If you’re a dog lover planning your next trip and searching for the top dog-friendly accommodation in NSW, we have the perfect guide for you. Reflections Holiday Parks in Australia recently curated a list of premier dog-friendly holiday parks in New South Wales, each one a unique paradise for both you and your canine companion.
**You might also enjoy this popular poston options for travelling with your four-pawed BFF**
Top picks: Dog-friendly accommodation in NSW
7 great options for your and your family – two legged and four pawed :)
Shaws Bay Holiday Park: A Tranquil Haven
First on our list of top dog-friendly accommodation in NSW is Shaws Bay Holiday Park. Located in the heart of East Ballina, just a two-hour drive from Brisbane, this tranquil haven welcomes dogs year-round. A quick 5-minute drive brings you to The Spit, a popular off-leash dog beach where your pup can truly unleash its energy.
With the scenic vistas of Ballina and dog-friendly Byron Bay nearby, Shaws Bay is an excellent base for exploring the local attractions.
Moonee Beach Holiday Park: The Heart of Adventure
Continuing our journey, we find Moonee Beach Holiday Park, a mere 10-minute drive from Coffs Harbour. Among the top dog-friendly accommodation in NSW, this park has an abundance of dog-friendly caravan and camping sites, not to mention modern tiny homes and cabins.
After a day of adventure, treat your furry friend to a deluxe dog wash, while you unwind in the camp kitchen, play tennis, or enjoy the warmth of the fire pits.
Discovering More of NSW’s Dog-friendly Wonders
Let’s venture further into NSW to reveal more top dog-friendly accommodation options!
According to the Animal Medicines Australia ‘Pets in Australia’ national survey (Nov 2022), about half of all Australian dog owners take their furry companions on holiday with them. This trend is rapidly growing, with a whopping 37% of dogs being acquired during the pandemic. So, if you’re among the 69% of Australian households that own a pet, why not bring your best friend along on your next NSW adventure?
It’s a beachside destination that is sure to take your breath away. Located an hour’s drive from Sydney is Wollongong, a holiday hotspot for Sydney-siders after a weekend or full-time coastal escape. Boasting a relaxed vibe, incredible beaches (perfect for surfing and swimming), rockpools, ocean baths, BBQ parklands and scenic walking tracks – ‘The Gong’ as it’s known has plenty to offer every type of traveller.
It was during a day trip that I stopped by to see what all the fuss is about. I’ve heard numerous people say it was a must-do destination in New South Wales and they weren’t wrong. Only downfall to my visit was not spending more time there, as there was so much to see and do.
Here is how Wollongong wooed a city slicker like me to want to escape to the coast:
The beach is your backyard
Being situated right on the coast overlooking the Tasman Sea, it’s no surprise that the main activities and attractions for Wollongong are water-based. From learning to surf its crystal clear waves to snorkeling its lively reefs to frolicking in its ocean baths, locals and tourists alike love soaking up Wollongong’s beach lifestyle.
I spent most of the day exploring and unwinding on Wollongong City Beach. Only walking distance from the city centre, this pure white sandy beach spanned for kilometres, allowing beach-goers enough space to unwind and sprawl out unlike most of Sydney’s beaches.
At the top of Wollongong City Beach is a lush green lighthouse lookout area. From this point you can see right out to the ocean horizon, see surfers riding the ocean waves below, and also catch a glimpse of snorkellers lapping up the rocky reef waters.
A spiritual experience
One of Wollongong’s most renowned attractions is the Nan Tien Temple. Opening in 1995, this Buddhist Temple is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and has thousands of visitors each year. Only a 10-minute drive from the city, the Nan Tien Temple is an unforgettable spiritual attraction featuring grandeur architecture, artwork and splendid gardens and lotus ponds.
It’s a great spot to roam around and learn more about the Buddhist culture and its various temples and sites. The main temple area is quiet spectacular featuring intrinsic artwork, manicured lawns and my favourite, a large gold wishing tree. Here you’re able to purchase a wish ribbon for the year ahead, which is thrown onto the tree to hang.
TIP: Ensure you wear appropriate clothing (skirts/shorts below the knee and no midriff or spaghetti strap tops, they need to cover the shoulders and torso).
Grazing at Graze Cafe
After a busy day soaking up the sea and Wollongong’s Buddhist culture, a trip to one of city’s newest balcony restaurants was in order. Graze Café located on the main shopping strip, Crown Street – it boasts a Mediterranean atmosphere and has lovely balcony views of the mall. The staff are welcoming and the dishes are both warmly and deliciously prepared. From beef medallions; smoked salmon pasta; Tuscan salad; and fluffy Nutella pancakes, the food at Graze Café is pretty irresistible.
During my visit, I couldn’t help but try and demolish both the Angus beef burger with waffle fries, and the Philly steak sub with cheese and bacon melted fries. And, didn’t these go down like a treat! Even if you’re not in the mood for a meal, this spot is still a nice place to grab a drink or coffee, and simply watch the world/shoppers go by.
Have you been wooed by Wollongong in New South Wales? If so, tell us your favourite spots.
Melbourne residents looking to take a break from the city or visitors to Victoria looking to see a little bit more than just the Melbourne CBD are re-discovering the ‘world away’ feeling of a driving holiday to Daylesford.
And the best part; No car? No problem! While DriveAway Holidays Australia has already become synonymous with motorhome hire around the globe, travellers can also grab a great deal on car hire for mini getaways to some of Victoria’s most scenic and relaxing destinations.
Packing a weekend bag, my partner and I decided to venture outside the city for a mini mid-week break!
Visitors flying into Melbourne Tullamarine can easily collect a hire car from DriveAway’s airport location or in the Melbourne CBD (which is what we did.) We were pleasantly surprised to find the process smooth and the car in great shape (freshly washed and ready to hit the road.)
Located about 100km from Melbourne’s CBD, Daylesford has become known for being a ‘spa town’ offering plenty of options to relax and unwind with some great options for mineral baths, massage treatments, fresh local produce and a whole lot of pampering. What might seem like a quick 2 day trip is certain to feel like an extended break.
We checked into Frangos and Frangos, a boutique property located in the middle of the town of Daylesford. Offering just 12 rooms, each themed differently, and offering a sophisticated glamour and luxury amenities that make it popular with couples. The onsite restaurant Jimmy’s Bar and Dining Room offers contemporary Australian fare with a bit of a twist.
The regional area, known for its quality local wine and produce is highlighted on the Jimmy’s menu in beautiful surroundings. So if you’re a wine enthusiast (and who isn’t?) you’re certain to find something that will please your palate.
With both a bar area and a semi-formal dining area, Jimmy’s is ideal for a variety of special events, casual dining options or events, and a romantic dinner.
While in town, wander around the local area and enjoy the variety of cafes and boutique shops including a wide assortment of unique gifts, antiques, and handmade items. Make sure to take a little time out to drive just a short distance to one of many local wineries as well.
We took our chances on finding a winery along the drive and stumbled upon Passing Clouds. Greeted by the official winery dog, we did a quick tasting, discovering a remarkable chardonnay before heading back into town.
As the area is known as a wellness destination, you’ll find plenty of options for looking after yourself with a bit of indulgence and we made sure to experience a treatment at Daylesford Day Spa. Located in the centre of town, it’s a short stroll from our accommodation. With six treatment rooms and a host of treatments available ranging from facials to massages to aromatherapy and everything in between. We tried out one of the spas signature treatments, an aromatic candle massage. By selecting the candle that suits your preference, it’s melted into warm oil that’s used to treat your skin with soybean and essential oils and leave your skin not only moisturised but feeling incredibly soft.
Day two we took our DriveAway car on another adventure into nearby Kyneton where, similar to Daylesford, you’ll find a variety of quirky shops and antiques as well as the Piper St Food Co. Here you’ll find a tasty little cafe and shop offering a variety of housemade and local treats from nearby producers as well as a cooking school.
Located on the main strip of Kyneton, these courses cover everything from basic cooking classes like creating the perfect picnic to pasta making to full day charcuterie classes- even a master-class on breaking down a full pig just like the butcher!
Class sizes are small so you’re certain to be able to see what’s happening and answer questions.
My session was the Cooking Basics: Eggs course which, in just two hours, had me preparing mayonnaise from scratch, learn how to create the perfect poached egg any time, make a hollandaise sauce and so much more.
Our two days felt like four and we drove back to Melbourne and returned our little car feeling like we’d had an interstate holiday.
While two days certainly wasn’t enough time to experience all there was to see and do, you can plan your own getaway using the Daylesford app offering plenty of ideas and inspiration regarding things to see and do in both Daylesford and nearby Hepburn Springs.
Alternatively, you’ll find more information on experiencing the best of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs area by checking out dmrtourism.com.au for plenty of tips and ideas.
About the author
Gwen O’Toole is an accomplished writer focussing on travel, events management and food and wine. She also published a fiction novel while spending the past eight years as a magazine editor and travelling the globe before launching The Ideas Library, a creative services and event management company. She is regularly featured in a variety of travel and leisure publications and blogs.
One of the most stunning suburbs I’ve come across on my travels around New South Wales is Balmain in Sydney. Located on the foreshore of Sydney’s harbour, Balmain is a chic and colourful neighborhood full of charm. Its million dollar views alone will leave you breathless.
The moment I arrived on Darling Street, Balmain’s main thoroughfare, I was bedazzled by the number of boutique shops, galleries, eateries, coffee shops and bars/pubs at my fingertips. Packed with locals and tourists – it’s a perfect destination to grab a bite to eat and relax and unwind. What makes Balmain pretty unique is it has a strong sense of community – something rarely found in inner Sydney.
Be warned the price doesn’t come cheap to be a part of this inner-city dream (trust me I’ve checked multiple times), and being 6km from the CBD with Sydney Harbour as your backyard pretty much explains why. For those who call Balmain home I envy you, you’re living in one of the most beautiful suburbs in Australia and maybe the world.
If a visit to Sydney is on the cards then Balmain should definitely be on your itinerary. Recently I explored this suburb and now I sort of wish I didn’t as I’m constantly daydreaming about going back.
Here are three cool things I got up to while exploring Balmain in Sydney
11am: Brunch is a staple activity for Sydney-siders and I decided to head to a funky little café called Thyme & Basil. It has a two-story outdoor deck seating area that overlooks Darling Street and is a lovely spot to soak up the sun and suburb vibes. Serving up fresh juices, aromatic coffee and hearty breakfast and lunch options, I couldn’t pass up the big breakfast and I wasn’t disappointed. Simply delicious!
1pm: Who can resist an indulgent visit to the master of macaroons, Adriano Zumbo. With a petite shabby-chic store on Darling Street – his Balmain patisserie features freshly baked tarts, brownies, artisan breads, pastries and a colourful rainbow of macaroons. My favourite flavours are butter popcorn and milkshake. You’re sure to walk away on a macaroon high.
TIP: Gladstone Park is nearby and a good spot to laze about and enjoy your sweet treats!
2pm: As there is no better way to explore Balmain than by foot, I made my way down Darling Street heading east towards the Harbour Bridge and ferry terminal. During this trek you can’t help but gaze at the residential buildings. The closer you get to the foreshore the more spectacular they become. Once at the foreshore of Balmain East, the view is incredible. Straight ahead is the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge; on the right is Darling Harbour and Pyrmont and on the left is Goat Island. It’s easily one of the best spots to go for a stroll, take some photos and you can even throw out a blanket and enjoy an afternoon picnic in the foreshore’s Illoura Reserve area. There’s also a basketball court nestled in this reserve if you feel like shooting some hoops with a stunning backdrop.
How to get there
Ferries run to Balmain from Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. Alternatively you can catch the 431, 433, 441 and 442 buses from the CBD.
Have you visited Balmain? Let us know your thoughts – drop us a line in the comments below.
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