As my family walked around the Daylesford Sunday Market last weekend, Lulu, our Maltese Shih Tzu guard dog, managed to catch up on the news with a whole population of local and visiting pooches. I began reflecting on the joys of holidaying with pets.

There is a wonderful sense of calm when we escape the everyday to take a break. Adding our beloved pets into the mix makes the break that little bit more alluring.

A year without travel has helped us all appreciate our Victorian backyard. A rural retreat, a family break, a romantic night away or simply a Sunday drive – the myriad of beautiful cottages, pubs, cafés, walks and markets, makes a visit to the Daylesford and Macedon region a true delight.

It’s a far cry from my childhood when the anticipation of the annual beach holiday was almost palpable. But for my Mum, the memories revolve around trying to get all the family’s belongings into our small car and the frantic call out to neighbours willing to look after the family dog. 

These days, many regional tourism providers have embraced the attachment we have to our pets and understand that a family holiday means just that – pets and all. 

Our glorious region is  full of  forward-thinking businesses, like Wombat Hill House and Cliffy’s Emporium, which were offering a much-appreciated bowl of water for dogs long before it was the norm in Melbourne.

We’ve also led the way in accommodation offerings where pets are as welcome as the two-legged family member with the credit card. Birch House in Daylesford pairs a secured yard and a separate dog run with a delightful treehouse. All Views in Daylesford presents simply that – bushland views, moments away from Lake Daylesford and a perfect spot for couples and their furry plus one! A hidden treasure is Jubilee Lake Holiday Park where dogs swim happily next to locals and tourists and the resident peacocks add to the bushland charm. A few minutes away in Hepburn Springs The Little School House is picture perfect and pet friendly. It’s the same story for Persimmon, a former 1860’s ironmonger shop, now a beautifully appointed, pet welcoming stay in the heart of historical Clunes. The beautiful East Wing in Kyneton is nestled in 65 tranquil acres among an olive farm, a Japanese Garden, a delightfully appointed home and a luxurious dog pen.

Even if you’re planning a day trip to sample the region’s incredible food and wine, your pets are more than welcome. Daylesford Cider’s landscaped gardens are perfect for lazy afternoons with pooch in tow, as are the picturesque Mount Towrong Vineyard and Mount Macedon Winery – perfect for those looking to liven up their furry friend’s Instagram page.

Even the local pubs understand that dogs love a good beer garden with many welcoming the furry kind. Seek out The Cosmopolitan Hotel’s charming ambience in Trentham or the Red Hill Hotel in the little Chewton hamlet.

So, as we welcome more people to this beautiful neck of the woods, we reflect on how our captured memories now show the complete picture… paws and all.

Click here for more pet friendly inspiration.


Photo: Daylesford Macedon Tourism mascot, Ollie.

About the author

Narelle Groenhout
Narelle Groenhout
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Narelle is a proud tree-changer who only a year or so ago, with her family, swapped suburban Melbourne life and a corporate communications role to fulfil her dream to raise her children in the country and live in a connected and compassionate community. Narelle feels like she has found her community in Daylesford and the surrounding region. Moving from a quarter-acre block on a busy road to an old farmhouse on a two and half acre piece of paradise, bordered on one side by a spring fed creek and the other by majestic eucalypt forest, Narelle has found the life she was looking for, spending her days gardening, entertaining friends and family and writing stories about the remarkable people she has met in her new community, along with trawling the local op-shops, markets, second-hand and tip shops for new treasures.