Have hound will travel
There's no need to leave your four-legged friend behind next time you set off to travel around Tasmania. With the help of good boy Basil, Nola James compiled a guide to the best dog-approved activities, eateries and accommodation options across the island.
For a luxury option up north, Launceston’s Stillwater Seven has one ground floor suite with a private courtyard and separate sleeping area for pooches – although they don’t mind if you let the dog sleep on the bed, either.
A half hour from Hobart in Margate, Waterview Gardens B&B is a great spot for a weekend away. It’s set among six acres of gardens and greenery (unfenced, so on-leash please) with views over the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to Bruny Island. All rooms are pet-friendly, but the Baudin Room is the only one with a balcony.
The Bay of Fires Conservation Area has free beach-side camping areas, and dogs are allowed if kept on a leash. The Policemans Point Campground, south of Anson Bay, is also a good choice. There are no amenities besides toilets – BYO water and firewood and take your rubbish with you (including pet waste).
On the north-west tip of the island, Ship Inn Stanley has just opened a new pet-friendly suite. The Van Diemen’s king-size apartment (complete with full-size kitchen) is set with everything a pup might need, from water bowls to pet beds, and there’s a private patio and fenced courtyard, too.
Dining and drinking
The Coal River Valley’s Wobbly Boot Vineyard, just near the historic town of Richmond, holds the title of Tasmania’s most dog-friendly winery (with its very own resident hound, Maeve). In addition to the tasting room and ample picnic space, there are three fenced off-lead areas.
Launceston’s newest wine bar, Havilah, has a handful of heated street-side tables that are available for walk-ins (dog in tow). The wine list showcases handpicked Tasmanian, Australian and international labels and there’s a great selection of local charcuterie.
Some locals say it’s the nicest alfresco dining experience in town.
Drop by Fern Tree Tavern, at the base of kunanyi/Mount Wellington, and say hello to resident pub pooch Edith, a six-year-old Shi Tzu-cross, while you kick back with a pint of Hobart Brewing Co. lager and a meatloaf toastie. There’s ample outdoor seating and fire pits to keep you warm in winter.
Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, a rustic barn-turned-cidery in the Huon Valley, has an outdoor cider garden with open and undercover seating. It’s a great place to grab a snack and a flight of ciders, and on Saturday mornings there’s an artisan and produce market too. All are welcome.
Out and about
Cataract Gorge is a major attraction for visitors to Launceston. And although dogs are not allowed on the walking tracks that surround it, there is a loophole. Tamar River Cruises runs a 50-minute adventure cruise through the Gorge that’s kid and dog-friendly.
Dogs are welcome on-lead at Evercreech Forest Reserve, inland from St Helens. One of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, the circuit takes about 30 minutes through some of Australia’s tallest white gums (some reaching more than 90 metres high). If you’d like to stretch your legs further, it’s only a few extra minutes to Evercreech Falls where there’s a picnic and barbecue area, too.
There are a number of dog-friendly walks up and around kunanyi/Mount Wellington, with trails clearly marked. If it’s your first visit, start at The Springs with a coffee at the shipping container-cafe Lost Freight, then head along the Lenah Valley Track to Sphinx Rock Lookout. You can drive up to the pinnacle and enjoy the Hobart views, however someone will need to stay with the dogs in the car.
Tasmania’s east coast is a great destination for water lovers. Dogs are permitted (usually on-lead) on loads of beaches, including Rice Pebble Beach, near Bicheno, which is covered in tiny stones rather than sand. The rules change depending on the season, so check local signs before swimming.