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.

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

North 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.

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.

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.

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

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!

Altona 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.

Crowds enjoy the sun on Altona Beach in Melbourne, one of the closest dog friendly beaches to the city

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.

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.

Aireys 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.

The headland stretching over Aireys Beach, waves crashing in the cove below, clouds overhead

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.

Tuckeroo Park (Nudgee Beach dog park)

It’s probably dishonest to call this a beach – it’s a park in the suburb of Nudgee beach. There is water though – the park borders the mouth of Kendron Brook. As a result, you’ll have to be okay with your dog jumping around in what is essentially a mud beach, rather than sand. Luckily, there’s a tap you can use to rinse your dog when the fun’s over.

The beach itself is on-leash, and there are often line fishers, so it might be in your best interest to stick to the on-leash rule. The dog park next to beach is off-leash though, so you can still let your dog go for a run.

Being so close to the river, mosquito repellent is a must, and there are no nearby public toilets.

Colmslie Recreation Reserve

Not technically a beach, but there’s easy access to Brisbane River just 20 minutes from Brisbane CBD. This one’s a two-fer, doubling as one of Brisbane’s best dog parks and one of Brisbane’s best dog beaches.

The reserve is home to play equipment, toilets, and barbecue facilities, so can cater for a full day out. Dog-wise, the reserve is off leash 24 hours.

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

Dog Friendly Beaches Near Brisbane

Whether an inter-state traveller of a Queensland local, there are some very good reasons to get out of Brisbane and explore the South-East. Beaches on the Gold and Sunny coasts really shine 😂 And some of them are great for dogs too!

The sun rises over the swash on Budinna beach

Bribie Island (South Coast)

Bribie Island isn’t that far from Brisbane, although at just under a two hour drive from the CBD you might need to consider a day trip. It’s 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, although the sand can get a little narrow at high tide. There are more protected areas in the southwest, near Red Beach.

Palm Beach, Gold Coast

If you’re on the Gold Coast with a pup, this is a great spot. The dog friendly section of the beach stretches from Palm Beach Parklands around to Currumbin Creek, right at the south end of the beach.

The off-leash part of the beach has very calm surf, but the surf beach is a short walk away and is also dog friendly, but on-leash. This might just be the best dog beach in the Brisbane area – it’s definitely worth checking out.

Dog Beach, Noosa

There was some very imaginative councillors that named this Noosa beach 😂 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, and really is one of the best dog beaches in the country, let alone Queensland.

There are lots of dog bags available, and there should be plenty of other dogs for your pup to play with. There’s also an off-leash dog park behind the beach if you and your dog get over the sand, however unlikely.


This article was originally published on December 2 2017 – this version was updated on March 22 2018.


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