Caravanning with a dog
In 2019-2020 we spent 16 months caravanning Australia in our Jayco Journey Outback with 3 kids and our dog Ted. Ted was 6mo when we left and a very important furry family member. Ted was a gift from Santa for Christmas 2018 and the kids would never have forgiven us if we left him at home.
We’re often asked with it’s like caravanning Australia with a dog? We had a great experience and wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve dotted down some common questions below with detailed answers which will hopefully provide a bit of an insight and some different things to think about if you are planning a camping holiday with your dog.
Why did we bring our dog?
Could you leave that sad face behind? For us we felt 12 months was too long to leave him with someone, as they would have well and truly bonded with him over that length of time and we would then feel awful asking for him back. And of course we would all miss him like crazy! It also helps to make the van feel like home having him with us.
However, in saying that we did leave our 12yo cat Cruz at home with Nana. He wouldn’t have coped with life on the road. So it totally depends on your pet. Cruz is much happier in a house and is getting spoilt rotten.
How does Ted travel?
Ted was a puppy when we left and knew no better. Ted sleeps in the back of the car and is comfortable on long drives. Often, we check if he’s still there as he doesn’t make a peep. He’s an easy dog, he’s not anxious, not yappy and gets along with people and other dogs and animals.
Is Caravanning Australia with a dog limiting?
Finding caravan parks that are pet friendly is generally easy, there are many pet friendly parks. Wiki Camps and AirCamp both have filters, where you can search for parks that are pet friendly. The only time we have had an issue is during school holidays, as many of the pet friendly parks, don’t allow pets during these busy times.
Where are the best dog parks?
To say we were impressed by the Capital Country Holiday Park in Canberra would be an understatement. We booked their newly launched doggy freedom site and it was brilliant for the fur-kid and for our human kids contained.
We have stayed in over 70 pet friendly caravan parks, farm stays, bush camps across Australia. Here’s a list of some of the parks with facilities especially for dogs where we stayed and enjoyed:
- Discovery Forster in NSW has a huge grassy off-leach area.
- Cairns Coconut Caravan Park, QLD has a small dog agility park.
- Julia Creek Caravan Park in QLD has an off-leach park opposite the caravan park.
- Big Valley in Margaret River, WA heaps of space to run around.
- Capital Country in ACT had fenced caravan sites to keep your pet (and kids) safe!
- Big 4 Helensvale, Gold Coast, large off leash dog park.
- We love bush camps as there’s always plenty of room for everyone to run around, a couple of our favourites are:
Do we worry about 1080 dog baiting?
Yes, absolutely we do! We’ve heard horror stories of dogs ingesting 1080 baits. We have seen warning signs in different areas where 1080 has been used. We are very careful to avoid these areas with Ted.
You can never be too careful, it can be used without warning and it’s frightening. The bait is used to control wild animals (rabbits / foxes / wild dogs / feral pigs /cats etc) that cause issues for farmers or disrupt native animals. The tasteless poison is put into meat balls to make it appealing to animals.
If you‘re heading to an area where 1080 has been used, it would be wise to look into purchasing a muzzle for your pet so they can’t ingest poison bait.
Do you see many pets on the road?
Yes we have met many people caravanning Australia with their dog! And other pets too. All have been well behaved and taken care of. We’ve seen a few people with their cat, on a leach outside their van and birds in cages, so anything is possible.
Are many places pet friendly?
Touring is very possible with a pet, you just need to do your research first. Whilst in the Atherton Tablelands, our caravan park kindly shared with us the local pet friendly companies. Ted then joined us at The Crystal Caves and Herberton Historic Village.
We found Margaret River was the most pet (and kid) friendly region we visited in Australia. There are many wineries and breweries that are both pet friendly and have kids playgrounds.
We’re lucky to have friends and family in Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne who have been kind enough to look after Ted. If we want to do a full day touring or visit a national park in other areas we organiser a pet sitter. We’ve used local doggy day care in Cairns.
You can seek out pet sitters, either locally through word of mouth or ask around at the caravan park. Or check out the Mad Paws App, it helps you find trusted, local Pet Sitters around Australia who look after your pet in their home.
We factored this cost into our budget. We only ever booked a few days at a time. However, in the future when we head to North West WA, we’ll look to book Ted into a kennel or with a pet sitter for a chunk of time. Allowing us to explore the incredible national park locations.
Deciding whether or not to go caravanning Australia with your dog is such a personal decision. Depending on your style of travel and your holiday priorities. If bringing your pet will be limiting or enhance your holiday and the memories of your travels.
It’s important to know if your pet can adjust easily to different situations. Are they friendly in nature with other pets, animals and children? We’re lucky Ted has such a beautiful nature and is always up for a pat.
If you have any recommendations on places to visit / stay with dogs please share below!
Travelling with Ted gave us the inspiration for HydraTED Stainless Steel Pet Travel Water Bottle with built in bowl. Many of the places we visited were remote so we always had to ensure we had plenty of water on hand. We prefer to use stainless steel over plastic for ourselves and thought our dog deserved the best too! Stainless Steel helps keep your water cool for hours. Check it out
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