Our Great Dane Friendly Road Trip To Dinner Plain




I’m Sasha, Great Dane Mum and owner of Arctic Mist

Our Great Dane Pickle was part of the family and loved going on holidays with us. As she got older she developed a heart condition and a back issue. That didn’t mean she had to miss out on holidays, but it did mean there were a lot more things to take into consideration when planning a holiday with her.

Sadly Pickle passed away last year. But we have since welcomed a Great Dane puppy, Pumpkin, to our family. Pumpkin is an adventure pup that loves to party. She is following in Pickle’s footsteps and will be joining us on many adventures. 

Before Pickle passed away, we did a road trip from Brisbane, QLD to Dinner Plain, Victoria in July 2022. Pickle absolutely loved the snow and had the best time, they are memories we will have forever.

So I thought I’d share our adventure and all the dog friendly places we stopped at along the way.


If you haven’t travelled with your dog before or you’re just not sure where to start, check out my blog on planning a dog friendly holiday in Australia. It’s full of tips including things to think about before you go and what to pack.


First we had to decide on our final destination. Now, the options for snow holidays in Australia are pretty limited as it is, and Dinner Plain, Victoria is the only place above the snow line that is dog friendly. So that made our decision pretty easy!


Our first thought was to hire a caravan. We thought it would be the best option in terms of convenience and affordability. However, there aren’t any dog friendly caravan parks in or close to Dinner Plain. We also didn’t think it would be very comfortable staying in a caravan in the snow, especially for Pickle.

We booked our snow accommodation through Dinner Plain accommodation. They have a pet friendly filter in their online accommodation search, allow a maximum of 2 dogs per property with no size restrictions, and have a $50 pet surcharge per stay. We were going with a group of friends, so we booked a 3 bedroom house to accommodate our group. However, there are lots of different sized pet friendly apartments and holiday houses available, But you do have to book early if you plan to go during the peak winter season.  


Once we decided we were going to road trip from Brisbane to Dinner Plain, the first thing we did was put together an itinerary. We decided to drive from Brisbane to Dinner Plain down the coast road, and back home up the Newell highway. And because Pickle was getting older, we wanted to take our time and stop along the way. So we added a few extra days to our trip for travel.

Our first stop was Port Macquarie. We took our time driving from Brisbane to Port, stopping in Byron Bay for breakfast and a quick stroll, followed by stops at a few little beach towns along the way.

We booked a little 2 bedroom unit on Stayz, Salt by the sea. They allow dogs inside, and the unit is located on the ground floor, which suited us perfectly as Pickle struggled with stairs. The listing states no more than 1 pet, and that the property is not suitable for large pets. However, I contacted the host and they were happy to accommodate us. The hosts were great, and have a number of other pet friendly properties in Port Macquarie through Stayz.com.au

Sandbox is a nice little dog friendly café located right on Flynns Beach. We had breakfast there, but it would also be a great spot for lunch or coffee. Unfortunately, Flynns Beach is not dog friendly, however just south is Nobbys beach which is a dog friendly off leash beach area. The Port Macquarie Hastings Council website has great interactive mapping showing dedicated dog parks, off leash and on leash dog friendly areas, as well as areas where dogs are prohibited.

Our next stop was Wollongong. We took a bit of a detour to stop at Nelson Bay for lunch at the little beach boathouse. The dog friendly below deck is a beautiful outdoor areas overlooking the water.

We stayed at the Mantra Wollongong (yes, its dog friendly and they don’t have any size restrictions!). Our apartment was located on the third floor with access via a lift. Now, Pickle had been in a few lifts before, but she decided she didn’t like this one. And anyone with a Great Dane knows how hard it is to get them to do something they don’t want to do! So, if you do stay here, make sure your dog is comfortable with lifts.

The Mantra Wollongong have a pet fee of $80 per stay, and you have to phone them to book a pet friendly room.

Goodies Coffee is just around the corner from the Mantra. They have great coffee and breakfast, and dog friendly outdoor seating.

From there we drove to Canberra airport to meet up with our friends who flew down. We continued onto Hillview farm stay, which is around 2 hours out of Canberra on the Hume Highway in Mount Adrah. We stopped in Murrumbateman, a cute little country town, on the way.

The farm stay was great! The cabins are well appointed and we pre-arranged a BBQ pack for dinner. All the meat in the BBQ pack is fresh from the farm. In the morning, the kids got to feed the farm animals. Pickle wasn’t allowed in, but she thoroughly enjoyed watching from outside the gate.

We stopped in Albury- Wodonga on the way to Dinner Plain to do a grocery shop and get any last minute supplies. That is the last major town on the way.


Our snow accommodation backed onto the Cobungra Platter ski slope, which is a beginner and toboggan run and the only ski run in Dinner Plain. Once Pickle was snow ready in her beautiful Mila+Me soft shell coat (use code PICKLE for 10% off any order), luxury velvet Arctic Mist walk wear (use code PICKLE for 10% off any order), and booties, she was able to hang out at the bottom of the ski run and watch us come down. We spent our days there teaching our friends little kids to snowboard, and everyone had a blast (especially Pickle).

Dinner Plain town is super cute to stroll around in the snow. There are a few dining options, however restaurants do not allow dogs inside and it’s too cold to sit outside in winter. We didn’t want to leave Pickle at the accommodation on her own. So apart from going out for coffee in the mornings, we brought groceries with us and ate in. The holiday house we stayed in had a well appointed kitchen, so that was the best option for us. However, you can’t buy groceries in Dinner Plain, so I recommend stopping to do a grocery shop on the way. We stopped in Albury- Wodonga but there is also a supermarket and everything you might need in Bright. Bright is also a super cute little town to look around.

Mount Hotham is 30 minutes drive away. However, it is not dog friendly and hard to find a dog sitter. Due to Pickle’s health at the time, we didn’t want to leave her on her own or with a sitter, so we didn’t go to Mount Hotham. However, next time we go with Pumpkin, we would be happy to leave her at the accommodation in her crate for a few hours to go snowboarding at Mount Hotham.


We drove back up the Newell Highway because we had never driven that way before.

 Our first stop was Forbes. We stopped in Wagga Wagga to get some takeaway for lunch and then followed the GPS which took us off the highway. The problem was that there had been lots of rain and a lot of the country roads were flooded. So we spent a lot of time backtracking due to road closures and as a result spent way more time in the car than we needed to. My tip, stay on the highway!

We stayed in a cabin at the Apex Riverside Tourist Park in Forbes. It is located just outside of town and the cabins back onto the Lachlan River. All the staff their were super friendly and helpful.

We stopped at the CSIRO Parkes observatory for a look around on our way to Narrabri. The Parkes radio telescope, known as “ The Dish”, is part of the Australian telescope national facility. Dogs are allowed in all outdoor areas on lead and it was great place to get some photos. We also stopped for lunch at the Commercial Hotel in Dubbo. They have a large undercover outdoor dining area which is dog friendly.

When we arrived in Narrabri we checked in our Airbnb apartment, The Old Flour Mill Gallipoli House which has been converted into a 3 bedroom apartment. It is located on ground floor which was perfect for Pickle. The apartment is lovely but it doesn’t have a full kitchen, just a small kitchenette to make coffee/ tea. We had dinner at the Tattersalls Hotel which has a dog friendly outdoor dining area.

There are so many little country towns along the Newell Highway, and if we had more time we would have stopped more along the way.

I’m so glad Pickle was able to join us and experience the snow, and I’m looking forward to getting back there so Pumpkin can experience it too.

I hope I have inspired you to get out there with your dogs, and I’d love to hear if they enjoy the snow as much as Pickle did.

You can also check out my blog on Dog Friendly Accommodation in South East QLD, which features some of our favourite dog friendly places to getaway. And if your dog needs some practical but stylish accessories for your holidays, check our range of luxury walk wear

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