It’s often stated that dogs are not allowed in national parks in Australia. However, this is not strictly true. While dogs are indeed prohibited from the vast majority of national parks in Australia, there is a small handful of national parks and other parks looked after by national park authorities that allow dogs.
Read on to find out more about the dog-friendly national parks in each state of Australia.
Why Are Dogs Usually Prohibited from National Parks in Australia?
Multiple reasons are given as to why dogs are usually prohibited from almost all national parks in Australia. However, the main reason is the impact of dogs on native wildlife, whose protection is a key purpose of many national parks.
As well as dogs potentially injuring or killing the wildlife, from small birds and reptiles up to large marsupials such as kangaroos, dogs can also indirectly harm native wildlife. The sight, sounds and smells of pets can cause stress to native animals, potentially leaving their homes or abandoning their young.
In addition, there are risks to pet dogs from visiting national parks. Most national parks use poisonous baits, particularly 1080 baits, to control foxes and other feral animals. These baits are fatal to dogs. Dogs are also at risk of snake bites, plus can be injured by kangaroos and goannas.
Dog-Friendly National Parks in ACT
The ACT is home to only one national park, Namadgi National Park, which takes up almost half of the land area of the territory. Dogs are not allowed inside this national park.
However, the ACT also contains multiple nature reserves and a wide variety of parks, many of which permit dogs inside of them, whether off-leash or leashed.
To view the latest list of dog-friendly parks in the ACT, go to the Find a Park page on the Parks ACT website, select to filter by Features and select one of “Dogs on-leash”, “Dogs off-leash”, “Dogs – conditional”, “Dog exercise area” or “Enclosed dog park”. (Don’t select them all, or nothing will be returned.)
Dogs are allowed on-leash in these nature reserves:
- Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve
- Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve
- Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve
- Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve
- Gossan Hill Nature Reserve
- Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve
- Kowen Escarpment Nature Reserve
- Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve
- Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve
- Mount Majura Nature Reserve
- Mount Mugga Mugga Nature Reserve
- Mount Pleasant Nature Reserve
- Mount Taylor Nature Reserve
- O’Connor Ridge Nature Reserve
- Oakey Hill Nature Reserve
- Percival Hill Nature Reserve
- Red Hill Nature Reserve
- The Pinnacle Nature Reserve
- Tuggeranong Hill Nature Reserve
- Urambi Hills Nature Reserve
- Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve
Dogs are also allowed off-leash in a number of parks including the following:
- Murrays Corner
- Swamp Creek
- Uriarra Crossing
Dog-Friendly National Parks in NSW
Pet dogs are not allowed in any national park in NSW. This even extends to carparks. For instance, while it’s usually fine to have a dog in your car when driving through a national park on a publicly accessible road (such as a highway) unless specifically prohibited, you are not allowed to stop and visit the national park (except use publicly accessible toilets), even if you leave your dog in your car.
However, dogs are allowed in the majority of the regional parks in NSW, which are also looked after by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Dogs are allowed in these regional parks:
- Berowra Valley Regional Park – Only selected trails
- Blue Gum Hills Regional Park
- Bomaderry Creek Regional Park
- Coffs Coast Regional Park – Selected beaches and lakes
- Euston Regional Park
- Goolawah Regional Park – Only Delicate campground (a great dog-friendly campsite in NSW) and beach
- Leacock Regional Park
- Murray Valley Regional Park
- Murrumbidgee Valley Regional Park – Only Bunyip Hole and Wooloondool campgrounds
- Ngula Bulgarabang Regional Park
- Parramatta River Regional Park – Only along designated walking trails, plus nearby foreshore parks to the east and west
- Rouse Hill Regional Park
- William Howe Regional Park
- Wolli Creek Regional Park
- Worimi Regional Park – Only along the beach for 3km south of Birubi Headland
- Yellomundee Regional Park – Only on selected bridle and management trails
For further details and any updates, check out this page. Note that dogs need to remain on-leash, plus are not allowed in picnic areas and children’s play areas, where applicable.
Dog-Friendly National Parks in Northern Territory
Dogs are generally not allowed in national parks in the Northern Territory, both the parks administered by Parks and Wildlife NT and those administered by Parks Australia. However, there are a few exceptions.
Dogs are permitted in the following areas of national parks in the Northern Territory:
- Charles Darwin National Park – Only sealed roads and in carparks, not in the picnic area or on mountain bike trails
- Judbarra / Gregory National Park – Only in carparks along the Victoria River Highway (including camping grounds along the highway)
- Keep River National Park – Only in Cockatoo Lagoon carpark
- Limmen National Park – Only in Butterfly Falls carpark and Munbililla Campground
- Watarrka National Park – Only Kings Canyon and Kathleen Springs carparks
Dogs are also permitted in the following nature parks and conservation reserves, generally on-leash unless other specified:
- Casuarina Coastal Reserve – Designated on-leash, off-leash and dog prohibited areas
- Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park – Only carpark
- Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve – Only carpark
- Holmes Jungle Nature Park – Only walking tracks and carparks
- Howard Springs Nature Parks – Only carpark on western park entry side
- Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve – Only carpark and day-use areas, not walking trails or campground
- Owen Springs Reserve – South of Waterhouse Range, including the campground
- Tree Point Conservation Area
- Yeperenye / Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park – Only carpark
For more information, including details on other type of parks that permit pets such as historical reserves, see this information sheet.
Dog-Friendly National Parks in Queensland
Like New South Wales, Queensland strictly does not allow pet dogs in any of its national parks, only to drive through on gazetted roads. It’s pointedly mentioned that you can’t even stop at lookouts.
However, dogs and other pets are welcome in selected conservation parks, state forests and recreation areas throughout the state, as long as they stay on a leash.
Dogs are allowed in the following conservation parks and recreation areas:
- Bunyavillle Conservation Park (Near Brisbane)
- Daisy Hill Conservation Park (Brisbane)
- Earl Hill Conservation Park (Cairns)
- Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area (South of K’gari (Fraser Island))
- Minjerribah Recreation Area (On North Stradbroke Island)
- Moggill Conservation Park (Near Brisbane)
- Moreton Bay Marine Park (Brisbane)
- Plunkett Conservation Park (Near Brisbane)
- Samford Conservation Park (Brisbane)
- Smithfield Conservation Park (Near Cairns)
While dogs are not allowed in all state forests in Queensland (unlike in NSW), dogs are also permitted in these Queensland state forests:
- Amamoor State Forest
- Barakula State Forest
- Benarkin State Forest
- Brooyar State Forest
- Byfield State Forest – Red Rock visitor area and the public access road
- Cardwell State Forest
- Cathu State Forest
- Coominglah State Forest
- Cordalba State Forest
- Kalpowar State Forest
- Tuan State Forest
- Tumoulin State Forest
- Vernon State Forest
- Wongabel State Forest
- Wongi State Forest
- Yarraman State Forest
For more information and tips on dog-friendly campsites in these areas, check out this guide.
Dog-Friendly National Parks in South Australia
There are a small number of national parks in South Australia where dogs are permitted to be walked on a leash. To view the latest list of these national parks, go to the Find a Park page on the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia website and filter by “Dog walking” under Activities.
The following national parks in South Australia currently permit dog walking:
- Adelaide International Sanctuary National Park (Winaityinaityi Pangkara)
- Belair National Park
- Coorong National Park – Only below the high water mark at Ocean Beach, with dogs required to be directly transported to and from the beach inside a vehicle. Dogs are not permitted in the waters of the Coorong Lagoon.
- Glenthorne National Park (Ityamaiitpinna Yarta)
- Murray River National Park – Only Lyrup Flats (including the campgrounds), Paringa Paddock, Kingston-on-Murray and the old Rodeo Grounds section at Katarapko
Additionally, the following parks also looked after by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, principally recreation parks and conservation parks, also allow dogs:
- Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary
- Anstey Hill Recreation Park
- Blackwood Forest Recreation Park
- Brownhill Creek Recreation Park
- Chowilla Game Reserve
- Cobbler Creek Recreation Park
- Innamincka Regional Reserve
- Kinchina Conservation Park
- Lashmar Conservation Park
- Marino Conservation Park
- Morialto Conservation Park
- Mount George Conservation Park
- Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park
- O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park (Part of part of Glenthorne National Park (Ityamaiitpinna Yarta))
- Onkaparinga River Recreation Park
- Para Wirra Conservation Park
- Shepherds Hill Recreation Park
- Sturt Gorge Recreation Park
- Totness Recreation Park
- Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park
- Wara Wayingga-Tennyson Dunes Conservation Reserve
Note that dogs are no longer permitted in Wirrabara Forest.
Dogs need to stay leashed and on designated walking trails in all of these parks, except for Blackwood Forest Recreation Park, which has been designated as off-leash. For more information on visiting parks in South Australia with a dog, check out this guide.
Dog-Friendly National Parks in Tasmania
Dogs are generally prohibited from most national parks and nature reserves in Tasmania. However, there is a short list of conservation and other reserves operated by Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania that permit dogs, generally on-lead only, but some with off-leash access.
Dogs are allowed at the following reserves in Tasmania:
- Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area – Campground only, on-lead only
- Bay of Fires Conservation Area – Only on designated walking tracks, beaches and campgrounds, on-lead only
- Coles Bay Conservation Area – Except some prohibited areas, both on-lead and off-leash areas
- Conningham Nature Recreation Area – Both on-lead and off-leash areas
- Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site – Both on-lead and off-leash areas
- Esperance River Picnic Area – Off-leash area
- Evercreech – On-lead only
- Goblin Forest Walk – On-lead only
- Hogarth Falls – Only on designated walking tracks, on-lead only
- Hollybank – On-lead only
- Humburg Point Nature Recreation Area – Campground only, on-lead only
- Kate Reed Nature Recreation Area – On-lead only
- loontitetermairrelehoine – Except for between 15th September to 15th April from dusk to dawn due to breeding seabirds, on-lead only
- Montezuma Falls – On-lead only
- Peggs Beach Conservation Area – Campground only, on-lead only
- Peter Murrell Reserves – Both on-lead and off-leash areas
- Recherche Bay Nature Recreation Area – Only campgrounds and signposted beaches, on-lead only
- Tahune Airwalk – On-lead only, entrance fee applies
- Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area – Only selected areas, on-lead only
- Waterhouse Conservation Area – Campground only, on-lead only
For further details, see the detailed information on this page.
Dog-Friendly National Parks in Victoria
Dogs are not allowed in most national parks in Victoria. While driving through national parks with a pet in your vehicle is permitted, pets need to remain within your vehicle. However, there are a few exceptions.
The following national parks in Victoria permit pets in the specified locations:
- Great Otway National Park – Many areas permit dogs on-lead, including the St George River Track, Lake Elizabeth, Johanna Beach and multiple walking tracks and beaches near Torquay
- Greater Bendigo National Park – Specified roads and trails in the One Tree Hill section of the park, on-lead only
- Kinglake National Park – Only on-leash in Frank Thomson Reserve
- Lake Eildon National Park – Only at Jerusalem Creek Campground
- Heathcote-Graytown National Park – Only on-leash in the McIvor Range area of the park
For full details on what areas permit dogs, see this page.
Additionally, there are a number of other dog-friendly parks located within Victoria. Examples of dog-friendly parks include:
- Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve
- Bendigo Regional Park
- Cape Conran Coastal Park
- Cardinia Reservoir Park – Except the reservoir walk and the Kangaroo Viewing Trail
- Creswick Regional Park
- Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park – Selected locations only
- Hepburn Regional Park
- Kurth Kiln Regional Park
- Lerderderg State Park – Selected locations only
- Macedon Regional Park
- Maroondah Reservoir Park – Except on forest walking tracks to the north of the Watts River and on the Dam Wall
- Otway Forest Park
- Silvan Reservoir Park
- Toorourrong Reservoir Park
- Woowookarung Regional Park
- Yan Yean Reservoir Park
- Yarra Bend Park – Except for a few areas, but there are some off-leash areas
- You Yangs Regional Park
Note that you should check the park-specific rules for pets, as they can vary from park to park. Generally dogs are required to be kept on-leash.
Additionally, in Victoria, dogs are allowed in all state forests, except for Murrindindi Scenic Reserve, as long as they are kept on a leash and under control. Just be wary of ticks.
Dog-Friendly National Parks in Western Australia
Pet dogs are strictly prohibited from nearly all national parks in Western Australia. When visiting the state, I noticed that there were more signs than usual stating that pets are not allowed. On many access roads, there are signs saying if you have a domestic dog in your vehicle, turn around now.
It’s permitted to drive through a national park with a dog in your vehicle if there is no other practical access, but you are not permitted to stop in the park and must keep your animal inside the vehicle at all times. There are also exceptions for travelling by boat through a marine park or reserve.
At this stage, there is just one national park where dogs are permitted in two locations. At Blackwood River National Park in southwestern WA, dogs are permitted at both the Sues Bridge and Warner Glen campgrounds.
Dogs are also allowed in the following reserves managed by the WA Parks and Wildlife Service:
- Big Brook State Forest – Including Big Brook Arboretum and campground, plus the Big Brook Dam, but not the beach area
- Lane Poole Reserve – Only campgrounds and recreation areas, not on the walking trails including the King Jarrah Walk Trail, the Fawcett Track, the Bibbulmun Track and the Munda Biddi Trail due to the presence of 1080 baiting
- Logue Brook Dam – Including the campground
- One Tree Bridge Conservation Park – At least Greens Island campground
- Rapids Conservation Park – Including the Canebrook Pool campground
- Stockton Lake – Including the campground
Note that dogs need to remain on a leash, and follow any other rules specified in each park. For more details, see the information provided by the WA Parks and Wildlife Service.
In late 2021, there was a proposed amendment to allow dogs at Sandy Beach in Walpole-Nornalup National Park and Mazzoletti Beach in William Bay National Park, both on the southern coast of WA. However, this did not go ahead.
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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.