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Don't forget your best friend: Australia's best dog-friendly campsites

Camping is a brilliant way to get away from it all, relax, and strip life back to its simple moments. If you have a furry, four-legged best friend, then you might want to put these campground destinations on your must-visit list.

By Carolyn Tate

Don't forget your best friend

Camping doesn’t have to be a dog-free activity, and there are some fantastic campgrounds around the country that not only tolerate dogs, they welcome them with open arms (and, sometimes, treats!).

Always check the campsite's specific dog policies and be a responsible dog owner by keeping your pet on a leash and cleaning up after them. Whether you're exploring the wilderness, relaxing by the beach, or hiking through national parks, your camping experience will be even more memorable with your furry friend by your side.

We’ve pulled together our favourite dog-friendly campgrounds – from pristine beaches to rugged outback landscapes, there's something for every dog-loving camper.

1. Lake Elizabeth Campgrounds - Victoria

Is your dog a water lover?

Located in the Otways, Lake Elizabeth allows you to pitch a tent right by the Barwon River, and it’s just a short 1km stroll for you and your furry mate to the stunning Lake Elizabeth, where you might just spot a platypus if you’re lucky. It’s an intimate setting, with only 20 unpowered sites available. Be aware that there is no direct vehicle access to the campsites, but there’s a 15-minute unloading bay close by – so you’ll need to travel light, but it’s worth it!

Dog-friendly facilities: Dogs must stay on leash to protect the wildlife, and your dog – snakes are common in this area.

Things to do: Go canoeing, mountain biking, and four-wheel driving, or look out for glow worms after dark. The bird watching here is excellent too, with satin bowerbirds often seen near the campground.

More info: Parks Victoria

2. Turon Gates, New South Wales

Known as one of the best camping grounds in NSW, Turon Gates sits on the banks of the Turon River, in a lush valley in the Blue Mountains, just 2.5 hours from Sydney. Sites are unpowered and unallocated but there are hot showers and outdoor sinks with hot running water (or there are glamping options if you’d like extra relaxation). And the best bit? There’s heaps of fresh air and 6000 acres for your furry friend to run around.

Dog-friendly facilities: Dogs are allowed off leash, as long as they’re well behaved.

Things to do: Swim, horse ride up the river, mountain bike along the fire trails, go canoeing or bird watching. You can also try your hand at gold panning, and if you have your fishing licence, you can fly fish for carp and trout.

More info: Turon Gates

3. Neurum Creek Bush Retreat, Queensland

Neurum Creek is a hidden gem tucked away in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with fantastic facilities and a warm welcome for your puppy pal. Dogs do need to be on a lead at all times, but there are hitching hooks around the campgrounds to make this easier, and the site is always staffed, and the staff are happy to offer an extra set of hands if you need them. Just be aware that this site runs school holidays programs – great if you’re travelling with family, but if you’re after peace and quiet, come outside of school holiday times.

Dog-friendly facilities: Off-leash beach area nearby, dog wash station.

Things to do: Go for a hike on one of the walking trails (D’Aguilar National Park is just 3km away), or swim in the creek. Over 80 species of bird have been spotted on the property, and the staff are happy to show you pictures and talk all things bird watching. Butterflies are also abundant from late summer to early winter. Bring your bike or canoe if you’re that way inclined, or relax and enjoy the bush serenity.

More info: Neurum Creek Bush Retreat

4. RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, Western Australia

Western Australia has a host of great camping locations for you and your furry friends.

We all know Monkey Mia, in World Heritage-listed Shark Bay, is a great place to get up close and personal with the dolphins, but the fact that it’s also dog-friendly makes it a great spot to take your best friend. Accommodation ranges from powered sites right up to dorms and cabins, with the resort offering plenty of facilities to make your stay comfortable and easy. No roughing it here – there’s a state-of-the-art camp kitchen, a resort-style pool, recreation room, and even putt-putt!

Dog-friendly facilities: There are pet-friendly sites, and you must register your pet when booking. Pets can’t be left unattended and they have to be kept on a lead. Don’t leave pet food out because the local emus can get pretty excited about your Schmackos.

Things to do: Go swimming, kayaking or snorkelling, visit the Ocean Park Aquarium, explore over 1000km of pristine beach and turquoise waters, or go on a catamaran cruise.

More info: RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort

5. Sues Bridge, Western Australia

A pleasant and relaxing hideaway by the Blackwood River, Sues Bridge is a rustic and minimalist campground with plenty of space for picnicking, swimming and kayaking. You’ll find incredible nature to explore, and you can make use of the undercover camp kitchen, gas barbecues, food prep benches, and picnic tables. Although it’s situated in Blackwood River National Park, dogs are allowed, as long as they’re on a leash – and you can both take a swim in the Blackwood River. You can’t book sites at this campground, so it’s first-come-first-served, so come out of season if you’d like to be sure of a spot.

Dog-friendly facilities: Dogs allowed on a leash.

Things to do: Swim, hike the walking trails, go kayaking or fishing, or check out the rich array of plants and wildlife.

More info: Sues Bridge Campground

 

Camping is one of the cheapest ways to get away from it all and reset - and if you don’t have to spend money on a kennel or pet sitter, it can be even cheaper.

6. Fortescue Bay Campground, Tasmania

Fortescue Bay Campground, about 20km from Port Arthur, is a beautiful place to reconnect with nature, where the forest meets the sea. There are two campgrounds – one where you can pitch your tent beneath the stringybarks and a larger site for those with boats or campervans – with both offering access to the beach.

Dog-friendly facilities: Dogs allowed on a leash, but not on some walking tracks.

Things to do: Swim, snorkel, scuba dive, kayak, fish, rock climb, bushwalk, birdwatch…or just lie on the beach with your hairy pal and watch the clouds go by.

More info: Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

7. Bendleby Ranges, South Australia

Located on a working station covering 37,000 acres in the Flinders Ranges, this multi-award-winning campground is as peaceful as it is beautiful. There are private powered and unpowered sites spread around the huge site, tucked into slopes amid creeks fringed with gum trees, or you can choose to stay in the pet-friendly Acacia Cottage. No loud neighbours to contend with here! Enjoy views out to Lake Frome, Wilpena Pound (go easy on the ‘P’ word in front of the dog!), and the surrounding mountain ranges.

Dog-friendly facilities: Dogs are allowed on a leash but be sure to let them know when you’re booking.

Things to do: Bushwalking, four-wheel driving, birdwatching, horse riding, stargazing.

More info: Bendleby Ranges

8. Bitter Springs Campground, Northern Territory

Just a few minutes from Mataranka, Bitter Springs Cabins and Campground is an ideal base to explore the Never Never region and Elsey National Park. It’s a quiet, peaceful spot that welcomes dogs on a leash, allowing them to enjoy the natural springs and surrounding areas.

Dog-friendly facilities: Dogs allowed on a leash, but not in the thermal pools.

Things to do: Explore the park's diverse landscapes and beautiful Bitter Springs, visit Mataranka, and take a dip in the nearby Mataranka thermal pool.

More info: Bitter Springs Cabins and Camping

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