You love to explore with your furry friend – a leisurely walk down to the park near your house or a sunny, salty trip to the beach! When the weather turns cooler and the rain starts to come down, it can be the perfect time to switch up your neighbourhood favourites, and explore new, sniff-worthy spots!
We know that pup parents are always on the lookout for new places to visit – especially during winter! So we’ve teamed up with our friends at Lyka – a pet wellness brand feeding thousands of pups across Australia – to put together this merry list of our top dog-friendly spots in Melbourne and Sydney for your winter walkies.
Dog-friendly Walks In And Around Melbourne
1. Deep Rock, near Dights Falls, Abbotsford
This is a definite favourite for the paw-rents on our Merry People team! Located in Yarra Bend Park, the largest bushland park in metro Melbourne, Deep Rock is the go-to spot for some off-leash fun! Part of a network of leafy walks, historical landmarks and woodlands, Deep Rock is nestled within walking distance of Dights Falls, with a rock embankment that allows dogs to hop in and out of the Yarra River – just remember that the water will be colder in winter! Most of the park is dog-friendly, but you’ll need to keep your puppy pals on the leash at all times.
2. Queens Park, Moonee Ponds
Close to the inner city, Queens Park is a tree-filled Edwardian-style park with a lake, free timed parking (along Mt Alexander Road and The Strand Moonee Ponds) and plenty of paths for on-lead dog walking. There are several water fountains for pups, and a cafe for the humans! Pick up a flat white and explore the whole park in a leisurely half an hour. Our team’s top recommendation? Visit on a sunny winter’s day to see the full impact of light streaming through the tree canopies!
3. Lillydale Lake, Lilydale
Heading into the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, you and your pup can explore the large lake and wetlands park in Lilydale, all 100 hectares of it! Dogs are very welcome at Lillydale Lake, with two designated off-leash areas and all other areas perfect for on-lead walking. With loads of shared trails, lakefront views and community areas to check out – plus 24-hour access – Lillydale Lake could very well be a whole day trip for you and your furry friend.
4. Williamstown Coastal Loop
A serene, coastal walk in Melbourne’s western suburbs, the Williamstown Coastal Loop is a favourite for the locals. The perfect track for paw-rents looking for a quieter walk, this 5.6km loop takes about an hour to complete (to keep your feet comfy, make sure you bring your Merry People boots!). With plenty of off-leash areas along the way, you can enjoy the city views while your dog sniffs and explores to their heart’s content!
5. Brighton Dog Beach
Melbourne locals adore this dog beach all year round, especially our more social pups! With a fenced-off area and a quick-shutting gate, your furry friend can roam freely while you unwind with a good book on the beach.
Dog-friendly Walks In And Around Sydney
6. Centennial Parklands
In the heart of Sydney, you’ll find these parklands; large expanses of space that are perfect for dogs to run, play and do zoomies! With about 30% of the park for off-leash use, your pup can explore freely in the open fields and gardens. When it comes to the ponds, just make sure your dog is with you and on the leash within 10 metres of the water! Ducks don’t love zoomies as much as your pup does…
7. Manly Dam Reserve
Scenic bushland, plenty of trails, stretches of waterfront – this picturesque reserve is found in the Northern Beaches, a go-to spot for Sydney locals. The picnic areas are for humans only, and the water is a no-go zone — no splashing for pups at this spot. In winter you may be one of the few visitors, so there’ll be plenty of other areas you’ll have all to yourself.
8. Little Austinmer Beach
Wanting somewhere a bit more south of Sydney? Our friends at Lyka recommend this dog beach, with rockpools, shallows and shoreline for your walking adventures! For those craving a little something extra, close by, you’ll find the Headlands Hotel: a dog-friendly pub with great views of the coastline.
9. Western Sydney Parklands
Fun fact: the Western Sydney Parklands is the largest park you’ll find within any of Australia’s cities, linked together by a network of walking trails. With your pup on leash, you’ll have a range of walks to choose from, long and short!
10. Sydney Park
Right near the heart of Sydney’s city centre, Sydney Park contains open grassy areas, wetlands and a generous amount of facilities designed specifically for doggy visitors, such as poo bag dispensers, and designated play areas. During winter, the Lyka team suggest picking up a hot drink at the park's cafe that you can enjoy while you're out for a walk.
Preparing For Your Winter Walkies
With The Merry Essentials!
If you want to make your winter walks even better, here's the scoop: be ready with the right stuff! Get yourself a warm winter coat, plus some biodegradable poo bags. Don't forget your pup’s tasty treats, comfy waterproof boots and your phone… did a walk with your furry friend really happen if you don’t have the adorable pictures to show for it?
Share you and your pup’s winter merry moments with us on Instagram! Tag us @merrypeople for a chance to be featured.