Finding pet-friendly holiday destinations
When planning a holiday, your enthusiasm can be dampened knowing that your favourite four-legged friend won’t be coming with you. Add to this the fact boarding kennels can be expensive and a petsitter just won’t do the same job — and before you know it, you’ve lost all motivation for that sunny vacation you had your sights set on.
Luckily, there’s now a growing number of pet-friendly destinations throughout Australia, in all the states and territories, so you can take your furry friend with you. You’ll find camping grounds, caravan parks, and hotels that offer all sorts of pet-friendly options so you and your pet can enjoy getting out and about together.
Pet-friendly caravan and camping parks
A few caravan and camping parks are entirely dedicated to the pet-friendly experience, providing luxury accommodation and every mod con for you and Buster. These include off-leash areas, treats upon arrival, hydrobaths, and luxury beds — all of which likely adds up to heaven for your four-legged friends.
A park in Gippsland, Victoria, called Best Friend Holiday Retreat was specifically designed as a place where dogs are just as welcome as their owners. Robert Jeges, who owns the park with his wife Helen, says if the pet owners want to go for a quick walk in nearby Tarra Bulga National Park, there’s no problem. “We have our luxury day kennels for the dogs, equipped with a TV, their own lounge, and a heater. It’s $25 for three hours,” he says.
Other caravan and camping parks are not quite as pet-friendly but they do allow pets to stay during certain periods of the year. A website called Camplify has compiled a list of 18 of their favourite pet-friendly parks throughout Australia, including lots of information about what facilities are available for pets.
BIG4 Holiday Parks provides a list of their parks and affiliates which are pet-friendly for each state or territory of Australia. Keep in mind it’s always best to double-check with the park about what’s available before booking. Each park has the right to change their rules at any time, especially during peak seasons.
No one’s in the doghouse
If you’re not so keen on camping or caravanning, BIG4 Holiday Parks lists 21 of their parks throughout Australia which offer pet-friendly cabins where your pet is welcome to stay inside. They also have some cabins where you can bring your pet but they must sleep on the veranda.
Quite a few Australian hotels have become more pet-friendly lately and some have done this on a grand scale. The Langham, Sydney has a Pampered Pets Program which allows your pet to stay in your room for an extra $120 per pet, per night. Cats, and dogs under 20 kilograms have their own plush pet beds, and receive a bag of treats upon check-in. The pet room-service menu includes beef steak with chunky vegetables, and grilled salmon with green beans, quail egg, tuna, potatoes, and olives.
The Mercure Canberra’s Pampered Pet Package includes a room with an adjoining fenced courtyard, pet bed, and take-home toy. In North Adelaide, the Hotel Old Adelaide welcomes dogs in two executive rooms with private courtyards and the hotel is within walking distance of the North Adelaide Dog Park. In Queensland’s Hervey Bay, Quarterdecks Retreat welcomes pets under ten kilograms — including dogs, cats, and birds — in 11 of its 61 villas.
Pet-friendly filters on popular booking sites
All the major hotel booking sites have a “pet-friendly” option you can select including Trivago, Wotif.com.au, Trip Advisor, lastminute.com.au, and Booking.com. These sites list a number of hotels and other accommodation that are pet-friendly but make sure you call the hotel you’re interested as options can change or certain conditions may apply. Often, only small dogs are allowed.
Other accommodation options
If you can’t find a pet-friendly hotel at the location you’re after, check real estate websites for the area and see if they have any pet-friendly options. Some real estate agencies have caught onto the idea that they need to be more flexible in this area, so you could have luck.
If you’re still looking, the popular accommodation website, Stayz allows you to include “pet-friendly” in your search. And there’s no shortage of possibilities: if you search Stayz for pet-friendly accommodation, both NSW and Victoria come up with over 2000 options each, Queensland has around 1100, South Australia and Western Australia over 900, Tassie over 250, the Northern Territory offers 36, and the ACT offers 26.
The other very popular accommodation site, AirBNB, doesn’t yet include a filter for “pet-friendly” but when you find a listing you’re interested in, you can see whether it allows pets. And if you find a property you just can’t resist, you can always make a special request to the owner to see if they’ll allow your pet to come along.
How to tell if a park or accommodation is pet-friendly
If you’re searching for a pet-friendly holiday park in your area, keep an eye out for this “Dogs Welcome” sign, which means your canine friend is welcome.
Questions to ask when booking pet-friendly accommodation
- Are there any extra costs to bring my pet to stay?
- Can my dog/cat stay inside?
- Is a kennel or a sleeping area provided?
- Is the property securely fenced?
- Is my dog required to be on a leash?
- Are there nearby exercise areas?
Tips for a problem-free holiday with your pet
- Ensure your pet is on leash at all times, if required by the venue.
- Ensure your pet is wearing a collar with ID at all times.
- Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. If a location requires proof of such vaccinations, have a copy from your vet ready to show.
- Consider a reflective collar/leash for your pet at night to maximise the chances of being seen by everyone.
- A long lead can be useful to allow your pet to wander without going too far.
What are your tips for where to take your pets with you on holidays?