The morning after Mardis Gras 2015 was pretty much when I decided to move to Hobart. Earlier that week I’d had a conversation with my boss as my contract was coming to an end that went something like this:
“Mel, have you any interest in going to Hobart?”
“Hell, no, sir!”
There’s a gorgeous lull around Oxford Street the morning after Mardis Gras. The streets are mostly clean, people are still out partying, but there’s something new about it. Mabel and I went for a walk, and suddenly she was doing that horrendous dog-vomit thing. You know the one, if you have a dog, their little necks start convulsing.
She was choking on a pink piece of tinsel.
Once I dislodged the tinsel, I started thinking about the backyard she could have in Hobart, along with the little friend to keep her company. Within a month or so, we’d sold our flat (for it was mine and Mabel’s by then, in spite of her never once contributing to the mortgage) and we were on our way to Hobart.
I discovered when I got to Hobart, that it’s basically a city that’s paradise for dogs. I thought Clover’s dog parks were good, but Hobart’s are incredible, plus you have your own backyard usually.
Tasmania has the highest incidence of pet ownership in Australia, so there’s everything you need. There are loads of pet shops, home made pet food, locally made pet food, dog-sitters, dog-walkers, there’s even a new dog cafe.
So now, to a tour of Hobart’s 5 Greatest Spots to Play With Your Puppy:
5. Princes Park, Battery Point
You have to be up early for this park, but it’s worth it as the gardens are incredible, no matter what the dogs do to them, and the council’s grounds staff became some of my favourite people when I moved to Hobart. You can take your dog off lead between 7am-9am in the morning and 3pm-9pm at night.
This park isn’t really fenced out onto the road, so I know people can be concerned their dog will do a runner. I’ve never seen this happen at Princes Park and it certainly didn’t ever happen with Mabel.
4. Soundy Park, North Hobart
Soundy Park is completely fenced, and off lead between the same hours as Princes Park. We’ve only been here a few times, but I love it and that’s mostly because of Down and Dogless, a brilliant afternoon of community started by a local GP, Gabrielle Peacock.
Gabrielle saw the need for people who aren’t able to have dogs for one reason or another tospend an afternoon with other people’s dogs. There’ve been two events so far, and they’ve been completely beautiful. Most of the people who come are young people and families living in rented houses who have landlords that won’t let them have pets (boo!).
3. South Street Dog Park, Bellerive
South Street Dog Park is how I found my house, actually! I was told of a big, fenced dog park on the Eastern Shore (and, dear not-people-who-live-in-Hobart, the eastern shore divide is just as present as North Shore to CBD Sydney).
My feelings are divided about this dog park. I love it because it’s how I found my house, and because it’s great for days I’m feeling too lazy to give the girls a proper walk, but I always feel on guard here. Like the dogs aren’t as well behaved as at Princes or the beaches I’m about to share with you. A few people I’ve spoken with there take their dogs there because of the fencing as they’re a bit naughty. And, I’ve seen people slap their dogs a couple of times there which always makes me anxious.
Still, my girls love having a run here and they’ve made lots of little puppy friends here.
2. Kingston Beach, Kingston Beach
Kingston Beach is about 10-15 minutes drive from the CBD, but it’s dog heaven. Most of it is off leash, all the time. And as you can see from the above photo there’s loads of interesting things for the dogs to explore, as well as a beautiful beach.
It’s also very social – it’s difficult not to have a conversation with someone who’s there walking their dog and there’s a bunch of dog friendly cafes along the beach front for you to have a coffee in afterwards if you feel like one!
1.Bellerive Beach, Bellerive
We live across the road from this beach, and it’s so perfect for Mabel and Goldie. It’s off-leash every day of the year. All day in the ‘winter months’ (March-November) and until 9pm and after 3pm in the summer months.
The dogs are pretty well behaved, mostly because there’s no fences out onto the road, which some people worry about, but I’ve never had drama with my two because of this (my dad has though so maybe don’t ask him!).
Not only is it a gorgeous beach for play, but there’s a whole leash-free walk that takes you to Howrah, another leash-free beach that is a bit like the Spit-Manly walk, only not as far and with not as many people.
Oh, and it’s 7 minutes drive from the CBD.