national parks and travelling with a dog

National parks and travelling with a dog

Trying to figure out if you can combine visiting national parks and travelling with a dog? Read on!

Since starting this blog we’ve been contacted by a number of people who are making preparations for their own similar trips and want to know how we’ve found the experience when it comes to national parks and other dog-unfriendly zones.

There have been a few occasions where for whatever reason – lack of planning , usually – we’ve not been able to do something we wanted to (hiking in Wilsons Promontory and camping in Cape le Grand National Park are two that spring to mind). However, overall, the experience of having Neddy along with us has been an overwhelmingly positive one. In fact, we’ve been to some awesome places we might never have found except that we were going out of our way to include him in our adventures.

Here are our best tips for travelling with a dog and sans FOMO:

  • Sniff out fellow travelling dog owners at camp sites (or let your dog do this). Ask if they’d be interested in doing a dog-sitting swap so you can take turns visiting national parks
  • As you’re nearing a location Google ‘pet sitting’ or ‘dog sitting’ (or look on Gumtree) to find pet setting businesses or locals who are happy to mind your dog for a small fee
  • If you’re super organised and know your dates you could put an ad on Gumtree in advance offering to pay a small fee for someone to look after your dog
  • We recently tried Holidog but didn’t receive any responses. We were in a relatively urban area at the time and there seemed to be plenty of sitters around so maybe we were just unlucky. Despite this and the fact that the website was a bit glitchy (for example, we’d set search parameters which would be ignored) we’ll probably try it again as it seems a good alternative to kennels
  • When we visited The Pinnacles in the Numbung National Park (a few hours north of Perth) we discovered that the local Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) office in Cervantes had three dog kennels on site where you could leave your dog for free (during office hours only). We’ve emailed head office to see if any other DPAW offices offer a similar service and we’re waiting to hear back. NOTE: if you do find this service available be sure to take a bowl of water for your dog and maybe a bone. And possibly a padlock to lock the kennel door. It’s unlikely someone would wander onto the DPAW premises and take your dog but you can never be too careful …
  • Although they often don’t advertise it, some vets offer short term boarding. Call to enquire
  • Use kennels. In our experience these cost between $20-$30 a day. The quality varies though, so do your research
  • On some occasions we’ve parked near an attraction we’ve wanted to visit that wasn’t dog-friendly and then walked there, leaving Neddy in the car (we would never do this if it’s hot). With this in mind two items we highly recommend purchasing if you’re travelling with a dog are a windscreen shield and some insect net sleeves that go over the back windows of your car. No matter the outside temperature the shield keeps the car significantly cooler (dogs aside it’s also so much nicer getting back into a car rather than an oven); the sleeves make it harder to see into your car from the outside, plus they offer some sun protection too.

We’ve come across lots of people who simply take their dogs with them and risk the fine. Of course this usually works best with small, discreet dogs (ie not Neddy), however, we’re not recommending you break the law.

And if you’ve got any tips of your own let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear them.

See also: our Travelling with a dog archives might come in handy if you’re preparing to travel Australia with your dog.