7 pet-friendly holidays

Take it from me, leaving a pet behind when you holiday can be traumatic. I have spent an entire holiday haunted by the memory of my dog’s sad brown eyes, quivery legs and dry nose as I left him behind and took off overseas.

It didn’t seem fair that I was chowing down on pizza, pasta and gelati while my other half – a wily old short-haired dachshund called Oberon – was being served Pal-for-one in a kennel here in Brisbane.

In Europe I saw dogs as small as chihuahuas through to great danes shadowing their masters everywhere, which got me thinking about the pet-friendly holidays I could take with Oberon closer to home.

Here’s my guide to travelling with your pooch so you can skip the kennel fees and the horrendous guilt of leaving your dog behind.

1. Learn a new trick

This old dog could always learn a new trick… and I am not talking about Oberon. I’ve always wanted to try stand-up paddle boarding but have been too scared to do it alone. When I saw I could take Oberon with me on a paddle board at Riverview Retreat in Burrum Heads I jumped at the chance, knowing no matter how many times I fall off, my best friend won’t judge.

2. Don’t get hot under the collar

Just like any other urbanite, Oberon loves escaping to the beach. Elouera on Seagull at Mermaid Beach is the perfect pet-friendly apartment for a weekend getaway – Oberon and I could hit the surf together, then while I pamper my paws with a spa treatment, he’d be as happy as a pig in mud in the large grassed yard.

3. See how the canine half lives

I love the idea of sleeping under the stars and who better to share the experience with than my best friend? Most camping grounds are pet friendly and would let me explore the native bushland with Oberon on leash. For a city slicker like Obie, camping at Flanagan Reserve or Coleyville Farm in the Scenic Rim would give him something to bark about.

4. Farmer wants a dog

The postie bike is only thing Oberon regularly chases in his day-to-day routine so I am always happy to get him back to nature. I can see myself with a glass of local wine, relaxing on a cottage verandah and watching Oberon make new friends with the farm animals at Lee Farm Stay or Deshons Retreat in Kingaroy.

5. Lay in the lap of doggie luxury

Like his Shakespearean namesake, Oberon has expensive taste. For something completely luxurious, Palazzo Versace is soon to launch two pet-friendly rooms with five star doggie service. While I sleep in luxurious Versace linen, Obie will bunk down in a Posh Pets bed by my side. It’s no surprise he’s been on his best behavior lately.

6. Get a new leash on life

Let’s face it – just like us, man’s best friend is not adverse to a little RnR and an island getaway is just what the vet ordered. I’d like to relax at Teacosy Cottage on Karragarra Island and let Oberon explore the beach while I take in views from the deck. Or we could discover North Stradbroke Island and stay at Sea Shanties where there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches to choose from.

7. No need to sleep in the dog house

Sometimes Oberon doesn’t like to sleep outside and who am I to argue with his puppy dog eyes? Lake Weyba Cottages in Noosa are well set up for doggies accustomed to inside living and positioned conveniently close to a dog-walking beach. These fetching lakefront cottages even have a wood fire for us to cosy up together on cool nights.

How could I say no to this face?

What about you? Where do you like to take your dog on holidays?

Photography (from top): David May, Paddle Out for Whales, Deshons Retreat, Hannah Statham