Dog Friendly Beaches: Ultimate Guide to Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane

A brown dog lies on the sand of a dog friendly beach, looking out over the ocean

More than 40% of Australians own a dog, and 85% of us live within 50kms from the beach. So it’s no surprise that togs and dogs are two of our favourite things.

But they don’t always mix, with only a small portion of beaches being dog-friendly.

This article will make life a bit easier for dog lovers – this is the ultimate guide to dog-friendly beaches in Australia’s biggest cities.

Enjoy!

Jump to your city:

Two large dogs on a dog friendly beach playing with a ball

Dog Friendly Beaches in Sydney

Okay, first the bad news. Sydney beaches are not great for dogs. Despite being home to 60km of ocean fronting beaches, only one allows dogs, and only between certain hours.

Luckily, there are a dog-friendly harbour beaches, bays, and lagoons. And if you read on, there are lots of great dog-friendly beaches near Sydney, most no more than an hour’s drive from the CBD.

Sydney's only ocean facing dog friendly beach, Cronulla Green Hills - here sand dunes covered in spinifex tower over the distant surf on a clear dayGreenhills Beach – Cronulla

This is Sydney’s only dog-friendly ocean beach, but even then only at particular times! Dogs can run off leash before 10am and after 4pm each day. But outside those times, dogs are totally banned, not even on a leash 😭

The beach is north of Wanda, north of the Track 5 entrance off Mitchell Ave. If you go through Wanda Reserve to get to the beach, remember the reserve is on leash.

Flora and Richie Roberts Reserve – Curl Curl

This is an excellent place for dogs to get up to top speed! Featuring grass dunes and the meeting of Curl Curl Lagoon and the sea, there’s plenty for pups to get up to. The water quality definitely drops after rain though. Best of all, the reserve is off leash at all times!

Spit West and Spit East Reserves – Mosman

This is another great spot, but it does have a few negatives. Dogs can hit the beach off their leash all day on weekdays, but times are restricted on weekends and public holidays. On those day, off leash times are before 9am and after 4pm. Also, parking here is paid, so make sure you bring change or your credit card!

Sirius Cove, a dog friendly beach in Sydney, on a sunny day, with green grass above it.Sirius Cove – Mosman

As with the Spit reserves, parking is tough here, especially on weekends. But it is really worth it! Sirius Cove is an absolutely gorgeous protected beach, and there’s lots of shade on the grassed areas above the sand. Off leash times are the same as Spit Reserve – all day Monday – Friday, before 9am and after 4pm on weekends and public holidays.

Manly Lagoon

We wouldn’t recommend humans swimming in the water, but the dogs don’t seem to mind. The part of the lagoon best for dogs borders Manly Lagoon Park, Aitkin and Hinkler Reserves, and is off leash at all times. Being Manly, parking can be tricky on weekends.

Bicentennial Park – Glebe

This ares has come a long way over the past decade or so. The 24/7 off leash area of the park is right by Blackwattle Bay, so pups have water access. The water quality is a lot better than it used to be, and the council has made a big effort to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists, to the water or otherwise.

Clontarf Reserve/Beach

This is more of a dog walking spot – the council doesn’t allow dogs off leash. But the reserve has a kid’s playground, barbeques and table seating, which makes it a great picnic spot. That’s despite it being a very popular spot for dog owners to frequent. Dogs are allowed on the beach (on a lead) between 10am and 6pm. You’ll find it just off Sandy Bay Road.

Fairlight Beach

This is another on leash spot you can visit with your dogs. It’s a gorgeous spot, and has one of Sydney’s best tidal swimming pools (maybe for when you don’t bring your pup!). Make sure you follow the on leash rule here though, Fairlight is home to one of Sydney’s last fairy penguin colonies.

Dumaresque Reserve – Rose Bay

This beach is mainly worth visiting at low tide, it gets very skinny when the water’s up. Dogs are allowed off their leash before 8.30am and after 4.30pm, and there’s limited parking in Dumaresq Road, so be sure to plan ahead

Bayview Reserve

This is one of the best beach areas in Sydney for dogs, and is worth travelling to on the weekend, even if you’re not from the Northern Beaches. With a large grassy area that normally has a coffee cart and mobile dog wash on weekends, it’s a very popular place of puppers. Get there off Pittwater Road, and be prepared to pay for parking.

Dog Friendly Beaches Near Sydney

The sand and scrub at Dog Friendly Beach North ShellyNorth Shelly Beach – 100kms North of Sydney

As any dog parent knows, it can be really tough to find a nice dog friendly beach in Sydney. You know, one that can be enjoyed by the whole family. That’s why Shelly Beach is such a diamond in the rough; this is a veritable paradise for water-loving hounds and owners alike. Dogs can go off leash between North Shelly Beach and Toowoon Bay any time of day.  

Silver Beach at Kurnell – 24kms South of Sydney

There may be more picturesque beaches near Sydney, but this is easily one of the best all-day, every-day dog beaches under an hour from Sydney (that’s nice enough for you to enjoy too!). The farthest beach north of the break walls is a designated off-leash dog beach. Parking is easy, crowds manageable, with shallow waters, soft sand, and calm surf, this is a pooch paradise. If your pet is the chasing, barking type, please note Silver Beach is a popular kite surfing spot in the summer and may not be suitable for those cattle dogs who like a good pursuit.

Two big, short haired dogs on a dog friendly beach, standing in the sand with the waves behind them

Lakes Beach at Budgewoi – 116kms North of Sydney

This post-card perfect beach along the central coast makes for an awesome weekend trip from Sydney. With white sand and moderate surf, Lake Beach is great for swimming and water wading for the whole family. After you’re done at Lakes beach, head over to the dog friendly Muncha’s Café to enjoy some good food and relax with a couple of drinks.

Terrigal Beach – 87kms North of Sydney

Terrigal has, arguably, some of the most beautiful beaches on the central coast, with sections of it available for off-leash adventures. Free bbq facilities are available for those making a day of it, or stop off at the dog-friendly eatery Lotus Café before heading back home.

The Dog Friendly Pearl Beach on a sunny day, with bright yellow sand and clear blue sky

Pearl Beach – 50kms North of Sydney

Another dog beach for the furry and furless alike. Pearl Beach has unrestricted parking, cafes, shops, and very manageable crowds. This beach is both beautiful and serene, and all things considered, an easy morning drive from Sydney. The far North end of the beach is dog friendly (opposite end from the shops) and provides a boundless beach for romping. A note for smaller dogs: Pearl Beach has a wicked break when the winds get going, and the surf should be respected by those with two legs, and/or four.   Don’t forget that GoGet has dog friendly vehicles all over Australia which can be found here.

A cute Shiba Inu dog poking its head over a sign on the beach, which says the beach is dog friendly

Dog Friendly Beaches in Melbourne

Brighton Dog Beach, 30 minute drive SE of the city

Dog is this beach’s middle name! This patch of sand was literally designed specifically for your favourite pup. There’s a purpose build fenced off section for dogs to run around off leash, so you can sit back while Fido makes friends. And with all the dog owners that love this beach, you might make a friend too!

Crowds enjoy the sun on Altona Beach in Melbourne, one of the closest dog friendly beaches to the cityAltona Beach, 30 minute drive SE of the city

Head down to Altona at low tide and you’ll find a massive amount of space for your furry friend to run about. There’s no dedicated dog fence, but there aren’t any major roads nearby, so off leash play is doable.

West Beach in St Kilda, 20 minute drive SE of the city

This beach is massive, so there’s plenty of room to run. There’s also plenty of shallow sandbars for the dog (or dog owner) who likes to get wet! The entire beach is off leash, and the West Beach Pavilion Cafe is very dog friendly.

The headland stretching over Aireys Beach, waves crashing in the cove below, clouds overheadAireys Inlet beach, 1.5 hour drive SE of the city

This one is a bit out of the way, but it’s perfect for shaggy surfer dogs with shaggy surfer owners. Why? Because Aireys Inlet is one of the few off leash beaches in the state with decent surf! You’ll need to head west, out past Anglesea.

 

Seaholme Bay Beach, Williamstown

Seaholme is mega-popular on the weekends, for good reason, this one has it all. There’s great parking for drivers, which is a rarity at even the least popular beach spots. There’re also barbecues if you want to make a family day of it. And if your pooch gets tired of running along the beach all morning, there’s a nearby park where you can both take it easy.

Dog Friendly Beaches in Brisbane

Brisbane is a very tricky city to find beaches, let alone dog friendly beaches! But with some of the best beaches on the Sunshine Coast to the north, and the Gold Coast to the South, we’ve included them below. For those unable to make the trip out of the city, there are a couple of options near town.

Nudgee Beach

Look, this is one for the dog, not you. Does it have sand? Not really, it’s more like mud. But it’s a beach, it’s dog friendly, and your pup will love it! Luckily, there is a tap you can rinse your dog off with when the fun’s over.

Two Brisbanites walking along the sand at Colmslie Recreation Reserve, a dog friendly beach in BrisbaneColmslie Recreation Reserve

 

Not a beach, but there’s easy access to Brisbane River, and a tiny bit of sand. The reserve is home to play equipment, toilets and barbecue facilities, so can cater for a full day out in Brisbane proper. Dog-wise, the reserve is off leash 24 hours, so no need to worry about regulations.

Dog Friendly Beaches Near Brisbane

Bribie Island (South Coast)

This one isn’t too far from Brisbane, although at just under a two hour drive from the CBD, it’s definitely a day trip! It’ really worth it though, the entire south coast of Bribie Island is a dog beach! Large surf can be found on the southeast coast, near Woorim beach. There are more protected areas in the southwest, near Red Beach.

Palm Beach

If you’re on the Gold Coast with a pup, this is a great spot to hang out. The section of the beach friendly to dogs stretches from Palm Beach Parklands around to Currumbin Creek, and then into the Surf.

Doggy Beach

This beach in Noosa is not obviously dog friendly, but the name gives it away 😂 This stretch of sand is at the Spit end of Hastings Street. Like most of Noosa’s coastline, it’s mind-blowingly beautiful. You and your fur-baby will love the white sand, crystal clear water, and all of your new puppy friends!

Buddina Off Leash Area

The Sunshine Coast is home to everyone who loves the sun – no matter how many legs they have! Buddina’s off leash beach is at the base of Point Cartwright. There’s also an off leash dog park behind the beach if you and your dog get over the sand, however unlikely.

The sun rises over the swash on Budinna beach

Dog Friendly Beaches in Adelaide

We know Adelaide sometimes get stiffed when it’s part of a list of the other big cities (hey, it’s at the end of this article!). But Adelaide it probably the best city for dog friendly beaches on this list!

Not only are there more beaches in the city where your pup have a run, but without the rough surf of the east coast, the water is better for them to play in too! It’s also home to the only beach sunsets of any of these cities, and that’s something you can be very happy about.

Note: In South Australia, you must obey on leash restrictions, and always keep an eye on your dog when it’s off leash, in order to protect the Hooded Plover population. Their habitats are under serious threat, and a big part of that is from dogs hunting them and destroying their nests. Find out more from Natural Resources SA.

Henley Beach

One of Adelaide’s best beaches for humans is also one of her best beaches for dogs. It’s on leash during the day throughout daylight savings time, but that’s just an excuse to pick up some speed yourself! There’s also lots of dog friendly cafes nearby.

Grange-Tennyson Beach

Another on leash beach during daylight savings time, this is another great beach near the city. The cage is dog friendly and will provide drinking water for your pp if you forgot to bring enough.

O’Sullivan Beach

Just a short drive south and you’ll find a series of 24/7 off leash beaches, and O’Sullivans is one of the most popular. The dog friendly section starts south of Selway Terrace, tretching for around 1km – heaps of space for you and your pup to run!

Seaford-Moana

Just near O’Sullivan beach, this is another 24/7 off leash spot. Check local signage for the dog friendly areas.

Sellicks Beach

One last 24/7 off leash beach, this one is also to the south of Adelaide. 

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