Even though dogs are allowed in most of the city's parks, you'll have to keep your furry friend on a leash at all times. Try going to one of these beaches or parks for a more unrestricted experience. Dogs are free to run around, sniff along eucalyptus-lined walking trails, and play in the shallow water there without having to be on a leash.
Altona Dog Beach, Altona
Dogs may not enjoy swimming in water only up to their ankles, but they do enjoy running and playing on the tidal flats. This off-leash beach is located next to Burns Reserve and features a shipwreck that can be explored during low tide as well as long stretches of sand that are perfect for running. At the front entrance, you'll find garbage cans and dog waste bags, as well as a shower and a bowl of water for your sandy and parched pet. Make sure you know the tide times before you go.
Footscray Park, Footscray
This park dates back to the Edwardian era and encompasses a total area of 37 acres. It features manicured lawns, botanical collections, picnic shelters, barbecues, and views of the city skyline. The portion of the park that is closest to Victoria University contains a sizable off-leash dog run. From there, the dog-friendly cafe Rudimentary is just a 15-minute stroll away, or you can extend your walk by continuing along the cycling trail that runs alongside the Maribyrnong River.
Ruffey Lake Park, Templestowe
This expansive park covers 168 acres, and approximately two-thirds of it is off-leash space sprinkled with native trees. There are also trails, but keep in mind that you are required to have your dog on a leash near the playgrounds and grills, and that you are not allowed to bring your dog into the regrowth areas. Follow the off-leash trail that goes along Ruffey Creek all the way to Wombat Bend on the Yarra River for a more strenuous hike. It's a round-trip journey of two hours and eight kilometres.
Fritsch Holzer Park, Hawthorn East
At this expansive off-leash park, sunsets have the potential to be quite breathtaking. If, on the other hand, early morning strolls are more your thing, the nearby cafe Light Years can be reached on foot in just eight minutes. Runners enjoy taking advantage of the trails, which wind their way around the wetland areas, and the area also features barbeques.
Victoria Park, Abbotsford
If there are no grassroots footy matches or training sessions at the former home ground of Collingwood, then dog owners are welcome to let their canine companions run laps (or squiggly figure eights) on the oval. It is surrounded by a fence, and there are picnic tables, trash cans, and bowls of water scattered around it. Walking to Admiral Cheng-Ho for some coffee or to Dr. Morse for some beer in the courtyard only takes about five minutes. In the event that Richmond's Victoria Park is in use, there is another nearby oval that has been converted into a dog park called Citizens Park.
Brighton Dog Beach, Brighton
This stretch of beach, which is also known as Sandown Street Beach, is the only one in the area that allows dogs to run free at any time of day or night from April through October. During the warmer months (November through March), it is open to canines for frolicking at night and early in the morning (7.30 pm to 10 am). You could continue your stroll along the beautiful Bay Trail, or you could head to the nearby Brighton Schoolhouse for a cup of coffee, a smoothie, or a decent plate of carbs after you've finished chasing the dog.
Princes Park, Caulfield South
This popular park encompasses 25 acres, and it features a walking path for dogs that require their owners to keep them on leash at all times. However, there are a lot of open areas where you can get away from the lead, such as multiple sports ovals (except when games are in session). The park is very well supplied, as there are trash cans and bowls located in various locations throughout each drinking fountain.
Green Gully Reserve, Keilor Downs
Visit Green Gully Reserve and take advantage of the open-air agility equipment there if your dog could benefit from some focused training. This fenced-in dog park has a series of obstacles, including ramps, platforms, tunnels, and poles, laid out in a course. Additionally, the area that is outside of the fenced zone is leash-free, and there are walking paths that run along the creek. In addition, there are trash cans and recycling bins available on the premises, as well as water fountains for both people and their canine companions.
Gardiners Reserve, Burwood
This bushland area is located behind the Deakin University Burwood campus, and it features open grassy areas, walking paths, and a creek for playing in. It does not have fences, but it does have expansive lawns, trees that provide shade, and a trail option that allows you to extend your walk along Gardiners Creek. Dosage, a cafe that welcomes dogs, is not far away.
Egan Reserve, Thornbury
This laid-back off-leash park does not have any drinking fountains, but dogs are welcome to swim in Merri Creek, which is located nearby. You can either follow the trail all the way up to the Harding Street Bridge or explore the stringybark eucalyptus and native grasses that are strewn about the area. At the entrance on Rennie Street, there is a garbage can, and there are frequently several sociable dogs in the area.
Mentone Dog Beach, Mentone
The Bay Trail is a wonderful place to take your dog for a long, relaxing walk on a leash because it is bordered on one side by coastal scrub and on the other by the beach. But as soon as you step onto the stretch of sand that is known as Mentone Dog Beach, your dog is free to run around and play. The dog-friendly beach that is accessible at all times is located between Charman and Plummer roads. There are trash cans on the beach as well as drinking water taps located right in front of the Mentone Life Saving Club.
Community Forest, Mount Martha
If your dog doesn't mind a one-hour car ride, then you should take them to Mount Martha, where there is a fenced parcel of bushland that offers a respite from the city with views of farmland and resident kookaburras. There is a trail made of dirt that goes in a loop and takes about half an hour to walk, but you can take breaks along the way to play sticks, swim in the creek, go on adventures in the forest, or have a picnic at the rotunda. You won't find any trash cans or water fountains here, and you should also be on the lookout for snakes during the summer.
Dog Off-Leash areas for each Council area in Melbourne and Victoria
It is imperative that you are able to keep control of your dog if you intend to go to a beach or park that does not require leashes for dogs. In the event that it becomes necessary, you need to be able to quickly bring your dog to you and put it back on a leash.
Generally speaking, all councils are required to enforce the following behaviours:
- Always use a leash when walking your dog, unless you are in an area that specifically allows dogs to run free without one.
- Always pay attention to the areas and times designated as on-leash, off-leash, and dog-free.
- Always bring a leash with you, even when you're at a beach or park that doesn't require one.
- Bring a plastic bag with you and make sure to pick up after your dog whenever he does his business.
- In off-leash areas, you should keep your dog close by and within sight at all times, and you should maintain control of your dog at all times.
- Dogs are not permitted to chase or jump on other animals or people under any circumstances.
- Take precautions to prevent your dog from causing damage to public property, such as by digging holes or chewing.
Every park allows you to exercise your dog without having to keep it on a leash, with the exception of certain areas that have had restrictions placed on them for environmental reasons, such as areas that are located near wetlands or areas that are intended to protect birds and other native species. There are signs posted in those areas where there are special controls that have been implemented.
Any dog that is off leash in these areas must be effectively controlled by its owner at all times. In order to comply with this rule, the dog must always be within the owner's line of sight, and the owner must be able to call the dog back to him or her at any time.
Dogs must be on leash in the following areas:
- Every single street, road, and parking lot
- Within a distance of five metres of a shared footway that has been designated (bike and pedestrian path)
It is against the law to have dogs within five metres of public barbecues or playgrounds for children (for health and safety reasons).
These parks feature completely fenced-in off-leash exercise areas with park benches, waste receptacles for dogs, and drinking fountains with bowls attached for dogs:
- Viewbank, as well as Price Park
- Ford Park, Bellfield
- Malang Reserve, Heidelberg West
- Eltham North's Malcolm Blair Reserve
Dogs are required to have a leash attached to them at all times while in Bayside, with the exception of when they are in a designated off-leash area during the appropriate hours. In certain parks and reserves, bringing your dog with you is not allowed; check the signage before entering.
In the following areas, dogs are required to be on a leash at all times:
- Within twenty metres of an area with children's play equipment, an area where a public meeting is being held, an area that is permanently designated as a barbeque and picnic area, or an area where an organised sporting event is taking place.
- In every single parking lot.
- There are 11 beaches that allow dogs to run free off-leash all year round, three beaches that allow dogs to run free off-leash all year round, and 18 parks where dogs are allowed to run free off-leash at certain times of the day or during certain seasons.
The following are the points of access to the beach, according to this map:
Sandown Street beach, Sandringham Harbour beach, and Beaumaris Yacht Club beach are all off-leash throughout the year.
Middle Brighton beach, Dendy Street beach, Holloway Bend beach, Brighton beach, Hampton beach, Sandringham Life Saving beach, Sandringham beach, Edward Street beach, Half Moon Bay, Black Rock beach, and a portion of Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary are among the beaches that allow dogs to run free at certain times of the year or during certain hours of the day.
Please take note that dogs are not allowed on any of the intertidal rock platforms that are located within the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary at any time.
It is permissible for the owner of a dog to exercise the dog in a designated reserve without the dog's owner being required to use a chain, cord, or leash if the owner satisfies the following conditions:
- Carry a lead with them at all times so that they can get control of the dog if it starts acting in a way that could be dangerous to another person or animal.
- Can swiftly bring the dog under control by giving a voice command or a hand signal, and then place the dog on a lead if this becomes necessary.
- Make sure the dog does not cause anyone or anything else worry or feel threatened.
- If your dog is off-leash in a designated reserve, you are required to bring it under control by using a lead if it is within 30 metres of an organised sporting event, an organised public meeting, or a permanent barbeque or picnic area if it is being used by others. If your dog is off-leash in a designated reserve, you are not required to bring your dog under control by using a lead.
Dogs are not allowed within the immediate perimeter of any playground at any time, and they are required to be leashed and under their owner's control whenever they come within 10 metres of the perimeter of a playground in a designated reserve.
In any and all public open space areas, every dog must have a leash attached to their collar at all times, unless the area is specifically marked as an off-leash zone.
Make sure your dog is leashed at all times:
- In close proximity to casual sports or social events
- In the course of official sporting competitions
- Within five metres of a path for walking or biking
- In an area with a lot of foot traffic and close to a school.
- In protected areas of the environment
- Within thirty metres of areas designated for children to play
- In close proximity to the grills and dining areas outside
These parks offer off-leash exercise areas that are completely fenced in:
- Located in Sunshine North, the Duke Street Reserve
- Sunshine North, and the Roussac Reserve
- Electricity Easement on Collenso Street, in the Sunshine West neighbourhood
- Davitt Drive Reserve, Deer Park
- Green Gully Reserve and Keilor Downs are both located here.
- St. Albans is home to the International Gardens Reserve.
- Wahgunyah Reserve, St Albans
In most parks and reserves, leashes are not required when walking your dog. On any land owned by Parks Victoria, dogs are not permitted in any capacity. While off-leash, dogs must never be allowed to escape from their owners' effective control.
You are required to always keep your dog restrained by a leash:
- Everywhere that the public can access, including sidewalks, schools, malls, parking lots, trails, and natural areas set aside for preservation.
- Wherever there is a sign indicating that dogs are required to have a leash attached to them
- In a reserve that is actively being used, where an organised sporting event is currently taking place
- Within a distance of twenty metres of playgrounds and play apparatus for children
- In the course of any publicly organised gathering
- At any permanent BBQ or picnic area
These parks offer off-leash exercise areas that are completely fenced in:
- Pasadena Park, Clyde
- Reserve on Selandra Boulevard, located within Clyde North
- Trueman Reserve, in the western part of Cranbourne
- Ovals located at Kalorre Park and Narre Warren North
Within ten metres of the following, all dogs are required to be on a leash:
- An organised competition in a sport
- Playground with a barbeque and picnic area for children
There are 33 areas that have been designated as reserves and are known as Free Roam Areas. These areas allow owners to exercise their dogs off-leash so long as the dog is under the owner's effective control at all times. There are no dog parks that have fencing around them.
In the Central Activities Area (CAA) of Frankston, having a dog with you is strictly forbidden.
Because of the fragile ecosystems that make up the City's natural reserves, pets of any kind are not permitted in the following reserves:
- Bunarong Park
- Casuarina Reserve
- George Pentland Botanic Gardens
- Reserve for Flora and Fauna of the Langwarrin
- Studio Park
- It is possible to bring your dog into the following protected areas, but they are required to be kept on a leash at all times and to stay on the paths that have been constructed for them:
- Kananook Creek Reserve
- Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve
- Foreshore Park and Reserve at Seaford
- Seaford Wetlands Reserve
- Sweetwater Creek Reserve
During the months of December, January, February, and March, it is against the law to bring your dog to any beach between the hours of 9:30 am and 7:30 pm. Other than those times, dogs are allowed as long as they are effectively controlled by their owners using a chain, cord, or leash. On neither Frankston nor Seaford beaches are there any areas where dogs are permitted to run free.
In public places, dogs should always be restrained by a leash, with the exception of certain parks and reserves that are specifically designated as off-leash areas.
Within 20 metres of the following, dogs are not allowed:
- Areas designated for play, grilling, or picnicking
- Facilities for both athletics and netball at the Duncan Mackinnon Athletics Track
- Packer Park Velodrome
- In the course of sporting events or in preparation for events, sportsgrounds
- Organised gatherings of the general public
Within five metres of shared footpaths and bicycle paths, owners are required to keep their dogs on a leash.
This park features off-leash exercise areas that are completely fenced in:
Pawfield Park Fenced Dog Park (Caulfield East)
There are a total of 24 shared-use parks, each of which includes both an on-leash and an off-leash section for canine visitors. These three parks (Harleston Park, Greenmeadows Gardens, and Hopetoun Gardens) are the only ones that let dogs run free off-leash between the hours of 6 and 9 in the morning.
FAQs About Dog Parks
Can I bring my dog into Kakadu? Unfortunately, under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act, dogs are not permitted in Commonwealth National Parks. Guide dogs, hearing dogs and assistance dogs may be brought into the park. but must be kept on a leash not more than three metres long.