Camping with dogs in Harrietville, Victoria


Camping with your dog

Are you about to head out camping with your dog?  See the places we stay and the essential items we pack when we go camping with dogs. On this trip, we went to the Alpine Shire region of Victoria. Read below to see why this destination should be on your list of ‘go-to places’. Could this be your next favourite spot?

Location: Smoko Campground

Camping: Free Camping (and keeping moving along the left side of the river).

Accessible: 4X4, 2WD and RV (the more remote you go, you will only be able to access the site by 4X4).


Quick Points: No Shower Facilities/ Drop Toilet in the main camp area.

When camping with dogs, we are always in search of dog-friendly spots. We decided to move on from our first chosen site. It was a busy holiday weekend, and the campsite quickly became crowded. We took our chances and ditched our happy place in search of another.

The Journey

At the foot of Mount Hotham and Mount Feathertop, roughly 25 km from Bright at the end of the valley stretch of the B500 Great Alpine Road, as you approach Harrietville, you will see signs for ‘Smoko Campground’, situated by the river. It’s just the perfect place to camp with your dog.

When you arrive, you will see many areas for you to stop and pitch your tent. The further to the left you go, you will see it becomes more private, and the access to the river becomes easier. If you get here early in the week, you will find some beautiful spots away from other campers. If you go around major holidays, it will be busy. You need to plan and look up what events are happening in Harrietville when you plan to travel.

This site offers free camping, and we have been here time and time again. As much as we love to explore, we also love coming back to the places that make us feel so much at home, and Harrietville is the place. We started our trip at another location, and it became so busy we decided to do our thing and find a new place to free camp, preferably an off-road site. We took our chance and got on our merry way to the Ovens River. We knew it could be another busy site, but with us having a 4×4, we thought we’d be in luck at least of being off track at least a little. Arriving in Harrietville, we first took the boys to one of our favourite spots, The Tronah Dredge Hole. It was a chance for them to let off steam and feel familiar with the area again.

Tronah dredge hole was once one of the most significant working dredge holes in the southern hemisphere; it was active from 1942 to 1954 and was one of the biggest producers of gold. This gorgeous lake is now a swimming hole; its approx depth is 30 metres deep and is safe to swim in for dogs and humans. Local volunteers placed a floating pontoon and a jetty named ‘Joopers Jetty’.

The Tronah Dredge hole is a perfect location to walk and swim with your dog on a hot summers day; we love it here. There are a few walks around it you can take your dog. Be mindful to keep your dog on leads and always watch for snakes and local wildlife such as ducks and birds nesting.

What to expect

Smoko is dog friendly and is free camping that sits next to the ovens’ river. The Ovens River runs in and around Harrietville and has some deeper sections for you to sit and relax in.

  • No Toilet
  • No showers
  • Wi-Fi Connection
  • A walk or drive to the local town or to Bright

What essential items do we advise when camping with your dog?

There are a few essentials for your dog; we think you should bring along for the trip;

  1. Collapsible Bowl; use it for water perfect for those hikes.
  2. Cooling Mat just so your dog has a place of comfort while you are sitting relaxing.
  3. A longer lead, so they can have some space but also so you’re in control on their walks.
  4. Dog First Aid Kit, including your tick remover and a pair of tweezers.
  5. Something to keep your dog entertained while you are relaxing.
  6. Micro-fibre towel and a dedicated grooming kit.

Be mindful when you are camping with dogs, as the campsite can be rife for grass seeds. I always carry dog nail clippers and tweezers as part of our ‘dog first aid kit’, just in case one of the boys gets a split nail; this can happen so quickly from walking and running along the rivers. You’ll have no choice but to cut it short.

Grooming: If you have a curly-coated dog(s) or if you have a dog that requires Tronah Dredge Hole

Essential Packing

  • Your camera.
  • Your swag.
  • A stainless steel fire pit (it saves burning the ground).
  • Wood or Smokeless coals for cooking.
  • First Aid Kit + Snakebite kit – (humans).
  • Toilet paper.
  • A rear-wheel rubbish bag (leave no trace).

We hope you have enjoyed reading this, and hope you enjoy reading our future blogs.

Thank you!

Nicola, Sam, Lucky, Poly & Alfie x

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