6 of the Best Dog Parks in Melbourne

Calling all city dogs! Take a break from your regular walk routine and run free in these fantastic dog parks (both on- and off-leash) across Melbourne - dip your paw into the ocean, stroll through sun-dappled woods, or sniff away in expansive grassy parklands. We've got you covered.

The off-leash areas in these parks come with their own rules, so do make sure you read the signs posted in the area. We're looking at things like voice control, lead lengths, proximity to picnic areas and playgrounds, off-leash times, and the one universal mandate: pick up the poop!

1. Albert Park

Pups will find 226 hectares to run and play in at Albert Park, with most of that being an on-lead area in the multi-zone park. The off-lead spots are well away from the most-trafficked areas, and no dogs are allowed in the dog exclusion areas (aka the lake and the playgrounds).

For off-lead playtime, head to the northern end of the park near Albert Road, or west of Aughtie Drive near the sports fields. The areas are off-lead only when not being used for sporting activities or events, but other than that, it's puppy paradise. 

Off leash area is along Canterbury Rd.

Image credit: Josh Withers 

2. Brighton Beach (Sandown St. Beach)

Fancy a bit of a splash? Well you and your canine companion can do just that at the spot on Brighton Beach between Elwood Beach and the Middle Brighton Baths. Access is along the very pretty Bay Trail, with multple entrance points for a quick cool-off during your walk. 

Ever the seashore-y spot, you'll find boats, shallows to gambol in, deeper water for a dip, small sand dunes to run up and over, the foreshore (all of which is fenced on the land-side), and the stunning CBD backdrop behind int all. 

This is the only fenced beach in the area, everywhere else is accessible from all points, and turns into an on-lead area only. 

Sandown St, Brighton 

3. Princes Park, Carlton North

The huge and very popular Princes Park has two off-leash areas - one down the southern end around Crawford Oval, and another further north adjacent to the Princes Park Bowling Club (find it along Bowen Crescent). 

Crawford Oval is a large, unfenced area where the off-leash part runs south of the Royal Parade - Princes Park Drive pathway. Plenty of grass to run around on, and a few trees ringing the perimiter for sniffing and... other business. It is super-close to busy roads, so do keep that in mind given it's unfenced.

The off-leash area near the bowling club is often more popular with its seating and shade, bins and water tap. It's still not fenced, but a lovely place for pups and humans to hang out in nature with the multitude of other dog-happy folks. You'll find the path separates the off-leash from the on-leash area but do check the signs.  

Royal Pde, Carlton, Lygon Street side.


4. Citzens Park, Richmond

Usually a football oval, the off-leash area at Citizen's Park is available only when approved sporting events and training are not taking place. When the are in use, dogs are required to be on a lead within 10 metres of the sporting grounds.

It's a lovely park, as well as being Richmond's largest, with picnic areas, exercise stations, toilets, drinking fountains, pavilion, and barbecues. Perfect for a sunny summer's day.

Highett Street (between Church and Gleadell Streets), Richmond

5. Caulfield Park

An unfenced oval popular with Caulfield residents, the dog park here is located in Princes Park. The western end along Hawthorn Road is on-leash only, and includes picnic areas and playgrounds.

For off-leash exploring, head to the sportsgrounds (you'll still find the main fenced football oval is still on-leash, though), keeping Fido on a leash along the paths. When the sports ground is in use for training, schools, and match time, dogs are required to be on a leash. There are bowls under the water taps for puffed-out pups, and bins are strategically placed for the inevitable.

The centre of the park on the east-side of the pavilion is designated off-leash, and the end nearest Park Crescent is on-leash. 

Corner Hawthorn and Balaclava Roads, Caulfield North

6. Sir Zelman Cowen Park, Kooyong

Among the barbecues and playground of the newly re-named Sir Zelman Cowen Park, you'll find picturesque off-lead areas, but only during designated times. Much like other off-leash areas you'll need to be mindful of sports events and communicty activities. You'll also need to use a leash when walking between the off-lead areas. 

Sir Zelman Cowen have some of the strictest dog-handling rules, so brush up before you go: Dogs are not permitted to run off-lead when the sports fields are in use or anywhere else in the park, you must carry a lead which can control your dog if it behaves in a manner which threatens any person or animal, pups must be kept off the garden beds and out of children's playground areas, you'll need to pick up poop, on-lead while on footpaths, and all pooches must be under control and non-threatening at all times. 

105 Elizabeth Street, Kooyong

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