Lorne is of the most popular towns along the Great Ocean Road in southern Victoria. Just a two hour drive southwest of Melbourne, it’s a great destination for a weekend away with your dog, or a must-visit spot when driving along the Great Ocean Road. Find out what you can do when visiting Lorne with a dog…
Dog-Friendly Beaches in Lorne
The rules for dogs on beaches in Lorne vary, from areas where dogs are prohibited to time-share areas and an off-leash area.
If you’re wanting to enjoy some off-leash time with your dog on the beach anytime of year, head to the northern section of Lorne Beach. The year-round off-leash dog beach at Lorne is located roughly north of Doble Street until the town boundary. On Google Maps, search for “Lorne Dog Beach”.
South of Doble Street, the majority of the beach in Lorne has been designated as a timeshare zone. During December, January and February and over Easter, dogs are prohibited from the beach between 9am and 7pm. In the early morning and evening though, dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach.
During the rest of the year, from March to November except over Easter, dogs are allowed off-leash all day long, but need to stay under effective control.
The timeshare zone on Lorne Beach extends south of Doble Street until the southern edge of town at Shelly Beach and Point Grey, except for one section in the middle.
In the patrolled section of the beach, in between Grove Road and a little south of Bay Street (and the surf club), dogs are prohibited year round, except on leash on the path behind the beach. Note that dogs are also prohibited from Lorne Jetty.
For maps, see the council website.
Dog-Friendly Parks in Lorne
In addition to the beach, dogs are also allowed off-leash in one reserve in Lorne. Head a couple of blocks back from the beach in the centre of town to Stribling Reserve.
Dogs are allowed off-leash on this oval and the surrounding reserve, except when events are being held or prepared for, in which case they need to stay leashed.
Dog-Friendly Walks near Lorne
Lorne has some great foreshore walks that you can do together with your dog.
The Shipwreck Trail extends 1.5km south from the Swing Bridge across the Erskine River to Shelly Beach. A combination of gravel path and boardwalks, the trail also features plaques providing further details of the multiple shipwrecks off this section of the coast.
Dogs are allowed along the length of the walk, even when you pass the section of the beach where dogs are prohibited year round – keep them leashed and on the path. This also applies if walking alongside the timeshare zone during the day over the summer months and Easter.
To the north of the Swing Bridge, follow the 1km-long Bert Alsop Track to North Lorne and the year-round off-leash dog beach in Lorne.
Away from the foreshore, one of the few sections of the Great Otway National Park where leashed dogs are permitted is along the St George River Walk, on the southern side of Lorne. Follow the river past rocky pools and through fern gullies on this 2.7km-long walking track, accessible either from the Great Ocean Road at the river crossing or the Allenvale Mill Car Park.
Rather than retracing your footsteps, combine the St George River Walk with the Ocean Walk, linked up by a section Allenvale Road. See the map and directions for the so-called St George River Loop.
Another scenic spot on the edge of Lorne is Teddy’s Lookout, at the end of George Street. The lookout is also the starting point for the 1.6km Queens Park Lookout Loop. Leashed dogs are welcome to join you on the walk to three panoramic lookouts.
For more ideas, see this brochure about walks around Lorne for more ideas – see the section at the end listing which walks allow dogs.
Dog-Friendly Waterfalls near Lorne
The majority of the waterfalls located along the Great Ocean Road are located within the Great Otway National Park and no dogs are allowed. This includes the spectacular Erskine Falls near Lorne, plus Sheoak Falls just south of Lorne, accessible by a short walking trail.
Two popular dog-friendly waterfalls in the Otways instead are Beauchamp Falls or Stevensons Falls, both located in the dog-friendly Otway Forest Park. It’s about an hours drive inland from Lorne to Stevensons Falls, via Forrest. These falls are accessed via a short walk. For more information on both of these falls, see my guide to dog-friendly waterfalls in Victoria.
Dog-Friendly Cafes in Lorne
Plenty of cafes along the main strip of shops in Lorne have outdoor seating, where dogs are welcome to join you. I’ve heard positive reports about Lorne Central, the Bottle of Milk and Moons Licensed Espresso Bar.
However, my pick of the dog-friendly cafes in Lorne is the Swingbridge Cafe. This cafe is beautifully located right next to the Swing Bridge over the Erskine River, next to the timeshare zone of Lorne Beach.
It’s a great spot to enjoy a coffee while walking with your dog, especially outside of the peak summer months when dogs are allowed off-leash on the adjacent sand. Or grab a table to enjoy breakfast or lunch with a view. The cafe is open daily from 8am to 3pm.
Dog-Friendly Pubs in Lorne
Come dinner time, consider heading to the Lorne Hotel, these days part of the Merivale empire. While a little pricey, dogs are welcome in the outdoor areas at the hotel, although double check for any restrictions before taking a seat.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation near Lorne
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When visiting Lorne with your dog, choose between camping in your own caravan, campervan or tent, or make a booking for a terrific pet-friendly holiday cottage.
Dog-Friendly Caravan Parks in Lorne
If you’re wanting to camp in Lorne, the main caravan park in Lorne is the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park. This is actually five parks in one, with five areas at Erskine River, Kia Ora, Ocean Road, Top Bank and Queens Park (see the park map).
The rules for dogs differ at each area of the park. Dogs are only permitted seasonally at the Ocean Road and Top Bank campsites. Dogs are allowed from 1st February to 15th December, excluding certain holiday weekends: Easter, Labour Day, Kings Birthday, AFL Grand Final and Melbourne Cup.
The pet policy states that you need to notify the caravan park in advance that you’ll be bringing a dog. Only two dogs are allowed per site at the dog-friendly caravan parks, and dogs must be registered and vaccinated.
Dogs are not permitted in any cabins, and are not allowed at all at the Erskine River and Queens Park locations, plus at Kia Ora (which only consists of annual sites and cabins).
Note also that dogs are not permitted at the Cumberland River Holiday Park, south of Lorne, plus at the Allanvale bush campground, part of the Great Otway National Park.
Dog-Friendly Holiday Rentals near Lorne
A great pet-friendly apartment right in Lorne is Lorne Surfdogz. Designed with dog-owning couples in mind, the recently renovated apartment features an outdoor shower with dog shampoo, dog bed, kennel and a fully-enclosed dog-proof yard.
Dogs are allowed inside, as long as they are house trained and stay off the bed and couch. Note that there are only limited cooking facilities, with just a microwave, kettle and BBQ.
For more terrific pet-friendly holiday cottages not far Lorne, make a booking with Countrywide Cottages. Four cottages are available in this peaceful spot, about a 25-minute drive north of Lorne.
Choose from the two-bedroom Ferny Reach or Igloo Cottages, or the three-bedroom Villa or Canopy, with the latter accommodating up to nine guests. All cottages are self-contained and have their own fenced yard. Two night or longer minimum stays generally apply.
Dogs are warmly welcome in each cottage, with a cosy bed, blanket, dog bowls and home-made treats provided. Allow them to sleep on the furniture inside thanks to the furniture covers, or let them romp in the fenced dam outside.
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About the Author
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.