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Australia’s best dog-friendly hangouts

Beneful offers some of Australia’s best dog-friendly hangouts for pets and their photographer friends…

Dogs are part of the family, so it’s nice to find places that celebrate their newfound status as much-loved mates. Check out these dog-friendly hangouts where you and your best friend can chill out, run free, or simply catch up with fellow dog lovers.

River deep, mountain high
Charming country villages with breathtaking bushland and riverside retreats offer the perfect antidote for a couch potato weekend. Places like the historic gold mining town of Warrandyte along the Yarra River have become a haven for Victorian dogs. Over summer, you’ll find Shepherds shaking off from a swim, and Staffies diving in for a tennis ball along the picture perfect waterway. The main street bakery is perched high on the hill, offering gourmet goodies and great coffee for you, and water bowls and a nice lazy spot in the shade for your dog. One local had a Labrador who would swim across the river to get to the monthly craft market – a tempting sausage sizzle was all the inspiration she needed to brave the rapids.

Google some nearby mountain escapes in your area (apart from national parkland that prohibits dogs) and make a day of it with a picnic.

Pet playground
There are times where you can’t always be together, but doggy daycare is starting to take off as a place where your dog can play safely, and in good company, instead of barking down the neighbourhood. One of the pioneers was Dog Zone in Melbourne, which offers themed playrooms like The Enchanted Forest and The Beach Resort, where you can also hold pooch birthday parties or Xmas get-togethers with other friends equally mad about their ‘fur’ kids.

In Sydney, Dogs@Play in Surry Hills is leading the charge for indoor fun, which they say promotes socialisation, exercise and can reduce separate anxiety. Doggy daycare also run obedience training, grooming and activity classes like flyball action, creating a total canine leisure centre. Hang around or watch from a webcam as your four-legged friend frolics like a puppy again – this time, minus the shoe stealing.

Fresh air and a puppacino
Dog-friendly café strips like Brunswick Street in Melbourne, North Bondi in Sydney and Sephamore in Adelaide let you kick back with the Sunday paper, with your loyal sidekick curled up at your feet. If it’s just the two of you, being café-side also makes for great conversation for passers-by keen for a pat. Or why not organise a coffee session with friends who don’t mind if Max is snoring in the sun, or flirting with the Shizu at the other table?

Some cafes are also catering for pooches, serving up puppacinos and gourmet dog biscuits, like Café Bones in Sydney’s popular Hawthorne Canal Reserve, Zoot’s Kitchen Bar on Adelaide’s Henley Beach and lifestyle pet stores like Melbourne’s Puppy Phat, which you can visit in Daylesford, Armadale, Hampton and St Kilda. Get your dog a pair of cool doggles, and you’re set for a dog day afternoon.

Sun, surf and sand
With Australia’s coastline stretching for 37,000 km there are beautiful beaches galore for you and your pooch to explore. Here are the BENEFUL Team’s top picks:

Rowland Reserve, Bayview – Sydney
Dozens of dogs running, swimming and playing can’t be wrong. Rowland Reserve off Pittwater Road in Bayview even has free parking. Shallow water is great for small dogs hoping to find their sea legs.

Red Rocks, Phillip Island – Victoria
The fairy penguins get all the attention from tourists, but for locals Red Rocks beach is the place to head for wide stretches of sand and rich red rockpools for your dog to pounce through.

Bay Street Beach, Brighton – Melbourne
Leash free every day of the year, it’s always a four-legged social event on Melbourne’s Brighton beach. You might even bump into some of the regular group dog walks like the 30 hounds from The Beagle Club of Victoria.

The Spit, Gold Coast – Queensland
With its huge jetty jutting out into the Coral Sea, The Spit is a superb dog beach, with walks north to the Rock Wall and south to Surfers Paradise.

Cottlesloe Beach – Perth
On the quiet northern stretch of Cottlesloe Beach, let your dog run free (before 10am and after 4pm in summer). Walk the romantic pine tree promenade to gourmet fish & chips overlooking the spectacular Indian Ocean.

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