Despite what you might think, Altona actually has more than one off leash dog beach. Yes, the much overlooked Doug Grant Reserve sits a kilometre west of its more famous sibling PA Burns Reserve. But the two beaches couldn’t be more different. While Burns Reserve is consistently packed with young pups running up and down wide open sands, Doug Grant Reserve has a narrow beach overlooking sandbars and mudflats full of beautiful local birds.
At the eastern end of the park you’ll find the beach. It’s a narrow strip of sand at high tide surrounded by vegetated sand dunes. At low tide it rolls out to offer shallow waters and frequent sandbars. The beach area is off leash but you will want to be careful your dog doesn’t chase any resident birds. There’s also a kids playground, toilets and a dog water bowl behind the beach for all your family picnic needs.
From there you can wander west along the walking trail or through the wide open grassy fields to Laverton River. The grassy fields are ideal for games of chase, fetch and dog training while the trail takes you past beautiful flocks of nesting birds and spectacular ocean views.
Unfortunately, along with all the natural wildlife comes a resident snake population. Much like PA Burns, you’ll find plenty of warning signs alerting you to their favourite spots like the vegetated sand dunes and riverfront. Given this, we prefer to save the games and swimming for winter when snakes are less active and opt for long on-leash walks along the trail in summer.
Overall, Doug Grant Reserve is a lovely space but with a few seasonal challenges. Realistically, it’s better for older pups who enjoy a long walk by your side. Young pups should stick to PA Burns for their summer run and tumbles.
ADDRESS: Queen Street, Altona Features: Dog water bowl, bins, toilets, benches, doggy bags
Time restrictions: None
Rating: 🐕🐕🐕 ½ For more info about snakes in Victoria, visit the RSPCA website.