Sydney is home to a lot of beautiful beaches. However, if you have a dog, unfortunately dogs are prohibited from most of them. So, if you do want to head to the beach with your dog, whether for zoomies on the sand or a swim in the water, what are your options for dog-friendly beaches in Sydney?
Choose between these dog beaches in Sydney (after checking the hours, of course), nearly all that I’ve personally visited with my dog, plus a few more great beaches close by…
Dog Beaches on Sydney’s Northern Beaches
The Northern Beaches of Sydney area are home to a large number of dog-friendly beaches in Sydney. However, none of these dog beaches are ocean facing beaches, at least for now.
There is a proposal by the Northern Beaches council to allow dogs off-leash on the southern end of Mona Vale Beach and the northern end of Palm Beach, during limited hours. However, a final decision still hasn’t been made, and following the latest update on the process in August 2023, it looks like even a trial won’t occur until 2024 or 2025.
For now, head north to Pittwater or south to Sydney Harbour, or check out some of the dog-friendly lagoon options. From north to south, check out these dog-friendly beach in the Northern Beaches…
#1 Mackerel Beach, Great Mackerel Beach
Tucked away on the western shores of Pittwater, surrounded by national park, is the small waterside enclave of Great Mackerel Beach. The only access is via ferry from Palm Beach (with dogs allowed outside on a leash), or of course your own private boat.
Dogs are permitted off-leash at the Mackerel Beach Dog Area between the hours of sunrise and 9:30am and again between 5pm and sunset, every day of the week. Outside of these hours, they are permitted on the beach but must remain on-leash.
Dogs are only permitted on the stretch of beach between the jetty and the northernmost houses. Strangely, dogs are not permitted below the hide water mark or in the water, so don’t head here with your dog for a swim.
#2 Rowland Reserve, Bayview
For a dog-friendly outing to the far northern reaches of Sydney, any time of day, any time of year, head to Rowland Reserve Dog Park in Bayview. (Search for “Bayview Dog Park” on Google Maps).
This grassy reserve and the adjacent waters of Pittwater is fully off-leash all day long, with no pesky restrictions. No wonder people drive here with their pup from all over Sydney!
As this dog beach in Sydney is located on Pittwater, it’s relatively calm, with not far to swim to deeper waters further out for more confident doggie swimmers. Often a dog washing van is handily parked up nearby.
Try to nab one of the designated one-hour parking spots next to the off-leash area, if you’re not staying too long, otherwise parking can be expensive in my experience. Afterwards, consider driving around the bay to enjoy a drink in the large dog-friendly beer garden of The Newport.
#3 McCarrs Creek Reserve, Church Point
Tucked in behind the suburb of Bayview on the edge of Pittwater is the McCarrs Creek Reserve. Recently, the reserve has been trialling an off-leash area for dogs on weekdays.
Dogs are allowed off-leash from Monday to Friday, all day long, in the signposted area west of the main access road into the reserve. While it’s not a proper beach by some definitions, there is a small beach area along the start of the creek, offering the chance for water-loving dogs to have a swim.
#4 Curl Curl Lagoon, Curl Curl
While none of the many proper Northern Beaches is dog-friendly, there are some dog-friendly areas next to the lagoons behind the beaches. The northernmost of these is at Curl Curl Lagoon.
Head to the Flora and Ritchie Roberts Reserve on the southern side of Curl Curl Lagoon, where dogs are permitted off-leash and many dogs enjoy a swim in the lagoon. (Adam Street Reserve on the western side of Griffin Road also allows dogs off-leash and is adjacent to the lagoon, but lacks a sandy beach.)
Just be warned that the lagoons can be polluted, particularly after heavy rain, so use caution, particularly if your dog heads out into the deeper water. Also note that dogs are prohibited from going onto the sand of Curl Curl Beach, adjacent to the Flora and Ritchie Roberts Reserve. Parking at the reserve is paid, but free parking is available close by.
Find out more about visiting Curl Curl Lagoon
#5 Manly Lagoon, Queenscliff
Not further south is another lagoon where dogs are welcome to swim. Manly Lagoon is located at the northern end of Manly Beach, in the suburb of Queenscliff.
Both Manly Lagoon Park and Lagoon Park West, also referred to as “Lagoon Reserve” on Google Maps, are designated off-leash dog parks. And of course there’s no stopping many of the off-leash dogs from heading to the waters of the lagoon.
Just as for Curl Curl Lagoon, be aware that the water quality may not be the best, particularly for a few days after heavy rainfall. In this case, perhaps keep your dog on a leash if you don’t want them swimming in the lagoon.
For an on-leash walk before or after, consider walking with your dog along the footpath that runs behind Queenscliff Beach and Manly Beach, down as far south as the Fairy Bower and Shelly Beach. It’s a wonderful beachside walk, but just be aware that pups aren’t permitted onto the sand of any of these beaches. There’s also plenty of cafes with dog-friendly outdoor seating along the way.
#6 Sandy Bay, Clontarf
Back when I used to live on the North Shore of Sydney, Sandy Bay in Clontarf was my favourite off-leash dog beach to visit in Sydney. Confusingly there’s no signs about whether dogs are allowed, but according to the council website it’s officially an off-leash dog area, with no time restrictions. There’s also a map on the website showing the exact off-leash area.
It’s no wonder that it’s so popular with many dog owners, particularly on sunny days during the warmer months. It’s situated conveniently close to the centre of Sydney, and the water is beautifully clean and quite shallow, great for smaller, less-confident dogs. Just be warned that it’s best to visit close to low tide, as during high tide much of the beach can disappear beneath the water.
Note that dogs are not permitted on the beach at Clontarf Reserve, back at the start of Sandy Bay Road. Dogs are however permitted to walk on leash through the reserve, where most of the parking is located, albeit at an expensive rate. (A few unticketed parks are available right next to Sandy Bay, but they’re quickly snapped up.) At the marina, The Sandy Bear welcomes dogs at their outdoor seating.
Read more about visiting Clontarf Dog Beach
Dog Beaches on Sydney’s Lower North Shore
The Lower North Shore of Sydney is also home to a number of dog-friendly beaches, dotted around the large suburb of Mosman, along the shores of Sydney Harbour. Check out these fabulous dog beach options, but keep in mind there are time restrictions, particularly on weekends.
#1 Sirius Cove, Mosman
Probably the most popular dog-friendly beach to visit in the Mosman area is Sirius Cove Reserve, a quiet cove tucked away just west of Taronga Zoo.
There are some restrictions in place, as detailed here. While dogs are permitted off-leash on the beach and in the water all day long on weekdays, come Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays they are only permitted before 9am and after 4pm.
The same off-leash hours apply for the grassy reserve adjacent, although luckily dogs are still permitted to join you on leash for a picnic in the shady park during the day on weekends. Both the reserve and the beach are quiet and calm, well away from roads, with easy and free parking.
#2 Spit Reserve East & West, Mosman
Just across the water and the Spit Bridge are located the two Spit Reserves, Spit West Reserve and Spit East Reserve, separated by the busy Spit Road. Both of these reserves are dog-friendly, albeit with some rules specified by Mosman Council.
Both of the reserves allow dogs to be exercised off-leash in them all day long, except between 8:30am and 2:30pm on Saturdays in Spit West Reserve. When it comes to heading onto the beach and going for a swim, dogs are permitted all day long on weekdays, but only before 9am or after 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
Check out the map on the page linked above for the exact boundaries of the two reserves. 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. Make sure you keep your dog well away from the busy roads, plus be aware that parking can be expensive.
#3 Clifton Gardens, Mosman
Another dog-friendly beach in the large suburb of Mosman is located at Clifton Gardens Reserve, also known as Chowder Bay.
As specified on this website, dogs are only permitted off-leash on the beach and in the water to the east of the Clifton Gardens jetty. They are only permitted on the beach on weekdays, either before 9am or after 4pm in winter. During daylight savings over the summer, they are only allowed on the beach before 9am or after 6pm.
The rules for dogs on the adjacent grassy reserve are more relaxed, with dogs permitted off-leash all day long on weekdays, plus before 9am and after 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. At other hours they need to remain on-leash. (It’s a popular picnic spot.)
Parking is quite expensive at Clifton Gardens, although it’s possible to park further up the hill for free then walk down. Alternatively, combine a visit to the beach with a walk through the adjacent bushland. If you park at Frenchy’s Cafe or Georges Head Lookout, just off Middle Head Road, there’s a bush walk down to Chowder Bay that just skirts the national park, with dogs permitted on-leash.
Dog Beaches in Sydney’s Inner West
While the Inner West of Sydney isn’t exactly somewhere that you’d associate with beaches and swimming, when it comes to dogs there’s a few options available, perfect for when you don’t want to trek further afield.
#1 Glebe Foreshore, Glebe
While not somewhere that most humans would consider swimming, the Glebe Foreshore is a popular doggie paddle spot for local dog owners.
A number of sections of the Glebe Foreshore Parks permits dogs off-leash, including the section of the Glebe Foreshore Walk passing through Blackwattle Bay Park, in between the tip of Glebe Point Road and Ferry Road. In the middle of the walkway there’s a section that overlooks a small beach, which is exposed at lower tides and is a popular swimming spot for dogs.
#2 Callan Point Beach, Rozelle
Callan Park and the Bay Run that passes through it are both popular destinations for Inner West dogs, with a mix of off-leash and on-leash areas for walking and playing. And if your pup is in need of a cool down, there’s a stretch of sand on the bay that is a secret dog beach.
Head west of King George Park, going up the stairs next the long jump sand pit, then continue on past a couple of buildings before taking another rough set of stairs down to the sandy shoreline, dubbed Callan Point Beach. Best of all, despite the lack of signage at the beach, the area has been designated as an off-leash area in the Callan Park companion animals management plan.
Dog Beaches in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs
Not surprisingly, dogs are prohibited from virtually every beach in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, including popular beaches such as Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach. Dogs are strictly not allowed on any beach in the Waverley and Randwick council areas, even on a leash. However, there are some harbour beaches in the Woollahra council area that do permit dogs…
Additionally, there is a proposal at the moment by Woollahra council to increase the number of off-leash areas in the council area, including beaches. The proposal is currently being exhibited to the public, but if it goes ahead, both Kutti Beach and Rose Bay Park will change from on-leash to off-leash, plus there will be new off-leash dog beaches at Gibson Beach and Robertson Beach in Watsons Bay. Hopefully this will happen in 2024.
#1 Rose Bay Dog Beach, Rose Bay
The most dog-friendly beach in Sydney’s East is the Rose Bay Foreshore at Rose Bay. Also known as “Rose Bay Beach” on Google Maps or more generally as “Rose Bay Dog Beach”, dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach between Percival Park and Dumaresq Reserve.
There are no time restrictions on dogs being allowed off-leash, with dogs allowed off-leash on the beach all day long. However, at the adjacent Dumaresq Reserve, dogs are only allowed off-leash before 8:30am or after 4:30pm. For more information, check this page.
Rose Bay Beach is fairly calm, a great spot to head out on a SUP with your pup. It’s best to enter from the end of Caledonian Road, as sometimes the sand in front of Dumaresq Reserve is covered by the water. There’s a carpark nearby on Dover Road.
Find out more about visiting Rose Bay Dog Beach
#2 Rose Bay Park, Rose Bay
On the western side of Rose Bay, dogs are also allowed at Rose Bay Park and on the adjacent beach, also known as “Bellamy Beach” on Google Maps. The small beach is in between the Rose Bay and Point Piper marinas.
Note however that dogs are officially meant to stay on leash, although reportedly this is not always enforced, with many locals allowing their dogs off leash. (This may also changed in 2024, see above.) This is also a calm harbour beach.
#3 Kutti Beach, Vaucluse
Like most people, I had never heard of Kutti Beach in Vaucluse. Located just south of Watsons Bay, a 10 minute walk from the ferry wharf, it’s tucked away at the end of Wharf Road. It’s easy to miss the step and narrow wooden steps down to the beach, which smaller, less agile dogs might need to be carried down. The easiest parking is back up on Hopetoun Avenue.
Kutti Beach is a gem of a harbour beach, small but calm and pretty. While dogs are also meant to stay on leash on this beach, dogs are often let off leash, including when I visited. However, the local council rangers often pop by, so be warned. (However, it may change to allowing dogs off-leash in 2024, see above.)
#4 Lady Martin Beach, Point Piper
The final dog-friendly beach located in the Woollahra local government area in Sydney’s East is Lady Martin Beach.
Lady Martin Bech is located at the tip of the exclusive suburb of Point Piper. The beach is fairly small, with parking tricky, making it not the best option in the area. Dogs are also required to stay on leash on this beach.
Dog Beaches in Sydney’s South
For some more great dog-friendly beaches in Sydney, head to the southern suburbs of Sydney. There are multiple dog beaches in the Sutherland council area, including the only dog-friendly ocean-facing beach in Sydney, plus two options closer to the city.
#1 Port Botany Foreshore, Botany
Tucked in between the Sydney Airport runways and the container port in Botany is the Port Botany Foreshore (also known as “Foreshore Beach” on Google). It’s looked after by the Port Authority rather than a local council, so I nearly missed finding out about this dog-friendly beach close to the city.
Dogs are allowed on this beach all day long, as long as they are on a leash. There are multiple signs about dogs needing to be leashed, but I have a feeling that many dogs are let off leash here. It’s not the prettiest spot, with its industrial location, but it’s a fairly large area – roughly 500m long, with calm water. And as a bonus you can watch planes land and take-off!
The beach is accessed from Foreshore Road in Botany. There’s a large carpark next to the boat ramp, with access from both directions at the traffic lights. Make sure you don’t park in the spots reserved for boat trailers.
If this carpark is full, there’s also a second carpark down the other end of the beach, near the Mill Stream Lookout, accessible only to westbound traffic. A shared pathway runs behind the beach, connecting both carparks.
#2 Lady Robinsons Beach, Kyeemagh
The off-leash dog exercise area at Lady Robinsons Beach in Kyeemagh is one of the newest off-leash dog beaches in Sydney, only established by the Bayside Council in 2018. And as of 2021, the beach is now off-leash 24 hours a day, every day of the week!
The off-leash area of Lady Robinsons Beach is at the far northern tip, just south of Sydney Airport. It’s in between gates 60 and 61, about 150m north of the fenced off baths and adjacent to the carpark. Search for “Kyeemagh Off Leash Dog Area” on Google Maps.
The carpark next to the beach is only accessible to southbound traffic. If you are coming from the south and Brighton-Le-Sands, turn off onto Kyeemagh Avenue just north of the bridge and loop around.
Note that dogs should be kept on leash while accessing the beach along the walkways, and kept off the sensitive dune areas, which are fenced off.
Read more about visiting Kyeemagh Dog Beach with your dog
#3 Silver Beach, Kurnell
On the southern side of Botany Bay is the off-leash dog beach at Silver Beach, also known as Kurnell Dog Beach. Located in Kurnell, it’s a 35-minute drive around the bay from Kyeemagh via the Captain Cook Bridge.
The off-leash dog section is located adjacent to the Bonna Point Reserve carpark, in between the third and fourth rock groynes. Alternatively, just search for “Kurnell Dog Beach” on Google Maps. There’s no time restrictions, with dogs permitted on the sand all day long. Just keep in mind that dogs are not permitted at all on the rest of the beach.
Being located on Botany Bay, the water at Silver Beach is relatively calm and shallow, great for less confident doggie swimmers. There’s a handy water fountain for both humans and dogs, or head to the nearby Cook @ Kurnell Cafe, a popular spot with local dog owners.
Read more about visiting Kurnell Dog Beach
#4 Greenhills Beach, Cronulla
On the other side of the Kurnell Peninsula, on the northern edge of Cronulla, is Greenhills Beach, the only ocean-facing dog beach in the entire Sydney region. No wonder then it’s very popular with both locals and dog owners all over Sydney, especially larger more adventurous dogs.
The off-leash dog area is just north of Wanda Beach, between Gate 5 and Gate 1. Dogs are permitted on the beach seven days a week, before 10am and after 4pm during daylight savings time, or after 3pm during the winter months.
Note that dogs are prohibited on the beach outside of these hours, during the middle of the day. Dogs are also prohibited from dunes behind the beach, as well as on Wanda Beach. On Wanda Reserve, the grassy area next to the car park behind the beach, dogs need to be kept on a leash. It’s best to park at the northern end of the car park, then walk with your dog on a leash to Gate 5.
This beach is unpatrolled and as such swimming by humans is not recommended. Make sure you keep a close eye on your pups in the water, which is often rough.
#5 Horderns Beach, Bundeena
The two southernmost dog beaches in Sydney are located in Bundeena, the small quiet suburb nestled between Port Hacking and the Royal National Park. The larger of the two beaches is Horderns Beach.
Horderns Bech is located immediately west of the ferry wharf in Bundeena. It’s possible to take the ferry across from Cronulla with your dog, with dogs allowed on Cronulla Ferries as long as they are on a leash.
The best time to visit this dog beach is during the cooler months of the year. Between May and August, dogs are allowed off leash all day long, seven days a week.
Unfortunately, from September to April, dogs are prohibited on Horderns Beach on the weekend and public holidays. On weekdays dogs are allowed off-leash before 8:30am and after 4:30pm, or on-leash only during the middle of the day.
#6 Gunyah Beach, Bundeena
Dogs are also permitted during restricted times on Gunyah Beach, a small beach tucked away on the eastern side of Bundeena. The easiest access to the beach is from immediately opposite the ferry wharf, although at least at high tide it’s not possible to access all the beach. There’s also multiple steep access paths from the street above.
Dogs are only permitted on-leash on Gunyah Beach, never off-leash. Between May and August, dogs are permitted on-leash all day long on the beach. However, between September and April, dogs are only permitted on the beach before 8:30am and after 4:30pm. During the middle of the day in the warmer months, both on weekdays and weekends, dogs are prohibited from the beach.
Dog Beaches Close to Sydney
Once your head out of Sydney, either to the north or south, there’s plenty more dog beaches, including ocean-facing beaches. For some great dog-friendly beaches to visit on day trips, consider these options.
#1 Patonga Beach, Patonga
The small community of Patonga lies on the northern side of the Hawkesbury River, just past the northern reaches of Sydney. Most of Patonga Beach has been designated as a 24-hour off-leash dog beach, in between the jetty and the Meroo Avenue boundary sign.
Thanks to the long loop that you need to drive to reach the spot via the outskirts of Gosford, it’s a long 90-minute drive from Sydney, but well worth the drive. The beach is idyllic and clam, and just opposite is dog-friendly The Boathouse Hotel Patonga.
#2 North Shelly Beach, Toowoon Bay
There’s plenty more dog-friendly beaches on the Central Coast, many of them ocean-facing, great for adventurous dogs that love to swim. One of the best options is North Shelly Beach at Toowoon Bay, just south of The Entrance.
Also a 90-minute drive north of Sydney, head to the spot marked “North Shelly Beach Dog Beach” on Google Maps. The off-leash section extends from the beach access stairs, where there’s plenty of free parking, south along the golf course to the northern beach access walkway off Shelly Beach Road.
#3 Sharkey’s Beach, Coledale
The Wollongong City Council has designated many of their beaches as off-leash or on-leash dog beaches, with Sharkey’s Beach (also known as Sharkies Beach) at Coledale one of the closest off-leash options to Sydney.
A 75-minute drive south from the centre of Sydney, there’s plenty of parking alongside Sharkey’s Beach, plus some great options for coffee just a short walk up the hill. Note that the beach is unpatrolled and the surf can be rough.
#4 McCauley’s Beach, Thirroul/Bulli
Another great dog-friendly beach not much further south is McCauley’s Beach, in between Thirroul and Bulli. The off-leash section of the beach starts at the steps at Corbett Avenue and extends south to the rock platform at Sandon Point. It is also unpatrolled.
The largest carpark is at Sandon Point, although your dog will need to stay on leash until they reach the beach. There’s also a small carpark at Corbett Avenue, closer to the beach. A few creeks lie along the beach that sometimes form lagoons, which are popular with dogs the prefer calmer water.
You May Also Like
- Dog-Friendly Beaches in Wollongong
- Dog-Friendly Beaches on the Central Coast
- Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in NSW
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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