Trying to get the lowdown on the best pet-friendly place to take the family on holidays can be as hard as explaining to the kids why Fido isn’t coming! So here’s some top advice on how to holiday as a family with your furred friends.
It’s evident that more and more people are taking their pets when they travel with their family, and according to a recent study by Petstock 75% of dog owners would consider choosing travel destinations based on whether or not their pampered pooch could also come along. An amazing statistic that in future could see the decline of boarding kennels as owners opt not to leave their pooch out of the family fun.
Fortunately, many businesses across the world have welcomed this trend and opened their doors to four-legged family members. So whether you’re searching for a beach break or a rural farm stay, here are some great places in Australia for family members with both two and four feet.
Canberra & Surrounds
The nation’s capital isn’t just great for educating kids about Australia’s military and political history, but it’s also a hub for taking in stunning museums and art galleries. Centrally located, the Mercure Canberra on the corner of Ainslie and Limestone Avenue has dedicated dog-friendly rooms with a fenced yard for exercising, plus family packages available too. The pet friendly rooms only have one king bed so perhaps not suitable if your children require their own beds. For a more peaceful locale just one hour out of town, Wee Jasper Reserves offers bush camping on the banks of the beautiful Goodradigbee River. Let your canine and your kids run free in nature.
Around Sydney & Byron Bay
There’s no doubt that this state has the most variety for families travelling with pets, and you don’t need to go far out of the major population areas to find resorts that will suit all members of the family – even four-legged ones.
Situated in Monkerai Valley just 2.5 hours north of Sydney, you can find the ever popular Riverwood Downs Mountain Valley Resort at 311 Upper Monkerai Road that has a variety of activities to keep the nippers amused. Choose from canoeing, fishing, horse riding, tennis and swimming or if you prefer relaxation indulge in a massage after a peaceful bush walk.
Not far away is Madisons Mountain Retreat, a great place for young animal lovers, this alpaca farm stay in Kurrajong Heights has spa cottages, an 18m indoor solar heated pool, a tennis court, bushwalking tracks and converted train accommodation the kids will love.
For beach vacations on the South Coast just a 20 minute drive from either Bega or Merimbula you should definitely try Tathra Beach Holiday Park. It’s situated right on the beach and all dogs receive a free gift on arrival! Pets are welcome all year long on the sites and in the pet-friendly cottages too (excluding the peak period over Christmas).
On the North Coast, Byron Bay offers blissful sun-filled days on the beach for man and pet alike, and you can even stay at Sandy Paws, a self-contained three-bedroom house on Childe Street, a stroll away from Belongil- the best off-leash beach in Byron Bay.
If skiing is more your family’s idea of fun then the Pender Lea Swiss-style Chalets in the NSW Snowy Mountains have accommodation to suit all budgets and even have a dedicated pet enclosure onsite for when you head to the slopes.
While the Northern Territory offers a lot of outback adventures and opportunities to learn about the indigenous culture, there is little in the way of pet-friendly accommodation to be found here.
Darwin Holiday Apartments has properties to suit families of all sizes who will be staying with a pet, while Coolalinga Tourist Park just outside Darwin and features a large fully-fenced dog exercise area (pets are onsite accommodation only, however). Alice on Todd Apartments at the at corner of South Terrace and Strehlow Street offer the best property in Alice for anyone needing accommodation with their pet, and what’s more children under 4 stay for free.
Who wouldn’t want a holiday in tropical far north Queensland? Marlin Cove Resort truly has it all. Not only is it set in 10 acres of lush rain forest, it is close to beautiful Trinity Beach which sports a range of top-quality facilities including 2 shallow children’s wading areas and a large salt water pool. It also boasts a sauna, tennis court, games room and spa and has apartment units that allow dogs. For people who want to stay more central, Cairns Holiday Homes have an excellent selection of child and pet-friendly properties available all year round.
Heading further south, BIG4 Airlie Cove Resort and Caravan Park at 2634 Shute Harbour Road is pet friendly, however, conditions apply. Kids will enjoy the giant chess set, a pirate playground along with a jumping pillow and waterpark. For something more rural on the Sunshine Coast try Noosa Avalon Farm Cottages in the the beautiful Noosa Hinterland on 30 private acres. Kids will love feeding the animals. West of Gympie, just 54km is bush camping at Kilkivan, a caravan park which accepts pets. – Lots of accessible activities for your dog so they won’t be bored.
If you want to be near both the city and the beach when travelling with pets, Adelaide’s Glenelg Beach area is the place to stay. The affordable Comfort Inn Haven Marina is one of few establishments in town offering affordable pet friendly rooms in Glenelg as well as dog walking and pet care services (contact the property direct to book).
If you are looking for self-catering style accommodation in regional South Australia, Pet Let specialise in pet friendly holiday rentals that allow both cats and dogs on the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula.
For caravan parks try Port Augusta or Myall Grove.
For family holidays across the Ditch, Tasmania has a good range of accommodation. A scenic fifty minute drive South from Hobart in the Huon Valley is Kermandie Lodge, a family-friendly motel which welcomes pets. Nearby attractions the kids will enjoy include hang gliding, the Ida Bay railway and the gloomy Hastings Caves. For family road trips, Hobart Caravan Park at Seven Mile Beach is 15 minutes from Hobart and has a dog-friendly beach only 5 minutes walk away.
Family & Pet Friendly Farm Stay Accommodation in WA
When the locals say “West is best” they must be talking about pet-friendly accommodation! According to Mark and Kerriann from Diamond Forest Cottages Pemberton in the Southern Forests region of WA
“WA is starting to become more pet friendly with more accommodation, cafes, wineries and parks being opened up to pets.”
The cottages are built around being a family-friendly farm stay with lots of activities for children and adults alike: daily animal feeding, canoeing, fishing, a games room and a playground plus ample space for kids to run free in a safe environment. Set in a central location close to local activities and wineries to keep everyone happy. Each of the pet-friendly cottages has a fully secured enclosure attached to keep pets safe. Kerriann provides visitors with a list of pet-friendly places where people can take their animals such as state forests and parks adding,
“As the owner of a farm dog and two cats ourselves we feel we understand what people need when it comes to holidaying with their pets.”
For families wanting to visit Perth, Banksia Tourist Park is the self-proclaimed “finest” tourist caravan park in town with amazing nature, wildlife and facilities for the whole family – and a great exercise area for dogs of all shapes and sizes. But if this haven doesn’t tickle your fancy discover the South West between Bunbury and Busselton, and stay at the stylish and pet friendly Peppermint Tree Lodge located 2.5 hours from Perth.
Nothing will enchant the little ones more than a visit to see the fairy penguins on Philip Island, achieved by booking yourself into Nautilus Cottage by the Sea.With three bedrooms and two bathrooms this cottage is dog-friendly for small to medium well-trained dogs making it a great option for travelling families.
For a relaxing trip mums are sure to enjoy try Daylesford Cottages. Located in separate locations around Daylesford, these cottages are child and dog-friendly and set in glorious surrounds. Everyone can be entertained while mum enjoys some much-needed pampering in the nearby hot springs.
The next place makes a great stopover for families with pets travelling between Sydney and Melbourne. Wakiti Creek Resort in Kotupna, 20 minutes east of Echuca is set on over 90 acres of beautiful natural bush land. Families can stay in pet friendly duplex cabins with fenced courtyards where Rover is free to roam.
For city breaks, Boutique Stays have the best pet friendly accommodation in Metropolitan Melbourne. Apartments, townhouses and self-contained houses with up to four bedrooms have secure balconies, fenced courtyards or backyards and plenty of outdoor playing space for both kids and pets alike. Also in Melbourne you can try Birches Serviced Apartments in the inner suburb of East Melbourne which has affordable rooms in a great downtown location and a relaxed attitude to pets.
Pet Travel Tips
To avoid turning your forthcoming trip into something akin from the movie “Beethoven” always plan ahead.
Check prior to departure that the place is still pet-friendly, as policies do change from time to time. Also, check the conditions prior to booking such as the time of year pets are allowed, size of dog and breed accepted; there’s nothing worse than turning up and finding your pooch rejected by the owners.
Although there is still some way to go before pets are accepted as widely as they ought to be, this is a good indicator that things are changing for the better in Australia at least.
Few things beat taking the family on holiday so don’t land yourself in the dog house. Take Fido instead and plan for a holiday that everyone can enjoy!
Carla Francis is the Australian author of “Holidays furrrr all the Family” a travel guide for families with pets covering all states and territories in Australia. The guide is available for purchase here: http://www.pet-friendlyaccommodation.com.au/petfriendly/buy-book-pet-friendly-accommodation-2e-guidebook/
If you have experienced a great pet friendly place to stay with your kids please be kind enough to share with us below.