Can You Visit the Twelve Apostles with a Dog?

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Victoria are the Twelve Apostles. Located along the western stretch of the Great Ocean Road, it’s a must to stop off and view these limestone stacks towering just offshore, although there’s not quite twelve standing any longer.

But what about if you’re driving along the Great Ocean Road with your dog? Is it still possible to visit the Twelve Apostles? I share some tips for your visit based on my own experience…

Twelve Apostles Great Ocean Road

Are Dogs Allowed at the 12 Apostles?

The lookout for the Twelve Apostles and the surrounding area is located in the Port Campbell National Park. Like most national parks in Victoria, dogs are prohibited from this national park. (Although dogs are allowed at a few locations in the nearby Great Otway National Park, including Johanna Beach.)

12 Apostles No Dogs or Cats
One of many signs prohibiting dogs in the national parks along the Great Ocean Road

However, when I was investigating whether we could still visit the Twelve Apostles on a road trip with my dog, looking at the maps for the national park I noticed that the carpark was located on the other side of the park boundary – convenient!

When driving into the carpark, there are no signs forbidding dogs, unlike many other carparks along this stretch of the Great Ocean Road. Instead, there is a sign forbidding dogs from going any further at the edge of the carpark, next to the footpath to the lookout.

12 Apostles No Dogs or Cats Past This Point
The sign prohibiting dogs at the edge of the carpark

How to Visit the 12 Apostles when Travelling with a Dog

There are two main options available when driving along the Great Ocean Road with a dog and you want to stop and see the Twelve Apostles.

On the day that we visited we had far from ideal weather. It was grey and overcast, with a top of 13C, despite being in November. It was a simple choice for us to leave our dog in our car with the windows ajar, as there was no danger of it becoming too hot.

Keep in mind that you also need to be aware of whether your dog is happy with being left alone in your car – we knew that he had been fine in the past, and would just curl up to nap under his blanket. And of course never do this except on cold days!

The other option available, if there are at least two of you, is to take turns visiting the Twelve Apostles lookout. It’s only a short walk away so it won’t take too long to visit individually, although you’ll miss out on selfies together.

Woman looking at the 12 Apostles
Consider taking turns to view the Twelve Apostles

The other person can sit at the picnic benches next to the carpark with your dog, or stay in your car or campervan, with the windows or doors open if the weather is warm.

What About Other Attractions Along the Great Ocean Road?

Along the western stretch of the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles isn’t the only natural attraction that you can stop and view. There are some other great sights, including Loch Ard Gorge, The Arch, London Bridge and The Grotto.

London Bridge, Victoria
The London Bridge lookout is out of bounds for dogs

However, all of the other natural attractions that I’ve listed are also within the Port Campbell National Park, including their carparks. It’s more of a grey area whether you can stop and visit these sights with a dog in your car, although it still commonly occurs.

For a dog-friendly attraction, instead stop and walk along the Bay of Martyrs Track, a cliff-top walk on the western side of Peterborough. We unfortunately ran out of time, and only had time to walk the first section it. Allow up to 2 hours for the return 4km walk, and keep your dog on a leash the whole way.

Dog-friendly Bay of Martyrs
Dogs are allowed on a leash at the Bay of Martyrs

For more tips, see my guide to driving the Great Ocean Road with a dog

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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