This post is a list I am collating of dog friendly walks in the Great Ocean Road and Otway region. It will be updated with more walks as I find them.
Finding dog friendly bushwalks in Australia is a frustrating experience that requires checking multiple government websites. There is a list of other dog friendly resouces for the Great Ocean Road and Otways at the bottom of this post.
Where I have written track notes for the walk the link will be included with the short summary. Happy Bushwalking 🙂
Dog Friendly walks near Forrest
Lake Elizabeth – Forrest
This beautiful 2km return dog friendly bushwalk to Lake Elizabeth is one of my favourite local walks and is accessible by a gravel road drive out the back of the town of Forrest in the Otway Ranges, Victoria. The walk starts by traversing through a flat creek side picnic area, continues into Mountain Ash forest and from their the track meanders up and down and then up one rather large hill through valleys of tree ferns and creek views before you arrive at Lake Elizabeth.
There is access for your dog to cool down (on lead) at the lake platform provided the water level is high enough for the sloping entrance ramp for canoes.
For the most picturesque photo opportunities visit on a still morning however the lake is a nice place to rest before your return walk at any time of the day. There is also a longer version of the walk where you continue around the lake which is also dog friendly.
Food and Accommodation nearby
The nearby Forrest Brewery has a dog friendly outdoor beer garden for a post walk beer, tasting paddle and lunch. You can also camp with dogs at Lake Elizabeth campground. The parks vic page has information.
Fern Gully Walk – Forrest
The fern Gully walk is a short and sweet steep walk that departs from the Barwon Water Reserviour near Forrest. It can be done as a loop walk however it’s not clearly sign posted so beginners are best to do this as a return walk to the ferns and back. Visit the See something New Fern Gully Walk track notes to see more photos and information.
Stevenson Falls Walk
Not to be confused with its namesake in Marysville, Stevensons Falls in the Otway Forest Park is a dog friendly waterfall walk accessible about a 16 minute drive from Forrest.
Option 1 – 4.6km Stevensons Falls walk from the Stevensons Falls Campground
The longer walk leaves from the Stevensons Falls Campground (which is one of the dog friendly campgrounds in the Otway region). It leaves from the far end of the campground (the opposite end to the entrance) and the starting point of the walk is clearly signposted. I have not yet done this long walk however the last section of the walk to the falls is the same track as the below short walk.
Option 2 – 500m Stevenson Falls from the Carpark (4wd only most of the time)
If you have a 4wd and would prefer a short walk you can cross the river bridge in the Stevensons Falls campground and drive down the road to the carpark. It was pretty wet and muddy on the road however I was only in an xtrail so perhaps would be 2wd when dry however I think from memory it’s signposted 4wd only.
From this carpark it is a much shorter, easy walk through a big grassy area before the track narrows and continues to the falls. There is no ‘dog friendly’ symbol on this sign however it is the same track as the end of the long walk from the campground which is marked dog friendly.
Once back at the car on the other side of the carpark is also another redwood plantation similar to the more famous redwoods site in the otways. They’re not native trees but they are still impressive to see.
Dog friendly walks near/south of Colac
Loves Creek Walk – Kawarren
The Loves Creek Walk is a short and sweet 500 metre circuit that is a great beginner dog friendly bush walk.
It’s a good place to stop between the Great Ocean Road and colac to stretch your legs or can be combined with walk the Old Beechy Rail Trail for a longer walk. Read the short Loves Creek track notes here.
Dog friendly walks near Aireys Inlet
Ocean View Lookout – Moggs Creek
Option 1. Ocean View Lookout from the Moggs Creek Township
This 1.2km return walk starts from the township of Moggs Creek at the end of Robyns Road. It’s dog friendly and a great short walk option for a day trip or busy holiday. Allow around 1 hour return, less if your fit. Read more here. Read the full track notes here.
This dog friendly walk is 23 minutes from Lorne, around 1 hour from Geelong
Option 2. Ocean View Lookout from the Moggs Creek Picnic Area
This is a longer loop walk (around 5km) that leaves from the back of Moggs Creek. The same Ocean View Lookout as above is an approximate half way stop on the walk. This walk is dog friendly and starts from a pretty dog friendly picnic area so you can pack a picnic to eat when you return.
There are more walks in this region and I will add them to this post as I find them.
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Dog friendly walks near Torquay and Anglesea
Iron Bark Basin Walks
This beautiful area has lots of dog friendly tracks criss crossing through the bush. You can do the long 8.2km section below, a short circuit or combine tracks into various length one way/return walks (if you can get someone to drop you off or do a car shuffle).
Iron Bark Basin Nature Walk – 1.2km Loop
This walk is created by combining the short Iron Bark Basin Nature Track with part of the Iron Bark Track (it gets confusing, so many similar names)! This is a great little bushwalk for a beginner bush walker or a quick road trip stop. It has a steep incline down into a gully and back out again so it’s short but gets the blood pumping.
There is a MTB track that also passes through the area so it’s a good options for families or groups with different interests and abilities that can all leave from the same area.
The walk starts from the carpark off Point Addis Road where there is some signage showing the walking track.
Iron Bark Basin Walk (Surfcoast Walk Section 5) – 8.2km
The Iron Bark Basin Walk is part of the 44km Surfcoast walk (which runs from in the Torquay township to near Aireys Inlet). The Iron Bark Basin section runs between Point Addis and Bells Beach. The whole section is 8.2km long but you can do shorter sections of it as a return walk by turning around early or combine it with more sections of the Surfcoast track for a longer day walk.
Not all intersections of track are signed to make sure to take a photo/screenshot of the track with you.
OTHER LINKS TO DOG FRIENDLY WALK INFORMATION
Here are some other handy links to dog friendly walk information (The links keep changing so if there not there google the title of the document and website name):
The website visitotways.com have a fantastic bush walking map called Walks & Waterfalls with the 2nd page showing which walks dogs are allowed on throughout the Otway Region. Here is the direct link to the pdf:
Surf Coast Shire
The Walks and Waterfalls guide by the Surf Coast Shire includes a number of mostly town based walks around the town of Lorne that are dog friendly.
Bimbi Park (an awesome campground where you can spot Koalas) have also written this Pet Friendly Guide to the Otways
I love our parks, but I hate their currently useless website (as of 2021). Their information pages for most walks are empty and despite there being adequate Park Notes and Walking track notes in pdf format that were developed years ago most of those documents are not in an obvious location. Sometimes googling the area name and park notes can help.
You can also take dogs into most state forests. These are reserves that are set aside with areas allocated for harvesting timber. they are a great place to take your dog. Finding info on them is a confusing maze of multiple government websites by DELWP (I haven’t include links because it will probably have changed its name again by the time you read this article lol and they never redirect when they do this). However, there is also an app now and it’s pretty good, you can find out more here. !