Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published April 17th 2013
Happiness is a dog on a beach
If you go down to the sea today, you're in for a big surprise - heaps of very happy dogs yomping along the low tide sandflats ... well, you will if you head to the beach which borders the PA Burns Reserve at Seaholme, right next to Altona.
This wonderful stretch of shallow water has to be one of the best dog beaches in Melbourne - no complicated restricted hours to figure out - it's off leash for dogs all year round. If you arrive at low tide, the sandflats provide for lots of flat-out exercise and wading/bounding through the shallow water to get out to the various flat sand islands. But even at high tide, the waters are shallow and safe, and there is always the interesting option of the neighbouring reserve, which is full of low sandy dunes, wide open grassland for ball chasing and trees and saltbush to sniff through - set well away from the road.
The dogs and their owners here are all very friendly and welcoming to 'visitors'. Do be aware that the shared coastal bike/walking trail runs between the reserve and the beach here, so ensure your dogs are not running across the path and causing distress to the pedestrians and cyclists who whizz along. The coastal trail runs all the way to Williamstown, so if you want to stretch your own legs with a walk, consider striding out from here, but keep in mind the trail itself is on-leash all the way. Other than that, it's almost dog-perfect. Bring your own dog-poop bags, as none are provided, but there are a couple of bins available for disposal.
It's a long walk from Williamstown (Mind the bikes!)
Car parking is also easy (and free) - if you park in the small gravel parking area inside the reserve, which is just beside the Pines Scout camp, off Altona Road. This is definitely worth a trip across the West Gate Bridge - your dog will love you for it!