As we’ve said before in our write-ups, everyone’s experiences of traveling with a dog are going to be different. It all depends on the age of your dog, the breed, personality, health and so on. These tips that we are giving are what have worked for us. Bowie has pretty much grown up on the road so we know what keeps him happy and we know his limits.
Exploring New Territory
We didn’t have much of a plan after we crossed the border into the Northern Territory, all we knew was that we were driving from Darwin to Adelaide and checking out whatever we could in between with the dog. After our battery cooked its self from the NT heat we had to drive straight to Darwin and had to begin our adventures from there and work our way down to Adelaide, which surprisingly turned out to work better for us anyway!
So we wanted to share with you a few places, caravan parks, campgrounds and ways that allowed us to explore and tick off everything we wanted to on our travels through the Centre. But before you read on please understand that whenever we leave Bowie by himself, we always make sure to check weather, temperatures and surroundings so we never put him at risk. If it’s ever too hot, uncomfortable or scary for him we don’t attempt it and always aim to check things out early morning or late afternoon. Also Northern Territory and Central Australia can be extremely hot so if you are ever planning to take your dog on this route, we highly recommend visiting in the middle of winter when it’s the coolest.
The Litchfield National Park Loophole
As soon as you hear National Park, you instantly think NO DOGS allowed in caps lock with red text and sirens going off. But get this; there are actually National Parks that have caravan parks with in the National Park that allow dogs. We honestly have no idea how but BINGO! It’s freaking awesome! Which means you are allowed to take your dog to Litchfield National Park but only if your staying in this particular caravan park called: Litchfield Safari Camp. How you visit the surrounding attractions with out the dog is entirely up to you and your pet because unfortunately they need to stay in the caravan park, but at least it’s better than skipping it!
Katherine Hot Springs
These hot springs are located near the Centre of town. They are not in a National Park but unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed in the springs. They are however allowed in the car park where you will find some grassy and shady areas. So in the early morning, we were able to tie Bowie up to the car with his bed, food and water while we had a swim in the springs.
Bitter Springs & Mataranka Hot Springs
These are two separate springs in the small town of Mataranka. The Mataranka hot springs are actually located at a Caravan Park, which is conveniently dog friendly! So it’s super easy to set your car up on a site and walk a short distance to have a swim. The caravan park is called: Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort
As for Bitter Springs, there is a park just outside the National Park entrance that allows dogs called: Bitter Springs Cabins & Camping
Same situation, it’s just as easy as setting up on your campsite and walking into the National Park to enjoy the springs, while leaving the pooch to chill at camp.
This incredible spot is literally in the middle of Australia, just a quick turn off the Stuart Highway and a great place to stretch the legs! It is a National Park which means dogs aren’t allowed in and around the marbles, however you are allowed to have your dog in the car parks. It was actually freezing cold when we visited early morning, so Bowie was happy to stay snuggled up in the car while we checked everything out.
This would have to be one of the most surprising places that we’ve come across in terms of being dog friendly. Even though it’s situated in the National Park, The Kings Canyon Resort Campground is actually dog friendly! And you know what’s even better?! You can actually have your dog in the car park where you start and finish the hikes around the canyon as well, given that they are on a 2M lead and are secured to the car.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have a small dog(s), please be aware that throughout these areas there are heaps of dingoes, which can be a high risk for your dog.
Personally we weren’t comfortable leaving Bowie tied up outside the car at the Caravan Park or car park because he’s a hopeless fighter and an easy target. So we decided to start the hike in the dark, early morning when it was literally 5 degrees or something ridiculous and left him in the car where we knew he was safe.
The mighty big red rock! This was the whole reason why we decided to travel through central Australia and we were so happy that we were able to visit with Bowie! It’s another one of those attractions that you think is impossible with a dog but we’re here to tell you otherwise! So for those wanting to visit with their pooch, there is a caravan park in the town Centre of Yulara called: Ayres Rock Campground
Once again this is dingo country so we weren’t comfortable leaving Bowie unattended with the car and we needed the entire day to be able to check out Uluru and the Olgas. Lucky enough, we stumbled across this lady on the Wikicamps app that had just recently started doing dog sitting in Yulara! Her name is Laura and as much as I’d love to share her personal mobile number on here for you guys, I feel it might be inappropriate. So instead you can find her on Wikicamps under Doggy Day Care Uluru.
At the time she was charging $10 p/hr so we left Bowie with her for 7 hrs, which ended up being $70. It may seem a little steep to some people but we were just so grateful that there was even a dog sitter out there and it allowed us to explore the whole National Park.