The other week I spoke with James from Aussie Family Road Trip – what a chat! Caravanning not only with his dog, but also the kids and the Mrs too! They were in South Australia, so we asked them to tell their story and share some top Pet Friendly Beaches and Parks they had come across in their travels.  This is their story:

Our story really is becoming more and more common amongst families of all ages.

We are a young family of 5 plus our dog PJ, from the Gold Coast in sunny Queensland.

My wife and I decided to throw it all in and sell our home, throw off the shackles of work, simplify our lives whilst focusing on our kids, their schooling, plus include our dog PJ. This is what mattered most to us.

We had been planning for a few months, but by early 2018 the itchy feet became too much and we purchased an amazing Nova caravan nicknamed ‘Champagne Supernova’, that we now call home. Champagne Supernova just so happens to be one James’s favourite songs of all time, must be a sign. Not long after, we hit the road with smiles on our faces.

Our Nova van is a larger family van, but the perfect size for a growing family, each with our own little areas including PJ and her bed.  We called ourselves ‘Aussie Family Road Trip’, as this is what best described our family’s journey and the incredible path we have chosen to take this year and for the future.

Our little family is:

  • Mum – Natasha (best looking parent first haha)
  • Dad – James
  • Ours Sons – Blake (8) and Dale (3)
  • Our daughter – Kiana (16), who is staying with her mum due to high school commitments and training demands, as she is fantastic at MMA and Acrobatics. She’ll visit us along the way.
  • Our dog – PJ 8.

We are writing about our adventures to inspire, help others on the road and contribute what we can to this amazing nomadic lifestyle.

We have seen and visited some jaw dropping and astonishing places between the Gold Coast and where we are in South Australia and without doubt there are many more to come.

When we plan our day to day activities and places to stay, we ask the locals or other travellers, and in true aussie spirit so many people are more than happy to help.

It is important for us to think ahead and consider where we can stay and what we can enjoy with PJ. She comes everywhere with us, she is family.  Unfortunately, far too many caravan parks do not allow pets, especially the closer you are to a capital city. Others have restrictions such as small dogs only, no cats or we do not allow all breeds. This is quite frustrating as a traveller and can be quite time consuming searching for options.  National Parks are the exception and do not allow pets, that is understandable, but still requires prior planning for some locations.

That said several dog friendly caravan parks come to mind that not only had great amenities, but also catered for kids with activities and things to do. A big plus for us is they did not charge extra fees for pets, whilst offering pet facilities, as long as you’re responsible.

Our best dog friendly caravan parks to date are:

  • Big 4 Hopkins River, Warrnambool
  • Blue Lake Big 4, Mount Gambier
  • Jetty Beach Caravan Park, Normanville.
  • Big 4 Port Willunga, Aldinga.

These caravan parks have been brilliant to stay at with our dog PJ, we really enjoyed ourselves as we honestly felt the entire family was catered for.

We have also free camped along the way and have found plenty of dog friendly options on Wikicamps.

Pet Friendly Beaches in South Australia – These would have to be the top 3 so far:

  • Rapid Bay –

A postcard like backdrop frames this stunning beach. Caves, Sheer cliffs and a magnificent jetty where you can go fishing and even a free camping area so you can rest up with your family for very affordable rates. Your kids and pets will love this area.  We had PJ on a leash here, but there was plenty of space on the beach between families and their canine companions. You don’t feel like your breathing down each other necks. There is doggy cleanup bags, toilets and ample parking like many other amazing public areas we have noticed in South Australia.

  • Second Valley – Just down the road from Rapid Bay

Now if you love movie like settings with less of a crowd, Second Valley would be it. It was just so calming and picturesque. The beach and waters are outstanding, with its own Jetty and public toilets. So many place to explore for kids and dogs alike along the shoreline. There are on and off leash timings, doggy cleanup bags and access to fresh water. PJ loved it and we had a fantastic time with the kids.

  • Sellicks Beach not far from Aldinga – Is absolutely spectacular. You can drive down onto the beach and if you go to the left from the main beach entrance there is a clearly signed off leash area. The rest of the beach is on leash. This sign posted area is no vehicle spot so your pets will be as safe as possible.

With magnificent cliffs, pebble covered dunes, crystal clear water and plenty of room to run for your dog,  this is truly the pick of the bunch. There is also a lookout above the beach and plenty of room for picnics.

For us, we considered PJ and our kids and these beaches were just brilliant. You could easily spend an entire day swimming, fishing, playing with your kids, fetch with your dog and relaxing.

Bring on more of South Australia. We’re off to the York Peninsula next and all we need to do is train PJ to rake up blue swimmer crabs and we’re all set haha

Enjoy yourselves and safe travels.

James, Tash, Kiana, Blake, Dale and PJ
Aussie Family Road Trip
Instagram – aussie_family_road_trip_