Dog-Friendly Margaret River: Visiting Margaret River with a Dog

The Margaret River region is famous for both its incredible surfing beaches and world-class wineries. Luckily, when visiting the Margaret River region in Western Australia with your dog, it’s possible to experience both, as well as many other highlights.

Dog-Friendly Margaret River

Dog-Friendly Wineries in Margaret River

There’s a long list of cellar doors in the Margaret River region, many that are open daily to the public for wine tasting and many that are dog-friendly. 

To find out the full list of dog-friendly wineries in the region, I recommend dropping into the visitors centre in Margaret River, who maintain an up-to-date listing of pet-friendly wineries (combined with their listing of child-friendly wineries), or search on the Margaret River website. 

Unfortunately, the listing doesn’t mention which wineries allow dogs inside. While some wineries give dogs free rein, other wineries only allow dogs outside. It’s best to contact individual wineries to confirm. 

One of the most dog-friendly wineries we visited was Swings & Roundabouts. This award-winning venue is very dog-friendly, allowing dogs inside. We even saw some dogs relaxing next to their owners in the semi-enclosed dining area. Although the beautiful outdoor area including its distinctive swing seats would be hard to pass over on a beautiful day. There’s also a cute dog drinking station outside.

Swings and Roundabouts with Dog
Outside Swings & Roundabouts
Swings at Swings and Roundabouts
The beautiful swing seats outside

During our visit we also went to Cape Mentelle. However, while the winery is listed as dog-friendly, dogs are not allowed inside where tastings generally happen. We were given the option of doing our tasting outside at a picnic table, but that would have been a hassle with the long list of wines on the tasting list.

If you’re interested in taking a winery tour with your pup, contact Grape Escape to find out about their private Pawesome Tours.

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Margaret River

The Margaret River is equally renown for its surfing beaches, and in this regard dogs haven’t been overlooked. While dogs are strictly forbidden from the beaches that lie within Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and the main swimming beaches, there are also off-leash beaches dotted throughout the region.

One of the best off-leash beaches to visit is Gnarabup Beach, at Prevelly, just a few kilometres west of the actual town of Margaret River and close to the popular Surfer’s Point. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the northern section of the beach, plus in Riflebutts Reserve behind the dunes, except in the playground. 

Gnarabup Off-Leash Dog Beach
The off-leash section of Gnarabup Beach

Another off-leash beach is located at Gracetown, the next town north. To access the off-leash section of the beach (dogs are prohibited from the main swimming stretch at the northern end), look for the dirt access road just before Percy Street. Dogs are also allowed on northern part of Yallingup Beach. 

Gracetown Off-Leash Dog Beach
Following the rainbows at Gracetown Dog Beach

Augusta, at the southern tip of the Margaret River region, is also home to a long section of dog-friendly foreshore. The section that runs alongside Albany Terrace, from the river mouth to near the caravan park, allows dogs off-leash.

Augusta Off-Leash Dog Beach
The start of the off-leash area in Augusta

Finally, there’s also a number of off-leash beaches if you head to the northern reaches of the region, to the towns of Dunsborough and Busselton, on the calm waters of Geographe Bay. 

Dogs are allowed on much of the Dunsborough Foreshore, just check the local signage, plus at Bunker Bay on Cape Naturaliste. And most of the beach west of the centre of Busselton allows off-leash dogs year round, except for a stretch near the Margaret Street carpark that prohibits dogs during the summer months. 

Busselton Off-Leash Dog Beach
Busselton also allows off-leash dogs on part of its beach

For more information, see the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River website and City of Busselton website

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Margaret River

Your dog-friendly sightseeing options in the Margaret River region aren’t limited to just wineries and beaches, with many other fun dog-friendly options available.

1. Check Out the Surf

It wouldn’t be a visit to Margaret River without checking out its renown surfing breaks! 

One of the most famous spots is Surfer’s Point, in Prevelly, immediately west of the town of Margaret River. Head to the lookout, just keeping your dog on a leash, and check out the action on the breaks down below.

Watching the Surf at Surfers Point
Checking out the surf at Surfer’s Point
Surfers Point
Not the best waves today…

The point is also a great spot to watch the sunset, and on busy days food vans often pull up here from late in the afternoon.

2. Stroll Through Cowaramup

While the town of Margaret River is quite chic, with a strip of upmarket restaurants, cafes and boutiques, the town of Cowaramup to the north retains its country charm. 

Take a wander along its main street, stopping in at some of its excellent food stores selling products ranging from handmade chocolate to preserves to locally roasted coffee. While pet dogs aren’t allowed inside, there’s often water bowls outside. 

Temper Temper Fine Chocolate Cowaramup
Temper Temper Fine Chocolate in Cowaramup

Along the way, spot the sculptures of cows that dot the town – partially in reference to the town’s name, plus a nod to the significant milk production of the surrounding farms. There’s also some beautiful murals to check out, including the bird wings at the Cowaramup Agencies building. 

Cowaramup Cow Sculptures
A pair of the many cow sculptures

3. Relax with a Local Beer

If you prefer to relax with an ale instead of sip a wine, you’ll be delighted to find a growing number of breweries dotted throughout the Margaret River region. And luckily, nearly all of the breweries are dog-friendly. On the list provided by the visitors centre, seven breweries are listed as dog-friendly, although sometimes just in certain areas.

We made a late afternoon stop at Wild Hop Brewery in Yallingup. Catching plenty of afternoon sunshine while looking out over the dam, it was a great way to wrap up the day. Dogs are permitted on the deck at the brewery, including the enclosed section, plus the grass, with the staff very welcoming to dogs. The brewery offers ten taps of batch-brewed beer with the option to choose your own tasting paddle.

Wild Hop Brewery with Dog
Out on the deck at Wild Hop Brewery
Wild Hop Brewery Tasting Paddle
Tasting paddle complete with choice of snack

4. Drive Along Caves Road

While there’s a highway that passes through Margaret River and down to Augusta, the more scenic alternative is Caves Road, particularly the southern section. Along this stretch the road passes through magnificent stretches of jarrah, karri and marri forest, particularly at Boranup Forest.

Boranup Forest Drive
Driving through the towering karris at Boranup Forest

While most of this section lies within Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, with pets not allowed, its fine for pet dogs to be in your vehicle along the main road, as long as you don’t stop inside the park boundaries.

5. Watch for Whales

During the cooler months of the year whales can often be seen off the coast of the Margaret River region, so head to a coastal lookout with your dog and see if you can spot any.

Southern Right Whales can often be seen around August between the months of June to August, migrating north. Some of the best locations to watch for whales lie along the dog-friendly Whale Trail walking path (see below). 

From September to early December, you’ll have a better chance of spotting whales at Geographe Bay near Busselton and Dunsborough, when the whales returning south enter the bay to rest and nurse their young. 

6. Buy Some Local Venison Dog Treats

One of the more unusual food outlets that you can visit in the region is Margaret River Venison. While naturally pet dogs are not allowed to enter the store with you, they’ll be certainly glad that you do!

As well as a range of salamis, sausages and steaks for humans, there’s also options for your pup. Rolls of pet-grade meat are available, plus check out the range of venison bones sitting on the counter, intended for pet treats. 

Margaret River Venison Pet Treats
Pet treats at the counter at Margaret River Venison

Dog-Friendly Walks in Margaret River

A long walk or two is handy for burning off the fine food, wine and beer that it’s easy to indulge in while visiting the Margaret River. One dog-friendly option close to Margaret River is the combined cycle-pedestrian path linking Margaret River township to Prevelly, which also conveniently passes right by some wineries.

If you head down to Augusta, along the foreshore runs the Whale Trail. Starting at the Blackwood River mouth near the Lions Park, the trail runs for 6km, all the way to the August Boat Harbour. The first section of the walk passes along the off-leash section of beach in Augusta.

Whales Trail
Walk along the Whale Trail walk

Dog-Friendly Dining in Margaret River

With so many wineries and fine food outlets abounding in the region, there’s no shortage of wonderful restaurants and cafes to dine out, and luckily many of them permit dogs, at least in their outdoor areas.

As I mentioned above, one of the most dog-friendly wineries around is Swings & Roundabouts, that permits dogs inside, including in their outdoor and semi-enclosed dining areas. There’s both a pizza menu and full menu on offer.

Alternatively, head to The Berry Farm, tucked into the hills to the east of Margaret River. Star of the menu are their own jams, chutneys and more, which you can also buy at the onsite outlet. I highly recommend the scones with delightfully thick strawberry jam. There’s plenty of outdoor tables that are dog-friendly. 

Scones at The Berry Farm
Scones with their own jam at The Berry Farm

Another option to consider is Olio Bello. A producer of fine organic olive oils, their menu is heavily Italian, featuring their own olive oil, alongside a range of farm product. Make sure you book an outdoor table, with dog water bowls provided. 

Olio Bello Outdoor Dining
Outdoor tables at Olio Bello, complete with dog bowls

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Margaret River

We found that the Margaret River region had a far higher proportion of caravan parks that don’t allow dogs than other regions in Western Australia. However, there are still quite a few pet-friendly options if you have your own caravan or tent, with one of the most dog-friendly options being Southern Stars at Dunsborough. 

At Southern Stars, dogs owners are actually encouraged to bring their pets. A highlight are the handful of fenced powered and unpowered sites (for an extra charge), perfect for parking up your caravan or pitching tent, and not worrying about keeping your dog leash. There’s also an enclosed off-leash area for all canine guests and they can provide a list of local dog-sitters, in case your need to leave your dog behind one day. 

Southern Stars Pet-Friendly Sites
Fenced sites at Southern Stars
Southern Stars Dog Exercise Yard
Plus an enclosed off-leash exercise area

While the park is a little more expensive than other options, there’s also terrific amenities for humans, including a large camp kitchen, lounge, and ensuite-style bathrooms, all very new and modern, plus the owners and managers are extremely friendly. 

Another centrally-located pet-friendly caravan park in the Margaret River region is the Margaret River Tourist Park, within the town of Margaret River. Note that dogs are only allowed in the camping areas, at the manager’s discretion, not in the cabins.

Another fun alternative that we didn’t check out is Big Valley Campsite, a family-owned sheep farm 10-minutes southeast of Margaret River. With its casual, family-friendly atmosphere, there’s also the option to hire camping equipment, including tents.

If you’re looking for something fancier, one of the best dog-friendly accommodation options in the Margaret River is Petra Olive Oil Estate, who have five dog-friendly luxury chalets on the estate. There are some conditions for dogs to stay (they must be vaccinated, desexed and at least one year old), for an additional charge of $25 per night. Double check for permission to bring two dogs. 

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