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Karen and Simon at Norton Rose Wines

Five must dog-friendly things to do in Canberra

Canberra is the capital city of Australia.  It is a public service town enclosed by NSW.  It is 2 hours from Sydney and three hours from the snow.  What has changed over the last few years is the city has become welcomed more dogs as it positions itself as a dog-friendly tourist destination.

Take them to an off-leash dog park

Canberra is inundated with off-leash dog parks that stretch from Gungahlin in the north to Tuggeranong in the south. In between, there are parks in Duffy (south) and O’Connor and Lake Ginninderra (North).

Lake Tuggeranong Dog park

Many of these dog parks offer enclosures for both large and small dogs except for Forde which only has one enclosure.  The off-leash dog parks have running water for those warm days and trees to offer some shade for your pooch.

The off-leash dog parks offer a chance for your dog to socialise with other dogs both large and small while you enjoy a coffee and digest the latest political stories.

For more information on the off-leash dog parks, please visit my post on Canberra’s off-leash dog parks.

Enjoy a staycation at one of Canberra’s dog-friendly hotels

COVID-19 has put the brakes on international travel and some domestic travel when States and Territories close their borders.  One activity growing in popularity is staycations.

Canberra is one place where staycations have taken off while also putting out the welcome mat for households with pets.   If you are a visitor or a local wanting a weekend away from home, there are a range of hotels that offer dog-friendly accommodation.

Adobe group

At the pinnacle, there are Abode group of hotels that are located at Gungahlin, Belconnen, Woden, Tuggeranong, Kingston and Narrabundah and if you want to go a little further out they also have a hotel at Murrumbateman.  Abode offers self-contained hotel accommodation with small kitchenettes, which are just perfect for preparing scrumptious meals for your traveling guests.  The other bonus is complimentary wifi.

Canberra Pet Photographer

Abode has a pet package that is exclusive to all hotels in Canberra except Woden and allows you to bring two pets with you.  Your four-legged travel companion will enjoy all the comforts of home on your next trip to Canberra.

Ovolo Nishi

If you are looking for a more central hotel to the city then Ovolo Nishi is probably the best bet.  It is only a short walk from New Acton to the city’s restaurants and shopping centre.  Every room is kitted-out with a flat-screen TV, free high-speed WiFi, and modern bathrooms, while some also include a fully equipped kitchen.

Canberra Pet Photographer

Unlike regular pet-friendly hotels that allow dogs, the Nishi offers you an indulgent experience, complete with amenities (and treats!) to pamper you and your pooch like a true VIP.

Their V.I.Pooch holiday accommodation package provides you with the following:

  • A doggy bed where your furry buddy can snuggle and relax like a real boss
  • An eating/drinking mat and food bowl so they can feast in style
  • A doggy bag with specially designed dog toys and treats, and…
  • Dog-friendly staff on hand to provide assistance when you need it

Other hotels

Another hotel based in the city offering VIP pooch service is the QT hotel, which is just down the road from the Nishi.  Their pet-friendly rooms come with fetching features, including a poochie cute mini bar packed with treats for whining and dining.  A favourite for pet owners is the decadent in-room dogs’ dinner menus designed by QT Head of Treats.  The hotel will charge you’re a $150 cleaning fee after your visit.  Their Pup Yeah! Service is only for dogs under 20 kilos.

Other potential options for your furfriends are the Mercure Canberra that not only offers pet-friendly accommodation but also a pet mind service.  As part of the star treatment owners will receive a pet-friendly room and a food bowl for your pooch.

Have lunch at a dog-friendly café

Walk past most cafés around Canberra today and you will find a doggy bowl with water.  However, some cafes really turn it on for their four-legged visitors.

South Canberra

Starting in Yarralumla there are two cafes worth visiting – Beess and Co and Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brass.  Both are Canberra institutions and toss out the welcome mat for dogs.  Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brasserie is particularly dog-friendly as has a canine menu and is a nice stopping off point when walking around the lake.

In the inner south suburb is the dog-friendly café Little Bird.  It boasts a generous outdoor area perfect for dogs that catches the morning sun and also provides good shade midday and afternoon. Open for delicious breakfasts and lunches every day and it only a short stroll from Lake Burley Griffin (see below).

North Canberra

Still in the suburbs but to the north of the city in Lyneham is The Front Galley and Cafe which is super-friendly to our canine friends.  Your dogs will be well looked after while you enjoy a delicious meal and drink.  Around the corner is Tilley’s which also looks after your dog.  They are plenty of outdoor tables that are heated during the winter.  It is not unusual to have a pack of dogs over the weekend.

Still in the north is 2before10 at Aranda.  It must be one of Canberra’s dog-friendliest café where your pooch is lovingly spoilt.  It offers water bowls for thirsty dogs and its specialty is some well-constructed coffee-sack ground ‘dog-blankets’.  There are two options for outdoor dog-friendly seating: a row of spacious outdoor tables under a south-facing deep eave is a perfect spot in the heat of summer, and a courtyard around the side provides sunnier seating in cooler weather.

Canberra Pet Photographer

Back across the lake and in the far north of Canberra is Frankie’s at Forde.  It is one of Canberra’s best suburban venues, certainly, in the north, Frankies is always worth a visit. They also have a second menu for dogs and a canine hydration station!

Stroll around Canberra at dog-friendly walks

There are plenty of dog-friendly paths and parks around Canberra whether you live in the South or the north.  One of the best in Canberra is the Centenary trial which encompasses the city and snakes around the outer suburbs.

The centenary trial is 145km of self-guided If you are walking around parts of the Centenary trial make sure that you do not inadvertently stray into one of the national parks where dogs are not permitted, like Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary.  The map indicates where dogs are not permitted.

The second fantastic walk is the bridge-to-bridge walk around Lake Burley Griffin – (Commonwealth Bridge to Kings Avenue Bridge).  It is an approximate 5km walk that talks in some of our best national institutions where you can pull in for a coffee.  The national portrait gallery is very dog friendly with plenty of seating outside and water for your dogs.  The bridge-to-bridge walk is popular in all seasons in Canberra with locals getting out on the weekends.  While you are there why not enjoy the Australian of the Year Walk.

Only a short drive away in Reid and Campbell is the self-guided walking tour from the steps of the Australian War Memorial along the National Capital’s major commemorative way.  Anzac Parade (the Parade) is set along Canberra’s magnificent Land Axis, a key feature of the Griffins’ original 1912 plan of the city. The Land Axis is now bookended by Parliament House at one end and the Australian War Memorial at the other.

Weston Park is another gentle walking track.  There’s plenty of room and facilities for picnicking with picnic tables, electric barbecues and public toilets.  There is also plenty of room to throw the frisbee with your pooch.

Visit a Winery with your furpets

Canberra is surrounded by cool-climate wineries from the north-west at Murrumbateman to the North at Lake George.  Why not travel out to one of the wineries with your dog to enjoy a hearty lunch and a bottle of wine from one of the award-winning wineries within 30 minutes of Canberra.

North of Canberra

At Lake George, why not go to Lerida Estate and Cafe Lerida.  Lerida has a beautiful menu and caters for large group and functions.  They have sensational views across to Lake George to the hills of Bungendore.

Cafe Lerida provides two very pleasant dog-friendly outdoor areas to choose from, both bordered by a herb garden: a tiled courtyard with full shade/full sun options just outside the tasting room; and a grassy spot just around the corner with large shade umbrellas for hot days. A water bowl is also provided for visiting dogs which can be refreshed from a tap in the courtyard.

A short drive from Canberra’s north you will find Wamboin and Norton Rose Wines   From the veranda there are sensational views for Wamboin where you can watch the kangaroos and some wedge tail eagles chase the rabbits.

Karen and Simon at Norton Rose Wines

Karen and Simon will welcome you and feed you some delicious slow-cooked BBQ meats from their American menu while you sip on some of their wines.  If you are lucky you will get to meet Charlie and Rosie, their two dogs.  There is a dog-friendly courtyard outside of the restaurant which have full sun options for a winter’s day.

North West of Canberra

To the north-west at Murrumbateman is Murrumbateman Winery.  Like Norton Road Wines, you may be welcomed by the winery dogs on your arrival.

Dog at Murrumbateman Winery

There are plenty of outdoor tables to choose from – either on a large, rustic deck shaded by a marquee during warmer months or on the lawn under mature, tall claret ashes.

The winery is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.  Even their wines are dog-friendly, having a 2019 Wine Dogs Pinot Grrris.  Just like every cellar door needs a good wine dog, every house needs a good wine.

Just call ahead to make sure that they can fit you in with a dog-friendly table.

There is plenty to do in Canberra with your four legged friend from gentle walks, to lunch at a dog friendly café to a visit to one of the beautiful wineries.

Thought about portraits with family and your pets?  Why not contact Alistair at Moist Nose Pet Photography to arrange a no-obligation chat.

Looking to have some portraits with your pets?  Why not contact Alistair at Moist Nose Pet Photographer to arrange a no-obligation chat.

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