Get you and your pooch out of the house and onto the trail with one of these dog-friendly hikes near Melbourne.

Finding a place to hike where your four-legged friend is allowed to join can be ruff. We’ve done the running around for you and dug up the best dog friendly parks and hikes in and around Melbourne. So quit chasing your tail and get your nose on the scent of these epic dog-friendly walks. 

Dog Friendly Walks in Melbourne

1. Melbourne Bay Trail

Dogs must be on leash
Distance:
50km

This epic walk stretches from Port Melbourne to Seaford and follows the coastline of Port Phillip Bay. There are plenty of entry and exit points, so you and your pooch can stroll on wherever you please. 

There are also a few dog friendly beaches along the way, including Port Melbourne, Brighton and St Kilda.

 

2. Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail

Dogs must be on leash
Distance:
23km

This bay side trail picks up where the Melbourne Bay Trail ends. The two coastal walks are divided by the Yarra River, making this track perfect for anyone on the west side of town. 

The Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail starts at the Westgate Bridge and winds past wetlands, beaches and historic and cultural sites to end at Skeleton Creek. 

Squeeze in a sneaky doggy paddle or two at Altona Beach (it’s pup friendly).

3. Yarra Bend Park

Both on and off leash areas 

Yarra Bend Park is 260 hectares of lush parkland in the city’s east. The Yarra River winds its way through the park and marks the route for many dog-friendly walks.

There are six different walks throughout Yarra Bend Park, ranging from a quick 20 minute stroll, to a 2 hour hike. There’s also an abundance of beautiful flora and fauna to spot, including at least 320 types of Indigenous plant species. 

Dights Falls loop track will lead you to one of the Yarra River weirs.

 

Photo by Zach Lucero

To the North of Melbourne

4. Yan Yean Reservoir Park

Dogs must be on leash
Time from Melbourne: 1 hour

This gorgeous park lingers on the north edge of Melbourne and is abundant with birdlife. Explore the expansive wetlands and look out over Melbourne’s oldest water reservoir.

Make sure you pack a picnic (and some schmackos for Fido). Check the current opening hours before heading out.

5. Mt Disappointment State Forest

Dogs must be on a leash
Time from Melbourne: 1 hour

Mt Disappointment State Forest is anything but a let down. Just a short drive from Melbourne, this state forest straddles the Great Dividing Range, offering mountainous views and plenty of space for your pooch to roam. Summit Mt Disappointment itself or stroll to Strath Creek Falls. 

Why not make it a dog-friendly camping trip! There are three pet-friendly campgrounds amongst the park as well.

 

To the East of Melbourne

6. Cardinia Reservoir Park

Dogs must be on leash
Time from Melbourne: 1 hour

Just a short drive from the city, Cardinia Reservoir Park is teaming with native flora and fauna. Take the Tea Tree Trail through the bush to Duffy’s lookout and pack all the goods for a BBQ afterwards. 

Your pup’s allowed in most of the park, however you’ve got to promise to keep them off the Kangaroo Viewing Trail and the reservoir wall. We can’t have them chasing Skippy around.

7. Seven Acre Rock

Dogs must be on leash
Distance: 1.2km return
Time from Melbourne: 1hour 45mins

Located in Bunyip State Park, the walk to Seven Acre Rock is short, but stunning. The hike to this rocky outcrop rewards you with views across multiple state forests and on a clear day, even all the way to Port Phillip Bay.

 

8. La La Falls

Dogs must be on leash
Distance: 3.2km return
Time from Melbourne: 1 hour 45mins

Near the town of Warburton, follow the Four Mile Creek until you hear the melody of La La Falls. This quaint walk crosses stone bridges and ducks under a forest canopy. Keep your ears pricked for the sneaky sound of a lyrebird.

To the West of Melbourne

9. You Yangs Regional Park

Dogs must be on leash
Distance: 4.15km
Time from Melbourne: 1hr

The entire You Yangs Regional Park is pet friendly, but the East West Walk will reward you with views even your doggo will appreciate. There are a bunch of whacky rock formations to check out and you may even spot the Melbourne skyline in the distance from the summit of Flinders Peak. 

Enjoy a BBQ and picnic afterwards and slide a sanga under the table for Rex.

 

Photo thanks to Visit Vic

10. Surf Coast Walk

Both off and on leash areas
Distance: 44km
Time from Melbourne: 1hr 20 mins

Let your pooch’s tongue flap in the salty sea breeze as you trek along the cliff tops that make up the Great Ocean Road.

The Surf Coast Walk begins in Torquay and leads you along the famous surf coastline, past Bells Beach, through Anglesea and finishes up at Aireys Inlet.

Unfortunately your best mate isn’t allowed to come with you the entire way – the walk’s divided into strict off leash, on leash and dogs not allowed sections. Check out the map before you head out.

 

Photo by Roman Bintang

11. Lake Elizabeth Circuit Walk

Dogs must be on leash
Distance: 4km return
Time from Melbourne: 2hrs 15mins 

Hidden away in the Otway Ranges is the peaceful Lake Elizabeth. The calm waters of this magical drowned valley are dotted with dead tree trunks.

Although the walk’s a short one, there’s a campground close by where your doggo is welcome too, so make it a weekend trip. That gives you more chances to spot the elusive local platypus.

 

Photo thanks to Visit Vic

To the South of Melbourne

12. Hastings Foreshore Reserve Circuit

Dogs must be on leash
Distance: 4km
Time from Melbourne: 1hr 10 mins

Sitting pretty down on the Mornington Peninsula, the Hastings Foreshore Reserve Circuit loops you along Western Port Bay and back through the reserve. Boardwalks traverse you over mangroves and a salt marsh, before popping out at Hastings Pier (see how many pelicans you can count!). 

Doggos must be on a leash while walking along the path, but there’s an expansive off-leash oval for them to let their hair down.

13. Millionaires Walk

Dogs must be on leash
Distance: Approx. 1km
Time from Melbourne: 1hr 35mins

Lucky for us, the Millionaire’s Walk doesn’t cost a thing. This cliff top walk serves up views from the Bellarine Peninsula to the Dandenong Ranges on a golden sand platter.

Along the way you can brush up on your local history and even admire paintings on the art trail. You and your pup will definitely need to top this one off with a swim in the pristine ocean.

 

Photo thanks to Visit Vic

14. Shallow Inlet to Sandy Point Beach

Dogs must be on leash
Distance: 7.25km
Time from Melbourne: 2hr 30mins

With views down to Wilsons Prom, classic coastal scrub and a menagerie of wildlife to spot, the circuit from Shallow Inlet to Sandy Point Beach will have you and your pooch wagging your tails. 

This sandy circuit is best tackled at low tide, to ensure you’re not doggy paddling your way across the inlet!

 

Feature photo by Ariana Prestes