If you’re looking for a fun walk to enjoy with your dog, there’s plenty of great dog-friendly walks along the coast of NSW. Whether you and your dog would prefer a gentle stroll along a scenic boardwalk or a longer hike that will take all day long, check out these coastal walks in NSW, scattered from the North Coast down to the Far South Coast.
#1 Urunga Boardwalk
Distance: 2.4km return
Difficulty: Easy (Flat boardwalk)
Urunga is a sleepy coast town that’s an easy 25-minute drive south of Coffs Harbour. It’s also home to the wonderful Urunga Boardwalk, a 1.2km-long boardwalk that follows the mouth of the Bellinger River from the edge of town to the sea.
A walk along the Urunga Boardwalk is an easy coastal stroll to do with your dog. Dogs on a leash are permitted on the boardwalk. And at the far end when you reach the ocean, you’ll discover the local off-leash dog beach – they’ll certain burn off some energy!
On your way back, take the side branch for closer views of some of the local mangroves. (If it’s open – I’ve heard reports it is currently closed due to flood damage.) Just make sure you take along your own supply of poo bags, as there are limited bins and bags along the boardwalk.
#2 Port Macquarie Coastal Walk
Distance: About 5.5km one-way (dog-friendly section only)
Difficulty: Easy-medium (Paved but some stairs)
Port Macquarie is not surprisingly a popular destination for visitors on the NSW Mid North Coast, with its beautiful beaches and lush forests. One of the best ways to experience its attractions at a slower pace is by following the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk.
Multiple walking paths have been combined to form the 9km-long path, which starts from Westport Park and continues to Tacking Point Lighthouse. Unfortunately, the southern section that goes along Shelly Beach and through Sea Acres National Park is off limits to dogs, but dogs on a leash are welcome on the northern 5.5km section.
You could spend most of the day walking the entire path, stopping at some of the dog-friendly beaches along the way. Alternatively, two of the most popular sections for dog walkies are along the breakwall and near Nobbys Beach, an excellent off-leash beach.
For more tips, check out my full guide to dog-friendly Port Macquarie.
#3 Nobby’s Lighthouse Walk, Newcastle
Distance: 3km return
Difficulty: Easy (Paved and flat)
While there’s multiple wonderful dog-friendly walks in Newcastle, if you just complete one walk with your dog, I recommend walking out to Nobby’s Lighthouse and the Newcastle Breakwall.
Start at one of the carparks near Horseshoe Beach. This is one of the few off-leash beaches close to the centre of Newcastle, although there’s no proper steps connecting the beach to the walkway. (A scramble is possible!)
Head out along the flat concrete path to the gate leading up to the lighthouse (only open on weekends and selected days), before continuing on to the breakwall. There’s little shade along the way, so ideally wear a hat or wait until early evening – the walk is particularly popular at sunset.
If you’re after a longer walk, continue south of Nobbys Beach along the Bathers Way, which continues for 6km to Merewether Ocean Baths.
Check out more dog-friendly walks in Newcastle
#4 Narrabeen Lagoon Trail, Sydney
Distance: 8.4km loop
Difficulty: Easy-moderate (Paved or gravel, flat)
One of the best longer on-leash dog walks along Sydney’s Northern Beaches is the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail. A relatively flat walk, a 8.4km multi-use path loops all the way around Narrabeen Lagoon, just behind the suburb of Narrabeen, and leashed dogs are welcome.
As it’s a loop walk, you can begin and end at any of the carparks or street entry points situated at different points around the lagoon. Alternatively, if 8.4km loop is too long for your pup (it takes at least 2 hours), skip completing the whole loop and just return to your starting point.
My favourite parts of the walk are the bushland sections next to Jamieson Park and Bilarong Reserve, in particular the boardwalk section. This section is also close to the off-leash Deep Creek Reserve, that can be visited on a short detour.
Although there are water fountains along the way, consider brining along a water bottle and bowl for your pup, especially on warmer days. There’s more shade along the route than I expected, especially in the bushland sections.
There’s also multiple cafes to stop at in Narrabeen. Right next to the path is H20 Cafe Restaurant, open daily for breakfast, lunch and coffee and with plenty of outdoor tables. Alternatively, the old Boatshed Cafe has been reopened as Limani Cafe, open selected mornings and with a cart right next to the path.
#5 Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, Sydney
Distance: 6km one-way
Difficulty: Easy-medium (Paved, but stairs)
Another stunning dog-friendly coastal walk in Sydney is the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. It’s no surprise that this walk is popular with locals and visitors alike, thanks to the beautiful views and gorgeous beaches along the way. And luckily dogs on a leash are welcome to join you.
The complete walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach is about 6km, or 12km if you trace your footsteps back to your starting point. Perhaps walk just one section of it with your pup, or if you have a small dog make use of Sydney Buses permitting dogs in carrier bags onboard.
While there are unfortunately no off-leash dog beaches along the way (dogs are prohibited at all of the beaches the walk passes), there are some off-leash dog parks. Stop for some off-leash fun at Marks Park (before 8:30am or after 4:30pm), Bronte Park (before 10am or after 3pm) or part of Burrows Parks (all day long).
#6 Kiama Coast Walk
Distance: About 20km one-way
Difficulty: Medium (Varies)
Head about 2 hours south of Sydney to Kiama for a truly epic coastal walk, the 20km long Kiama Coast Walk. Extending from Minnamurra in the north to Werri Beach at Gerringong in the south, the walk passes windswept beaches, the Kiama Blowhole and some spectacular coastal cliffs.
Dogs are welcome to join you along the entire length of the walk, as long as they stay on a leash. Although there are a few beaches along the way the prohibit dogs – walk behind the beaches rather than along the sand. There’s also some off-leash dog beaches along the way, so check the local signs.
With the entire route being so long, it’s best to choose just one section to walk. An easy option is the path through the centre of Kiama, that passes by the harbour and the famous Blowhole.
Alternatively, head to Werri Beach and start the walk from the southern end, as long as Werri Lagoon hasn’t joined to the sea following heavy rain. This southern section offers beautiful views of the sea on one side, with green paddocks on the other.
For more tips, check out my full guide to dog-friendly Kiama and Gerringong.
#7 Abrahams Bosom Walking Track, Jervis Bay
Distance: 8.2km return
Difficulty: Medium (Unpaved, can be muddy)
Jervis Bay is a popular destination for weekend trips from Sydney, thanks to its beautiful beaches, many that allow off-leash or on-leash dogs. If you’re wanting a break from beaches, consider walking the Abrahams Bosom Walking Track, one of the longer dog-friendly walks on the South Coast.
The walking track starts at the southern end of Currarong, from the Abrahams Bosom Reserve, where there’s plenty of parking, although it still fills up on busy days. There are actually two walks that you can choose between.
The shorter Wreck Walk is an easy and mainly flat walk, that takes about an hour. It offers views of the wreck of the S.S. Merimbula and the chance to spot whales during season. Alternatively, follow the longer Coomies Walk, a medium grade walk that takes about 3 hours and visits Gosangs Tunnel and plenty of beautiful lookouts.
#8 One Track for All, Ulladulla
Distance: Options from 1km loop
Difficulty: Easy-medium (Gravel path)
If you head to the headland reserves around the seaside town of Ulladulla, there’s multiple coastal bushwalks that you can complete with your dog on a leash. One of my favourites is the One Track for All Aboriginal Cultural Trail.
Located on the northern side of Ulladulla Harbour at Ulladulla Head, there are two separate 1km-long loops that you can choose between, both relatively flat and covered in gravel. Walk just one or both. Along the way are beautifully carved signs with information on the wildlife and local Aboriginal history, plus some lookouts with the chance to spot whales in season.
If you’re wanting a longer walk, continue down to Ulladulla Harbour North Beach along the paved Geological Time Walk. Once you get to the beach, dogs are allowed off-leash, and there’s plenty of interesting smells to sniff, thanks to the fish cleaning station.
#9 Dalmeny to Narooma Coastal Walk
Distance: 9km one-way
Difficulty: Easy-medium (Paved, mainly flat)
Heading further south along the South Coast of NSW, another long coastal walk is the Dalmeny to Narooma Coastal Walk. A shared pathway that runs for 9km between Dalmeny Campground and Bluewater Drive in the heart of Narooma, dogs on a leash are welcome along the walk. Along the way are signs with information on the local environment and history.
I recommend combining this dog-friendly South Coast walk with a visit to one or more of the off-leash beaches located north of Narooma and adjacent to the walkway. Choose between Duesbury Beach, Kianga Reef Beach and Bar Beach North, all that permit dogs off-leash all day long.
Alternatively, dogs are also allowed on Joshs Beach and Kianga Main Beach on a timeshare basis (before 9am and after 5pm in summer, plus all day long in winter). There’s plenty of carparks along the route.
Close to the town centre of Narooma, the route also passes along the Mil Bay Boardwalk, on the northern side of the Wagonga Inlet. With the chance to spot stingrays in the water and from the nearby boat ramp, don’t miss this section of the coastal path.
#10 Mundooi Walk, Tura Beach
Distance: 1.8km one-way
Difficulty: Easy-medium (Relatively flat, option for beach walking)
Named after a local Aboriginal term meaning “to walk with your feet”, the Mundooi Walk is a short bushwalk just behind Tura Beach, on the Far South Coast of NSW. To get to the starting point of the walk, head to the carpark at the northern end of the local off-leash dog beach, accessed in between houses 204 and 206 on Pacific Way.
The track runs for 1.8km south to Short Point, passing through dense stands of melaleuca and even a patch of rainforest, behind climbing over the sand dune to finish at Short Point. Along the way you might spot yellow-tailed black cockatoos, smaller nectar feeders and even goannas.
Return by the same route, keeping your dog on a leash, or back along the large sandy beach. The off-leash section extends from the starting point of the walk south to the Short Point Beach Carpark, just south of the golf course. Dogs are not allowed on the southernmost end of the beach during the summer months.
#11 Merimbula Boardwalk
Distance: 4km return
Difficulty: Easy (Flat boardwalk or paved path)
Park either immediately west of the bridge, or drive to the far end of the boardwalk and park in the carpark on Lakewood Drive, marked on Google Maps as the “Merimbula Boardwalk Parking”. The boardwalk is about 2km in beach direction, including a few short sections of footpath in between boardwalk sections.
Make sure you keep your dog on a leash on the boardwalk, and make way for those walking the other way on narrower sections. Along the way you’ll pass some of the local oyster farms, plus signs about the local marine life and vegetation. Allow about 1-2 hours to complete the walk at a stroll.
#12 Lake Curalo Trail, Eden
Distance: 6km return
Difficulty: Easy (Flat boardwalk or path)
The Merimbula Boardwalk isn’t the only boardwalk on the Far South Coast of NSW, there’s also another excellent dog-friendly boardwalk at Eden, part of the Lake Curalo Trail.
This walkway loops around Lake Curalo, in behind the off-leash Aslings Beach. Initially you follow a 1.6km long boardwalk, before the trail changes to sand and gravel tracks. It starts just behind the beach on the northern side of the state park, then continues for 3km around to the northern side of the estuary mouth. With no way to cross the estuary and return to your starting point, return the same way you came.
It’s also possible to start the walk at some different access points, including Lakeside Drive and just north of the Garden of Eden Caravan Park, or walk a shorter version. Make sure you keep your dog on a leash and keep an eye out for the plentiful birdlife in the tidal lake, including swans, ducks and swamp hens.
You May Also Like
- 10 Top Dog-Friendly Bushwalks in NSW
- 18 Best Dog-Friendly Walks In and Around Sydney
- How to Go Hiking With Your Dogs in Australia
About the Author
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.