We’ve rounded up some of the best dog friendly campsites in Victoria and taken them off the leash! These spots are two-leg and four-leg approved, so pack the frisbee, cancel your kennel membership and hit the road!
We all know the drill. The bags start getting packed. Gear is piling up at the door. We’re sniffing around, trying to work out if it’s a climbing trip or a beach holiday that we’ll be heading on. Yet suspiciously, they haven’t packed our leash, our bed or any of that delicious dried food. Then they bend down, give you a quick head scratch and say ‘Sorry Bud, Victoria just isn’t the place for an AdventureDog’.
We’ve all been there, and no matter how many times it happens, it doesn’t get any easier. Well I’m here to tell you that Victoria IS the place for an AdventureDog. We may not be allowed in all the national parks, but there are plenty of other beautiful spots in Vic we can accompany our favourite human.
If you’ve been following along with some of our other guides to our favourite campsites near Melbourne and the best free campsites near Melbourne, you might notice that a few of the ones below have already featured. That’s a good thing. We haven’t had to go to the dregs of the campground world to find ones that’ll allow us to accompany our two-legged friends. These are ripper campgrounds with spots for you to walk your human and get nice and stinky so they can give you a bath on Sunday night.
So grab your leash, pack a lunch box full of treats and stand at the door barking until your human takes you to one of these dog friendly campsites.
Look After The Parks
Whether your ‘carer’ is more of a Surf Susie, Mountain Margaret or River Rob, I think it’s safe to say that being left at home while they go out on an adventure sucks. Almost as bad as the dreaded vet if you ask me. In Australia, with our strict national parks rules, getting out with your human can be a bit harder than some other countries. Despite how annoying this can be sometimes, it’s important.
Australia has some pretty tough rules about tagging along with your upright pal. While it can be a bummer when you want a weekend out of the backyard, it’s really important for protecting our beautiful wilderness areas. It may be a breeding ground for birds or a rehabilitation and reforestation project, but they have good rules for a reason. Luckily though, there are a handful of dog-friendly camping spots in state parks and reserves, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the fun.
Who’s A Good Boy?
Who’s a good boy? You’re a good boy! Yes you are! That’s because you followed some basic doggy-do’s for camping to make sure we don’t face even more campsite discrimination.
- Keep your human on a leash when required. If it’s an off-leash area, consider whether you’re likely to behave and play nice with other campers before jumping off-leash.
- Make sure your carer picks up after you. I know, I know, it’s weird that they want to put our poop in little bags and carry it around, but I’ve yet to meet a human who specifically asked to step in some dog poo while going and collecting more wood for the fire.
- If you love a good bark, don’t. Consider the impact on other campers and your human should know this before he takes you someplace you might get on other’s nerves.
- Don’t go exploring restricted areas, it should go without saying, but it’s also a sure fire way to get the doggo-friendly statues of campsites revoked. The other woofers will not be happy.
1. Blue Pools, Briagolong
Distance from Melbourne: 246 km (approx. 3 hours)
Love wet dog smell? Just can’t get enough of the classic ‘stand right next to your human and shake’ prank? Well, then Blue Pools is the place for you. Just inland from Sale, it’s got a handful of day walks and an ace swimming hole for you and your favourite human to cool off in afterwards. Parks Vic doesn’t say anything on their site about staying on a leash for Blue Pools, but best to get in contact and check with them before you go.
2. Lake Elizabeth, Otways
Distance from Melbourne: 165km (2.25 hours)
Cost: $15 a night per site
This gorgeous spot is hidden deep in the Great Otway National Park, amongst towering eucalypts and beside Barwon River. Lake Elizabeth is just a short 1km walk from your tent and is the perfect spot for practising your doggy paddle. There are 20 tent-only sites available, but no direct car access to the sites, so you might have to be a good boy while your humans unpack the car and carry everything into the site.
You won’t want to miss out on this spot, so tell your furless friend to book ahead. There’s a tonne of wildlife around, like platypus, Satin Bowerbirds and even glowworms (if you’re not afraid of the dark). That means you’ll have to keep your human on their leash and with you at all times, to stop them from scaring off the locals.
3. Johanna Beach, Great Ocean Road
Distance from Melbourne: 224 km (approx. 3 hours)
Cost: $28.30 for a 6-person site
Situated on the grassy hills just behind Johanna Beach, I can’t think a better spot to treat your human to a weekend away with you. It’s a paid campground, so make sure they book online with Parks Vic in advance.
Like many of the other spots, you’ll need to stay on your leash at all times at Johanna Beach. This one might not be the best place for swimming lessons if you’re not a seasoned ocean dog as it can get fairly rough. But luckily for you, there are plenty of calmer beaches in the area, just check if you’re allowed to accompany your hairless ape before going.
4. Beauchamp Falls, Otways
Distance from Melbourne: 204 km (approx. 2.5 hours)
Not every dog likes taking their humans out for a weekend adventure. But if you’ve got this far then I’m assuming you aren’t one of those dogs. You’re an AdventureDog. And you’re going to love Beauchamp Falls. The campground is beautiful, grassy and filled with plenty of smelly stuff to roll in. They’ve even got fireplaces for your human to cook up a big juicy steak just for you, and a waterfall down the road! You’ll have to behave and keep your human on their leash at all times, but it’ll be worth it. I promise you.
5. Shoreline Drive, Gippsland
Distance from Melbourne: 247 km (approx. 3 hours)
Shoreline Drive is a free site, it also runs on a first in first served basis. Of the 65 campsites, only sites 1-6 are permitted for those of you making a break from the backyard so make sure you get in there quick. If you love a swim, which all good doggos do, then this one is for you.
It’s a coastal camping setup with direct beach access. Same as Blue Pools, Parks Vic doesn’t say anything on their site about leashes for Shoreline Drive, but best to get in contact and check with them before you go.
6. Lerderderg Campground, Lerderderg State Park
Distance from Melbourne: 71km (approx. 1 hour)
For a last-minute weekend dash out of the backyard and into the bush, tell your two-legged friend it’s Lerderderg campground or bust. It’s a basic bush set up, so bring your own water bowl. There’s a tonne of great bushwalks to take your human on, but don’t forget to keep them on the lead at all times. Can’t have them scampering off into the bush alone.
This site has no fees or bookings. So the early pooch catches the ball, as they say.
7. Jerusalem Creek, Lake Eildon National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 153km (approx 2.5hrs)
Cost: $15.60 per site per night
Is there any better place to get away from it all than perched up on the banks of Jerusalem Creek with your two-pawed pal? Maybe they’ll cast a line in and you’ll both tuck into freshly caught trout for dinner. Take them on a hike (but keep ’em on the leash!), find your new favourite swimming hole and keep a keen eye out for some local kangaroos and birds.
Sites are allocated on a first come, first serve basis, so don’t let your human run late!
8. Banksia Bluff Campground, Cape Conran
Distance from Melbourne: 405km (approx. 5hrs)
Cost: Bookings required
Banksia Bluff is more than just a weekend trip. This is where you should take your human when they need to spend some quality time with their BFF. The campsites are set amongst gorgeous banksia forests and back straight onto the big ol’ blue. In winter you can try and spot whales from the shore, and in summer, paddle around in the waves as your human dives deep to check out the shipwrecks below the surface.
With over 60 dog-friendly campsites available, you know it’s gonna be a woofing good time. But to make sure you don’t miss out on the pooch party, book ahead! This is a popular spot! Don’t forget to pack the leash for this one.
It’s time we rise up against the claim that ‘Victoria just isn’t the place for an AdventureDog’. It’s plain wrong and it’s just not fair. We don’t want to be left in the backyard with the same old toy when there’s a whole world of new places to sniff and trees to pee on. And it’s probably not safe for your human either. Who’s going to bark at shadows in the middle of the night if you’re not there?
It’s time they get a handle on these prime-time dog friendly camping spots. It’s time to get out there and enjoy a weekend snuggling up in the tent keeping your human warm. And then probably the next two or three weeks laughing at them as they try to rid said tent of your dog hair. Worth it.