Dogs in national parks

Everything you need to know about walking your dog in South Australia’s parks and reserves.

Can you walk a dog in a national park?

Certain parks in South Australia provide visitors with the opportunity to walk their dog. In parks where dogs are allowed they must remain on designated walking trails and on a lead.

What about disability dogs?

Guide dogs, hearing dogs and accredited assistance dogs are permitted in most public places. A disability dog must remain on a lead while in a national park or reserve.

If you plan to visit with a disability dog please contact the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources for information about any potential hazards in specific parks.

Why walk your dog in a national park?

The simple answer is, national parks are beautiful pockets of nature that allow you to escape the noise and stress of the city. Nothing compares to the beautiful scenery, native animals, birds and tranquillity of walking in a national park – for you and your best mate.

Why is dog access restricted in national parks?

First and foremost, dog access is restricted because we care for our native wildlife and want all visitors to be able to see these amazing animals in our parks.

If you love seeing native animals like koalas, kangaroos, bandicoots and echidnas in the wild then keeping your dog on a leash and on the path is essential.

There are several reasons for this

  • Dogs leave scent trails that scare native animals away. The further dogs wander from the path the larger the area that will repel native animals.
  • Dogs scare away native animals that are in the area just by being visible, once scared like this animals are often unlikely to return.
  • Dogs are natural predators and sometimes even gentle pets can injure or kill native animals.

There are also risks for your dog. Snake bites, fox baits and parasites are common threats and it can be hard to monitor the situation if your dog is out of sight in the undergrowth or long grass.

Are there any off leash areas for dogs in national parks?

Yes! There is one off leash national park, Blackwood Forest Recreation Park located in Blackwood. There are some nice walking trails through the pine forest and grassy fields as well as some lovely views to enjoy. Even though it’s an off leash area your dog must remain under effective control.

Visited a national park with your dog lately? Leave a comment below and share your experiences, tips, photos and recommendations for other dog owners.

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