If your pooch is champing at the bit to go for a decent run, take the lead and head to the Yarra Valley just 35km east of Melbourne. 

You will Find Your Self spoilt for choice amid a wonderful array of rail trails, forests, fields and lake tracks. Whether you own a cavachon, a groodle, a labrador or poodle, your best mate can go for the run of his life in the wide open green spaces of this popular natural region. 

Lilydale boasts a magnificent lake encircled by 10km of shared walking and cycling trails with two areas designated for off-leash. There’s even a swimming place for dogs only. Not far away is the start of the 40km Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail where people can meander along this historic trail for hours and take in the scenic views and natural beauty. 

And the dog treats don’t end there. 

There are many winery/cafe operators in the valley who welcome dogs with open arms - even placing outdoor seating and tables in easy to access places, creating grassy areas and filling dog bowls with water.

So once the pooch has been well exercised, paws for a while at one of the many pet-friendly venues with a well-deserved glass of fine local wine, a freshly brewed coffee or a bite to eat.

To make it easy for you we have created a list of some of the top locations for dog walks in the Yarra Valley and cafes/wineries nearby:

1. Lillydale Lake


10km of shared walk and bike trails. Dogs are allowed to swim in the creek in the off-leash area. Entrance: 435 Swansea Rd, Lilydale; Nearby Olinda Creek Wetlands, Access via Hull Rd, Lilydale

Nearby places to eat and play with your pooch:

A cosy, casual setting with fine food and outdoor tables.

Address: 170 Main St, Lilydale

Phone: 9735 9724 

 

2. Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail


This historic rail trail meanders for 40km through beautiful vineyards, farms and forests. It’s easy to walk smaller sections depending on how much time you have. The trail is clearly signposted. The shorter Yarra River Walk Circuit in Warburton is easily accessed from the Swing Bridge, just off Main St.

Nearby places to eat and play with your pooch:

Near the trail has lots of green grass and outdoor seating.

Address: 42 Station Rd, Warburton

Phone: 5966 2213

 

3. Olinda Creek Walking Track/Mt Evelyn Aqueduct Track

The 4.6km trail, which starts at the Mt Evelyn Recreation Reserve, follows the alignment of the old aqueduct from Silvan to Mt Evelyn and passes through the Dandenong Ranges National Park bushland, fern gullies, and bird habitats. There is a section of the Mt Evelyn Aqueduct Track (7km one way) where dogs are allowed off leash. Address: Reserve 1, Westhill Drive, Mt Evelyn

 

4. Coronation Park Healesville

This pretty bushland area is behind the Main St in Healesville and offers walking trails along the Watts River, picnic tables, BBQ facilities and a rotunda. Lots of grassy spaces for dogs. 

Nearby places to eat and play with your pooch:

Enjoy outstanding local food and wine at this popular hotel. There is a sunny large beer garden with plenty of space for owners and their pups.

Address: 256 Maroondah Highway, Healesville

Phone: 5962 4002 

This café is right next door to the hotel and you are welcome to wander into the hotel's garden.

Address: 256 Maroondah Highway, Healesville

Phone: 5962 4002

This place has just opened in Healesville and offers house-roasted coffee, fresh baked breads and sweet treats and dogs are welcome.

Address: 314 Maroondah Highway, Healesville

Phone: 5957 3230 

This vast ultra-modern dining space has a 15m stone bar, on tap local wines, cider and beer – including local Hargreaves Hill and a wine shop. There is limited outdoor seating.

Address: 334 Maroondah Highway, Healesville

Phone: 5999 9222

This cellar door and winery is easily accessible from the main street and dogs are welcome outdoors.

Address: 336 Maroondah Hwy Healesville

Phone: 5962 6111

 

5. Maroondah Reservoir Park

A lovely parkland where dogs are allowed on-lead. It’s a great spot for a barbecue with the family and includes toilets, playground and BBQ facilities. 

Nearby places to eat and play with your pooch:

Located on the eastern side of the Yarra Valley, opposite Maroondah Reservoir, this boutique vineyard is a one-hour drive from Melbourne. Large outside deck for visitors with on-lead dogs.

Address: 458 Maroondah Hwy Healesville

Phone: 5962 6899

 

6. Margaret Lewis Reserve

Meet all the locals at this vast off-leash space on the corner of Ingrams Rd and Maroondah Highway, Coldstream.

Nearby places to eat and play with your pooch:

Take the dog for a walk through the vines, kick back in the large outdoor seating area and enjoy views of the Great Dividing Ranges.

Address: 878-880 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream

Phone: 5957 3333 

Learn about winemaking at this family-owned winery in the heart of the Yarra Valley. There is outdoor wine tasting at their cellar door which is open five days, Wednesday through to Sunday.   

Address: 874 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream

Phone: 5962 4130

 

7. Yarra Glen Recreation Reserve

On the northern bank of the Yarra River you will find the recreation reserve a popular dog walking spot. There are designated areas where dogs are permitted off-leash. Nearby, at the corner of Bell St and Anzac Ave, is the revamped Yarra Glen adventure playground in McKenzie Reserve. It has plenty of shade, lawn areas, toilets, picnic tables and BBQs. 

Nearby places to eat and play with your pooch:

Enjoy a tasting at the cellar door and learn a little more about local wines in a friendly environment.

Address: 58 Pinnacle Lane, Dixons Creek

Phone: 5965 2271

This winery restaurant and cellar door has expansive grassy areas to explore. The Yarra Valley Regional Farmers Market, which sells items from paddock to plate, is held inside the winery’s barn on the third Sunday of each month.

Address: 38 Melba Hwy Yarra Glen

Phone: 9730 0100

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