The small city of Mildura is located in northwestern Victoria, on the banks of the Murray River. It’s also a common stopover point when travelling between Sydney and Adelaide. Find out what to do when visiting Mildura with a dog, plus tips for dog-friendly cafes and pet-friendly accommodation.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Mildura
I haven’t had a chance to properly explore Mildura with my dog, as last time I passed through the city I needed to quickly cross the border to South Australia due to a pending Covid lockdown. However, the city has a surprising number of dog-friendly attractions, so I’m planning to return and check these out…
#1 Go for a Ride on a Paddleboat
I’ve previously enjoyed a cruise on a paddle steamer with my dog at Echuca, further upstream along the Murray River. But it’s also possible to enjoy a paddleboat ride with your dog in Mildura.
Make a booking with the pet-friendly Mildura Paddle Steamers. Dogs are likely only allowed on the Two Hour Lock Cruise, not the dinner cruise – double check when booking. Depending on the date, either a paddle steamer or a paddle vessel will be operating.
It’s essential to call up beforehand to let them know you’ll be bringing your pup along. But in return they’ll be treated to pats from staff and other guests.
#2 Explore the Australian Inland Botanical Gardens
Just across the Murray from Mildura are the Australian Inland Botanical Gardens in Buronga. Best of all, these community-run gardens welcome pet dogs on a leash, unlike many other botanic gardens in NSW.
Highlights of the gardens include the Desert Pea display (such a stunning outback flower!), the bush chapel, the nature trail and the rose garden. It’s possible to complete a self-drive trail around the gardens.
#3 Hire a Houseboat
For a different kind of holiday, consider hiring a dog-friendly houseboat for a relaxing holiday on the Murray with your pup. There are two houseboat operators in Mildura that offer pet-friendly houseboats for hire.
First of all, check out the award-winning houseboats from Mildura Houseboats. When I last checked, they had seven pet-friendly houseboats, ranging in size from six to 12 berths, some with onboard spas.
It’s essential that you organise in advance to bring your dog along. Note that only two pets are permitted, with an additional charge of $50 per pet. Pets also need to be kept off all furniture, with a fee for extra cleaning or damage.
All Seasons Houseboats, also based in Mildura, also has pet-friendly houseboats. Currently they allow pets on board four of their houseboats. Note that only a single pet is permitted, with an pet fee of $30 per night charged. Pets need to be kept off beds and furniture.
#4 View the Red Cliffs
It’s just a 20 minute drive east of Mildura to Red Cliffs, where not surprisingly you can enjoy some excellent views of the red cliffs along this section of the Murray River.
Follow the signs to the Red Cliffs Scenic Reserve, just off Woomera Avenue. The boardwalk that was previously washed away in floods has been replaced, and is a scenic short walk that you can do with your dog.
There is also a lookout nearby, about 300m to the north, accessed from a short turn-off. But I’ve heard mixed reports, including that the main lookout is current behind a fence, so perhaps just stick to the new boardwalk.
#4 Check Out Big Lizzie
Another iconic attraction in Red Cliffs is “Big Lizzie”. It’s not a large lizard, but a gigantic tractor that was used to clear land for settlement in the surrounding region. Everyone says it’s bigger than you expect!
Big Lizzie is located in Barclay Square, a well-maintained park in the centre of Red Cliffs.
#5 Explore the Mildura Station Homestead
On the northern side of Mildura is the Mildura Station Homestead. Not just one building, it’s a collection of reconstructed buildings on the site of an 1850s homestead.
While it’s not possible to view the interior of the buildings, it’s free to wander around the grounds, with no restriction against dogs. Take a wander and view the exterior of the buildings and the gardens, imaging what life used to be like in Mildura in the 19th century.
#6 Taste the Wine at Trentham Estate
The Riverina area is home to countless vineyards, but the best option to visit around Mildura is Trentham Estate, about a 15 minute drive from Mildura across the border in NSW.
As well as tasting wines at their cellar door, open seven days a week, they also have a restaurant onsite and a menu of outdoor platters. Dogs are welcome to join you when you sit in the outdoor dining area – perfect situated overlooking the Murray River!
#7 Take a Tour of Orange World
A short drive north of Mildura on the other side of the Murray River is Orange World Mildura – keep your eyes open for the giant orange just off the road! Drop into Orange World to go on one of their tours.
The tours are offered three times daily, except when they are closed in February and on selected public holidays. The tours include an orange tasting, a free glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a tractor ride. Leashed dogs are welcome to join you, including on the tractor ride.
#8 Enjoy a Gin or Whiskey Tasting
If you’re not a wine lover, instead head to Fossey’s Distillery. This boutique distillery in the heart of Mildura is open from Thursday to Sunday from mid-afternoon to late.
Choose from a gin or whiskey tasting paddle to taste their range of gins and whiskeys. A wide range of gin and tonics is also available, including seasonal mixes, plus a food menu ranging from platters to toasties to tapas. Dogs are welcome, with water and treats sometimes brought out for pups.
Dog-Friendly Parks in Mildura
This large, spacious dog park is regularly praised by visitors. There’s two separate areas for small and large dogs, plus shaded tables, a water fountain and even a sandpit. There’s also plenty of parking. Just be warned there isn’t much shade if you visit in the middle of the day, and signs warn about possible snakes.
Dog-Friendly Cafes in Mildura
There’s plenty of dog-friendly cafes in Mildura with outdoor tables, including along Langtree Avenue and the Mall. Or else head to the riverside for some great dog-friendly options.
Bobby + Me is located in the Ornamental Lakes Park, with tables scattered under the trees. Extra dog-friendly, they offer puppycinos, puppy cakes and cookies for four-legged guests. For humans they offer hot and cold drinks, both a breakfast and all-day brunch menu and lots of sweet options. The cafe is open daily until mid-afternoon.
Another highly rated cafe further along the riverfront is Shippys Cafe. There’s plenty of outdoor dining tables, that are popular with both local and visiting dog owners. This cafe is also open daily for breakfast and lunch, although the food menu is limited.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Mildura
There’s a large number of caravan parks around Mildura, on both sides of the border. Nearly all parks allow dogs, at least on campsites, often year round.
One park that allows pets year round is the Apex Riverbeach Holiday Park, right on the river on the northern side of Mildura. As well as allowing pets on all sites, pets are also allowed in six pet-friendly cabins – both 2-berth and 4-berth Ensuite Cabins. There’s also a convenient dog wash onsite. Just note, there are ongoing renovations to other facilities following the recent floods.
Also keep an eye out for the re-opening of Discovery Parks – Buronga Riverside, on the NSW side of the border. Pet-friendly features of this park included pet-friendly cabins, a fenced dog park, an onsite dog wash, a washing machine for pet bedding and even poles outside of the amenities block to leash your pup. It’s expected to re-open in April 2024 following the floods.
If you’re looking for an apartment, the Sunraysia Resort in Mildura has three pet-friendly two-bedroom apartments, that sleep up to six. There’s also a pet-friendly four-bedroom house and houseboat. Bookings with pets must be made directly in advance, and an additional fee applies. The resort has a range of facilities for the whole family.
Another option around Mildura are the many free campgrounds along the banks of the Murray River. Rules vary (including many with time limits or a requirement for you to be self-contained), but most allow dogs.
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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.