Camping in Oz with a dog and a 2 year old

by Ian Godwin
(Forster, NSW)

Camping With A Dog...

Camping With A Dog...

We will be traveling in a tent around Oz for a year or more. 2 adults, a 2 year old boy and a 6 year old cattle dog. Sydney, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin, Broome, Perth and on. We want to see and do as much as we can leaving in March.

We would like any tips on travel, accommodation tips and sites, finding work, things to see and do. Please don't say leave the dog at home as we are his home. Though good tips will make our trip great.

Response to: Camping in Oz
with a dog and a 2 year old

Hi Ian,

I will focus most of this answer on the camping with a dog question, since this is the only specific issue you bring up. For your general request for tips please see the website. Whatever knowledge and tips I have to offer are covered there, about 200 pages of information...

With big cities (Sydney, Adelaide, Perth) I can't help at all. Haven't been to any in many years...

Finding work: by far the best part of Australia to find work is the north west. Darwin, Kununurra, and then along the west coast... That part of Australia has exploded with the mining and resources boom. There is also plenty of work, any kind of work, during the tourist season from May to October.

For more info and resources see the work and travel Australia section. It is directed at overseas travellers with working holiday visas, but anybody travelling and working should find useful info there. (There will be more pages coming in the next two weeks, I just started making that part.)

Ok, camping with a dog: This one comes up every now and then and there is no info on the site yet, so thanks for asking.

If you are set up for bush camping then I can't recommend Jan Holland's books enough. Don't look at buying those books as an expense, it's an investment. She will save you loads of money. And for every campsite she covers she tells you if pets are welcome or not. At most campsites in the books pets are welcome!

Unfortunately she only has books about the Northern Territory and Western Australia, but I think you will find that this is the part where you need help the most. It is a lot easier in the more populated parts of Australia to find pet friendly sites and also to find people happy to look after a dog for a day or two.

Of course, you may not want to do anything where you can't take the dog, but keep in mind that you can't take the dog into any national parks, conservation parks or nature reserves, and that pretty much ALL the attractions in the centre and across the north west lie within some sort of protected area.

Here is another book that may be of interest to you:
Holidaying With Dogs (not available at this link any more)
I don't know it, but it looks real good to me. I suspect that it will be thinner on info for the remoter areas and have more for the south east, so it may be a good addition to Jan Holland's books.

Another book is Bush Camping With Dogs. Also don't know it so I can't say much about it.

This is what the authors say about it:

  • Featuring more than 1100 campsites which allow dogs in over 500 parks, reserves, forests and rest areas around Australia.

  • The book includes location maps and campsites for each state with a full table of facilities and activities for each location.

  • All contact details now provide web links where applicable with the rear of the book comprising an index to campground and camping area place names.

I guess which one you get depends if you want to focus on bush camping or more on commercial campgrounds.

I hope that gets you started. I don't have any personal experience to share as I leave my dog at home. (She'd freak if torn out of her usual surrounds...)

If any readers have anything to share it would be great to hear from you in the comments!

And if you yourself come across any good finds, or would like to tell us about your experiences when you get back, it would be fantastic. You are certainly not alone in your wish to take your dog camping, and it is near impossible to find good info for travelling dog owners.

Photo by R Peterson

Comments for Camping in Oz with a dog and a 2 year old

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That's amazing!
by: Jules

B has really covered the lot here. The only thing I would add is DON'T FEEL ALONE. There are so many of us out there now we are really not a niche market anymore. Every town (except Broome) has dog friendly caravan parks and people who will be able to advise you. My folks often have people offering to "babysit" for them as they are traveling with 2 dogs. We are soon to head off and we too are traveling with 2 dogs as well. Some dog friendly caravan parks are FULL of people who are traveling with their furbaby :)

Do you have your truck license? Obtaining this would set you up for all the work you can handle! Get this before you go. is a website I'd recommend as it has many camping books oz wide - dog friendly too! I have just purchased Jan Holland's books though and I'm sure they will be a great help for our travel plans.

Good luck!

More info
by: Birgit

Thanks for those tips, Jules! I agree on the truck license. A HR license is also a big plus when trying to get casual work at the many mines in the north west.

Ian, Jules asked a question specifically about dogs on the Gibb River Road on my other site. Might be interesting for you, too.

Addition to camping in Oz with a dog and a 2 year old
by: Ian Godwin

I am a builder/ carpenter by trade. Has anyone had experience with finding building work. My wife is a physiotherapist - has anyone got any tips sbout finding this type of work?

Work for builders/carpenters
by: Birgit

The construction industry is in a similar state as the mining industry. There's work everywhere and a labour shortage. The Darwin area, Hedland, Karratha... You'll have no problems finding work in the north west. I'd say even in the smaller places. It's impossible to get a builder where I live because they are booked out a year in advance and can't find people...

Not sure about your wife. If someone has specialised skills that are not directly applicable to the main Outback industries (mining/construction, agriculture, tourism) and if that's the only work they want to do, then they'll have the same chances or problems to find a job as they'd have anywhere else.

Travel with dogs in Oz
by: dot beaumont

Hi Ian,
My husband & I plus our 3 dogs have done 3 trips ranging from 3-5mths, mostly staying in gravel pits & campsites allowing dogs. Most of the time we found the human species were dirtier than our dogs could ever be.

Ie. EVERY time the dogs went outside they were on their leads. If they did their business we picked it up or if we got caught out with more than the plastic bags could pick up we dug a hole & buried it. The human lot just do their business anywhere with their tissues/toilet paper for all to walk in. Plus the broken glass, nappies, tampons, condoms, cans, etc. etc.

Our motto is, if the national parks and those types of places don't allow responsible dog owners in then we don't go. SIMPLE.

Another tip is, put a muzzle on your dog when out of your van/tent as they can pick up thrown away chop/chicken bones plus poison baits. Vets are few and far apart out there so be careful and vigilant with your best friend.

Good luck, Dot & family.

PS Keep your dog away from other dogs and treat & check for ticks daily.

Us and our Dog Shamrock
by: Helen

Since we have left Ingham and we are now the road is hour home. We have been through Mt. Isa Cloncurry Karumba Adelaide River Daly River and Daly Waters Kununarra Derby we have found
dog friendly parks in all off these places plus more all the Parks are great and they are full of people with their furbabies. Plus all the dogs we have come across are friendly our furbaby has met lots of doggy Friends.

We have learnt to stock up from the vet your dogs tick treatments and worm treatment as some places
do not have vets, also with their food supply stock up on the in big towns where it is cheaper I buy the Pedigree single serves a bit expensive but it is easier and ligher to carry than tins or stuff you have to put in the fridge

Have lots of doggy poo bags on hand and spare leads and a long lead to tie them up so they can walk around in comfort. Use a stainless steel bowl as it stays cooler longer than a plastic one I use an old saucepan with the handle removed inside and for travelling and a bucket for the outside that is always full.

When travelling carry water for your furbaby and a fold up water dish and a few treats for them

Heading for Broome next so dont know what to expect there as we have not heard many good reports about it about dog friendly Parks the only one I have heard about is 30ks out off town the park near a garage at the entrance to town

Broome Camping Accommodation
by: Helen L

Broome does have dog friendly caravan park accommodation at the Pistol club.They take the overflow and are very friendly and welcomming.
The youth club also has an area for a week stay.I think it is run by the police boys club and is manned by volunteers.The pistol club is on the Port Rd down near the Golf Club.

Pet Food for Travel
by: dot beaumont

I have just started using an all Australian pet food,

Great stuff and the service from them is FANTASTIC to say the least. The one for travel is dehydrated = less weight and best of all its 100% Aust and natural. Give them a look, and it's made by a caring vet.


Travelling with Dogs
by: Laura

Thanks Dot for your write up on travelling with your dogs. there were some good tips in there!

Next year my husband and I want to caravan around oz with our three maltese x's and I have been wondering if it could be done!

The main worry I have is other people letting their dogs run around off leads because my three act as a pack when they feel threatened and bark and carry on if stray dogs come near. My youngest was attacked by a bigger dog which was off its lead a while back so they get defensive.

Another thing I was wondering about is if it would be possible for me to set up my massage table outside my caravan in caravan parks ( I am a massage therapist) to earn extra money?

Any feed back would be great.



camping with dogs
by: sandy


What a wonderful idea....mmmmmmm massage heaven after a day of exploring!!! yummy....

My partner and I have a number of skills that we also would love to bring to the camping community.

We also have 3 dogs and love the idea of dehydrated dog food. Lucy our youngest is always finding "treats" when we go for walks so the muzzle for walking was a great suggestion...mind you they are all lovable and would'nt hurt a fly.

We are retro fitting an 80's van and it wont be ready for a little while yet.

I have a lot of reading to do on camping with dogs but am looking foward to it.

Cheers for now, fellow campers.

Heading to Oz in Feb
by: Christine

I have just finished reading all your wonderful tips and you have put my mind at ease as to bringing our dogs with us. We plan to travel Oz in our caravan and find work where we can next February. Our two mates are coming too. My main concerns were the heat and dog friendly work places, we thought we would be doing mainly seasonal work in the orchards. But we are flexible and after a year travelling New Zealand with our dogs have found many dog friendly work places. Really looking forward to the adventure in Oz.

A little luxury
by: Anonymous

Some great suggestions from people here. I thought I'd just throw in a suggestion if you're up for a bit of (relative to camping) luxury with your furry friends. Riverwood Downs Retreat is at the foot of Barrington Tops (inland from Newcastle, NSW) and is a fabulous spot for some R&R with your pooches. They have camping or cabins and the site is surrounded by a creek. They have a dog friendly cafe and restaurant. It's great!

Dog friendly cafes in Sydney and Adelaide
by: Craig

Hi Ian,

Hopefully you read this before you wind up your trip! We've just started a website that lists dog friendly cafes, restaurants and bars. It hasn't officially launched yet but we have details of venues in Sydney and Adelaide (and Melbourne if you're passing through on the way up to NSW)!

The website is:

We hope it will grow as other pet owners share their knowledge, so if anyone knows of any pet friendly venues anywhere in Australia, please share at:

All the best!

Important Travel Tips In The Top End

Travelling for 8 months with my dog through WA NT etc. Beware of green ants. I left my dog tied up in heavy shade in Darwin. He had plenty of water and the remains of a shank bone from Mindil market...I thought to keep him happy.

Feeling troubled I returned no more than 15-20 minutes later to find him completely covered in green ants! Eyes, mouth, etc. Several years later I am still apologising to him.

Also, at Fitzroy Crossing, he got spinifex spines in the pads of his feet. No vet! I used my grandmother's poultice recipe: Tablespoon sugar to Tablespn Velvet soap, spoon boiling water, mix to paste apply on cotton or wool, bind. Leave overnight for a splinter, or in this case for my dog: 5 days with a kiddies sock over bandage then elastoplast.

He was able to walk with the bandages and spines all removed, thank goodness.

Yes my dog made it home safe and sound and had some great experiences as well.

Dog Restraint
by: Donna


I have to say after reading these posts that anxiety is less regarding traveling with our three dogs and two kids around oz.

I was wondering what tips people have regarding setting up portable fencing attached to van whilst away for short periods rather than tethering.


Camping In Oz With A Dog And A 2 Year Old
by: Jill

Hi, depending on the room you have in your car or van, I have large fully enclosed crate that my 3 large dogs sleep in, they are available through Vebo Pet Supplies, they look like a wire box with a lid, but no base. Or you can buy portable fencing, or runs, as we call them available by Vebo also. But my advice, never leave your dogs unattended anywhere while travelling. We are also setting off in 2015 on our Oz odyssey and it's great picking up all these tips from people who have done it.

Dog info
by: Carolyn

What a wonderful informative site this is! We're about to take off from Margaret River in Shrek, our green Nissan Civilian ex school bus, and aim to be in Queensland in August. Our Maltese cross, Millie, will be coming too, and we've been concerned about the national parks, but some of the comments have reassured us that we may be able to combine the two ideals without too much grief.
Great tip about the muzzle, too. A friend lost her dog when it picked up a bait. Very nasty.
And the green ants! Yes, I encountered them in the Kimberly a few years ago... hopefully never again!
Looking forward very much to our little adventure!
One question... is the Gibb River Road still only 4 wheel drive? I've heard different opinions. Thanks!

4WD recommended
by: Birgit

It has never been strictly 4WD only. At the right time of the year, given the right conditions, the right driver can certainly get through, even in a normal Sedan.
But it isn't recommended. Conditions can not be guaranteed, and there are too many great detours along the way that are indeed 4WD only.

Keep reading, because that's all covered in great detail on the Kimberley website and in the free and the full Kimberley guide. :-)

We're off too
by: Michelle

We're heading off in the camper with our hound soon and appreciate the info. I plan to post about our trip as much as I can on my blog

by: Anonymous

Is it possible to get a dog sitter near the Ayers Rock camp site. We are looking to ride bikes around the rock but am concerned at leaving my maltese behind.

Travelling with two dogs
by: Anonymous

Hi Ian

I am currently travelling with two dogs, cattle/kelpie cross and boxer/lab cross. At present have been travelling for 10 months through NT and WA. I have enjoyed every minute of my travels with the dogs and would not change anything.

I am travelling in a camper trailer and have gone on some off road tracks as well. The dogs travel really well where ever we go.

I have had to change my way of camping when it comes to National Parks. For example: going into Karijini
National Park (WA). Instead of staying in the national park I stayed outside and also found a good kennel to put the dogs in for the day. They loved it.

As mentioned in earlier posts, Broome could be more challenging but I stayed at the Pistol Club (overflow van park). It was excellent. Just check what time of year you are going there as they are usually only open at certain times of the year

I also have just finished doing the Gibb River Road. I found it not a problem taking the dogs along, but some places you will not be able to take the dogs too. There was no problems finding places to camp as more of the stations allow dogs now. Good tips mentioned earlier about the 1080 baits in previous comments.. Thank you.

Enjoy your travels and thank you everyone for the comments. Found it useful reading and tips

Travelling with Boston Terrier
by: Rebecca

Wow! What great comments everyone! My husband, myself and our 3 children are looking at travelling for a few months next year to NT and WA and I would dearly love to take our beautiful pup. I'm really interested in your travels "anonymous", who is travelling with their two dogs and has been for 10 months so far, as they are the places we will be travelling to. I definitely would like to go to Karijini (we missed that last time) and Cape Levuque and have been searching for doggy day care in Karijini but without success. We will have to leave our pup in a kennel for Broome and the cape. Has anyone else had experiences in that part of the world?


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