If you and your pup have been feeling cooped up, winter walks are a great way of getting some fresh air. There are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had: it’s just a matter of knowing where you and your dog can go in the cooler months!
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Merry People — a colourful Australian gumboot brand — to bring you the best dog walking spots in Sydney and Melbourne. Their boots are well-loved by pupper parents, which means they’ve built up an impressive list of places for rainy, muddy and grassy adventures!
Dog-friendly walks in and around Melbourne
On the banks of the Yarra River, you’ll find a track that takes you past historical landmarks, woodlands and native scrub. The Westerfolds Loop Track is a leashed circuit of 4.8km, and should take around an hour and a half to complete. It’s important that your pup stays on the leash as there’s plenty of wildlife about — including kangaroos, wombats and sugar gliders.
Yarra Bend Park
Yarra Bend Park is the largest bushland park in metro Melbourne: with a network of leafy walks, historical landmarks and woodlands. There’s even a spot for your pup to have a dip in 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 them on the leash the whole way. For a little more serenity, check out the Flying Fox Walk located just outside of the main park.
Australian wildlife is vibrant in this park, located in Kew East. The park is lush in its greenery, with two billabongs: the last of their kind in the lower Yarra River. With 23 hectares for you and your dog to roam, Willsmere-Chandler Park has the benefit of being off-lead — as long as you keep them away from the playground and public seating.
Melbourne Bay Trail
The Melbourne Bay Trail is a 50-kilometre coastal path with plenty of entry and exit points, so you can customise your walk. Dogs are welcome on the trail, but they must be kept on a leash. If you’d like to let your pup run around off the leash, there are several off-leash beaches along the way, including Port Melbourne and St Kilda.
If you hail from Melbourne’s West, we haven’t forgotten about you! The Melbourne Bay Trail connects up with the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail – a 23-kilometre walk starting at Williamstown.
Old Olinda Golf Course & Mathias Track
If you’re looking for a chance to explore the Dandenong Ranges with your pup, this is it. The Mathias Track is an on-leash trail offering stunning views of the surrounding forest and mountains. If your dog needs to have a run around before you get onto the trail, the old Olinda Golf Course is an off-leash area — with the walking track accessible on the lower left side.
Dog-friendly walks in and around Sydney
These parklands offer large expanses of space for dogs to run and play, with about 30% of the park designated as off-leash. While your pup can zoom through the open fields and gardens, you’ll need to make sure they’re on the leash within 10 metres of any wetland areas. As much as they might love chasing ducks, we all share the responsibility of preserving our wildlife: pupper parents included.
Manly Dam Reserve
The Northern Beaches give you kilometres of beautiful coastline, as golden sand meets clear blue sea. This nature reserve has several trails that lead you through the bushland, with your dog on the leash. The picnic areas are off-limits for pups, as is the water — no paddling permitted! But with plenty of privacy in winter, you’ll have these stretches of water and foliage all to yourself.
Little Austinmer Beach
For pupper parents further south of Sydney, we’d recommend this dog beach — with rockpools and shallows for you both to explore. Close by, you’ll find the Headlands Hotel: a dog-friendly pub with great views of the coastline.
Western Sydney Parklands
This park is the largest you’ll find in any Australian city, connected by walking trails. You’ll need to keep your dog on the leash, but there’s a range of walks to choose from ranging from half an hour to three hours. These walks are suitable for any dog, from a senior Mastiff to a young cattle dog.
Located right near the city centre, Sydney Park features open grassy areas, wetlands, and plenty of dog-specific facilities like poo bag dispensers and play areas. In winter, we’d recommend making a pit stop at the park’s cafe, to warm up with a hot beverage while you walk!
Conquer those winters walks in style and comfort
To level up your winter walks even more, it’s all about being well-equipped. Pack a warm winter coat and plenty of biodegradable poo bags for your pup. You’ll also need some waterproof boots with a cosy neoprene lining, as well as your phone: for lots of happy winter walking snaps!
If you’re looking for a winter walking buddy, tap into Lyka’s pupper parent community on Facebook — or join Merry People’s dog walking community over on Instagram.