The West Australian town of Carnarvon is a must-stop destination on a WA road trip. Located 900km to north of Perth, just outside the tropics and the last coastal town on the highway for a long way north, it’s the perfect spot to spend some time relaxing. But how dog-friendly is Carnarvon and what is there to do with a dog?
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Carnarvon
1. Walk Along the One Mile Jetty
One of the must-do things in Carnarvon is walking along the historical One Mile Jetty. At least it was, until the jetty was significantly damaged from a cyclone in April 2021. There are plans under way to preserve the jetty, or at least the first part of it, with much of it likely beyond repair.
When the jetty was open, a popular dog-friendly activity was walking along it with your dog. For now though, everyone is restricted to looking through the fenced off entrance to the jetty, its length stretching far off into the distance.
However, a visit to the remains of the jetty and the surrounding Heritage Precinct is not a complete loss. As well as a dog-friendly cafe (see below), there is an interpretive centre for the jetty (although not allowing dogs inside), some interesting old machinery outside and a mangrove boardwalk.
2. Or Follow the Old Tramway Walk Trail
Considering it’s not currently possible to walk along One Mile Jetty, for an alternative dog-friendly walk in Carnarvon walk along the Old Tramway Walk Trail.
This 2.5km one-way walking path follows the route of the old tramway that ran to the jetty. It starts at the Foot Bridge at the northern end of the Fascine foreshore in the centre of town, then ends at the Carnarvon Heritage Precinct. Dogs on a leash are welcome on the path.
3. Get a Photo of the Dish
Another interesting museum in Carnarvon is the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum. Recently constructed to celebrate the role of Carnarvon in the manned space program and Australia’s satellite communications industry, while dogs are naturally not allowed inside the museum, there’s no stopping them from joining you in checking out the giant dish next to the museum.
It’s hard to not notice the OTC satellite dish when driving into Carnarvon, located just off the highway at the eastern edge of town. While no longer in operation, the dish is still an icon of the town. Turn off towards the Space and Technology Museum and drive right under the dish, parking for one of the best photo ops around town.
4. Drive the Fruit Loop
Along both sides of the Gascoyne River on the eastern edge of Carnarvon are a multitude of fruit and vegetable plantations, supplying a large proportion of WA’s fresh produce. But don’t wait for it to arrive in supermarkets to sample it, instead go for a drive around the “Fruit Loop” Drive Trail.
Along the way stop at the small farm shops and roadside honesty stalls to sample the latest produce. Your dog is welcome to join you, but it’s best to leave them in the car when going onto farms.
One can’t miss stop is Bumbak’s, to pick up some of their irresistible mango jam. Another interesting landmark along the Fruit Loop is the Cactus Garden, located midway along the South River Road. It’s a favourite stop for photos.
5. Visit the Quobba Blowholes
While in Carnarvon, it’s a must to visit the Quobba Blowholes. The blowholes are about 75km north of the town, less than an hour away along a good sealed road. (Heading further north along the coast, the road is unsealed and generally 4WD only.)
There’s multiple blowholes along a short section of coastline. They’re best accessed from the raised boardwalk above the rocky ground. The waves here can be dangerous, so keep both yourself and your dog on the boardwalk, well away from the water’s edge.
After visiting the Blowholes, I recommend heading just a kilometre south to the Aquarium, a popular snorkelling site. While definitely not a dog-friendly activity itself, there’s no prohibition on dogs in the area, so take turns snorkelling in between the beach and the small island. The water is warm enough even in wintertime.
Dog-Friendly Beaches in Carnarvon
There’s one dog-friendly beach located in Carnarvon, at Pelican Point. Dogs are permitted off-leash on the beach between the hours of 9am and 6pm only. The off-leash area starts at the first beach access point, about 1km south of Binning Road, and extends south until the beach access point from the carpark next to the toilet block. It’s also a popular sunset spot.
Dog-Friendly Parks in Carnarvon
There are also a number of off-leash parks in Carnarvon. Dogs are allowed off-leash in the following areas, as long as there are no sporting activities or community events taking place:
- Carnarvon Town Oval
- Hutchinson Park
- Festival Grounds – Bastion Oval only
- Wise Park
- Baxter Park, except on the Fascine Foreshore and in the playground
- Carey and McKenna Levy Area
For a map of all areas and any updates, see the Shire of Carnarvon website.
Dog-Friendly Dining in Carnarvon
There’s multiple cafes and hotels around Carnarvon where you’re welcome to enjoy a meal or just a drink with your pup at your side.
Out at One Mile Jetty, the adjacent Sunsets Cafe is dog-friendly, with a large outdoor dining area. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, it’s the perfect spot for brunch or lunch while enjoying the view. (Double check if it’s open during the evening for sunset.)
Back in Carnarvon, both the Port Hotel and Carnarvon Hotel are pet-friendly in their beer gardens, according to the local visitors centre, and ideal options for dinner.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Carnarvon
Carnarvon is home to seven caravan parks, all except one that are pet-friendly. (Skip checking out the Outback Oasis Caravan Park.)
We stayed for the night at the Capricorn Holiday Park, the easternmost park, which has great value unpowered sites around the camp kitchen. Pets are also welcome on powered sites, plus in selected cabins, for an additional fee.
The Wintersun Caravan & Tourist Park is particularly pet-friendly. With dogs allowed on sites and in many of the cabins (but not on the beds or furniture), the park also has an off-leash pet area at the rear of the park and a washing machine just for pet bedding.
If you’re self-contained, another option is camping at the Point Quobba Blowholes Campground. This shire-run site with basic facilities is 75km north of Carnarvon along a fully sealed road. Note that you must be self-contained, with the toilets only for the use of day-trippers.
There’s also multiple station stays in the area, many that allow pets, including Wooramel Riverside Retreat, Quobba Station, Gnaraloo Station and Warroora Station. Contact the individual stations for further details including access details (some locations are 4WD only).
Dog-Sitting Options in Carnarvon
If you want to spend a day sightseeing in the Carnarvon area without your dog, perhaps heading inland to one of the national parks, boarding is available at the Coral Coast Vet. Both daycare and long-term stays are available, plus a day spa menu.
Keeping Your Dog Safe Around Carnarvon
Unfortunately, 1080 bait is used in the Carnarvon region, so the local visitors centre recommends that dogs are kept on a leash, to minimise the chance of your dog swallowing one of these baits. Also consider using a muzzle, particularly if your dog likes to eat things it finds on the ground.