Have dog, will travel: 6 pet-friendly holidays in the sunshine
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.
So skip the kennel fees and the horrendous guilt of leaving your dog behind with these 6 pet-friendly holidays.
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. At Enviro Reefs Paddle & Surf School, dogs and their owners can team up to master stand-up paddle boarding and surfing together. Lessons are available for people (and pooches) at select locations from the Sunshine Coast to Bundaberg.
At the end of the lesson, pocket a Certificate of Completion to earn yourself bragging – and barking – rights among your friends.
If you get addicted to life on a board then taken off to Riverview Retreat in Burrum Heads. It offers the perfect combination of pet-friendly accommodation with stand-up paddle boards. Now no matter how many times I fall off, my best friend won’t judge.
2. Get a new leash on life
Corks, cabins and canines – sign me up! Ocean View Estate, a cellar door and vineyard just 45 minutes from Brisbane, open their door to furry friends.
The Winemakers Cottage can accommodate dogs and up to 12 of their closest humans. While your bundle of fur fossicks in the yard, you’ll have time to swill, sniff and sample a local drop.
3. Hounds in Hervey Bay
Have a whale of a time with your four-legged friend at the Best Western Plus Quarterdecks Retreat in Hervey Bay. Their pet-friendly villas, set on five acres, make the perfect stomping ground to play fetch by the seaside.
As well as being close to the whale-watching action, there’s plenty of fun and games for pooch too, with an off-the-leash beach just 60 metres from your door.
4. Paradise and paws
Get more bang for your bark and explore the beauty of the Whitsundays with 28 acres of tropical heaven at Discovery Parks – Airlie Beach. Bali-inspired villa and cabin accommodation is the perfect kennel to rest your weary paws before discovering the 74 island wonders of the Whitsundays.
While in town, check out Dog Friendly Whitsundays to help you and your four-legged friend make the most of your escape. Combining four-legged friendly activities, pet care and services in the region, you’ll be able to create a totally ‘pawsome’ itinerary.
5. Free range in the hinterland
Your pampered pooch will have his tail wagging like mad when you escape to the Noosa Hinterland to explore Capriole Estate’s luxury homestead paw-in-paw with your special friend. Guests can choose from a range of accommodation, from a designer loft to a grand homestead overlooking Mount Eerwah on the Sunshine Coast.
If you need a little bit of Noosa action, you’re only a 30-minute drive to Hastings St, where the pet-friendly (and aptly named) Doggy Beach is the perfect spot to put some sand between paws.
6. 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 Deshons Retreat in Kingaroy.
Otherwise we could head north of Brisbane City to enjoy some R&R in this piece of pet paradise. Lagoon Pocket is a B&B farm stay, near Gympie and if your pooch likes the finer things in life (like sleeping inside), it’s no problem here. You’ll need to bring your own bedding and food for pooch but courtesy towels are provided to wipe paws down after running around like Lassie with the farm stay’s own friendly collie Danny.
Still looking for more dog-friendly holiday homes? Try these.
What about you? Where do you like to take your dog on holidays?
*This post was originally published in 2013 and updated in September 2018.