Dog-Friendly Bendigo: Visiting Bendigo with a Dog

The regional city of Bendigo in Victoria is a terrific destination to visit with your dog. Just two hours north of Melbourne, there’s plenty of dog-friendly attractions, not to mention dog-friendly cafes. Find out more about visiting Bendigo with your dog…

Dog-Friendly Bendigo

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Bendigo

Bendigo has a rich heritage dating back to its foundation as a gold rush town, and many of its top attractions harken back to this era. Among them are a surprising number of dog-friendly attractions, meaning there’s plenty of things to do in Bendigo with your dog.

1. Ride the Vintage Talking Tram

One of the best ways to get around Bendigo’s top sights, not to mention learn plenty of history along the way, is to hop onboard a Vintage Talking Tram

Vintage Talking Tram Bendigo
Hop on board a Vintage Talking Tram in Bendigo

With tickets valid for the whole day, you can hop-on and hop-off as many times as you like at the five stops. Alternatively, if you stay on board for the entire round-trip – your tour will last about 45 minutes. There’s free all-day parking available at all tram stops, except for stop #2 in the city centre. For caravans and RVs, it’s best to park at the Central Deborah Gold Mine. 

Vintage Talking Tram Stop
The Vintage Talking Tram stop at Central Deborah Gold Mine

Best of all, dog’s are allowed to join you for free. They need to stay on a leash, plus be friendly towards other passengers, with some discretion resting with the tram driver. And along the route you can visit most of these other dog-friendly attractions…

2. Visit the Central Deborah Gold Mine

Stop #1 on the Vintage Talking Tram route is the Central Deborah Gold Mine, just south of the Bendigo city centre. But surely you’re thinking, the gold mine isn’t dog-friendly? Now while dogs aren’t allowed on the underground mine tours, they are permitted to join you on the free surface tours. 

Central Deborah Gold Mine with Dog
Exploring the surface of the Central Deborah Gold Mine

The surface tour is a self-guided option. At your leisure, explore the original change rooms, blacksmith’s shop and engine room of the mine, and, if you dare, ascend to halfway up the poppet head along the trestle way.

Dogs are allowed in all areas, although the staff request that you minimise time in the reception area and museum. (As there was two of us, we took turns to visit the museum. Also note that the stairs are quite steep up to the trestle way, so we carried our small dog.)

Poppet Head and Trestle Way at Central Deborah Gold Mine
You’re even allowed up on the trestle way to the poppet head

There is a $5 charge for adults on the surface tour, unless you’re also going on the underground tour or you buy a ticket for the Vintage Talking Tram. Allow about 30-45 minutes to explore the surface, and make sure you keep your dog on a leash. 

3. Explore the Victoria Hill Diggings

For another taste of the gold mining heritage of Bendigo, head to the western side of town and the Victoria Hill Historic Mining Reserve. This reserve contains a number of old mining relics, including some open cut mines. While one of the mines onsite operated until 1954, there’s a lot less to see than at Central Deborah Gold Mine, although there’s still a poppet head rising high. 

Poppet Head at Victoria Hill Historic Mining Reserve
The poppet head at the Victoria Hill diggings

It’s a popular spot for dog walking, although make sure you keep your dog on a leash and stay on the path, due to the presence of old mine shafts. Allow an hour to walk around the entire reserve, or just explore part of it and read the informative history panels along the way.

Walking at Victoria Hill Historic Mining Reserve
Victoria Hill is a popular dog-walking spot

There’s an entrance and carpark on Calder Highway, with the entrance open from 9am to sunset (during daylight savings time) or 5pm (the rest of the year). 

4. View the Heritage Buildings

Part of the rich history that Bendigo has been endowed with are its many impressive old buildings. Some of the highlights include the French Renaissance-style Post Office (now the Bendigo Visitors Centre) and Law Courts, the Soldiers Memorial Hall with its roof-top band rotunda and the opulent Hotel Shamrock, which has hosted many famous visitors. 

Law Courts Bendigo
The French Renaissance-style Law Courts
Soldiers Memorial Bendigo
The Soldiers Memorial is another impressive building

One of the best ways to discover and learn more about Bendigo’s fine buildings is by picking up a copy of the “Discover Heritage Buildings of Bendigo” brochure at the Bendigo Visitor Centre, or downloading the brochure online.

Then spend an hour or two following the self-guided tour around the city centre streets. It’s a dog-friendly walking tour. Although if there’s two of you, it’s worthwhile taking turns to view some of the interiors, when open.

5. Stroll Through Rosalind Park

Many of the most impressive historic buildings of Bendigo are built around the edge of Rosalind Park, the grand gardens located in the city’s centre and named after one of Shakespeare’s characters. 

The above walking tour follows the edge of the park, but it’s worthwhile going for a stroll through the centre of the park, even if you skip viewing the historic buildings. 

Walking in Rosalind Park
Take a stroll through Rosalind Park

The park is particularly beautiful during Spring and Autumn, but year-round you can still view its cascades, statues and the Conservatory Gardens. On the upper slopes is yet another poppet head, with no prohibition on dogs joining you in ascending the lookout. Dogs need to be kept on a leash in the park. 

Rosalind Park Bendigo
The cascade at the centre of Rosalind Park

6. Or Around Lake Weeroona

Another scenic spot to go for a stroll with your dog is Lake Weeroona, just to the north of Bendigo’s city centre and stop #4 on the Vintage Talking Tram. The man-made lake and surrounding reserve was created in the 1870s, to conceal an old mining site.

Lake Weerona Bendigo
Lake Weerona was once a mining site

The lake is surrounded by a largely flat walking path, about 1.5km in length and an easy stroll with your dog on leash. Along the way, perhaps stop off at the dog-friendly Boardwalk Bendigo Cafe (see below). 

Walking along Lake Weerona with Dog
It’s a great spot for a walk with your dog

If you’re prefer a longer walk, perhaps continue along the Bendigo Creek Trail, which runs along the western shore of the lake. This 17km combined cycling and walking path runs from Epsom in the north to Crusoe Reservoir in the south. 

Bendigo Creek Trail Sign
The longer Bendigo Creek Trail passes Lake Weerona

7. Head to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens

Even older than Lake Weerona are the Bendigo Botanic Gardens, the first public gardens in Bendigo and one of the oldest botanic gardens in regional Victoria, established back in 1857.

Located on the northern outskirts of present day Bendigo, the Heritage Garden still remains intact, with beautifully shady trees and lawns surrounding a central billabong. The Heritage Garden also includes some delightful cottage gardens and a bird aviary. 

Bendigo Botanic Gardens with Dog
Exploring the Heritage Garden at Bendigo Botanic Gardens
Heritage Garden at Bendigo Botanic Gardens
There’s plenty of shady trees, ideal for sunny days

However, the gardens have recently taken a more modern twist, with the new Garden of the Future opening on the southern side of the original gardens in 2018. Containing a mix of Australia and  exotic species, the emphasis is on more water-resistant and dramatic plantings, rather than traditional flowers. 

Garden of the Future at Bendigo Botanic Gardens
The Garden of the Future at Bendigo Botanic Gardens

Dogs are welcome to join you in the botanic gardens, whether for a stroll or a picnic, except for in the bird aviary. 

8. Visit the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

One of the most surprising sights around Bendigo is the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, currently being constructed on the western edge of Bendigo, a 15 minute drive away.

Great Stupa of Universal Compassion Bendigo
The imposing Great Stupa of Universal Compassion near Bendigo

The stupa, also known as a pagoda, is based on the Gyantse Stupa in Tibet, and is also the same size, making it the largest stupa in the Western World. The stupa is surrounded by the Peace Park Gardens, containing many monuments from different faiths.

Even more surprising, pets are welcome to join you in visiting the stupa, both outside and even inside. (This will potentially change once the interior of the stupa is complete.) 

Great Stupa Bendigo with Dog
Dogs are welcome to join you when visiting the Great Stupa
Inside the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion
Inside the Great Stupa

Open daily and with entry by donation, allow about 1 1/2 hours to follow the walking trail through the gardens and visit the stupa. There is also a cafe onsite, with plenty of outdoor dog-friendly tables.

Dog-Friendly Parks in Bendigo

There’s 17 off-leash dog exercise areas scattered throughout Bendigo and the surrounding region. Among them are four fenced off-leash dog parks.

We visited Harcourt Dog Park, located alongside Crook Street in Strathdale, on the eastern side of Bendigo. This huge expanse of grass has plenty of room for dogs to run and play, with a paved footpath running through it and plenty of shady mature trees. It even has its own toy box, although we didn’t discover the separate section for small dogs (the “Small Dog Retreat”), as mentioned on the council website.

Harcourt Park Off Leash Area
The entrance to Harcourt Dog Park
Dog at Harcourt Park
Plenty of grass for playing off-leash

The other fenced off-leash dog parks in Bendigo are Allingham Reserve Dog Park on Allingham Street in Kangaroo Flat and Truscott Reserve Dog Park on Turner Street in California Gully. There’s also the Heathcote Dog Park on Herriot Street in the nearby town of Heathcote. 

For a full listing of off-leash dog parks in Bendigo and maps, see the council website

Dog-Friendly Cafes in Bendigo

One of the most popular dog-friendly cafes in Bendigo is The Boardwalk Bendigo on the edge of Lake Weeroona. With Chino, the resident Labrador, ready to welcome four-legged guests, it even has a dog menu. Currently the cafe is open from Wednesdays to Sundays. Use the Nolan Street entrance when dining with a dog.

Dog-Friendly Boardwalk Bendigo Cafe
The Boardwalk Bendigo is a popular dog-friendly cafe

Due to short staffing at the time of our visit, we instead headed to Percy and Percy. This cute former corner shop has plenty of dog-friendly seating both out the front and in the back courtyard. Our dog was offered a treat, and I was delighted with the choice of three different hot chocolates. Open daily for breakfast and lunch except on Sundays, they also have plenty of bagels, toasties and sweet treats in the display cabinet.

Percy & Percy Bendigo
There’s plenty of outdoor seating at Percy & Percy
Hot Chocolate at Percy & Percy
Enjoying my hot chocolate in the courtyard at Percy & Percy

For more dog-friendly cafes around Bendigo, head to Old Green Bean (also a vintage apparel shop) or Adam & Eve Cafe (specialising in vegan dishes and good coffee). 

Dog-Friendly Pubs in Bendigo

Head to the Botanical Hotel Bendigo, on the edge of town near the botanical gardens. Dating back to 1855, this pub has been recently renovated and is dog-friendly. It has not one but two beer gardens, one with sheltered tables, and serves up pub food for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday.

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Bendigo

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links. See my full disclaimer.

There’s a wide variety of dog-friendly accommodation in and around Bendigo. 

Pet-Friendly Holiday Homes & Units in Bendigo

For a cute cottage that’s walking distance to the city centre and many attractions, check out Hargreaves Cottage. Fully renovated, the two-bedroom cottage features off-street parking, an enclosed yard, and allows up to two pets (both dogs and cats). Previous guests have highly rated the property.

Another pet-friendly option close to the city is Benstay. This modern two-bedroom unit has a secure backyard, with the owners priding themselves on the property’s cleanliness and affordability.  It’s close to Lake Weerona and the Bendigo Creek Trail. Up to three pets up to 25kg are allowed.

Pet-Friendly Hotels in Bendigo

The gorgeous Hotel Ernest Bendigo has one pet-friendly suite. Situated in an historic bank building next to Rosalind Park, make a booking for the Robin Wallace-Crabbe Suite. This spacious king-sized suite with a kitchenette is situated on the ground floor, opening directly on the outdoor courtyard.

One house-trained pet is welcome, for an additional one-off fee of $40. Bring your pet’s bedding and ensure they don’t climb on the furniture.

Pet-Friendly Caravan Parks in Bendigo

Alternatively, there are multiple caravan parks situated around Bendigo that allow pets. Two highly rated pet-friendly parks are BIG4 Tasman Holiday Parks – Bendigo and BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday Park.

Both parks have multiple pet-friendly cabins. The former is close to the centre of Bendigo and allows dogs outside peak periods, while the latter is 15 minutes west of town and allows pets year round. Make bookings directly with the parks.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Dog-Friendly Bendigo: Visiting Bendigo with a Dog”

  1. Love your website! I’ve now got 2 dogs and a van and your research has made my trip planning a pleasure. Thank you so much.
    Also just wondering how you manage quarantine regulations when you travel overseas?

    • There’s only a fairly short list of countries that require quarantine for pets, including Australia, of course. We travelled with our dog around Europe and to the USA without any quarantine, until we returned back home. We minimised the impact of quarantine (and the long flights in the hold to and from Australia) by staying overseas for an extended period (nearly 2 years). Due to the difficulties travelling to and from Australia, I recommend only flying pets overseas if you’ll be gone for an extended period.


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