Where can you stay in Canberra if you want to bring your dog along and can’t stay with friends? We kept getting asked this question, so we decided to find out.
Well. we were pleasantly surprised. Canberra has a great selection of dog friendly accommodation in the inner city. That’s right. You don’t have to stay in a caravan park on the outskirts or on a country property out of Canberra if you want to bring your dog (or dogs) with you on holiday. You can enjoy the best Canberra has to offer without being exiled in the sticks.
Here’s a selection of inner-city Canberra dog friendly holiday abodes, including one hotel, that we’ve researched and you might like to consider if visiting, or recommend to visitors if you’re a local. We’ve personally checked each of these places to examine them for ‘dog friendliness’ and interviewed the owners about what they offer and any rules they set. But you should contact the owners for more information and check out further reviews/photos on Trip Advisor or their booking sites. All take bookings directly, as well as through travel booking sites if your prefer. BTW – we haven’t received any incentives to write about these places.
In alphabetical order:
AINSLIE ART HOUSE, AINSLIE
Julia, Reuben, and Canberra dog friendly accommodation inspector outside Ainslie Art House
Julia and artist husband, Malcolm Utley, provide a unique old-time Canberra experience in their 1927 weatherboard cottage located in Ainslie.
Not only do guests have the whole, two-bedroom cottage to themselves, but the house and garden are filled with Malcolm’s paintings and sculptures. The contemporary sculptures provide a striking contrast to the original Ainslie cottage.
Although recently renovated, the cottage still retains its hardwood floorboards, sash windows and high ceilings. It even has an upright pianola on the front covered verandah.
“It came with the house, together with a box of music rolls” says Julia. “We make sure we have a roll ready for guests to play.”
Dogs have the run of the backyard, planted with a combination of natives and fruit trees, as well as access to the large laundry area at the rear of the house, plus the kitchen if well-behaved.
“There’s a ‘stand-up dog club’ that meets most mornings around 6.30 am in the park directly opposite the house. Locals bring their dogs to play and socialise.” The park (Corroboree Park) also features tennis courts and children’s play equipment.
“Around a quarter of our guests bring their dogs,” says Julia. “We’re popular with people coming for the dog shows and competitions because it’s only a short drive to EPIC.”
Ainslie Art House is directly on the route of a great walk you can do with dogs through Ainslie. See the Ainslie walk for free directions, notes and map.
Accommodation type: whole house with backyard Backyard: reasonably spacious; all day solid shade provided by outdoor eating area adjacent to back wall; fully fenced but dogs who are fence jumpers may not be sufficiently deterred by the back gate (approx 1.1 m high) and very small dogs could squeeze under this gate. Dog equipment provided: food/water bowls, bean bag, sheepskin, towels Dog rules: run of backyard but only allowed inside in rear wet areas (laundry, hall), plus kitchen if well-behaved; droppings must be picked up Additional dog related fees: $30 additional cleaning fee Booking method: Call Julia on 0418 240 978 or book through stayz.com.au or airbnb.com.au
COCKATOO HOUSE, WATSON
Louisa and her Springer Spaniel, Tilba, and Brittany Spaniel, Merry, under the wisteria at Cockatoo House
This unpretentious, relaxed home in a quiet loop street in Watson is the definition of family and dog friendly. Available for holiday rental since 2003, it provides several bedrooms, a huge enclosed rear sun room and a wisteria covered pergola in the back garden.
Owner Louisa and her family lived in the house themselves for many years before moving to nearby Hackett.
“We always had dogs in the home so it seemed natural to allow guests to stay with their dogs,” said Louisa. “I do remember one of our first guests asked if they could bring 14 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels! I have to admit being nervous, but they were visiting for a dog show and were completely professional, leaving the house and yard in great condition.”
Cockatoo House is only a ten minute walk from EPIC . “A lot of our guests visit for dog shows and competitions held at EPIC so it’s really handy for them and it means we get a lot of repeat guests.”
The well-fenced backyard has good grass cover and shade, including solid shade and shelter all day from a large garage and verandah. There is a park less than 50 metres away for dog walking. Dogs are allowed the run of the house and backyard, and allowed on the outdoor furniture.
“Our ‘house rules’ for dogs may not be as strict compared to some other places but I always speak to guests about their dogs first before agreeing to take them, and make sure I’m comfortable about their dogs.”
Accommodation type: whole house with backyard Backyard: grassy with good shade and secure fencing; access to double garage and covered verandah for additional shelter Dog equipment provided: none Dog rules: allowed anywhere inside (except on beds) with run of backyard; droppings must be picked up Additional dog related fees: none Booking method: call Louisa on 0421 033 020 or email email@example.com. Bookings also available through stayz.com
Christina and Canberra dog friendly accommodation inspector outside Illangi
Christina and her family are dog lovers who indulge their passion by encouraging doggy visitors.
“We can’t have a dog of our own right now so guests who bring their dogs allow us to have a doggy-fix without the full-time responsibility,” says Christina. “About 80% of our guests bring their dogs. We’ve had everything from schnauzers to malamutes!”
Christina will even invite friendly dogs into her home during the day while guests are busy in Canberra. “My kids love having them visit!”
Christina and family live in the main house with guest accommodation provided at the rear in a spacious, one bedroom flat. The self-contained flat has a separate entrance with a modern fit-out and a huge bathroom. There are some limited cooking facilities (microwave, grill, outdoor bbq) and guests have use of a shared laundry.
Christina’s guests come for a range of reasons. “Some come to Canberra to visit the National Art Gallery exhibitions, others are visiting their kids who are students at the ANU, some are in transit using Canberra as a break on a long road trip.”
“We meet so many nice people. There’s something special about people with dogs.”
Illangi is just across the road from the beginning of a great walk you can do with dogs through Campbell. See the Campbell walk for free directions, notes and map.
Accommodation type: self-contained flat at rear of house with backyard Backyard: small but adequate with good shade and secure fencing; access to double garage for additional shelter Dog equipment provided: blanket, toys Dog rules: allowed anywhere inside (except on bed) with run of backyard; droppings must be picked up Additional dog related fees: none Booking method: call Christina on 0423 783 848 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bookings also available through stayz.com
MAGNOLIA COTTAGE, AINSLIE
A satisfied Magnolia Cottage guest (photo provided by Magnolia Cottage)
We haven’t had a chance yet to personally visit this accommodation because it is booked until late April. But owner, Deborah, has kindly provide the following information until we can arrange a visit. Check out Deborah’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/MagnoliaCottage.Canberra.
This is what Deborah says: “I enjoy animal company. We’ve always had dogs and consider them family members, so its nice to bring them with you when you travel, and that’s why I offer dog friendly accommodation. About 30% of my guests bring their dog, sometimes because they are visiting Canberra to compete in a dog show, or they might be between home moves, or they are coming to see Canberra’s iconic attractions. I’ve been offering Magnolia Cottage for about 7 years and never had a problem with visiting dogs yet.”
Magnolia Cottage is also very close to the route of a great walk you can do with dogs through Ainslie. See the Ainslie walk for free directions, notes and map.
Accommodation type: whole house with backyard Backyard: large grassy area with shrubs and shady trees; full shade/rain shelter available in shed and sunroom; secure high fences Dog equipment provided: dog dishes, bucket for extra water, old towels for drying wet dogs, balls and toys, kids paddling pool for cooling off in summer months Dog rules: rules dependent on the owners/dogs, but generally dogs allowed inside except in bedrooms or on furniture; water and feeding to be done outside or in sunroom only; run of backyard; if raining, dogs to be towel dried before entering; droppings must be picked up, double-bagged and binned. Additional dog related fees: $30 extra for a pet stay; if evidence of dogs rules broken then cleaning charge may be deducted from security deposit Booking method: call Deborah on 0438 382 014 or email email@example.com. Bookings also available through stayz.com
MERCURE HOTEL, BRADDON
The historic Ainslie Hotel, now the Mecure Canberra
If you’d prefer hotel accommodation, the Mecure Canberra, on the corner of Ainslie and Limestone Avenues in Braddon, offers ‘pet packages’ in two ground floor, ‘superior’ double rooms.
The rooms are very spacious with tiled floors and each provide direct access to a private, fully fenced, grassed area for toileting and a run off leash.
Dogs are allowed on leash in all public areas of the hotel except the restaurant and bistro. However, guests can arrange to have meals served on the outdoor terrace in the hotel courtyard if they wish have their dogs with them.
The Mecure operates in one of the oldest hotels in Canberra – the old Ainslie Hotel – which was built in the English art deco style. It opened in 1927, initially to house parliamentarians and public servants. The building has been on the ACT Heritage Register since 2004 – see the heritage register entry for more on its history. Long-term Canberra residents have fond memories of the hotel in its various incarnations.
Accommodation type: hotel Backyard: fully fenced grassed area accessed directly from room Dog equipment provided: bed, bowls and a toy, plus poo bags Dog rules: dogs allowed inside room and off leash in private grassed area off room; allowed on leash in all public areas except restaurants; droppings to be picked up Additional dog related fees: $50 bond Booking method: 6243 0000 or toll free 1800 475 337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org