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Best Dog-Friendly Snow Adventures in Australia

Australian Snow Adventures: discover the best spots for your dogs and you

Imagine waking up to fresh snow, ready for you and your best buddy to explore, hike or frolic about in.

"Dogs get super excited by the snow" explains Kerry Martin from Puppy Tales Photography. It brings out the joy in any dog, and most will be bounding about within seconds of arriving at a winter wonderland. Some love to dig, some love to chase and some just love to lie down and take it all in. Whatever kind of dog you have, the snow will stimulate their sense of play and curiosity. It will open up a whole new world for them.

If you’re looking for the best spot to create amazing memories with your best buddy, snow is the way to go!

Where can I take my dog to see snow in Australia?

If you have ever asked that question, you’re in the right place! There are places to see snow with your dog in Victoria, NSW, QLD and Tasmania.

Now, let's talk snow... Australia isn't exactly famous for its snow regions and winter conditions. It’s pretty mild here compared to other parts of the world and in most urban areas, seeing snow is about as common as a cat barking! This means that for most of us pet parents, packing up the car and heading out on a holiday or at least a day trip is the way to go if you and your doggo want to build a snowman together.

Most snowy areas in Australia are within National Parks and Alpine Ski Resorts. These spots normally don’t allow dogs, but never fear – we are here to share the best spots where you can venture into snow with your pup. After all, experiencing the magic of a snowfall should be a delight shared with our furry best mates, right?

So, fluff up your winter coats and get ready for the best dog-friendly snow spots Down Under!

Dinner Plain is THE spot for Snow with Dogs in Australia

Dinner Plain, we "pawsitively" adore you! Tucked away near Mount Hotham, in Victoria, Dinner Plain isn't just any ordinary snowy retreat. It's a winter wonderland with an open-door policy for our furry friends. Yes, you heard it right! It's the only place in Australia above the snow line where dogs are welcomed - no permit or special permission required.

Blessed with more consistent snowfall and coverage, and a wider place to play, Dinner Plain has the reputation as a canine snow paradise. That's why it's our tail-wagging favourite spot for our Snow Dog Retreats and Photo Sessions

Who wouldn't want their pooch prancing in a picture-perfect winter backdrop, right?

Pack your bags, prep your dog, and get ready for a road trip! It's about a five-hour drive from Melbourne and a six-hour journey from Canberra to reach this snowy dog haven. And guess what? 

There's dog-friendly accommodation in the charming village of Dinner Plain itself, making it the ideal place to settle in for your full winter wonderland getaway. We can't recommend this enough because once you and your furry mate get a taste of this snowy delight, you'll be howling to stay longer!

Dog Snow Day Out in Corin Forest, NSW

For those of us calling Canberra or Sydney home, let's turn our attention closer to home – to Corin Forest. Perfectly positioned for a shorter road trip from these areas, this snowy escape is just a tail's wag away.

Just a short 45-minute drive from Canberra, Corin Forest makes for a fantastic day trip. And hey, if you're travelling from further afield, Canberra's got some cosy, dog-friendly accommodation for you and your pooch.

Now, for the snowy magic... Each winter, Corin Forest has a Snow Play Area. Think snow machines, fenced-in frolics, and if Mother Nature is feeling generous, lots of real snow! Corin Forest's Snow Play Area hosts a Dog Day Out for one or two weekends in September. Check out the Corin Forest Facebook Page for announcements of dates.

These days are the only time when dogs are allowed to romp and roll in the snow. It’s an on-leash and pup-lar event, so it might get a tad crowded, making it a tail-wagging paradise for the more sociable pups.

Other places you may take your dogs to see snow in Australia

Sure, Dinner Plain and Corin Forest may take the top spots for dog-friendly snowscapes, but they're not the only places for Aussie dogs to see snow. There are some other snowy surprises, especially in bumper snowfall years, or if we're treated to another 'Blizzard of Oz'. When the snow gods decide to sprinkle their magic at lower levels, there are several more places you and your pup can embark on a snowy escapade.

We're talking about spots like Mount Margaret, Mount Torbreck, Mount Timbertop, Dandenong Ranges, and Mount Macedon in Victoria. In NSW, there's the Blue Mountains, Oberon, Hampton, Jindabyne, and Orange. And don't forget Stanthorpe in Queensland, and the Highlands and Central Lakes in Tasmania.

These destinations are more ‘off the beaten path’, with limited services and facilities. You'll need to be self-sufficient and ready to embrace a little snow-dusted wilderness. Also, keep in mind that snowfall can be quite fleeting in these parts. So, one moment you could be looking at a winter wonderland, and the next, it might be more 'spring-like'. That is green, damp and muddy! Best to keep an eye on conditions and be ready to make a spontaneous trip for a snow-chasing adventure.

Importantly, remember that weather conditions in these mountainous areas can change rapidly, and snow warnings or alerts may not be readily available. If you're considering a snowy adventure in these areas, ensure you're comfortable with driving in snow conditions and have the necessary equipment, such as chains for your vehicle.

Always consider your capabilities, your car's abilities, and of course, your dog's comfort when planning your activities. While a snow adventure can be a tail-waggingly good time, safety should always be a priority.

When should I travel to see Snow with my dogs in Australia?

So, you've got your dog's snow winter jacket ready, but when's the best time to set off on your snowy adventure? Well, the Australian snow season typically starts in June and lasts through September, but mother nature doesn't always stick to the schedule. Sometimes she teases us with a May snowfall or graces us with a November flurry. But if you're after good coverage, then my hot (or should I say cold?) tip is to aim for late July through August.

Before you leap into the car, do a little snow homework. Research the areas you're considering and find out when they usually enjoy their best snowfall. Local businesses' social media, location tags, and groups focused on dogs, snowy adventures, or specific destinations can be a gold mine of information. You'll find advice from locals or regular snow goers that's worth its weight in snowflakes!

Planning Your Snow Dogs Trip to Dinner Plain

Gear up, dog mums and dads! Dinner Plain, earns the crown as king of the Australian snowy landscape for dogs with its snow consistency, furbulous facilities for either day trips or extended stays, and a host of doggie-delightful activities. It's the premier playground for you and your fluff ball to indulge in snowy fun!

As such, we're going to hone in on this snow pup paradise for the rest of our article. But don't fret, many of the tips and tricks we'll unearth here can also be applied if you're lucky enough to encounter some of the white stuff in any of the other locations we've highlighted. So, are we all set? Let's venture forth into our frosty adventure!

Where to stay when visiting Dinner Plain

Embarking on a trip to Dinner Plain, you'll be spoilt for choice with the variety of dog-friendly accommodation nestled within the village. Ranging from cosy stays for couples to expansive chalets, they're perfectly geared for a fantastic snow adventure. Our own experience over a decade of visits to Dinner Plain has consistently shown the accommodation to be wonderfully inviting - think warm wood fires, peaceful surroundings and comfortable self-catering facilities for you and your dog.

If you can't find suitable accommodation on the mountain, don't fret - nearby towns like Omeo, Harrietville and Bright offer additional options, allowing you to drive up to Dinner Plain for the day. Be mindful though, if you opt to drive through Mount Hotham en route to Dinner Plain, don’t stop! You'll need a day pass if you plan on stopping, and dogs are not permitted during the snow season (unless you’re a resident with a permit).

While there’s a lot of accommodation in Dinner Plain and the surrounding towns, not all of them are dog-friendly. It's crucial to verify this with the accommodation provider during the booking process - ensuring that they are genuinely dog-friendly, not merely dog-tolerant. For a winter trip like this, you definitely want your dog indoors with you.

Dinner Plain has a small supermarket only, so make sure to pack all food and supplies your dog might need if you're staying on the mountain. If you discover you've left something behind, your best bet is to make a stop at Bright, Omeo, or any of the other country towns you pass along the way and grab what you need.

Dog-friendly Hikes & Trails you can do in the Snow at Dinner Plain

Breathing in the fresh air, marvelling at picturesque views, experiencing the crunch of snow beneath your feet – there's nothing quite as enchanting as hiking along a snowy trail with your dog. Beyond the sensory delight, it's a known fact that quality time spent with your dog is good for the soul. So, hiking at Dinner Plain is akin to getting a double dose of soul food!

For a leisurely stroll, the roads within Dinner Plain offer a fantastic starting point. Though not a large area, the village brims with delightful snow village sights to see. A favourite activity of ours is walking by all the chalets, admiring their unique designs, chuckling at the imaginative names they've been assigned, and daydreaming about which ones we'd love to stay in next time (or buy!)

If you're up for a longer hike, select one of the cross-country snow trails for an extended adventure. The groomed and compacted snow on these trails make it easier for both you and your dog to walk in the snow country. The Fitzy’s and Collector’s Circuits around the village perimeter are popular trails to explore.

For those seeking tranquillity or even longer hikes, the summer hiking or mountain biking trails present quieter alternatives. Since these trails aren't groomed in winter, ensure you're attentive to track markers along your route. 

Walking these trails is relatively easy when the snow isn't too deep or excessively soft, or if the snow has been compacted by other hikers. However, be prepared for a more challenging trek if you encounter deep snow and anticipate snowballs on your furry friend!

What fun and adventures can you have with your Dog at the Snow?

From playing in the snow to embarking on winter sports adventures, Dinner Plain offers a plethora of activities for you and your furry friend to enjoy. Let's dive into the winter fun that awaits you!

❄️ Snow Play & Chasing Snowballs

If you ask our dog Summer, snowballs are the best thing about a trip to the snow! Each furry friend interacts with them uniquely - from trying to intercept the balls mid-flight to chasing after their landing spots, or attempting to devour them! Off-leash play is permitted within the tennis court area in Dinner Plain village, making it the perfect snowball battleground!

🎿 Snowshoeing

Walking across soft snow can be hard work for humans but a breeze for dogs. That's where snowshoes come in. Snowshoes help you float atop the snow, enabling more exploration and preventing you from sinking into the deep powder. Snowshoes, available for rent in Dinner Plain, open up off-the-beaten-path adventures. A hands-free waist leash can be handy if you want to use poles while snowshoeing with your dog.

⛷️ Skijoring

Skijoring - a cross-country skiing variant from Norway - utilises dogs to help move you through the snow. It can also be a fun way for your dog to join you on a skiing adventure, with your dog running alongside rather than pulling. This activity requires skis, harnesses, and existing voice command training with your dog. Safety guidelines recommend dogs for skijoring should weigh over 15kg.

☃️ Build a Snowman

Snowman construction isn't just for kids! Dogs can help dig the snow, pose for a picture, or even join in the snowman's eventual demolition - stealing its carrot nose or playing with its stick arm.

🏔️ Create a Snow Playground for your Dog

If there’s lots of good deep snowfall about, you can shovel out a maze for your dog to navigate. The height of your maze walls should correspond with your dog's size and the snow depth. Test their abilities by making them find their way out or locate an object within the maze.

Frisbee Golf

Dinner Plain houses Australia's highest Disc Golf Course. Dogs are welcome to join in on the fun of this nine-hole course. Involving your pup in the game can add an extra layer of excitement, whether they're fetching the stray frisbees or earning snow playtime with every score.

Snow Sights not to miss at Dinner Plain...

While here, you don’t want to miss immersing yourself in the captivating charm of Dinner Plain. This village doesn't shy away from painting a perfect winter picture. Here are the sights you can't afford to miss:

🌄 Spellbinding hilltop Sunrises & Sunsets

Alpine sunrises and sunsets are nothing short of mesmerising. You may even witness alpenglow, a rosy light that graces the snow-capped mountains during sunrise or sunset, adding a unique touch to your memorable winter experience.

🏚️ Snow Huts

Visit the iconic CRB Hut, a symbol of Australia's high country history, just outside the village. With your pup by your side, explore this surviving testament of the Black Friday fires in 1939. Also, admire the Crisps Hut within the village, a replica built in 2011, reflecting the rich heritage of the area.

🌟 The Night Sky

End your day gazing at the mesmerising Milky Way far from city lights. Ensconced in the mountains, Dinner Plain provides a breathtaking backdrop for night sky viewing. Just remember to bundle up as you and your furry friend marvel at the celestial wonders above."

Dining Options & Self-Catering Tips for your dog-friendly trip to Dinner Plain

Dinner Plain offers a range of restaurants and pubs, many with pet-friendly outdoor seating areas. Just make sure to bundle up, including your four-legged friends, for a delightful alfresco dining experience!

If you prefer a more intimate dining experience, most of chalets at Dinner Plain come equipped with kitchens. Why not plan a 'Winter Wonderland' dessert, with numerous snow-themed treats to try, including snow ice cream, pancakes, or even cocktails. Try googling for a number of options that include snow in the ingredients!

Be aware that the local supermarket in Dinner Plain is small so has limited options. We recommend bringing necessary groceries with you or purchasing them in Omeo or Bright before arrival.

If a day of fun has left you too tired to cook or dine out, several restaurants offer takeaway options for a hassle-free meal.

Finally, a cosy winter tip – don't forget to pack marshmallows! Whether toasted in public fire pits or savoured in a hot chocolate within the comfort of your accommodation, they are sure to add a sprinkle of sweetness to your trip.

Extra Activities for Your Memorable Trip to Dinner Plain with Your Dog

As you wrap up your enchanting visit to Dinner Plain, here are a few additional activities that can make your trip even more memorable:

🔥 Restful Afternoons or Evenings by the Fireplace

After a big morning of frolicking in the snow, nothing beats cozying up with your dog in front of a fireplace, typical of many chalets in Dinner Plain. It's the quintessential end to a magical day.

🐕‍🦺 Sled Dog Tours

Fulfill your dream of navigating the high country on a sled dog tour run by Howling Husky Sled Dog Tours. While this adventure is for humans only, it's an exhilarating experience that many don’t want to miss on their trip to Dinner Plain.

🐕 Sled Dog Racing

Dinner Plain has a rich history of sled dog racing spanning over 25 years. The annual Dinner Plain Sled Dog Sprint takes place in August (12th & 13th August 2023), drawing both participants and spectators. To compete, you need a trained sled dog team and your own equipment. Non-participants are welcome to watch, but please ensure your own dogs are kept well to avoid distracting the competitors.

The Final Paw Print: A Trip to Remember

Ending your snowy adventure with your dog, you'll look back at cherished memories: stunning snow-covered trails, thrilling sled races, and the comforting warmth of the chalet's fireplace. This vibrant and welcoming village caters to both human and canine needs, promising a getaway that you'll reminisce about in years to come. 

So pack your snowshoes and marshmallows, and let your furry friend lead the way to an unforgettable experience. After all, there's nothing quite like the magic of Dinner Plain – a place where every snowy day brings a new adventure.

Capture Your Snow Dog Adventure with Puppy Tales Photography

Turn your snowy escapade into a timeless keepsake with Puppy Tales Photography, an award-winning photographer who has been photographing dogs 
 for pet parents in the winter wonderland of Dinner Plain since 2013. 

Embark on a Snow Dogs Photography Session or Retreat and capture your four-legged friend's immense joy of their time at Dinner Plain.

written by Kerry Martin, Puppy Tales Photography, July 2023 for Australian Dog Lover

About Kerry Martin & Puppy Tales

Photodography™ you'll adore - Pet Travel & Adventures you'll Dig

Kerry Martin
 of Puppy Tales considers pets very much part of the family so lives this adage to help and inspire fellow pet parents to create incredible memories of a most pawsome life!

Kerry's Melbourne-based but is often on the road throughout Australia offering her award-winning dog photography. She's known for her stunning seasonal photography experiences in amazing locations and her tales of travel adventures with her dogs Keiko & Summer.

Puppy Tales is a business for good with a mission to make a paw-sitive difference. Puppy Tales operates carbon negative; supports many local organisations; and plays a part in the global community’s effort to protect the planet. Kerry’s also the founder of the Australian Dog of the Year Awards which recognises the incredible contribution of dogs to people, communities and society.

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