Yarra Bend Park and Dights Falls Trail, Abbotsford
Endless walking trails, a meandering river, a waterfall and acres of off leash parkland. There isn’t much missing from dog-friendly Yarra Bend Park in Abbotsford. Just a short drive from the CBD, this park is a beautiful location to throw a dog-friendly picnic, tire out your pup or enjoy a stroll through nature.
The north-side of the river is the most popular area with dog owners. Just off Deep Rock Road there are five large off leash fields. Here, you’ll always be able to find dogs of all breeds and sizes up for a run and tumble. Occasionally the top fields are occupied by sporting matches, but the lower field offers ample room and plenty of shade on sunny days.
Wander down the hill and you’ll also stumble upon the Dights Falls Walking Loop. The trail meanders along the Yarra River with numerous historical sites to explore. Many are even within the off leash area. Highlights include the historical Deep Rock swimming hole where 1920s Melbournians used to enjoy a summer dip and Kane’s bridge: an old swing bridge. Dog amenities are dotted along these trails including dog water fountains and doggy bags. You’ll also find benches at key landmarks and covered picnic facilities next to the falls.
The walking trails are just as popular as the parklands, not only with dog owners but also joggers and families. Be prepared to meet lots of pups – some on-lead and some off lead – and definitely be prepared to use those recall skills. Not only are there lots of families and the occasional speeding cyclist, but the river is easily accessible from the trail. Some eastern spots near Deep Rock are ok for a quick dip but anything further west brings you toward the falls and fast water currents.
You can still enjoy the whole area on leash though. Even outside the off leash area there are plenty of sights to enjoy. Take the path west over Merri Creek and you can stop in at the picturesque Dights Falls. Those with extra energy can even continue on to the delightful dog-friendly Collingwood Children’s Farm.
ADDRESS: Yarra Bend Road, Fairfield Features: Dog water bowls, covered picnic tables, bins, doggy bags, benches
Time restrictions: None