Nambucca Heads is a sleepy town on the Mid North Coast of NSW, about 40 minutes south of Coffs Harbour. During the warmer months of the year, it’s a popular beachside holiday destination. Find out what to do and where to stay when visiting Nambucca Heads with your dog.
Dog-Friendly Beaches in Nambucca Heads
Dogs are prohibited from the main beaches at Nambucca Heads by the local council. This includes Shelly Beach, Beilbys Beach, Main Beach and the southern end of Swimming Creek Beach (all north of the headland).
Dogs are also prohibited from Wellington Beach, at the end of the V-Wall at the mouth of the Nambucca River. (The council also mentions the V-Wall Beach, but I think this is just another name for Wellington Beach.)
To enjoy some off-leash time with your dog on the beach in Nambucca Heads, head to the northern edge of town and the northern end of Swimming Creek Beach. Dogs are allowed on this long stretch of sand all day long, starting from the access path, all the way north to the access walk bridge across Deep Creek in Valla Beach.
There are more off-leash dog beach options if you head north to Valla Beach. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day long on the northern end of North Valla Beach, starting from the access path off the carpark at the northern end of Cockburn Street.
Dogs are also allowed on-leash on the southern end of North Valla Beach at the times stated on the sign, south to the timber walkway on the northern side of the headland. Dogs are however always prohibited from South Valla Beach and the adjacent Deep Creek Inlet.
If you head south to Scotts Head, dogs are allowed off-leash on the northern end of Main Beach, also known as Forsters Beach, all day long. This section is north of the beach access path on Banksia Crescent up to the edge of the adjacent national park (where dogs are prohibited).
Dogs are also allowed on-leash at the times stated on the sign on the southern section of Main Beach, between Banksia Crescent and the southern Main Beach carpark, plus on Little Beach.
Dog-Friendly Parks in Nambucca Heads
There are also a couple of off-leash options around Nambucca Heads that aren’t just a beach. In Nambucca Heads itself, dogs are allowed off-leash at the northern end of Stuarts Island, which is also home to the local golf course.
This off-leash exercise area is also a good spot for your dog to enjoy a paddle in the river. It is however requested that you don’t allow your dogs to chase the wildlife within the intertidal zone.
In Valla Beach, dogs are allowed off-leash at the Lions Reserve on the southern edge of town – search for “Don Macrae Shelter” on Google. Dogs are only allowed off-leash starting 10m south of the amenities block, except when organised events are held, such as the regular Valla Beach Markets.
Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Nambucca Heads
As well as visits to the beach and parks, consider ticking off some of these dog-friendly attractions in and around Nambucca Heads.
#1 Walk Along the V Wall
A delightful spot to go for a short walk with your dog at Nambucca Heads is the V Wall. This breakwall along the northern side of the Nambucca River features many colourfully painted rocks – I loved checking out what’s painted on the rocks!
Particularly popular early and late in the day for a stroll, make sure you keep your dog leashed on the walkway. Also note that Wellington Beach at the end of the walkway is off limits to dogs.
You can extend your walk with a walk along the boardwalk of the Foreshore Walk, immediately west of the V Wall.
#2 Head up Captain Cook Lookout
For a great vantage point over Nambucca Heads, drive up to Captain Cook Lookout. The lookout offers a great viewpoint over Shelly and Beilbys Beaches, which are otherwise off limit to dogs, plus south over the Nambucca River. There’s also a few handy picnic tables if you want to enjoy the view for longer.
The lookout is the best spot to try and watch whales during the whale watching season – heading north during the winter months then returning south during spring. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any during our visit – but you may get lucky!
#3 Follow the Nyambaga Walking Trail
On-leash dogs are welcome on the Nyambaga Walking Trail, a short trail connecting the V Wall and the carpark at the end of Shelly Beach.
Named after the Baga Baga Clan’s original name for the area, the trail features interpretative panels along the way, highlighting the local wildlife that you may spot in the area. The trail is relatively easy, other than the stairs over the headland. Allow about 15 minutes in each direction.
#4 Stroll on the Urunga Boardwalk
Urunga is another seaside town north of Nambucca Heads, just a 20 minute drive north in your car. It’s worthwhile visiting for the Urunga Boardwalk, a delightful dog-friendly coastal walk.
This 1.2km long boardwalk follows the mouth of the Bellinger River from the edge of town to the sea. Dogs are allowed along the boardwalk plus on the beach at the end of the walk – which is conveniently an off-leash beach. Make sure you take your own poo bags.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Nambucca Heads
Nambucca Heads is home to a wide variety of holiday accommodation, from caravan parks and cabins to holiday homes, many pet-friendly. For starters, out of the six caravan parks in Nambucca Heads, all of the parks allow dogs either year-round or seasonally.
One of the most popular options is the large Ingenia Holidays White Albatross park, located right next to the V Wall and a tidal lagoon. Pets are allowed on selected sites plus in their pet-friendly Standard Studio Units. These units can sleep two adults and each have their own fenced and grassed courtyard.
Note however that blackout dates apply, with no pets allowed during selected peak periods – double check the dates when booking. There is also a limit of one pet per site or unit. It’s necessary to call or email to make a booking with a pet.
Another pet-friendly caravan park in Nambucca Heads is Reflections Holiday Parks – Nambucca Heads Holiday Park. Pets are allowed year round at this park, both on sites and in selected cabins.
Up to two pets can be included in bookings, included those made online. There is also a handy dog wash onsite. Just keep in mind dogs are not allowed on the adjacent Main Beach.
A great holiday house on Airbnb is Billy’s Beach House. This recently built guest house features two bedrooms, the second with a double bed and a single bunk. It can accommodate up to five, including four adults.
Double check the rules for pets before making a booking. Best of all it’s just a short walk from the off-leash dog section of Swimming Creek Beach.
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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.