Now that we have bitten the bullet and again had a dog join our family we have had to consider the implications with our travel. We love bush camping and national parks. National parks and dogs do not mix. It does not matter how well behaved the dog is, just the scent of a dog in the area can affect wildlife, causing them to avoid an area entirely. So camping at national parks or even visiting national parks during the day is no longer an option with Ada, so we need to find a solution and much to my relief there are options out there for travel with dogs.

One great example is the option available at Sandstone Park Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon is a wonderful national park to visit but it is not an easy place to visit with a dog. You really need to be able to stay for a few days and the walks tend to be all day affairs, so the question is what do you do with the fur baby? Sandstone Park is the only camping location that allows dogs, which is great and they also usefully provide a dog run/kennel rent system. You can rent a kennel for the day, your dog is secure and checked on by staff, so while they might not be happy about being left for the day at least you can leave them and enjoy the park. In fact I think it would be great if more camp grounds offered this kind of service, so many of us travel with our dogs.

I can’t say we have tried the Sandstone park service as our visit to Carnarvon was pre-Ada but it is a park I suspect we will visit again so I look forward to the chance to try it out. If you have used it please leave a comment and let me know how you found the kennel option at Sandstone. I must confess I would be worried leaving Ada for an extended period of time but I gather park staff keep an eye on the dogs, ensure they have water and the kennels are placed in the shade and padlocked for the dogs security.

The next option is either contacting a local kennel or doggy daycare provider in the area you are visiting, sometimes contacting local vets might be a good idea for recommendations. In addition to the traditional methods of finding doggy daycare there a couple of fantastic new services that have sprung up including the RSPCA’s own PetCloud service which offers specially trained and accredited carers or another service I have heard good things about is Mad Paws this is a service that operates a bit like Airbnb or similar services and lets you locate a carer or pet sitter in any region.

I put the question; “What do you do if you are travelling with a dog and want to visit a national park?” on a Facebook dogs and camping page and got a few helpful suggestions. Mad Paws was recommended by a couple of users as a good service. Another useful suggestion was asking at information centres for the local recommended doggy day carers. One final great suggestion was that making friends with other campers with dogs is a good idea and then sharing the dog minding duties on alternate days, which I thought was a great idea.

Then of course there are campgrounds like Gordon country bordering the Main Range national Park here in south east Queensland, a private working property that allows dogs. They do ask that your dog does not bother stock or act aggressively. They also request that the dog be restrained at night but during the day they are free to romp off lead with supervision. Gordon Country also has beautiful walks.

If you have any experience of any of the services mentioned please let me know in the comments or if you have other suggestions feel free to leave a comment. I know a lot of people simply choose to never visit national parks due to travelling with their dogs but to be honest that does not seem to be the best option, surely it is not a bad thing for them to be left occasionally, knowing you will always come back and good for you to live life to the fullest, taking advantage of any opportunity to experience our beautiful natural environment to the fullest.

short-coated brown dog
Photo by Jimmy Conover on Unsplash

9 thoughts on “How do you visit National parks when travelling with dogs?

  1. Some excellent recommendations there, Sharon, thank you.
    I shall check out a couple of those to see if they are an option in Europe. We have been so spoiled in the UK – dogs are permitted in all National Parks so long as they are kept under control around livestock. It was a shock when we got to the Continent to find that in some National Parks, they are not even permitted on a lead!
    We hate leaving our fur babies and mostly plan activities that we can do together, but on occasion, a reliable fur babysitter would be very useful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here the problem is the native wildlife and their sensitivity to the presence of dogs, we do have state forests where we can take dogs but some of the best locations are national parks so it becomes a bit of a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We hesitated in getting a dog again for that reason but we meet people on our travels who were able to juggle the canine companion and travel without too much inconvenience for either party so we thought we would give it a go. I had really missed having a dog in my life, and it is nice to be experiencing canine companionship again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Finding we have to walk twice a day at the moment and to be honest I think Ada would love someone to take her for long runs, unfortunately that is not me at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

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