Nature puts up some of the most amazing shows every season. Beautiful sunny beaches, snowy mountains, colourful flowers, and autumn leaves have to be some of its highlights. For all of you spring-lovers, we did a post on the best pet-friendly flower places around Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, last year. And we also wrote about pet-friendly great ocean road for summer beach lovers and Dinner plains for your pet-friendly Winter snow adventures. So this autumn, we wanted to tell you all about where to go for the best autumn leaves, pet-friendly, of course! Here’s our most important tip before visiting any place so you can have the best fall colours in your pictures!
Even though the autumn is from March-May, the best time to visit is when the leaves start to show colour, and this changes according to the particular place you are visiting and the weather conditions. The best way to know the most up to date status is to check out "recent photos" of the location on Instagram before visiting; location stories should also give you the most recent updates.
Huge thanks to our dear friends Oliver and Wilby's parents for joining us in most of our adventures, taking some photos featured in this post, and contributing to this blog post. Follow them on Instagram for some amazing content.
Bright, Vic, Australia
Now this one is no secret. This is the first place that comes up when you google for the best autumn leaves around Melbourne. We were lucky to visit here several times, twice with dogs. Every corner in this beautiful town and its surrounds is covered with beautiful foliage during the autumn months, so you will have plenty of spots to take photos. Bright is also a popular destination if you’d like to visit dog-friendly snow mountains during winter, as covered in a different blog post. Bright is about five and half hours away from Melbourne city, so it is not a day trip. But there is plenty to do in this town and surrounds that you can easily make a weekend or more extended vacation.
Best spot: Bright Canyon Walk. This beautiful photo spot (pictured) is one of the first places you will encounter if you do the Ovens river walk. It is a flat, easy walk and the tall poplar tree canopy is at the very start of the walk. We recommend the afternoon for this walk as the golden sunlight with yellow foliage makes a picturesque scene.
Tips: Dogs are allowed on a lead unless otherwise advised (for example, dogs can be off-leash in certain areas in Ovens river walk).
Dandenong ranges are only about a 1-hour drive from Melbourne and have some of the most beautiful locations for perfect autumn photos. This area has beautiful parks, small country towns, and loads of pet-friendly activities all around the year, but autumn is truly a special time to explore this area.
Best spot: Alfred Nicholas garden – The lake with the little boathouse at the Alfred Nicholas garden makes a beautiful backdrop for photos, but this garden is also full of plenty of other spots like the little Japanese garden at the beginning of the walk your perfect autumn photos. The walk until the lake is about 20 min, and then the hike back is quite steep.
Tips: Dogs must be on a lead. Alfred Nicholas’s garden does not have dustbins anywhere, so if you have trash or any remnants of your dogs, you will have to carry them around until your next destination. If you are driving to this garden, don’t forget to drive a little up the mountain to its surrounding towns, Olinda, Sassafras, and Silvan, for the best local produce, cafes, restaurants, and goodies for your home!
Daylesford is a beautiful little town about one to one half hour drive from Melbourne. It is famous for day spas, and the lovely little village has many excellent restaurants and cottages to make it a relaxing weekend away for the whole family. Just like Bright, this town has many spots for beautiful Autumn photos.
Best spots: Sault restaurant premises. Dogs aren’t allowed in the restaurant, but this restaurant has one of the most beautiful garden areas. Like canyon walk in bright, they also have tall poplar that will make the most beautiful backdrop.
Tips: Dogs must be on a lead.
Macedon region is well known for autumn leaves, and we are happy to report there are quite a few spots that are pet friendly. I hope these beautiful photos taken by Oliver.lefrench will give you loads of inspiration for your Macedon autumn adventure.
Best spots: Forrest Galde. Honour Avenue. Valley of Liquid Ambers
Tips: Dogs must be on a lead. When visiting Honour Avenue, please park in legal parking areas as parking officers are everywhere, and you will get a hefty fine if they catch you stopping, even if it’s for one photo and you are right next to the car.
You do not have to go far to spot beautiful autumn leaves. If you live in Melbourne, you will see them everywhere, from streets and gardens to beautiful University grounds.
Best spots: my personal favourite is the University of Melbourne, the famous Botany building covered with vines of beautiful foliage, and Ginko trees near the old science building you can find if you enter via Swanston street. We also love Fitzroy Gardens, Lygon street and the surrounding Fitzroy suburb for great Autumn photos in the city.
Grape wines are perfect for autumn photos as they all turn colour from all shades of yellow to red during autumn. We are absolutely lucky as Melbourne is surrounded by wineries from Yarra Valley Dandenong region, Mornington peninsula and even towards Bellarine peninsula.
Best spots: Chandon winery in Yarra Valley. Gapstead Winery (pictured) near Bright.
Tips: Dogs must be on a leash unless otherwise advised.
We saved the best for last! Like grapevines, certain fruit trees also give the most beautiful foliage in Autumn. In my opinion, they make THE BEST autumn photos. These trees are absolutely beautiful, with the best autumn foliage spreading for acres, and most importantly, they are lower to the ground, making the best dog photo opportunities. You can be the judge from our photos.
Spots: Pick your own Persimmons, 100 Channel Road, Silvan. Asian Persimmon trees have one of the most beautiful foliages. The Persimmon farm we visited (in 2022 May) is a family-owned farm that just opened for “U-Pick” this year. So hopefully, this will be an annual event. If not, a quick google search and a kind phone call will open doors to other surrounding Asian Persimmon farms.
Tips: Dogs must be on a lead. The farm is only open until 3 pm. Carry a basket or a bag with you to pick your fruit. Minimum 10kg per picking for $50 (AUD). It is cash only, so carry some money with you—plenty of parking.
Have you been to any of these places? Have you found any helpful recommendations for places to visit? Do let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you! Happy Autumn leaves hunting!