Having a dog to walk is the best excuse to get outside. Don't have a fur baby? These pooch-friendly spots are the pawfect places to go puppy watching.
Kings Way and Moray Street Reserve
Melbourne just got a brand new dog park, and it's hidden under a major road. The fully-fenced off-leash park is decked out with all the creature comforts for pampered pooches. Think play equipment, a custom dog drinking fountain and even furniture for your furry friend. The pooch-sized playground is located near the City Road/Kingsway intersection, in Moray Street, Southbank.
Let your four-legged friend off-leash at Fawkner Park. This laid-back doggy hot spot is the perfect place to relax while your companion enjoys a run around. If you’d prefer to stay active, the walking paths are lined with Moreton Bag figs and oak trees. Enter from Commercial Road or St Kilda Road for the off-leash area.
For a dog walk in the centre of Melbourne’s sporting precinct, make your way to Gosch’s Paddock. The two ovals here are bordered by Swan Street and Punt Road. Exercising is on-leash on the ovals, off-leash in the grassy bits in-between. It’s best suited to more confident dogs, as the cyclists, runners and road traffic can be distracting.
Yarra Park isn't far away, where you can run with your mutt in the shadow of the MCG. It’s a beautiful expanse of green, dotted with shady gums. Enter from Vale Street, where you’ll also find a water tap with a bowl and bin.
Sprawling Princes Park has two unfenced off-leash areas to let your dog run free. Head south for Crawford Oval, or to the north of the park along Bowen Crescent. Bowen is the better option, with everything your furry friend could want. Grass, trees, shaded seating, bins and a tap with a built-in water bowl.
Nearby Royal Park has a couple of other off-leash options. Take Snoopy to the oval south of Macarthur Road, or to the north of the park at Poplar Oval and McPherson Field. This is the city's biggest park, so there's plenty of space for a game of fetch.
Dogs in Victoria Harbour Docklands should make a beeline for the puppy playground opposite Buluk Park. This on-leash area is both sandy and grassy. It is semi-fenced and kitted out with a water bowl. Fido can run through hollow pipes and bounce on concrete blocks, while you make the most of this urban oasis in the city.
Where to grab a bite with your pooch
Can't go anywhere without Luna in tow? Melbourne has a tonne of cafes that will warmly welcome your fur baby with a smile and a scratch under the belly. It's all in the name at Vincent the Dog. With plenty of outdoor seating and some of the best bagels in town, this Carlton cafe is a dog-spotter's dream. Nearby you'll find Vertue Coffee Roasters, where you can kick back in the laneway seating for brekkie with your buddy. Grab a riverside bev on the deck at Boatbuilders Yard where the team will dote over your dog. Or combine your favourite things – cheese and dogs – with a trip to Spring Street Grocer.
Bring your bestie along on your next staycation at one of Melbourne's pet-friendly hotels. If your pooch gets treated like royalty at home, the red carpet treatment continues at Ovolo Laneways. The V.I.Pooch package comes with your pup's very own designer doggy bag. Or stay at Melbourne's luxe dog-loving hotel, The Langham. The pampered pets package has all the creature comforts for you both. It includes a welcome pack with a bowl and cosy bed for pooches that have had a ruff day.
Walking your dog
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Last updated on Wed 19 Apr 2023
Planted with eucalypts, this inner-city park sits on the site of former rail yard.