Your best friend is always welcome

Maitland is an easy city to meander around with plenty of open spaces, wide shaded sidewalks, and lovely river views. Impressive heritage architecture is complemented by an upmarket shopping, entertainment and cultural precinct in High Street and The Levee. Certainly lots to see and do as you wander through Maitland and surrounds.

But what if you are like me and want to give your faithful canine a bit of exercise or a holiday? Is Maitland dog friendly? Let’s go for a walk together and find out.

Early morning is a wonderful time to take the dog for a stroll along the Hunter River. I park in the lot behind the Imperial Hotel (three hour free parking bonus). There is a well maintained concrete path on the Maitland riverbank with a rock embankment for fossicking. A short stroll across the Belmore Bridge and we arrive on the Lorn riverbank, a gentle grass slope where four legged friends can take advantage of the off leash area and easy river access for a swim before the day gets too warm.

While we are on the Lorn side we might check out Jerf the Wholefood Café. There are outdoor  tables set up so you and your dog can enjoy a leisurely breakfast, or we may take a bit of a wander down the streets of Lorn to see beautiful heritage homes and gardens, many with friendly resident dogs.

Back to Maitland and a relaxing stroll along High Street. There are always other dogs enjoying The Levee Shared Zone. Within the Shared Zone pedestrians and vehicles are equal. The speed limit is 10km per hour and drivers must give way. A safe and comfortable walk for you and for your dog.

Maitland has a great variety of shops and businesses along High Street so window shopping is good fun. I sometimes take advantage of the outdoor seating provided by Dragonfly Foods at The Hatch for a cuppa and one of their astonishingly delicious cupcakes.

By now it’s getting close to lunchtime and I’ve moved my car to the free undercover parking just off Ken Tubman Drive. An easy walk back to the riverside and Lavenders Riverside Café with its lovely outdoor area, umbrellas for shade, and a large bowl of water ready for thirsty dogs passing by. Also on the riverside we find comfortable outdoor tables at the new COQUUN and The Orange Tree Café.

You can even pack your own lunch and enjoy one of the shaded picnic tables along the Riverside Walk at The Levee while watching the passing parade of cyclists, parents with prams, CBD workers and, of course, other dogs.

Meandering further along High Street and myself and the dog are checking out the latest original artworks in the windows of The Levee Gallery and at Studio Amsterdam and discussing the latest show advertised at Maitland Repertory Theatre. A bit of a culture hound, our dog.

Vet services are easy to find and so are dog grooming salons if someone needs a tidy up after that swim in the river. There are a couple of good, pet friendly accommodation options in the area including East Maitland’s Best Western Endeavour Motel and the Surgeon’s Cottage in Morpeth.

Probably enough exercise for one day, I think we’ll have to come back to one of Maitland’s dog friendly festivals including Maitland Taste, Riverlights and Aroma.

Thanks for taking that walk with us. I think you’ll agree that the answer is ‘Yes’, along with all its other attractions, Maitland is a very dog (and people) friendly town!

Story by Kate Muise