mount Macedon.

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