So, you’re planning on heading to the snow in Australia this upcoming winter, but this time you want to bring along your dog. But where can you see the snow that allows dogs?
Unfortunately, most ski resorts in Australia are off-limits to dogs, whether they are located in a national park (such as Thredbo and Perisher in Kosciuszko National Park in NSW) or they are a private resort that restricts the entry of dogs (Mt Buller Resort only allows dogs with a permit, that are only granted to residents not visitors).
However, there are a few dog-friendly snow destinations that you can still visit, although with varying chances of snow! Check out these options around Australia…
#1 Dinner Plain, VIC
Chance of snow: High
The best option for visiting the snow in Australia with your dog is the alpine resort of Dinner Plain in the High Country of Victoria, close to Mount Hotham. Dogs are welcome in the dog-friendly Dinner Plain without a permit, and there is even dog-friendly accommodation available. Plus there’s a pretty good chance of snow during the winter months!
Note that the village is partially surrounded by national park, so it’s a must to keep your dog on a leash and there are limited options for where you can go with your dog – the tobogganing area is off limits to dogs for everyone’s safety.
Instead stick to the roads and tracks around the village. Follow the 1km-long Fitzy’s Cirque on its northern edge or the longer Collector’s Cirque all the way around Dinner Plain, keeping just outside the national park. Consider hiring snow shoes for yourself!
If visiting during the summer, there is an off-leash area near the treatment ponds at Appian Way. Over winter, there is no official off-leash area, but the tennis courts are a defacto option when snow is on the ground – not exactly the weather for tennis!
If you want to stay at Dinner Plain, search and book for dog-friendly accommodation on the Dinner Plain website well in advance – it often gets booked out. Alternatively, stay in nearby Bright, then it’s about a 90 minute drive to Dinner Plain. Either way, you’ll need snow chains for your vehicle.
#2 Mount Macedon, VIC
Chance of snow: Moderate
If you live in Melbourne and want to visit somewhere with your dog closer to home, consider heading to Mount Macedon on sub-zero mornings. At 1001m high, this mountaintop is one of the best places on the outskirts of Melbourne, just over an hours drive away.
To confirm whether there’s any snow on the ground, the Top of the Range Tearoom operates a snow webcam during opening hours, or just keep an eye on the weather reports.
Best of all, Mount Macedon is contained in the Macedon Regional Park, with dogs welcome throughout the park as long as they stay on leash, including the areas around the tearooms at the top of the mountain and the walk to nearby Camels Hump.
Make sure you car is up for the drive on slippery roads, and be quick before the snow disappears by late morning.
#3 Jindabyne, NSW
Chance of snow: Low
The town of Jindabyne is the gateway to the snow fields of NSW. While dogs are not allowed in the actual snow fields, dogs can join you in Jindabyne, although dog-friendly accommodation options are limited if you don’t have your own heated caravan.
Jindabyne is at a lower altitude, so it only occasionally snows right down in the town. But most years there will be a day or two where there is a heavy enough fall for a play in the snow – perfect for a fun time with your dog! Stay listening to the weather reports and be prepared for an impromptu visit to make the most of it.
Find out more about visiting Jindabyne in my dog-friendly Snowy Mountains guide, including dog-friendly breweries, cafes and walks.
#4 Corin Forest, ACT
Chance of snow: High
In chilly Canberra, there’s a chance of a few sprinklings of snow most winters, although usually there’s not enough snow to play in. Instead, to be guaranteed of plenty of snow, drive south of Canberra about 45 minutes to Corin Forest.
Every winter the forest operates a snow play area, with a combination of snowguns and snowmaking machines generating plenty of snow cover every day, with an entry fee applying. It’s a popular option for families with children too young to ski.
Four legged family members are not overlooked, with Corin Forest hosting a handful of designated Snow Dogs sessions each September, at the end of the season.
It’s best to keep an eye on their Facebook page and website during August to find out the date and make a booking, with sessions selling out quickly. Note that the area isn’t the biggest (think fenced dog park size), so your dog should be okay around other dogs.
#5 Blue Mountains, NSW
Chance of snow: Low
If you live in Sydney, another option for an impromptu visit to experience the snow is the Blue Mountains area. Some winters, snow falls in the nearby mountains, particularly on the western side around Oberon, or in the Southern Highlands.
It’s best to keep a close eye on the weather reports, as any snow is likely to melt by late morning. Either head up early in the morning while it’s still dark, or make a booking for somewhere dog-friendly the night before, and then cross your fingers.
While parts of the Blue Mountains are contained in national park, there’s still plenty of dog-friendly places. I’ve previously visited the dog-friendly Mayfield Garden just outside of Oberon with my dog during Autumn. It must be magical when snow falls on it occasionally during winter!
#6 Mt Wellington, TAS
Chance of snow: Moderate
Right next to the Tasmanian capital of Hobart looms up the impressively tall Mount Wellington or kunanyi. At 1200m tall, falls of snow on its summit are not uncommon in winter, and can in fact occur any time of year, even in the summer months.
While it’s not the only place in Tasmania that there’s a good chance of experiencing snow in winter, it’s a convenient and fairly dog-friendly option. Dogs on a leash are permitted on selected tracks and trails in the Recreation Zone of Wellington Park, lower down the mountain. See this map and brochure for more details.
Note however that dogs are only allowed on the actual summit, known as the Pinnacle, if they stay confined inside your vehicle. So if you’re wanting to play in the snow with your dog, it’s best to visit when snow falls down lower.
Allow about 30 minutes for the drive all the way to the summit from the centre of Hobart, although note it may be closed due to snowfalls.
#7 Stanthorpe, QLD
Chance of snow: Very low
While it’s surprising to include somewhere in Queensland in this list, the town of Stanthorpe in the high country of southeastern Queensland is the coldest town in the state and has experienced snow at times. There’s even a giant thermometer in the town next to the visitors centre displaying the temperature!
Stanthorpe is about a three hour drive from Brisbane, so best visited for a long weekend stay, not an impromptu visit. The chances of snow falling if you organise a visit in advance is rather low, but it’s still a great destination for a snug weekend away, cosying up next to a fire with your pup, and enjoying some wine tasting.
Stanthorpe is the centre of the Granite Belt wine region and there’s plenty of cellar doors that welcome dogs, including inside – the ideal option when it’s chilly outside. Find out more about visiting Stanthorpe with a dog, any time of year.
Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Snow
Dogs tend to have different reactions to snow, from loving to hating the cold wet stuff. Schnitzel is not a fan with his short legs, and after encountering snow a few times in Europe would much rather snuggle up inside!
It’s best to only spend short periods of time in the snow with your dog, especially when they are experiencing it for the first time. Have somewhere you can retreat to and warm up, whether a chalet (the advantage of staying onsite in Dinner Plain) or just your car and the heater.
Consider getting a coat for your dog, especially small or short-haired dogs. Some people use booties or paw protectors for their dogs, but if they’re not used to them already, it’s probably best to skip introducing them during a quick visit.
You May Also Like
- Fun Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Country Victoria
- Dog-Friendly Historic Train Rides in Australia
- Best Dog-Friendly Boat Cruises in Australia
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.