Last updated on 18 August, 2023
Welcome to the dog friendly Gippsland, Victoria! A destination of stunning beaches, parks, trails, reserves, falls and wineries to visit with your dog as you make your way along the Gippsland region in southeast Victoria.
Over the years, Daryl and I had trekked the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne countless times. The Gippsland offered us an alternative route back to Sydney from Melbourne with our dog Chika, after we got off the Spirit of Tasmania.
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- Gippsland Victoria General Information
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Gippsland Victoria General Information
Where does Gippsland start and end?
Gippsland is an area of Victoria on the east side of the state and includes the Victorian south east coast, east coast and covers approximately 41500km2. It is generally divided into the regions of East Gippsland, South Gippsland, West Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley. It is primarily a rural and coastal region.
What is the Gippsland Known For?
Good question! We did not know either but discovered, on our travels, the rural region has gorgeous beaches, dense forests and rich history.
How Much Time Do You Need for a Gippsland Road Trip?
Time let us travel the Gippsland, following the coast for a month. There were enough things to do in Gippsland to keep us busy, but we also spent days just wandering and fishing on beaches.
If you have less time to spend in the Gippsland as an alternate route from Melbourne up the East Coast, a few days to a week would be sufficient. You could pick up your travels from the NSW South Coast in our blog post Melbourne to Cairns Road Trip if you plan on continuing east on your travels.
How Much to Budget for a Dog Friendly Gippsland Road Trip?
The Gippsland was one the cheapest regions we have visited during all our travels with our dog around Australia. A combination of free camping and loads of free things to do in the Gippsland, a lot of which was dog friendly, meant our costs were reasonable. All up our camp costs for the entire time we were in the region was $10.
Road tripping in the Gippsland in our caravan cost us $400 per week in 2018. In total, over the month, we spent about $1600.
A budget of $1000 for a couple in the Gippsland region for a week, doing some free camping and activities, would be reasonable. Of course, a lot more could be added to the budget if eating out, wineries and so on is on the list of things to do.
Dog Friendly Gippsland Road Trip
Dog Friendly Gembrook
Gembrook in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges is only an hour’s drive from Melbourne but feels a million miles away. A fantastic place to get back to nature with your dog, the dog friendly Gembrook is a fabulous first stop on a road trip through the Gippsland.
One must visit spot is the dog friendly Kurth Kiln Regional Park. The highlights to explore in the park with your dog are the historic Kurth Kiln, built to produce large amounts of charcoal. And the large granite Ship Rock, shaped like a ship, the Shiprock Falls and picnic grounds.
Starting in Belgrave, Gembrook is the last stop on the historic Puffing Billy Railway. The railway has a Dog Express train that allows dogs and is one of the dog friendly Victoria Attractions to enjoy.
In nearby Cockatoo, the Alma Treloar Reserve allows dogs on a lead. We liked the open spaces, the small creek and walking Chika along the pathways. And Emerald Lake Park in Emerald is another dog friendly nature park with lovely walking trails, picnic areas and the opportunity to take your dog on a fun boat ride.
Gembrook is a quaint historic town surrounded by lush forests that you and your dog can explore together. Finally, there are the Gembrook Markets that allow dogs.
Where We Camped:
Kurth Kiln Scout Loop Camping Area, Gembrook
The Kurth Kiln Regional Park is where we chose to camp for a few days. The Kurth Kiln and Scout Loop has dog friendly campsites with fire pits and drop toilets. We found many trails to walk with Chika through lush forests, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Dog Friendly Drouin
Drouin is a lovely, bustling country town where we stayed for a few days and ventured out to see some great dog friendly attractions. Daryl also played golf at Drouin Golf Club. He really enjoyed the course and played with a few terrific locals.
The best dog friendly places to explore in Drouin are the historic trestle Crossover Bridge and its beautiful surroundings, the Robin Hood Reserve and the nearby Robin Hood Streamside Reserve with picturesque walking trails and serene streams. The Alex Goudie Native Park on a lake, set amidst native trees, with grassy areas, BBQs and picnic tables, is a likable spot to chill and play with your dog.
For a day of fabulous dog walks in nature, we highly recommend driving to the Nangara Reserve, the Glen Nayook Rainforest Reserve and the majestic dog friendly Toorongo and Amphitheatre Falls. The falls are the furthest, just over an hour from Drouin. These were some of the best places we took Chika on travels through the Victorian Gippsland.
Where We Camped:
Dog Friendly Moe
Moe in La Trobe Valley of the Gippsland has plenty to busy you and your dog. One of the highlights is Old Gippsland Heritage Park, where leashed dogs are welcome. Explore the old time village with over 25 historic buildings with collections and lovely gardens.
For dog friendly Moe dog walks, the George Toye Track, through the Edward Hunter Bush Reserve, is an easy, scenic 3 kilometre loop track with a small lake that meanders through lush bushlands. For a longer walk the Yallourn Rail Trail stretches 7 kilometres from Moe to Yallourn North. This converted railway line is fantastic for dog walking.
As an option for a leisurely walk with your dog, the Moe Botanical Gardens are beautiful. Also, head briefly out of Moe to visit the stunning and dog friendly Narracan Falls and Firmins Lane Wetlands. Lastly, the Gippsland Immigration Park in Morwell has the Gippsland Heritage Walk around the Kernot Lake offers a glimpse into the region’s past and the importance of immigration.
Daryl and I, with Chika, kayaked on Lake Narracan. I cannot recall exactly where we launched our kayak but likely at the jetty.
Where We Camped:
The Yallourn North Hotel, Yallourn North
The Yallourn North Hotel offered free, dog friendly camping in a grassy area at the back of the pub. The publican and staff were friendly. We enjoyed a drink while Chika chilled, tethered at our caravan.
Dog Friendly Toora and Port Welshpool
The charming towns of Toora and Port Welshpool are next on our dog friendly road trip on Gippsland. The rolling hills of Toora and the delightful seaside Port Welshpool are not to be missed.
In and around, visit the splendid dog friendly Anges Falls in the serene Strzelecki Ranges. The stunning falls cascade over 60 metres of rocks into a deep gorge below and are breathtaking to watch. The Silcocks Hill and Centenary Lookouts next to each other have panoramic views of the coastline, the rolling hills of the countryside and the wind turbines of the Toora Wind Farm. The wind farm also has an observation area for seeing the turbines up close. The Toora Dog Tree is a wacky attraction adorned with dog related memorabilia.
Over at Port Welshpool with your dog, be sure to walk the 1.3 kilometre Port Welshpool Long Jetty. It can get blustery out on the jetty, but a lot of fun. The Port Welshpool Foreshore Walk between the long jetty and the wharf area is a scenic path with sea views. All beaches are dog friendly on a lead, perfect for swimming and fishing with your best friend.
For anyone looking for a long stroll with their dog, the 72 kilometre Great Southern Trail winds through Toora and Port Welshpool. It is best to check out the trail’s website before venturing out.
Where We Camped:
Franklin River Rest Area, Toora
A free, dog friendly campground by the river with plenty of grass when we stayed. There are flushing toilets.
Dog Friendly Yarram and Port Albert
Yarram and Port Albert are next on the journey through the Gippsland. Yarram, a main service centre for the district, has all you will need to top up supplies. Port Albert, a seaside township, is perfect for fishing and walking.
Among dog friendly attractions in Yarram are the impressive Water Tower Mural and Street Art Trail with murals and sculptures by local artists, the peaceful Memorial Gardens with lovely blooms and the Yarram Wetlands, where you and your dog can enjoy nature and the abundant birdlife.
A short drive from Yarram is the enchanting dog friendly Minnehaha Falls. The falls are small yet beautiful, with lovely grounds for a picnic and being in nature.
Port Albert, near Yarram, has more wonderful dog friendly things to do. The Port Albert Wharf is a picturesque spot to meander and take in the charm of the historic port town. If you and your dog love to walk, the 10 kilometre (one way) Christopher Robinson Walking Track is a lovely walk following the shoreline and through the countryside to Seabank where the town once was. Port Albert Beach is a great beach for a walk and swim, that allows dogs.
Additionally, we put our kayak in and paddled around the waters at Port Albert with Chika until the wind picked up. If I remember correctly, Daryl had a go at fishing from the kayak but had no success.
Where We Camped:
Port Albert 24Hr RV Stop, Port Albert
Situated in a carpark in town, by the water, this free, dog friendly stopover is a bit unique, but we loved being close to the water’s edge and the jetties. When we stayed, the limit was 24 hours. It would have been nice to have another day.
Dog Friendly Reeves Beach
Reeves Beach is not a town. It is a free, beachside campground where we camped for a few days to relax and let Chika run free on the off leash beach. The only amenities was a drop toilet. Regardless we had fun beach walking. Daryl loved fishing from the beach. The highlight for Daryl was capturing a beach worm longer than he is tall.
There are many dog friendly, free campgrounds in the Gippsland right on a beach. We will share others we stayed at on our road trip through the region. Our suggestion is to find at least one on your trip to stop for a day or two. When travelling with a dog it is important to give your dog time out of the car.
Dog Friendly Sale
In the beautiful dog friendly Sale, Victoria lies inland on the Thompson River, 30 minutes from Golden Beach and near Lake Wellington. Some of the highlights for us during our time in Sale were kayaking on the Thompson River from the historic La Trobe Swing Bridge that still operates today and Lake Wellington, where we encountered dolphins.
The best places we discovered for a dog friendly walk in and near Sale were the gorgeous Sale Botanical Gardens, Knob Reserve with its stunning bushland setting and Glenmaggie Weir Reserve, 30 minutes out of town to see the dam wall, have a picnic and enjoy the surroundings. We did not kayak on Lake Glenmaggie, but it looked like a lovely spot for a paddle.
Aviation enthusiasts and their dogs may like the Static Historic Aircraft Display in Sale. The outdoor exhibition is only small, with a couple of planes on show with informative boards is an interesting short stop. There may not be much left of Trinculo Ship Wreck on the dog friendly Golden Beach, yet it is still an intriguing sight to see while letting your dog run the beach.
From Sale, take a scenic 40 minute drive to the dog friendly paradise Blue Pool in Briagolong. The gorge waterhole is a stunning spot to swim, picnic and walk. If you are up for a walk with your dog, climb the five minutes up to the Bluff for fantastic views or walk the 1 hour return Peregrine Lookout Trail.
Where We Camped:
90 Mile Beach – C5 Campground, Golden Beach
A free campground about a minute’s walk to the beach, with toilets and a fire pit. Black and soft sand at the campground made everything dirty and some campers got bogged in 2WD cars. Otherwise, the dog friendly beach was lovely.
Marlay Point Foreshore Reserve, Clydebank
Marlay Point Foreshore Reserve in Clydebank is 20 minutes from Sale. It is a free, dog friendly campground on the shores of Lake Wellington with plenty of grass, a boat ramp and toilets. There are often complaints of mosquitos after dark, but we had no problems when we stayed.
The best part of staying was getting out on the lake in our kayak and encountering a large pod of dolphins. The dolphins are much loved by locals and it is truly a breathtaking experience if you get to see them.
Dog Friendly Bairnsdale and Paynesville
Dog Friendly Lakes Entrance
Campgrounds (all are dog friendly):
Waterwheel Beach Tavern, Lake Tyers Beach
Review: Need to book ahead. Fantastic campground with flat spots, BBQs, hot showers, power and flushing toilets. First night free, $15/pn after. Great spot by the Tyers Lake. We enjoyed a lovely kayak. Bigger or powered boats need to use the other boat ramp. Nice pub. Great stay, definitely recommend.
Snowy Riverside, Newmerella
Review: Nice free camp right on the riverside. Multiple grassy spots, some flatter than others. Spot we stayed we could get our kayak in the river but there is a boat ramp. Fires permitted when there are no restrictions. Lovely secluded stay.
Cann River Rainforest Caravan Park, Cann River
Review: Excellent dog friendly free camp. Lovely flat grass spot with water, flushing toilets and cold showers. Close to town which has bakeries, general store, pub, fuel etc. River is very low.
Genoa Camp Park, Genoa
Cost: Donation Paid: $10
Review: Very nice campground that was a Caravan Park a number of years ago. Grassy flat area suitable for all size and type rigs including tents. Flushing toilets, picnic tables, playground and river nearby. Genoa only has a pub so bring supplies and fuel. 72hr limit. Please donate as small town won’t be able to keep open otherwise.
Towns We Visited
- Cann River
- Gypsy Point
- Lakes Entrance
- Loch Sport
- Lindenow South
- Silt Jetties, Mitchell River
- Tarra Festival and Street Parade, Yarram
- Rainforest Walk, Cann River
Places to Kayak in the Gippsland
While we were caravanning in Tasmania we bought ourselves a second hand kayak big enough for all three of us. Generally we use it a couple of times a week and found it is an awesome alternative way to explore areas.
- Lake Narracan, Moe
- Lake Tyers, Lake Tyers Beach
- Lake Victoria, Loch Sport
- Latrobe River, Sale
- Port Welshpool Bay, Port Welshpool
- Snowy River, Orbost
- Wallagaraugh River, Mallacoota
- South Pines Golf Club, Lindenow South
Gippsland is a regional coastal area of Victoria is great for water sports, exploring regional towns and spending time at the beach. It is an inexpensive area to visit whether you have a few days, weeks or months. It is also a great alternative route for the journey between Melbourne and Sydney or New South Wales.