Brisbane’s top 5 places to let the dogs out this weekend
Dog people are a special breed and I can say that because I’m one of them #CrazyDogLady.
In our household, we don’t refer to our fury friends as dogs. They are the boys. My loyal yet intense chi-chi x mini foxie Bear is my fur baby and my brother’s two hectic but loveable Australian miniature bulldogs – Bentley and Tonka – are my fur nephews.
Our boys are integral members of the family and just like the rest of us, they deserve weekend escapades to relieve the stresses of the working week (aka patrolling the backyard and protecting our worldly possessions).
It’s time to let the proverbial out of the bag and share these top five pet-friendly things to do so you can take the whole family out this weekend.
1. Hunt and gather at farmers markets
If you love buying fresh produce direct from the farmer, Jan Power Farmers Markets in New Farm is a must and they openly welcome well-behaved pets. I swear little Bear knows it’s market day when Saturday morning rolls around.
We love the weekly ritual of rising early to boycott the supermarket and instead, enjoy our quality time together, fresh air and real fruit and veg that make our tastebuds sing all week.
Poochie can burn off his pent up frustration before you hit the stalls which will ensure a much calmer experience with less lead tugging and embarrassing territory marking.
On the other side of the river, West End is a colourful suburb and the Saturday markets are no exception. Here people and dogs of all walks of life come together to eat, shop and eat some more. There’s no off-leash area but there is a huge field to share breakfast with a mischievous pup who usually shows poor table manners at cafés (like mine).
TIP: For you, I recommend a crispy potato fritter from Roesti Revolution while a delectable dried trotter, snout or ear from the dog treat stall will result in a sit-drop-n-roll in about two seconds flat.
2. Bow wow chow down
With puppachinos on the menu, it doesn’t have to be a dog-eat-dog world. Our Place Coffee Garden in bayside suburb Victoria Point puts a new spin on dog-friendly and is definitely worth a look-see.
The White House is a quaint community hub with a nail salon, hair dressers, florist and café. Best of all, there’s special off-leash garden out the back for furry friends to kick back and relax.
Socialise over a doggy treat, dig through the toy box or let sleeping dogs lie on the day beds. If you’ve still got energy to burn, head through the back gate and cut-sick in the agility section in the neighbouring dog park.
TIP: The puppacinos, made with lactose-free milk, are human size and are best to share with a friend. The crème brulatte (espresso with crème brulee topping), will have you salivating like a Saint Bernard too.
3. Bushwalk city limits
Domestic pets are not allowed in national parks but you can still head to state forests to get physical with your best mate.
There’s some fantastic walking tracks around Brisbane’s highest peak, Mt Coot-tha, which is easy to access from any direction. The Honeyeater Track is a moderate two-kilometre climb to the Summit Lookout starting from Chapel Hill in Brisbane’s west.
It’s easy to forget you’re in a capital city as you wind your way up the hill and admire bush landscapes without a rooftop in sight.
TIP: It’s not a difficult walk, but it does get steep in parts and my little guy refused to go any further than the half way mark. BYO your own water and persevere to the top for the killer views of the city and a chance to refuel at the café.
4. Cruise south-side to the sea-side
There’s nothing like hitting the open road and hightailing it to the beach for some off-leash sea, sand and salt action.
About an hour’s drive from Brisbane, The Southport Spit on the Gold Coast is sure to unleash your inner spirit animal. This place is not for the faint hearted though as it’s always high energy and occasionally chaotic! There are dogs of all breeds and sizes who run, splash and howl in excitement.
Enter the water with care as the conditions here can get rough and don’t underestimate the strength of the current. During our last visit, Bentley and Tonka had to be plucked from the waves after miscalculating the water’s depth.
Palm Beach is about another 40 minutes south but is a much more subdued experience. Less hard-core sorts can splash around in the shallow waters of the calm estuary and there’s a handy snack bar at the entrance, plenty of shady trees and consequently lots of sticks to fetch.
TIP: The car park at Palm Beach fills up quick so arrive early to avoid disappointment. If your pooch is more adventurous and craves gnarly waves, whippet around the corner to the off-leash section on the surf beach.
5. Cut loose on the north side
If all dogs go to heaven, Brisbane’s north side must be cloud nine. At low tide, Sandgate has the best giant, ankle-deep puddles to tear through at pace.
The sweet-smelling mud flats are intriguing for the senses, perfect for rolling in and digging up and there’s a path along the waterfront for a leisurely stroll. All this running around is sure to get your tummy growling so drop into Doug’s Seafood Café for lunch or a scoop of ice-cream.
At Nudgee Beach, Tuckeroo Park has a huge off-leash section with a designated swimming area. Teach your old dog new tricks at the free-entry obstacle course or wander down to the tidal section of the beach on-lead.
TIP: Unless you want to upset the rangers, don’t venture into the wetlands and freak out the birds. On the way home, pit-stop into the dog wash at the servo to get squeaky clean.