Canberra dog friendly accommodation

Where can you stay in Canberra if you want to bring your dog along and can’t stay with friends or family? We kept getting asked this question, so we decided to scout out the best options for Canberra dog friendly accommodation.

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, in the outer 'burbs, or on a country property out of Canberra if you want to bring your dog (or dogs) with you on holiday.

You can find a comprehensive listing of good quality dog friendly accommodation options in Canberra by browsing the Homeaway (previously Stayz) website. However, some of the properties listed have restrictive rules or don't meet all the 'dog-friendliest' standards which, as dog owners ourselves, we think are important (e.g. dogs allowed inside).

To make your selection easier, here’s our pick of the best inner-city Canberra dog friendly holiday abodes - all located within 8 minutes drive or less from the CBD. We’ve personally researched and visited each of these places to examine them for ‘dog friendliness’ and interviewed the owners about what they offer and any rules they set.

Our focus is from a dog's perspective (what's the backyard like?) rather than a human's (what's the shower like?) so you may want to contact the owners/managers for more information or check the guest reviews on their booking sites. However the places we've selected have very positive reviews both from guests who stayed with dogs and those that didn't.

All take bookings directly, and most also through travel booking sites if you prefer. BTW – we haven’t received any incentives to write about these places.

Our picks are detailed below in alphabetical order.

Abode Hotels, Narrabundah and Kingston
Canberra Retreat BnB, Aranda
Cockatoo House, Watson
Lyttle Cook BnB, Cook
Magnolia Cottage, Ainslie
Mercure Hotel, Braddon
Ovolo Nishi, New Acton

ABODE HOTELS, NARRABUNDAH AND KINGSTON

Canberra dog friendly accommodation at Abode Hotel Narrabundah
Abode guests romp in the Narrabundah hotel's 'dog-run'

Word has spread through the pooch network about Canberra’s two dog-friendliest hotels - the Abode Narrabundah and the Abode Kingston. Dogs are treated as special guests at all Abode's Canberra hotels but it's hard to beat these inner south locations.

Modern and convenient, Abode Narrabundah offers forty - yes forty - pet friendly hotel rooms and Abode Kingston offers another 25 rooms for visitors to Canberra travelling with their dog or cat.

The Narrabundah hotel offers fifteen ground floor rooms opening directly into a communal ‘dog-run’ - a long, well-grassed and fully fenced outdoor space available for doggie games and toileting. Dogs staying in other rooms can also access this space via the lobby. The Kingston hotel has access to a convenient public pedestrian walkway located immediately behind the hotel which is bordered by a wide grassy, shady verge well away from roads. Some rooms also have access to small courtyards.

Unlike most hotels, dogs are allowed inside on leash in all public areas because there are no restaurants or cafes triggering the ‘no-dog’ regulations. Instead, each room has its own kitchenette and there is a self-service area near the lobby.

Every guest arriving with their pet receives a complementary pet package comprising a tote bag with a toy, treats and other doggie goodies supplied by Best Friends Pets.

While there’s a two dog limit per room, there’s no restriction on the size or type of dog.

As with most dog friendly hotels, dogs aren’t allowed to be left alone in guest rooms but staff can provide local contacts for doggie day care if their humans would like to visit Canberra tourist sites where dogs can’t join them.

The Abode Narrabundah, at 61 Jerrabomberra Avenue, is a two to three minute drive from the Manuka, Kingston, Griffith and Narrabundah shopping centres boasting some of the best restaurants and cafes in Canberra.

The Abode Kingston, at 14 Kennedy Street, is smack in the middle of the vibrant Kingston cafe scene.

And for the pooches, the hotels are only a short distance from the start of our Kingston walk or Manuka-Griffith walk featuring great off leash spaces and dog friendly cafes.

Accommodation type: hotel
Outdoor access: Narrabundah: fully fenced grassed area accessed directly from 15 ground floor rooms and also available to all dogs staying with guests. Kingston: grassy, public pedestrian walkway behind the hotel away from roads.
Dog equipment provided: treats, toys, and other doggie goodies as per current pet package
Dog rules: dogs must be supervised by owners in rooms; on leash in all public areas; off leash in the communal ‘pet-run’; droppings to be disposed of in special bins provided in all pet-friendly rooms.
Additional dog related fees: $40 per day per room to a maximum of $200 per week to cover extra cleaning costs
Booking method: 1300 1 ABODE (22633) or online

CANBERRA RETREAT BNB, ARANDA

A pair of Judy's regular guests relaxing in the garden

Retired teacher and long-time Canberra local, Judy, offers Canberra Retreat BnB, a peaceful and private retreat for dogs and their humans in a spacious one bedroom self-contained flat attached to her home in Aranda.

A separate entrance allows guests to access the flat through a lush, hidden garden. The fully equipped flat includes a large sitting room, kitchenette with breakfast supplies, separate bedroom and bathroom, plus a huge deck looking over the garden.

The flat was once the new wing of Judy’s family home, designed around some favourite lead-light windows, but is now blocked off and private from the main house.

“Once my kids grew up and moved away I just didn’t need so much space. The Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the expected increase in visitors encouraged me to try my hand at bed and breakfast accommodation,’ said Judy.

Judy never thought about offering ‘dog friendly’ accommodation. “Then I had a call from someone who was desperate: they needed a place to stay but no one would take them with their dog.”

Well the rest is history. “Now a large proportion of my guests come with their dogs, and lots of them are repeat visitors. I’ve never had any problems with doggie guests. Their owners are very conscious that dog friendly accommodation is difficult to come by.

“I just love the dogs that visit and have threatened to 'dog-nap' some of them. I’ve had every dog body from a Miniature Dachshund to Great Danes and Malamutes.”

Dogs have the run of the backyard which is planted with beds of hardy shrubs and ground covers, and bordered by paving and the deck. Dogs also have run of the house which has easy-to-clean wooden floors, and Judy is careful to cover furniture with washable covers when dogs are staying.

“It helps keep the BnB ‘fur-free’ for guests that don’t come with dogs!”

Canberra Retreat BnB is only a few minutes walk from a spacious dog off leash area and the route of a great dog-friendly walk through Aranda. See the Aranda walk for free directions, notes and map.

Accommodation type: one bedroom self-contained BnB with own entrance and backyard
Outdoor access: reasonably spacious backyard consisting of garden beds, paving and decking (but no lawn); all day shade provided by mature trees and shade umbrella on deck; secure and high colour-bond fencing and padlocked gate.
Dog equipment provided: food/water bowls and towels
Dog rules: allowed anywhere inside (furniture is protected with washable covers when dogs stay) plus run of backyard; droppings must be picked up and double-bagged; dogs can be left unattended for short periods as long as they are not stressed.
Additional dog related fees: $30 extra for pet stays to cover additional cleaning costs
Booking method: contact Judy directly on 02 6251 1999, 0438 511 991 or canberraretreat@gmail.com.

COCKATOO HOUSE, WATSON

Louisa with her own spaniels under the wisteria

Unpretentious, relaxed Cockatoo House, located 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 is spacious and shady, plus there's 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.”

Cockatoo House is close to the route of our dog friendly and very pretty Watson walk.

Accommodation type: whole house with backyard
Outdoor access: backyard 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 cockatoo.house@gmail.com or book through Homeaway.

LYTTLE COOK BNB, COOK

Maryanne relaxing on the guest deck with CDW whippet inspectors

Just love dogs! Lyttle Cook BnB owner and host, Maryanne, is such a dog lover she says it never occurred to her that she wouldn’t open her neat-as-a-pin holiday rental to dogs as well as humans. In fact, Maryanne finds it hard to say no to any creature great or small.

“We’ve had guests visit with their cats, and a few with birds in tow. I don’t mind any sort of animal visiting - guests travelling with pets are extra careful and respectful when they stay.”

Maryanne recently lost the last of her three beloved Pomeranians to old age. “I really miss having a dog around, so I get some vicarious doggy-time with my guests’ dogs. Fortunately nearly all my guests bring dogs or other pets.”

Soft-hearted Maryanne has even 'adopted' a stray marmalade cat, nicknamed the Ginger Ninja.

“The Ninja is super friendly and likes to watch visiting dogs from a careful distance, but I’d really like to find him a permanent home. Any takers?"

Lyttle Cook BnB consists of an immaculate, bright and inviting, newly renovated one-bedroom unit with timber floorboards that was once part of Maryanne’s home. It has a separate entrance and car space, a fully equipped kitchen with breakfast supplies and a separate bathroom. Guests and their dogs can enjoy the outdoors on a large north-facing deck maximising winter sun, and dogs have the run of a fully fenced wood-chip courtyard as well as the unit. A large eucalyptus tree provides dappled afternoon shade in summer.

“If I’m home, I don’t mind having dogs coming into my larger backyard if their owners are visiting tourist sights that aren’t dog friendly."

Lyttle Cook BnB is only a few minutes walk from a spacious dog off leash area. Guests can walk directly across the road to join a footpath which takes them through an underpass to reach Cook Neighbourhood Oval. Only a few minutes further are the Cook shops boasting a dog friendly cafe, the Little Oink; a dog friendly pizza bar, To All My Friends; and a small, independent supermarket.

Accommodation type: one bedroom self-contained BnB with own entrance and large courtyard
Outdoor access: wood-chip large courtyard and timber deck (but no lawn); some shade provided by eucalyptus tree but in summer dogs should stay inside or visit with Maryanne; securely fenced with high timber fencing and latched gate.
Dog equipment provided: none
Dog rules: allowed anywhere inside (except on couch and bed) plus run of courtyard; droppings must be picked up and double-bagged.
Additional dog related fees: none
Booking method: call Maryanne directly on 0438 510 109 or lyttlecookbnb@gmail.com and bookings also available through Homestay.

MAGNOLIA COTTAGE, AINSLIE

Deborah poses with her neighbour's dog in the front garden

An original 1920s Ainslie weatherboard, Magnolia Cottage is located in a quiet loop street diagonally opposite pretty Corroboree Park. Owner, Deborah, bought the house with a mind to moving in herself one day, but in the meantime has offered Magnolia Cottage for visitors with dogs.

“We’ve always had dogs, chooks and other pets and consider them family members, and it's nice to bring them with you when you travel. I take my dog with me and it's difficult finding good accommodation allowing pets. So naturally I offer dog friendly accommodation and welcome well-behaved pets," says Deborah.

"I do ask that dog guest are quiet types, however, as loud incessant barking does not make for good relations with the young families comprising Magnolia Cottage's neighbours!"

The two-bedroom cottage is largely in original configuration, fully insulated, and with an updated kitchen and bathroom. There's also a new slow combustion woodburner in the sitting room for those chilly Canberra winter days and nights. The backyard is well fenced with shady trees and lots of grass for dogs to roll around in. The garden boasts camellias, azaleas, a veggie plot, fruit trees and the beautiful eponymous magnolia tree. A large outdoor setting allows humans to enjoy the garden too.

"I have a minimum four-night stay but may consider shorter stays depending on the situation.”

Magnolia Cottage is 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
Outdoor access: large grassy backyard with shrubs and shady trees; full shade/rain shelter available under house, in open shed or in the sunroom; secure high fences.
Dog equipment provided: kennel, dog bowls, bucket for extra water, old towels for drying wet dogs, balls and toys, kids paddling pool for cooling off in summer months.
Dog rules: dogs allowed inside, but not in bedrooms or on furniture; water and feeding outside or in sunroom only; free run of backyard; if raining, dogs to be dried with old towels provided before entering; droppings must be collected and placed in a designated dog droppings compost bin.
Additional dog related fees: $50 extra pet fee per stay
Booking method: call Deborah on 0438 382 014 or email debs.magnoliacottage@gmail.com

MERCURE HOTEL, BRADDON

The grand entrance of the historic Mercure Hotel

In a heritage-listed building, the Mercure Canberra, on the corner of Ainslie and Limestone Avenues in Braddon, offers ‘pet packages’ in four ground floor, ‘superior’ double rooms.

The rooms are very spacious with tiled floors and each provides direct access to a private, fully fenced, grassed garden 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 to have their dogs with them.

The Mercure 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. The Mercure hotel chain has done a beautiful renovation in keeping with the hotel's history and character.

Located at 39 Limestone Avenue, the hotel is 5 minutes walk to the city centre, 5 minutes walk to the War Memorial, and only a short walk or drive to four great walks you can do with dogs - Ainslie walk, Australian National University walk, Campbell walk, and Lyneham-O’Connor walk.

In addition, Reid Oval – a huge sports field at the corner of Euree and Elimatta Streets in Reid – is only a five minute walk away and offers an extensive off leash area when not used for sports. Locals gather here most evenings to walk their dogs and socialise.

Accommodation type: hotel
Outdoor access: fully fenced grassed area accessed directly from room
Dog equipment provided: bed, bowls and a toy, plus poo bags
Dog rules: dogs to be supervised in room; may be off leash in private grassed area adjacent to room; allowed on leash in all public areas except restaurants; droppings to be picked up.
Additional dog related fees: $50 bond
Booking method: 02 6243 0000 or toll free 1800 475 337 or online.

OVOLO NISHI, NEW ACTON

CDW whippet inspectors check out an Ovolo Nishi guest room

After a bit of luxury in the heart of Canberra’s art precinct? Look no further than the Ovolo Nishi, located in über trendy New Acton on the west side of Canberra’s CBD. Ovolo Nishi, one of only a handful of high-end hotels in Canberra, is co-located with well-reviewed Monster Kitchen and Bar.

Ovolo Nishi has designated rooms for guests travelling with dogs: it was a haven for NSW and ACT bushfire evacuees in early 2020, hosting up to 16 dogs on one day.

Guests booking the ‘V.I.Pooch Package’ receive doggie treats and toys, with comfy beds and bowls provided as well.

Dogs are allowed on leash in the hotel public areas including the Monster Kitchen lounge and bar area, but not in the Monster Kitchen dining room. Dogs must also be supervised in guests’ rooms.

The New Acton precinct includes several grassy areas, but a pedestrian footbridge from the end of Marcus Clarke Street provides access to beautiful walking paths and an off leash area adjacent to Lake Burley Griffin (turn right on the lake side of the footbridge and follow the paved path for about 5 minutes; then at the point where the path veers away from the lake shore, the open grassy area between the path and the lake is off-leash; check the ACT Government’s off-leash map for details.

Ovolo Nishi, located at 25 Edinburgh Avenue, is surrounded by a range of café and restaurant options, most with outdoor tables. Many more dog-friendly cafés and restaurants are only a few minutes walk away at the Australian National University (ANU) and in the city centre.

Finally, our awesome self-guided dog-friendly ANU walk starts and finishes at nearby Marcus Clarke Street.

Accommodation type: hotel
Outdoor access: outside hotel in New Acton and across the footbridge to the lake
Dog equipment provided: bed, bowls, poo bags, toy and treats
Dog rules: dogs must be accompanied at all times; allowed on leash in all public areas except the Monster Kitchen dining room.
Additional dog related fees: $80 per dog
Booking method: 02 6287 6287 or online

Dog friendly Canberra?

Want to know more about visiting Canberra with dogs? Check out our free self-guided dog walks around Canberra featuring safe off leash opportunities and interesting stuff for humans too such as beautiful views, historic buildings and interesting sculptures. Find out about the best Canberra dog friendly cafes, off leash dog parks and more at our regularly updated dog blog.

Or follow us on Facebook to keep up with more Canberra Dog Walks news and advice.

Photo credits: Feature photo by Canberra-based Plum Photography; Abode Hotels photo provided by Abode Hotels.

Whippet sleeping with toy teddy in paws

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