Travelling Australia with a Dog
Written by Zoe Strapp
Recently my partner and I returned from an incredible journey around Australia.
After many months of packing up our life in Anglesea and moving out of our rental (this is following the year my partner invested in his 4WD Touring setup). We kick started our journey in a Hilux 4WD and roof top tent, by heading straight for South Australia’s rugged Eyre peninsula, with our only plan being to head west along the coast until we made it back to Victoria.
While I could go into a million different incredible destinations, waves, snorkelling spots and jaw stropping landscapes, todays blog is about our pup Anzac.
Anzac, is our brown and white border collie, who joined us on this unforgettable odyssey. All the way from the stunning white beaches of South West Australia, to the dusty red Pilbara and up to the most northern point of Australia, Anzac was by our side.
Now this was most certainly not easy!!! And one of the most common questions I have received lately is “how did we go bringing our dog around Australia?”
Well I just want to flag it right away, ITS NOT EASY and if you do not already have a pup, I would advise waiting until after your road trip. Though I honestly would not have had it any other way and having Anzac with us was such a special experience.
He is a part of the family and every moment was that little bit more special by having him by our side.
There were some logistical difficulties though that we had to overcome, so I thought I would share how we dealt with these along the way, in the hope that this helps with your next pup friendly road trip.
There is a reason I put National Parks at the top of the list and that is because they will become your biggest hurdle by far. When setting off on this adventure I had a list of must-see destinations and allot of those involved National Parks. To be honest, after a while the importance of National Parks do wear off, and you start to realise so many of Australia’s magnificent locations are outside of parks and are often much less crowded.
So my first tip is do your research and take the time to find locations outside of National parks, that will often be just as beautiful, but with half the people. We ended up skipping allot of national parks that although are beautiful, are a bit of a tourism trap.
If you do want to visit a park there a few things we did to achieve this,
Look up local dog sitters in the area, which usually cost us around $40-$50 per day.
Find the local vet and see if they do dog sitting. This is a nicer option in comparison to kennels, as although they are still in a small pen, at least you know they are safe.
AIR BNB – Probably the more expensive option, but we did choose to stay in a dog friendly AIR BNB once near Esperance and we popped out for a few hours to explore the local National Park.
Kennel - Obviously the least enjoyable option for everyone, though when necessary we did have to visit a kennel or two in these scenarios. I just advice doing your research, looking for reviews on the kennel and making a judgement for yourself. One time we had organised to drop him off and upon arrival I was not comfortable with the place, so I chose to pay more and stay in an AIR BNB.
I also heard allot of people with caravan’s would put the air conditioning on in their trailer, leave it at the local caravan park and pop their pup in there. Given we didn’t have a caravan that wasn’t an option, but seemed to work from many.
SURFING & SNORKELLING
This is also a very common question I have received and that is, “what did we do with Anzac when surfing or snorkelling?”
There were a few options we used depending on the location and temperature.
When down south and it was cold, we left Anzac in the cab, where he is very comfortable and has been since he was just a pup.
If we felt the cab was a bit warm and we were in safe secluded location like the Eyre Peninsula, we tied Anzac up under the car, with both shade and a bowl of water. All of the locals were super friendly in these area’s and we made sure we could always see the car form the water in this situation.
There were also a few locations, away from any roads, that we left him down on the beach (though only do this if you are confident your pup is well trained and won’t go wondering).
With snorkelling, in particular up north in Coral Bay, we would either take turns at going for a dive or again tie him up under the car (as the car is parked on the beach), with a bowl of water.
While in coral bay we also took turns going on tours, except for the Whale Shark dive, where we left him with a lovely dog sitting family in Exmouth for the day (cost $50.00). Ask around town for local dog sitters, check google and Facebook community pages.
This is one thing I never really thought about before leaving for our trip. Seeing we were touring in a not so hard structure (roof top tent), there was a time or two down south when a front would come in and it was near impossible to keep the tent upright, let alone sleep in it.
This is where you would obviously turn to an AIR BNB, unless you find yourself in a very secluded locations, where there are no AIR BNB’s and only hotels (which usually do not except pets).
In one case we did manage to find a very dingy motel that allowed pets, when we were hit with a particularly bad storm. But my best suggestion is take the time to plan and know your option should you find yourself in some unexpected weather (but hopefully you have a van or caravan to avoid this issue).
Our trip was a mix of free camping, caravan parks and paid station camping. Our favourite camp sites were most certainly the free or paid bush camps, as this meant Anzac could spend time off lead and around our camp.
When it came to staying in Caravan parks, he was not as much of a fan. Obviously having to be tied up and often getting a little distressed with everyone wanting to come into our site etc.
My biggest tip with camping is DO YOUR RESEARCH! Look ahead as to where you are going and try to find out what free camps are in the area (wiki camps is great for this) , what the regulations are around the stations (as each one is different) and if there are any dog friendly caravan parks in the area as back up.
And always keep an eye out for bait signs !
Oh what fun they are haha ! Unfortunately, among all the stunning beaches and beaming sunsets, there were quite a few long drives.
My only tip here is, make sure your pup gets a good run in the morning, find public ovals and dog friendly parks to give them a run as you pass through towns and try to take a break every few hours.
Both for you dog’s sanity and your’s !
BAITS, SNAKES & CROCADILES
This was a big topic on my mind, in particular as we travelled across the Nullarbor and through the south west, where there is allot of National Park.
Make a point of carrying a bait mussel for your pup. We hardly used this, but in the odd occasion when we had to take him to the toilet or for a walk in an area that could have baits or was near a national park, we just popped this on for precaution.
Always check for signs and make an educated decision as to whether you feel safe having your dog in that area.
Try to stick to tracks and beaches and avoid letting your pup loose among any bush land. This is for both snakes and baits, as baits are often moved by wild animals and can be in areas you would not expect.
Just be sensible and cautions, keeping an eye out on walks, checking your camp site and surrounding area for any sign of snakes or baits and always keep an eye on your pup.
In regards to crocodiles, well this is for you and the dog. But again, just be sensible! I was always overly cautious in the north. Choosing camps a minimum of 50 meters from the water (usually more) and on a hill. Stay away from the water’s edge and always have your pup on a lead, as you simply cannot take the chance.
Final tip for today’s blog is in regard to travelling with your pup’s food. Everyone has a different diet for their dog, but if you are tight on room like we were, a few things you can do is obviously caring dry food (we carried it in a zip up supermarket bag), boiling up any vegetable off cuts as his veggie source and using the offcuts from your fish catch that day.
This helps save money, space and prevents any wastage of food!
I hope this helps you on your upcoming adventure’s around Australia and please please TAG @zoestrapp in any posts from your exciting travels, as I would love to see where you and pup end up! Xxxx