New things and places to explore every day, being with your people, lazing about, being outdoors and adventures. Caravanning or camping would never be a hard sell to our dogs. Tasmania has so much to see and do as well as places to camp with your dog that taking them with you really is an option to consider.
Some travellers hesitate or opt not to bring their dogs to Tasmania often assuming that it will be difficult with so much of the state covered by National Parks. While it is correct that dogs are not permitted to enter National Parks and if being able to enter these frequently are important to you, traveling with a dog could be restrictive. However there is plenty of alternative places to stay, go and things to experience with your dog. For 15 weeks Chika our border collie travelled around Tasmania with us in our caravan and we found an abundance of dog friendly campgrounds, walks, beaches, activities and so forth.
These are our tips for caravanning or camping in Tasmania with your dog(s):
- Your dog has to be treated with a dose of praziquantel within 14 days prior to entering Tasmania.
It is a requirement that all dogs entering Tasmania have had the praziquantel treatment (tablet) and that written evidence from your vet is provided. Praziquantel helps in the prevention and treatment of Hydatid Disease caused by tapeworms.
Spirit of Tasmania (SOT)
- Pre Plan your journey on SOT
Our experience of traveling on SOT with Chika was positive with some pre-planning as explained in our article Traveling on Pets Traveling on the Spirit of Tasmania. We recommend speaking to your vet and to the staff at SOT before sailing about any concerns or questions you may have.
- An identity tag on your dog’s collar with your current mobile phone numbers is essential.
Also ensure your dog’s microchip details are up to date. These are simply precautions in case that dreaded event of your dog going missing means anyone that finds your dog can contact you as soon as possible.
Familiarity for Your Dog
- Provide your dog with a few items that are their own and familiar to them
Providing your dog with a few familiar items with help he or she to adjust and relax more quickly at each new spot. Our familiar items for Chika is her bed (although she chooses not to use it), her food bowls, her lead, her collar, her blanket for the car and her teddy we call Blu. These all are put in the same place at each campground we stay at so she always knows where to find them.
Beware the Sun
- Be prepared to zinc or sunblock your dog and always provide water
The sun in Tasmania burns. It is intense and will burn even on the coldest days. Sadly Chika, who has a pink area on her nose got burnt in our first few days in Tasmania. From then on, to her dismay, we sunblocked her nose and she never got sunburned again.
Beware the Acaena Ovalifolia (Weed)
- Be prepared to brush and or comb this weed from your dog’s coat regularly
Maybe other states other than Tasmania are familiar with the acaena ovalifolia weed but we were not and of course you except your dog to çollect more bits in their coats just by being outside more. However this particular weed is something else.
The first time Chika got whole lot of the ‘flowers’ caught in her coat, mostly on her legs and underbelly I thought they were spiky like a thistle and nearly panicked because she had them everywhere. Turns out they are not spiky but they have these little hooks that latch themselves to everything they can and your dogs fur is ideal. Even they are not spiky they bothered Chika.
I found pulling them off by hand if we were out walking was easy enough. Beware any bits left behind in the fur will cause knotting or matting so ensure you regularly comb or brush your dog.
- Tasmania has three snakes and all are venomous.
In our time in Tasmania we only saw one snake, doing its own thing, up at Mount Wellington but others have seen a lot of snakes. It is important to demonstrate some awareness and common sense with your dog. Use precaution around what we call “snake territory “ such as long or dense grass or shrubs.
- Restrain your dog during car travel
Not only is safer for everyone and your dog to restrain them properly in her vehicle it is also the law in Tasmania and there are fines for failing to do so. Chika travels on our backseat and we use a harness and short tethering strap which plugs into the seat belt but there are numerous options available and it is up to you to have what is suitable for your dog.
Dog Friendly Camping
- Use the Wikicamps app to find dog friendly campgrounds
Tasmania has an abundance of dog friendly campgrounds (free and low cost) and caravan parks with many being located in picturesque and interesting locations such as on beach fronts, beside lakes, creeks, rivers and dams, in lovely bush settings and towns and cities. Here we have an article listing the campgrounds were we have stayed and provided a brief review on each.
When camping with your dog it is important to:
- Keep your dog under control which usually means tethered or on a leash
- Clean up after your dog ie pick up and bin your dog’s poo (do this ALWAYS)
- Do not allow your dog to bark excessively
Dog Friendly Walks, Locations and Sightseeing
- Join the Dog Friendly Tasmania page and group on Facebook.
- Give your dog lots of opportunities to explore where it appropriate to do so.
Dog Friendly Tasmania group is a wealth of information about walks, accommodation and places you can go with your dog within Tasmania. The online community is also incredibly helpful if you have any questions.
This group and page will also provide assistance in finding dog minders and sitters if required.
It is often worth asking the question if a place is dog friendly as you might be surprised. We were pleased to discover that Port Arthur Historical Site is dog friendly, we had a lovely day with Chika wandering about the grounds. There are also a lot of the heritage sites, wineries, reserve areas, beaches and so forth that are dog friendly.
- RSPCA Puppy Parking
Dogs are not permitted at the Salamanca Markets held each Saturday in Hobart however from 9am to 1pm RSPCA provides up to 2hrs Dog Parking. This is trial until end of March 2018. The fee is a donation to the RSPCA. We used this service for Chika and the volunteers were brilliant. Chika does not like other dogs and we were worried this would be difficult for the volunteers to manage in a limited space but instead they were reassuring and without hesitation came up with a suitable solution. Chika enjoyed games the volunteers they played with her and was happily panting when we collected her. Definitely recommend this great service.
- Dogs are forbidden in National Parks in Tasmania
During our 15 weeks in Tasmania we visited the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park, Cape Raoul National Park, Freychinet National Park and Mount William National Park and for each we made different arrangements for Chika. These were:
- Cradle Mountain: The Visitor’s Information Centre is outside the national park, with the weather being extremely mild and knowing Chika will chill out and sleep, we left her in the car with water and the windows down slightly.
- Cape Raoul: We went on an late afternoon walk for 1 hour and left Chika tethered to our caravan at the campground.
- Freychinet: On this day we left Chika tethered to her run on our caravan with other campers keeping an eye on her. She slept most the day.
- Mount William: We were camping with a friend and he kindly agreed to keep an eye on her. She was tethered to our caravan.
What we did, primarily leaving Chika in the car or tethered won’t be for everyone or for every dog but for us it works and it worked in Tasmania because the weather was very mild and we stayed at dog friendly campgrounds where generally campers with dogs will look out for each other’s dogs. There are dog sitters available and asking about these on the Dog Friendly Tasmania page is likely to be your best bet.
Tasmania has been our first state on our travels around Australia and as somewhere to travel with our dog for the most part we have found it to be outstanding. Sure there were a few businesses and towns along the way that were not dog friendly but we simply moved on to where we felt welcome and so was Chika. I had a chuckle at the sign outside the IGA in Bicheno stating that dogs had to be kept away from trolleys because they are used for food. If that store manager knew just what germs and nasties there are on trolleys and supermarket conveyor belts, a stray dog hair would be the least of his or her concerns. Nevermind we moved on.