The best dog friendly places for swimming that aren’t the beach!

Sick of the beach and looking for something different? Shake things up with a visit to one of Melbourne’s many dog friendly waterholes. From Warrandyte to Yarraville, there are plenty of popular off leash parks offering beautiful creeks and waterholes that’ll excite pups young and old. Not sure where to start? Here are our tips for the five best places for dog friendly swimming in Melbourne:  

1. Darebin Parklands, Alphington

This 33 hectare reserve offers rolling open hills, dense scrubby bushland and Melbourne’s most popular dog-friendly waterhole! The north eastern section of Darebin Parklands is all off leash. This includes a long stretch of Darebin Creek with billabongs, gentle rapids and rock pools. Surrounded by high cliffs, the creek is completely secluded from nearby roads and cyclists. It’s an ideal spot for pups of all sizes and abilities looking to combine a summer swim with a run or walk along one of the park’s many trails.

Address: Separation Street, Alphington
For more info about Darebin Parklands, read our review.

2. Cruickshank Park, Yarraville

Tucked away in the back streets of Yarraville, Cruickshank Park is home to Stony Creek. A favourite among locals, you’ll always be sure to find plenty of local pups cooling off in the shallow waters or running around the lush grassy fields. In summer, large gum trees and drooping willows offer plenty of shade. The park does have off leash time restrictions so make sure to avoid visiting between 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm unless you want your pup to be on lead.

Address: Tuppen Street Yarraville
For more info about Cruickshank Park, read our review.

3. Gardiners Creek Reserve, Burwood

Pups who love to swim will go crazy for Gardiners Creek Reserve. Located behind Deakin University, the parkland has seemingly endless walking trails, bushland and, of course, the cool waters of Gardiners Creek. You’ll find shallow waters around embankments, billabongs for swimming, bridge crossings and gushing rapids. Barbeque and picnic facilities are also available making it a great spot for a day out with the whole family.  

Address: Glengarry Avenue, Burwood
For more info, visit the Council’s parks website.

4. Egan Reserve, Coburg

Looking for a water hole in northern Melbourne? Merri Creek runs straight through the middle of Egan Reserve in Coburg. The creek itself is fairly narrow with a mix of shallow rock crossings and deeper plunge pools for swimming. Depending on the current, the creek may not be suitable for small dogs. However, with a mix of tall eucalypts, dense bush scrub and wide open grass paddocks, pups of all shapes and sizes are sure to find something to enjoy.

Address: Strettle Street, Coburg
For more info about Egan Reserve, read our review.

5. Warrandyte River Reserve, Warrandyte

On the outskirts of the city lies the pristine wilderness of Warrandyte River Reserve. This gorgeous reserve provides bushwalking trails and open parkland along the picturesque Yarra River. We recommend parking at Stiggants Reserve (an off leash park) and following the trails from there. Your pup will be able to zoom in and out of the wide river, explore bushland and play chase with other local pups. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer’s day. Just keep an eye out for horse riders who often frequent the trails.

Address: Yarra Street, Warrandyte
For more info, visit the Council’s park website.

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That’s a wrap. Remember to always keep an eye out for fast flowing currents and water quality, particularly after storms. If in doubt, you can always come back another day. And as with all outdoor summer adventures, remember to take care and beware of snakes. Opt for busy open spaces over quiet spaces and avoid long grass, reeds and piles of wood and rocks where snakes can hide. For more info about snakes in Victoria, visit the RSPCA website

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