You feel the need to Find Your Self in nature but don’t want to leave the loved up pooch behind? Well, now you don’t have to!

The stunning Dandenong Ranges, just 45 minutes from Melbourne, has a whole host of forest walks where you and your furry friend can step out amid the natural scenery with just your day-pack, a doggy lead and your sense of adventure.

Wander the many walking tracks and take in the views that reach as far as the Melbourne skyline. Seek out open spaces that allow you to throw a ball and really get those four legs moving!

One of the better-known trails that allow dogs on-lead is the Mathias Track, an 8km return walk starting from Falls Road or Silvan Road carparks. The Rock Track Circuit Walk, also referred to as the Golf Course Track, is another fun trail that passes between the old Olinda golf course and the RJ Hamer Arboretum

At the time of writing, the old Olinda golf course was being used by many people for their daily constitutional, with and without dogs. An open grassy area with sprawling valley views that makes a perfect argument to pack a picnic and some doggie treats to really enjoy this special spot. We always suggest a Mid-Week sojourn and picnic ideas can also be purchased from Proserpina Bakehouse

Another place to explore is the spectacular Alfred Nicholas Gardens with its blend of exotic and native trees including the towering mountain ash, picturesque lake and prolific bird life. Fortunately, these gardens also sit right beside the furbaby-friendly Piggery Café where you can both be spoilt.

Right now, the hills are emerging from winter and about to burst into a new season. Sculptural, deciduous trees contrasted against the always eagerly awaited Spring blossom that reminds us – the sun is on the rise and our days are getting longer. 

Every walk requires a treat at the end! You and your pooch can enjoy a welcoming coffee or lunch together at one of our terrific pet-friendly cafes.  So – organise the puppy-pack, jump in the car and enjoy a few nights away with ‘man's (and woman's!) best friend’ soon.

The following is a guide only. Please always keep an eye on the signs of the trails in the area. 

Here’s a list of 3 pet-friendly cafes: 
 

1. Piggery Café at Burnham Beeches

Head down Sherbrooke rd and discover the Piggery Cafe. Warm and rustic, the Piggery Café is unsurprisingly housed in a restored piggery and stables at Burnham Beeches, an Art Moderne mansion and estate in the Dandenong Ranges. Enjoy sophisticated comfort food, baked goods and Melbourne's 5-senses coffee. 

Phone: (03) 9691 3858

Address: 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke 

2. The Ranges Olinda café

 

Good food, cosy atmosphere and friendly staff. The Ranges Olinda cafe is located in the heart of Olinda and is a great choice for a pet-friendly visit. Cafe ambient style dining by day and Relaxing Restaurant style dining at night with the Asian flair added with modern Australian dishes. 

Phone: (03) 9751 2133

Address: 5 Olinda-Monbulk Rd, Olinda 

3. SkyHigh Mt Dandenong 

Make your way to the summit of Mt Dandenong at SkyHigh. Enjoy fantastic cafe food, get lost in the Skyhigh maze or walk amongst the gardens with your pet while taking in the views of Melbourne. 

Phone: (03) 9751 0443

Address: 26 Observatory Rd, Mt Dandenong 

 
Dog-friendly walking tracks & trails:
  • Mathias Track: 8km return – Easy Walk
  • Rock Track Circuit Walk: 3km - 1 Hour - Easy
  • Rock Track- Mathias Track Circuit Walk: 6km – Easy/Moderate 
  • Glenfern Valley Bushlands: 6km – Easy/Moderate
  • Birdsland Reserve: Easy Walk
  • The Tan Track, Sherbrooke: 2.7 km - 40 mins – Easy 
  • Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track, Sassafras to Emerald: 15km, one-way - 5 hours - Moderate 
  • Emerald to Cockatoo: 12km return – Easy/Moderate
  • Olinda Creek Walking Track: 9.2km return – Easy/Moderate
  • Cardinia Reservoir Park: 3km - 1 Hour along Messmate Track – Easy/Moderate
  • Tomahawk Creek Circuit, Kurth Kiln Regional: 2km return - Easy
  • Emerald to Cockatoo Recreational Trail: 7km return – Moderate

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