There’s no better company on a hike than your perpetually stoked four-legged friend. But finding dog friendly walks isn’t always easy. As a rule of thumb, dogs are never allowed in national parks, but there’s dog friendly walking in heaps of conservation parks, state forests, and recreation areas around Brisbane!
The Queensland Parks website even has a nifty little feature which allows you to filter areas where dogs are allowed on-leash. We’ve done the hard yakka to give you 11 of the best dog friendly walks near Brisbane (and a little further out, too, if you’re up for the drive). Read on so you and Fido can get out there, stat!
Does your blood run blue instead of maroon? We’ve got you covered: 14 Fantastic Dog Friendly Walks Near Sydney
Dog Walking Responsibly
There are two main reasons dogs can’t join you in National Parks. Firstly, parks contain especially rare or important species, and the threat of disease, intimidation, or attack by dogs is too high. Secondly, deadly poison baits are used throughout national parks to target invasive species – unfortunately, this makes them dangerous for your pup.
It’s very important that your dog stays on-leash. Between 2006 and 2017, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital reported 3000 native wildlife injuries by dogs; this makes dogs the fourth greatest threat. Most injured wildlife dies, and this is especially true for dog attacks. Over 70% will succumb to the immediate injuries, or shock and infection shortly after. Dogs are always unpredictable to some degree – just don’t risk it.
Within One Hour Of Brissie
1. Riverwalk And The Cliffs Boardwalk
Location: Brisbane CBD
Length: Less than 1km
For the metropolitan pup, there’s a smorgasbord of dog friendly hiking right in central Brisbane. Starting at the Cliffs Boardwalk (particularly beautiful at sunset), you can watch the climbers on Kangaroo Point Cliffs and meander along the river.
Keep walking through to C.T. White Park and then cross the Story Bridge, before turning right towards Wilson Outlook Reserve. Here, you can begin the Brisbane Riverwalk (<1km), perfect for a leisurely stroll and people-watching. Enjoy the BrisVegas skyline and Brisbane river, while taking in the iconic Story Bridge from every angle.
2. Mt Coot-tha Summit
Location: Mt Coot-tha
Locals tend to take Mt Coot-tha for granted. At 1500 hectares, this is Brisbane’s largest conservation reserve, and it’s ridiculously close to the city (just 8km, in fact). There’re a whopping 54 dog friendly walking tracks here, but the Summit Track is Mt Coot-tha’s iconic hike. Sprawling views await you after the 30-minute walk from J.C. Slaughter Falls – from Moreton Bay and the Stradbroke Islands, to the McPherson Range and the Brisbane skyline.
Mt Coot-tha itself forms part of the Taylor Range, right at the southern end of the D’Aguilar Range. Its name comes from the Turrbal word for honey – kuta – named for the large native stingless bee population that the mountain used to support.
3. Summit Track
Location: Toohey Forest Park
Length: 2km return
Step back in time and walk among the open eucalypt forests that used to cover Brisbane, just 10km south of the CBD at Mt Gravatt (aka Kaggur-Mabul: place of the echidna). With giant moss, luminous mushrooms, and tiny bluebells to see, Toohey also boasts no less than 30 dog friendly walks. The 2km return Summit Track on the east side is a somewhat-steep bushwalk with grand views of the city, Moreton Bay Islands, D’Aguilar Ranges and Glasshouse Mountains.
Keep an eye out for several spectacular and enormous dusty pink gumtrees on your way up. The west side is further from the highway and a better option for a more tranquil walk. There are multiple entries, so double-check which car park your walk starts at.
4. Seven Hills Circuit
Location: Seven Hills Bushland Reserve
Length: About 2km
Seven Hills Bushland Reserve is a 50-hectare nature reserve located 10km east of the CBD. There’s nowhere closer to the inner city that feels further away. Nestled away from the hustle and bustle, Seven Hills is great for a peaceful afternoon stroll with your pup.
The Seven Hills Circuit is its main feature, with over 2km of well-maintained trails. The best part of the circuit is that there are several access points, making it super accessible. Make sure to keep an eye out for blue tongues; dogs are their biggest threat.
5. Whites Hill Summit
Location: Whites Hill Reserve
Whites Hill Reserve is located 12km from the CBD, and has 13 walking tracks meandering through its dry rainforest and eucalypt forests. As an awesome bonus, you’ll find a dog park on the southwest corner for off-leash fun. The Whites Hill Summit (535m) makes for a chill afternoon walk; it’s also wheelchair and pram accessible.
Although Whites Hill isn’t as big as some of the other reserves, its home to an astonishing amount of Brisbane’s flora and fauna; keep your eyes peeled for the rare velvet gecko or Shirley’s tuckeroo, or even koalas and short-beaked echidnas.
6. Jinker Track
Location: Bunyaville Conservation Park
Just 15km northwest of the CBD, Bunyaville’s open eucalypt forests and scattered creeks are perfect for a mid-week trip close to the city. The park has a stack of mountain biking, horse riding, and hiking trails, but dogs are only allowed on the numerous shared trails*.
The Jinker Track transects the park and is a good option. Bunyaville’s terrain is really stand-out for trail running, and you can try it out for yourself at the weekly ParkRun (dog friendly) on Saturday mornings. Tie up your sneakers, leash up, and hit the trail!
*What in the blooming heck is a shared trail? Expect to see mountain bikers and even the odd horse on the trails – so make sure your dog is socialised and on-leash! Everyone gives way to horses, and MTBikers give way to you.
7. Tower Break Loop
Location: Moggill Conservation Area
Head 22km west of the CBD to Moggill Conservation Area, a 500-hectare dog friendly adventure playground. It’s thought that ‘Moggill’ comes from the Turrbal word Maggil, meaning large water lizard. There are three main trails, but the 4.2km Tower Break Loop offers spectacular views all the way to Brisbane and a steep, challenging hike.
Winter and Spring are good times to go, because the wildflowers will be in bloom; they must be pretty stellar because commercial beekeeping has taken place here since 1941.
8. Samford Road Break
Location: Samford Conservation Park
Dogs will go wacko for Samford, a 19km drive northwest from central Brisbane. Samford (aka Kupidabin: place of possums) features a web of dog friendly shared trails. Sadly, dogs are not allowed on the only dedicated walking track in the park, the Crebra track.
You’ll still be able to admire its namesake, Eucalyptus crebra (aka narrow-leaved red ironbark or muggago in Dharawal), on the extensive shared tracks – there are over 20! The Samford Road Break shared track is closest to Crebra Track (and parking). Samford’s hilly terrain is popular for Kokoda training – but it’s also useful for wearing out young puppies.
A Little Further From The City
9. Plunkett Mallee Circuit
Location: Koala Bushland CCA
It’s a mouthful, but the Koala Bushland Coordinated Conservation Area is like Dreamworld for Dogs, just 25km southeast of the CBD. Dogs are permitted on-leash in five adjacent reserves. Check out the 2.4km Plunkett Mallee Circuit for the rare trees, and to say you’ve hiked a one-way ‘circuit’.
Botanophiles should head to Ford Road Conservation Park, which boasts several rare plants, including the Plunkett Mallee, Eprapah Wattle, Silver Weeping Tea Tree, and Weeping Bottlebrush. Dogs are also permitted at the Daisy Hill picnic area. Be very careful not to cross the boundary into Venman Bushland National Park – dogs are strictly prohibited.
10. Wickham Peak Trail
Location: Plunkett Conservation Park
Plunkett Conservation Park is a sandstone delight with a galactic twist less than an hour south of the city. Wickham Peak Trail offers a challenging scramble on ethereal rocky outcrops. Start the track with a boulder problem (why not?) at Satellite; crag dogs will love watching you send Escape Velocity *** (v5).
Keep plodding along the sometimes-steep track for views of Cedar Creek Valley. On your way, keep an eye out for the rare Pterostylis chaetophora – also known as the Tall Rustyhood – an alien orchid with several antennae-like protrusions. Dogs are allowed on-leash in the whole park – what’s not to Laika? (Yes, this is an obscure reference to the Soviet space dog – you’re welcome).
11. Doom Hippy
Location: Bayview Conservation Area
The 1000-hectare Bayview Conservation Area is located 45 minutes southeast of the CBD and has over 60km of shared trails to its name. The area was recently upgraded and is popular among mountain bikers, so keep a short leash. By virtue of its massive size, this won’t be your typical vanilla bushland walk; expect Melaleuca wetlands, riparian areas, and more.
From Days Road Entrance, try the 3.3km one-way track along Days Rd Main Trail, Filling Rattler and then Doom Hippy. The main entrance is at 487-503 German Church Road. Bring mozzie repellent!
Feature image by Ollie Khedun