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Dogs in Parks

As the Access & Environment Officer for CliffCare, many of the articles I write are aimed at providing information to climbers on best practices whilst out climbing. Not only does this help with becoming better informed but in the long run it helps with maintaining access to the areas we love to climb at.  And if you use them, it’s fair enough that you should take care of them. Quite recently I wrote an article on dogs in victorian parks following a reported incident of someone bringing a dog into a National Park.  As the original discussion was on an online forum, it soon degenerated into a slanging match but I did think that whilst there are many dog owners who probably flout the rules in this instance there are also those that aren’t really aware of the importance of not taking our furry friends into National Parks.  This discussion is of course, not limited to just climbers. So many outdoor pursuits, especially walking, seem to be the perfect activity to bring your best bud along. And there are parks you can take them to. But they aren’t National Parks.  The following information below was taken from a PV fact sheet and pretty much explains the reasons why it’s not so cool to bring Fido or Fifi along.

So before you head off for the day, weekend or week, check on the parks notices to make sure whether they’re welcome.

Parks Victoria recognises that dogs are popular recreation companions and contribute to people’s health and well-being. Walking with a dog has many benefits, such as reduced stress, enhanced mood, increased heart and lung fitness and a number of social benefits. Many people enjoy walking with their dog in natural areas, such as parkland, open space, bush and coastal areas and Parks Victoria provides a wide range of opportunities throughout Victoria for people to experience people to experience the great outdoors with their dogs.
As a general rule, dogs are permitted in parks or areas of parks where the primary management purpose is for recreation, e.g. Metropolitan Parks, Reservoir Parks, Regional Parks and Forest Parks.
Dogs are generally not permitted in parks and reserves where the primary management purpose is for conservation, e.g. parks managed under the National Parks Act 1975 (Vic.) and nature conservation reserves.


Generally, domestic animals and other introduced animals such as dogs are not permitted in national parks established under the National Parks Act. This is to ensure that the park is managed in accordance with its objectives, to preserve and protect the natural environment and to conserve flora and fauna. Park rangers are often asked by visitors “why can’t I take my dog into the national park?” First and foremost, national parks are there to protect Australia’s native wildlife. They are vitally important for the many species whose survival is in danger. Dogs can have negative impacts on the natural and cultural values of parks, as well as impacts on the enjoyment and safety of other visitors.
Dogs can compete with or harass, chase, trample or prey upon native fauna, especially ground-dwelling species. Dogs can also disturb wildlife by their scent, sounds, scratching and digging. Dogs may also transmit diseases and parasites to native fauna, and their urine and excrement may attract wild dogs and foxes. Even if a dog is on a lead and is very obedient it would be impossible to have a rule which allowed some dogs (the quiet or small ones) into national parks and similar reserves but not others (the big and the boisterous).
Dogs are a potential source of annoyance, distress and sometimes harm to park visitors especially in camping and picnic areas, and when the animals are not under control. Some visitors are frightened of dogs or object to seeing dogs in parks because they are not part of the natural environment and make wildlife more difficult to observe. Dog droppings can cause offence to visitors, and have environmental, amenity and
health impacts.
Dogs are permitted in national parks for specific purposes.
These include:
Dogs which assist disabled people with their disability are permitted in all parks and reserves, with the exception of Wilderness Parks and areas closed to the public, e.g. Reference Areas
Dogs assisting police, SES or Defence Force in search and rescue or surveillance
Dogs in vehicles which are in transit through a national park on a major through-road / route travelling on bitumen roads which pass through national parks.

So after all of that – which may seem a little negative for dog owners who want to take their dogs to parks, I have listed below a selection of parks where they are more than welcome.

Albert Park 3km South of Melbourne CBD
Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park 10km South of Wonthaggi
Cape Conran Coastal Park 30km SE of Orbost
Cape Liptrap Coastal Park 10km South of Leongatha
Cardinia Reservoir Park 45km SE of Melbourne
Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park 60km East of Sale
Greenvale Reservoir Park 22km North of Melbourne
Hepburn Regional Park 5km West of Daylesford
Jells Park 20km East of Melbourne CBD
Karkarook Park 17km SE of Melbourne CBD
Kooyoora State Park 220km NW of Melbourne
Lerderderg State Park 75km East of of Melbourne
Macedon Regional Park 57km NW of Melbourne
Maroondah Reservoir Park 70km East of Melbourne
Murray-Kulkyne Park 50km South of Mildura
Silvan Reservoir Park 50km East of Melbourne
Westerfolds Park 16km NE of Melbourne CBD
Westgate Park 6km West of Melbourne CBD
Yarra Bend Park 4km North of Melbourne
You Yangs Regional Park 55km SW of Melbourne

2 thoughts on “Dogs in Parks

  1. Handy post! Glad to see the Lerderderg is in there – that would be a top spot to have a dog in tow.

  2. Finally a list of Dog friendly parks!!!
    I have really struggled to find any decent hiking other than You Yangs for dogs so this helps 🙂

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