There’s nothing quite as painful as pleading puppy eyes, as you take off on a holiday. It’s hard for you, and it’s even harder for your dog. But there is a solution!

There’s really quite a lot of dog friendly camping in Victoria. You’ll be happy to know it’s pretty easy to find camping spots that are okay with dogs. There are some great caravan parks as well as national park camp grounds (which doesn’t happen very often).

Whether you want to take in the mountain air, splash in a river, or chase your best mate across rolling green fields, here’s where you can pitch a tent with Fido near Melbourne.

A dog looking away at a camp fire at a dog friendly camping ground next to a lake

Dog Friendly Camping Victoria: Sites Near the Water

Lake Bolac

Lake Bolac is a clear, freshwater lake that’s perfect for fishing, sailing, and water skiing. It’s on the Glenelg Highway, an easy drive from the Grampians. You’ve got a couple of dog friendly camping options here, including the free Lake Bolac Rest Area Campground, with toilets, showers, barbecues and a laundry. Nearby, the Lake Bolac Caravan Park is next to a golf course with all the facilities you need for family fun. Find out more information about Lake Bolac here.

Sunset over Lake Bolac in Victoria where there are lots of dog friendly camping Victoria

Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park

Resting on the river at the base of Mt Buffalo, Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park is packed full of attractions. You’ll enjoy bike hire, a camp kitchen, a heated swimming pool, fire pits and, most importantly, a range of dog friendly cabins and sites. Furry friends will need to stay on a leash here due to an abundance of wildlife, but no doubt Rex won’t mind, given all the new smells in the undergrowth to explore.

It’s worth noting that dog friendly cabins aren’t easy to find, which makes this a rare location. Not all cabins here are pet friendly, so call ahead to make sure that one of the pet-friendly Mystic cabins are available  these start at $130 per night. As for their camping costs, unpowered sites cost $30 per night, while powered sites cost $38 per night. 

A shot from the top of Mount Buffalo over the valley in Victoria Australia

Seaspray Caravan Park

Nothing says ‘dog friendly’ like a long stretch of golden sand. So, why not take yours to the longest one in Australia, at 90 Mile Beach? The Seaspray Caravan Park is just three hours from Melbourne and boasts a Jumping Pillow for the kids, extra large powered sites and an onsite laundry. Best of all, you’ll sleep to the sounds of the surf and wake up to endless fishing, boating and sandcastle-making.

The campsites at Seaspray are dog friendly, with a few rules (the cabins aren’t pet friendly). There’s a maximum of 2 pets per site, which must be on leads at all times. All pets must be registered and have a current vaccination certificate. For bookings and rates, check out the site, here.

A south east view along 90 Mile Beach in Victoria where there are dog friendly camping spots

Skenes Creek Beachfront Park

Hit the Great Ocean Road with your pup and get ready for seaside adventures at Skenes Creek Beachfront Park! You’ll literally set up camp right next to the sand, with a range of powered or unpowered sites. If you can’t be bothered packing equipment, you can also hire a caravan onsite. There’s a games room, a camp kitchen and a kiosk for convenience, after a day of hiking, swimming, fishing and surfing.

Camping rates are great value, especially during low season, given the exceptional location. Expect to pay between $27 and $65 per night for an unpowered site, depending on the time of year.

Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve and Camping Ground

If you can’t get enough of the Great Ocean Road, another option is the Apollo Bay camping ground. Here, you’re surrounded by water right on the Barham River, with the beach across the road. Dogs are welcome on leash in powered and unpowered campsites. The kids will love the playground, along with free tennis courts, an oval, bush tracks and kayaks available by the beach.

The nightly cost of an unpowered site ranges from $28 to $45 depending on season. For more details on accommodation options, check here.

An aerial view of Apollo Bay in Victoria, a great place on the great ocean road to go camping with dogs

Dog Friendly Camping Victoria: Set up Camp in National Parks

Gunbower National Park

When you want a dog friendly camping holiday with all the bells and whistles, Torrumbarry Weir Holiday Park delivers. For one, it’s set on the Murray River within the Gunbower National Park, so water sports fans can indulge in wakeboarding and jet skiing till sundown. There are two amenities blocks, an adventure playground for the kids, an outdoor pool, a general store, electric barbies and boat ramps onsite. There’s even a bottle shop for sunset drinks.

The cost for an unpowered site ranges from $20 to $35, depending on the season.

The lake at Gunbower National Park in Victoria

Great Otway National Park

For pristine beaches, lush rainforest and plenty of coves to explore, visit the Great Otway National Park, which stretches from Torquay to Princetown. Dog friendly camping is available at Johanna Beach, protected by rolling sand dunes on the edge of popular surf breaks. There are 25 campsites for you and your best furry friend, with non-flush toilets onsite. Bring your own drinking water and gas barbies for cooking, as fires aren’t permitted, and check the Parks Victoria site for bookings.

The Beauchamp Falls waterfall flowing into a lagoon over rocks in the Otway National Park Victoria

Lake Eildon National Park

Victoria’s Central Highlands are home to Lake Eildon National Park, with rolling hills, woodlands, forests, and water sports on the lake. It’s a dream holiday spot. The Jerusalem Creek campground offers eight unpowered sites where dogs are allowed on leash. You’ll be close to bushwalking trails and there are barbecues and pit toilets, with boat hire and a kiosk nearby. Check park conditions before you go, and make bookings here.

Lake Eildon in Victoria, where you can find dog friendly camping nearby

Lake Hindmarsh Reserve

A seasonal lake, Hindmarsh can actually remain dry for years in the absence of floods. But when it’s full, Victoria’s biggest freshwater lake is the feeding ground for pelicans and sea eagles, as well as a favourite spot for water skiers. Nearby, you’ll find dog friendly Four Mile Beach campground, with powered and unpowered sites, a kiosk,  and, of course, glorious stretches of sand for running with your canine companion.

Upper Yarra Reservoir Park

Just east of Warburton lies the Upper Yarra Reservoir Park, sprinkled with eucalyptus trees, teeming with king parrots and surrounded by pretty meadows. The dog friendly campground offers grassy, unmarked sites in an open space, with hot showers, flushable toilets and a wet weather hall with a kitchen. Make sure you do the Fern Gully self-guided trail through the eucalypt forest and check out the reservoir from the viewing platform along the Brimbonga Walking Track.

About Tim Beau Bennett

Tim is an ex-journalist and radio presenter, and has been a professional writer for over a decade. He regularly writes about technology, lifestyle, and smart cities, and has written for news site including the ABC, SBS, and Australian Financial Review.