Your 4-legged best friend and National Parks

How we still visit National Parks whilst travelling around Australia with a dog – what are your options!

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Since hitting the road 4.5 months ago we’ve learnt a LOT along the way. At the beginning of our trip we avoided National Parks like the plague; we just thought they weren’t worth the trouble. But we soon realised we were missing out on some of the most beautiful places in Australia. We have found by doing a little bit of extra planning with our route, accommodation and dog friendly options a few days in advance it can alleviate some of the stress involved in organising a pooch.

So you want to travel Australia with your 4-legged best friend but still want to visit National Parks, what are your options:

1. A Kennel       
Many towns often have private or council runs kennels. They are a great options if you want to spend a large amount of time or even overnight at a National Park (NP) as apposed to a few hours. Just make sure their vaccinations are up to scratch and you have a certificate to match. Microchip information is also handy to have with you.

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By putting Marlee in a kennel overnight we had plenty of time to explore the beauty of Karijini National Park, Western Australia

2. Dog Minding      
Many Information Centres now help organise dog minding with local businesses. Ensure you get a quote before leaving your pooch as we have heard stories in the past about what was believed to be the total price was actually the hourly rate.

3. NP Volunteers and Camp Hosts      
We have noticed at some Caravan Parks close to remote NPs they actually have ‘National Park volunteers’ as well as some paid camp grounds that have ‘volunteer camp hosts’. Usually they are more than happy to look after your pooch for a few hours, if possible though call or email in advance. They often have many important duties and may not be an option when you are in the area.

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By leaving Marlee with National Park Volunteers we had the chance to hike to the summit of Mt Augustus, WA; the biggest rock in the world.

4. Ranger Kennels  
In some areas close to NPs, free of charge kennels are provided at the ranger station. Ensure adequate shade will be available throughout the day because we have found some of the kennels to be in full sun. 

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5. Dog Friendly Camp Grounds and Caravan Parks
In some places, strict rules are enforced and you must NEVER leave your dog unattended. However, others are more than happy for your pooch to stay back at camp whilst you explore the NP. Some things to consider is if they have enough food, shelter, water and are safe from wild animals such as dogs, snakes and dingoes; especially if you are in a remote area.

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By staying at dog friendly camping grounds we could explore Mitchell River National Park, WA

6. Other travellers with dogs
We have met fellow travellers, some of whom are now good friends that couldn’t possibly leave home without their pooch either! Why not share the load by looking after their pooch whilst they explore the National Park and vice versa.

7. Other travellers without dogs
We haven’t used this method as of yet but many travellers are often home sick and miss their four legged friend back home or wish they had a dog. They often offer to look after your pooch whilst you go off and explore.

It can be tough and stressful at times trying to organise a 4 legged friend, but with a little bit of extra planning we can have the best of both worlds! Besides we couldn’t imagine life without her; she is a part of the family after all.

TM

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