From Darwin to the Red Centre, nothing beats a trip to the Northern Territory for natural beauty and unique, iconic landscapes. And what better way to tour the territory than with your best friend? While Kakadu might be off limits for dogs, there’s still plenty to see and do with your pooch, provided you know where to go.
Dog friendly parks in Darwin
When it comes to off leash parks, Darwin really has plenty going for it. A range of dog friendly parks are within the city limits. Here are some of the best.
- Marlow Lagoon Pet Park: Features obstacle courses, drinking troughs and designated off leash areas. Big enough for a full day out with the whole family.
- George Brown Botanical Gardens: A truly unique combination of botanical beauty and dog friendly walking paths.
- Holmes Jungle Nature Park: One of the few remaining monsoon jungles in the territory. Dogs should remain on leash to protect native wildlife.
Tip: Most public parks and beaches under the control of Darwin City Council are dog friendly, provided you’re able to show effective control of your pooch.
What is effective control?
The Darwin City Council offers this simple set of guidelines for keeping control of your dog off leash. If you’re planning on taking your dog around the greater city area and want to let them off leash in public spaces, you should be able to:
- See your dog
- Control your dog with verbal commands
- Ensure your dog doesn’t chase cyclists, rush pedestrians or fight other dogs
- When you leave the public park or beach, your dog must be on leash.
Top spot: Casuarina Beach
The dog friendly area is between the Dripstone Cliffs and Rapid Creek. For the views, it’s 100% worth it. Such a stunning spot is popular year round with dog walkers, so expect to meet plenty of furry friends during your travels.
Pet friendly accommodation in Darwin
Discover the best places in and around Darwin to stay with your pooch. Just remember to always call ahead before booking, as many dog friendly spots are at the discretion of the manager.
945 McMillans Rd, Knuckey Lagoon NT
Ph: 08 8947 4440
Set on 5 acres of natural land, the Grungle Downs Cottage is private, self contained accommodation at Grungle Downs Bed & Breakfast. Suitable for an entire family and their pets, the cottage has plenty of space for your pooch to explore, and is only a 15 minute drive to Darwin’s City Centre.
There’s also a pool, delicious food and lots of birds, giving Grungle Downs a unique ambience.
170 Whitewood Road, Howard Springs NT
08 8983 2907
About a 30 minute drive from the city centre, Howard Springs Holiday Park part of the BIG4 Holiday group, offering up all you’ve come to expect from Australia’s premier holiday park destinations. There’s a playground for the kids, water park with 3 swimming pools, tropical gardens, kitchens and barbecues.
The holiday park has camping sites and self contained accommodation, however pets are only allowed on the camping sites, so contact the park before making a booking to confirm you can bring your pet along for the adventure.
Humpty Doo, Northern Territory
A self contained cottage that sleeps up to 5, this picturesque accommodation is located in the rural area of Humpty Doo, about 325 kilometers outside Darwin. It’s on a family property, but you have your own privacy and plenty of space, making it a great spot to day trip to places like the Adelaide River for Jumping Croc Cruises, Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks and Fogg Dam. Dogs are welcome on prior arrangement with the owners.
6 Gardens Hill Crescent, Darwin NT 0820
Ph 0412 890 662
Right in the heart of the city, Moonshadow Villas offer up to 5 two-bedroom villas of award winning design. Beautiful and spacious, with stunning sandstone waterfalls and greenstone pools, the Moonshadow Villas are also pet friendly by appointment. Green star accredited, this environmentally friendly accommodation is close to everything, including the Gardens Park Golf Links, The Navy Yards and Sky City, Darwin.
Doggy Daycare in Darwin
You love your pet, and nothing beats having your dog by your side while you travel through the Territory. Sometimes though, it pays to be able to leave your pet with someone trustworthy while you explore unfamiliar territory. This is especially true around Darwin and beyond. Dogs aren’t allowed in national parks, and that includes both Kakadu and Litchfield – both must see destinations while you’re in the Northern Territory.
The Furry Godmother Pet Resort in Eaton and their Doggy Day Care Centre in Winnellie both offer up short term care and accommodation for your pooch while you explore human only areas of Darwin and beyond. Both sites offer:
- Pick up and Drop off
- Doggy exercise
- Behavioural specialists
While the pet resort in Eaton also offers extras like:
- Long term accommodation
- Skype sessions
- Flea and tick treatment
- Special diet and medication
- and weight management
They also provide boarding and care for cats. So, if you’re looking for some professional care for your pet while holidaying in Darwin, the Furry Godmother has you covered.
Dog friendly restaurants and cafes in Darwin
Dine in with the whole family at these dog friendly establishments and eateries.
255 Casuarina Drive, Nightcliff NT 0810
08 8948 4488
One of the truly unique aspects of Darwin is the amazing sunsets. Few places in Australia let you watch the sun go down with such spectacular splendor. Nestled along the foreshore, this popular outdoor restaurant and cafe serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, using only fresh Australian catch along with full breakfasts, eggs benny, Linguini, steak sandwiches, milkshakes and a cheeky glass of bubbly.
With outdoor seating and takeaway options available, it’s a great spot to stop off after a long walk with your dog.
14/69 Mitchell Street, Darwin City NT
Serving up decadent french style treats, coffee, breakfast and lunch, Alley Cats outdoor seating is dog friendly, and there’s plenty of food for people to enjoy as well, with an ever-evolving range of delicious fare available, handcrafted to perfection. Situated close to Bicentennial Park and the foreshore, you can take the dog for a stroll (and work off that second cronut) while soaking up the harbour views on your trip to the Northern Territory.
George Brown Botanical Gardens, Darwin City NT
0434 544 210
With each passing year, Darwin becomes more cosmopolitan. Eva’s blends the old with the new. Set in the beautiful surrounds of the George Brown Botanical Gardens, Eva’s old world decor combines with modern twists on fresh baked goods, toasties, Homemade granola, eggs, salads and more.
Dining in Eva’s is an experience like no other, and with outdoor seating, it’s possible to bring your pooch along as well. Just be sure to ring and confirm with staff before showing up.
Corner of Smith and Knuckey Streets. Darwin, Northern Territory 0800
Ph: (08) 89419823
Fully licensed, Salvatores is a restaurant and coffee house located on the corner of Smith and Knuckey Streets, one of Darwin’s busiest intersections. Offering a diverse menu, from barramundi and chips to open yiros, coffee, delicious cakes and shakes and a range of breakfast options as well.
With outdoor seating, Salvatores is dog friendly and a great spot to people watch as you enjoy your meal.
Pet Friendly Accommodation outside Darwin
40 Ragonesi Rd, Alice Springs NT 0871
Ph: 08 8953 1418
Featuring both powered and unpowered camp sites as well as onsite cabins, the Heritage Caravan Park in Alice Springs is a pet friendly bush paradise and the perfect place for a base of operations when exploring the red centre’s unique and unrivaled beauty. Beyond the fun and friendly human amenities, there’s also agility courses and a dog wash for your pooch. A real treat for dog lovers holidaying in the Northern Territory.
Pet friendly accommodation in Katherine / Litchfield National Park / Kakadu
1 Railway Terrace, Pine Creek NT 0847
08 8976 1001
Close to Katherine, and acting as a gateway to both Kakadu National Park and Litchfield National Park, the Pine Creek Railway Resort is an Award Winning facility with a range of accommodation options. From camping to self contained cabins, there’s a pool, barbecue facilities, restaurant, bar, cafe and even a post office. Best of all, it’s pet friendly, so you can explore the Northern Territories natural wonders with your furry friend in tow.
You’re ready for the big trip. All that’s left is to follow these handy hints and your holiday in the Northern Territory will be one to remember.
Beware wildlife baiting
While it might be tempting to let your dog roam free in wild bushland, keep in mind many local councils set bait traps to control the population of wild dogs. If your pooch is likely to pick up scraps off the ground, your best bet is to keep them close at hand.
National Parks are a no go
As with National Parks across the country, dogs aren’t permitted. This is to preserve the natural wildlife. If unsure, check with the local tourism office.
Most dog friendly accommodation requires that you call ahead before booking. Similarly, many accommodations that don’t advertise as dog friendly might be if you enquire. In general, it’s always better to confirm with management before showing up with your pooch.
Common sense the best policy
In many ways, the wide open spaces of the Northern Territory are an ideal playground for a happy pooch. Just remember to pack enough water, food and first aid (for you and your dog) when travelling in the remote outback. With such unforgiving conditions, safety and common sense is the best policy to ensure you have a fun, safe and adventurous holiday in the NT.