Visiting Clontarf Dog Beach with a Dog

Tucked away on the northern side of Sydney’s Middle Harbour near the Spit Bridge, Clontarf Dog Beach is an excellent dog-friendly beach on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Thanks to its calm waters, it’s perfect for smaller and less confident dog swimmers, although ideally check the tide before visiting!

Clontarf Dog Beach

Location of Clontarf Dog Beach

Clontarf Dog Beach is located in Sydney, in the Northern Beaches suburb of Clontarf. Head north across the Spit Bridge and make a beeline for Clontarf Reserve.

The off-leash dog beach is located close to Clontarf Reserve, down the end of Sandy Bay Road. It is officially known as “Sandy Bay dog area” (or simply “Sandy Bay” on Google Maps) Included in the off-leash area is the sand flat plus most of the adjacent grassy verge.

There’s a few free parking spots at the end of Sandy Bay Road, but these are quickly snapped up, especially on weekends. Alternatively, there’s paid parking along Sandy Bay Road and adjacent to Clontarf Reserve.

When Are Dogs Allowed on Clontarf Dog Beach?

Sandy Bay Dog Beach is off-leash 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Feel free to visit the dog beach even during the middle of the day on weekends, when some other nearby dog beaches don’t allow dogs on the sand.

Confusingly, when I last visited this dog beach with my dog, there were no signs marking the area as off-leash, but perhaps this has since changed.

Tips for Visiting Clontarf Dog Beach

It’s best to visit Clontarf Dog Beach at or close to low tide. At high tide the beach almost disappears, but during low tide a large sand flat is uncovered, with some shallow pools of water.

Thanks to the shallow depths and calm harbour waters its perfect for smaller dogs or unconfident swimmers, while large dogs happily bound out into the deeper waters.

Sandy Cove in Clontarf
The shallow waters of Sandy Cove, albeit close to high tide

Dog-Friendly Cafes Near Clontarf Dog Beach

In between Sandy Bay and Clontarf Reserve is the Clontarf Marina, home to the Sandy Bear. Dogs are welcome at the outdoor tables, even if they’re rather sandy! They’ve even started a recent Dog of the Month competition.

The cafe is usually open for breakfast and lunch, seven days per week.

What Else to Do Near Clontarf Dog Beach

The popular Spit Bridge to Manly Walk starts near Clontarf, passing right by Sandy Bay Beach. While parts of this walk are off-limits to dogs, due to it passing through Sydney Harbour National Park, it’s still possible to walk it with a dog to Manly, with some modification. Check out my notes amongst dog-friendly walks in Sydney.

Alternatively, just enjoy a shorter walk around the Clontarf area. At Clontarf Reserve, dogs are not allowed on the beach here, but they are allowed on the grass, as long as they stay on a leash.

Alternative Dog-Friendly Beaches

On the southern side of the Spit Bridge are two more small dog-friendly beaches, at Spit Reserve East and West. However, dogs are only allowed on the beach during the week, or before 9am or after 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.

Check out the map on the Mosman Council website for the exact off-leash areas. Spit East Reserve is quite small, only between Sydney Harbour Kayaks and the restaurants to the south. Spit West Reserve is much larger, extending around into Pearl Bay, but doesn’t always have a beach.

Spit West Reserve Steps
Dogs are allowed off-leash at Spit West Reserve during selected hours

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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