All about our dog friendly Canberra walks
Our self guided walks showcase the best of Canberra
Walks are designed to create an enjoyable experience for both people and dogs. Our recommended walking routes:
- include off leash opportunities
- usually start and finish at centres featuring a dog friendly café
- follow a loop with minimal retracing of steps
- minimise busy roads and Canberra's nature parks
- feature interesting stuff for humans too, such as beautiful views, quirky sculptures or historic buildings.
Our guided group walks provide a social experience
Social group walks usually follow one of our self-guided walking routes but we lead the way so you can just enjoy the walk without worry about directions or maps.
If this sounds more like you, go to our social group walks page to find out more, otherwise read on.
More about self-guided walks
Our routes take between 45 and 90 minutes to complete, including some dawdling time. You don't need to be particularly fit. Use the approximate walking times as your guide. If you can walk for an hour at a steady pace, you can complete our one hour walks. Walkers aged from 6 to 81 years-old have tested our walks.
Walks usually include a mix of paved footpaths, dirt tracks and routes across grass. Your footwear needs to be appropriate for this type of walking, including through wet grass or on muddy tracks! But we also have a selection of walks paved the whole way for people pushing prams, or not able to walk 'cross country'. See our pram friendly walks dog blog to see walks paved the whole way.
Go to the self-guided walks page to access detailed directions and maps of all our walks and information to help you choose the right one for you.
Our walks are located all over Canberra in areas that provide the best combination of off leash walking, cultural interest and dog friendly cafés, and we even have a great walk straddling Oaks Estate and Queanbeyan. See our walk locations map to see the start and end points of all our walks.
What's included in our free self-guided walk directions?
Click on a paw to find out more.
Our walking directions are detailed enough to help you find your way even without a map once you get to the starting point. We also provide a PDF version if you want to print them out, but our website is fully responsive so the directions will be easy to read and look good on your smartphone. Walking directions include:
- approximate walking times and distances
- a rating indicating the extent of off leash opportunities
- location of public toilets and bins
- location of children’s playgrounds
- advice about when dogs can go off leash, when they should be called to heel, for example, prior to a road crossing, or when they should be on leash
- warnings about potential distractions such as horse riders or kangaroos
- additional commentary about particular sections of the walk such as views, historic features, interesting architecture or sculptures.
Each walk comes with a detailed google map illustrating the walking route. You can just use the map to find your way but the walking directions give you important information about off leash and on leash areas, where is the nearest toilet and when to watch out for kangaroos, plus interesting commentary about what you're seeing.
Approximate walking times are provided, assuming a steady walking pace with a few stops to throw a ball, let your dog socialise, or take in the views. If you walk the whole route at a brisk pace without pause you may take less time than estimated. If you dawdle a lot you may take longer. Elderly walkers or families with young children may also take longer.
Each walk provides warnings about potential doggie distractions such as kangaroos, rabbits, horses, etc. Canberra isn’t called the ‘bush capital’ for nothing! You can encounter kangaroos and rabbits even in the Parliamentary Triangle. Having said that, most of our walks avoid Canberra’s so-called nature parks where these distractions are most common. Where they can’t be avoided, we provide a warning to leash your dog, especially if they are ‘chase’ inclined. Each walk also warns when approaching sports grounds, schools and bike paths. You should always respect other users and be aware of ACT Government dog regulations.
All walks are rated for their off leash opportunities.
♥♥♥ means most of the walk can be completed off leash
♥♥ means there are long sections of off leash walking but some on leash walking is necessary
♥ means off leash areas are included along the route allowing games and socialising but most of the route should be walked on leash.
We particularly recommend your dog is on leash along bike paths, in shopping centres, crossing busy roads and passing through areas of high kangaroo density. Dogs off leash should be well socialised and reliably come when called.
The ACT Government provides information about designated off leash areas on its website. In some areas of Canberra, locals are very tolerant of dog walkers and many dogs are walked off leash. In other areas, dogs are generally only seen off leash in specific designated areas. It’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your dog, the safety of others, and to know the laws in Canberra.
Most walks begin and end at a shopping centre featuring a dog friendly café. In most cases there are several dog friendly establishments with outside tables where proprietors welcome dogs. However disruptive dogs may not be welcomed. You'll need to check café opening times. Many are open 7 days a week, but some are closed Sundays and/or Mondays. Cafés that are exceptionally dog friendly, welcoming and/or serve consistently good coffee are identified as 'Our Pick'. See also our blog on Canberra dog friendly cafés. We have not received any inducements to recommend these cafés.
All walk directions include a link to a gallery of photos taken on that walk so you can preview what to expect. All photos are taken by amateurs, so what you see is what you get!