No matter where you live in Sydney, there’s an off-leash dog park nearby. From fenced dog parks to wide open spaces, there’s off-leash exercise areas for dogs in the inner city, along the city’s beaches and in the western suburbs. These are some of my favourite (and my dog’s favourite) off-leash dog parks in Sydney…
#1 Sydney Park, Alexandria
One of the best off-leash dog parks in Sydney is Sydney Park. This large expansive park, a former industrial site, is situated in the Inner West of the city, just south of the suburb of Alexandria.
Dogs are allowed off-leash all day long in nearly all the park. There’s just a few small spaces where dogs are not allowed, including the playground and around the barbecue areas, plus in the wetland ponds. There’s handy signs, plus plenty of poo bag dispensers and water fountains.
Enjoy a long off-leash walk around the park, which is also used for Park Run on Saturday mornings. There’s even a “pet pool” for dogs to enjoy a splash, although at times it’s more of a shallow mud bath. Just be careful around the many picnics that are also held in the park!
#2 Centennial Park, Paddington
Another large dog-friendly park close to the centre of Sydney is Centennial Park, just east of the city. Part of the larger Centennial Parklands, dogs are allowed off-leash in a large section of the park.
Generally, dogs are allowed off-leash all day long around the outside of the Grand Drive, which loops around the park. One of the most popular areas is the grassy expanse of Federation Valley. Dogs are also allowed off-leash in the adjacent Queens Park and much of Moore Park, except when sports fields are in use. For more details, check out this page or the signage at the park.
For something different, also consider taking a leashed walk with your dog through the centre of Centennial Park. Follow the 3.8km walking path alongside the Grand Drive or walk past the duck ponds, as long as you stay outside of the wildlife protection areas and your pup doesn’t go for a swim in the ponds.
#3 Glebe Foreshore Parks, Glebe
Another great wide open space to visit with your dog close to the centre of Sydney are the Glebe Foreshore Parks, adjacent to the suburbs of Glebe and Annandale along the shore of Blackwattle Bay.
There are multiple parks that merge together the edge of the bay, with slightly different rules in each area. Dogs are allowed throughout all the parks, except for in sporting fields and playground areas, but they are only allowed off-leash all day long in much of Federal Park, to the west of the canal. It’s best to check out the signage onsite.
Another adjacent area where dogs are allowed off-leash is along most of the 1.2km long Glebe Foreshore Walk, that continues east towards the Fish Markets. Dogs are allowed off-leash along the walkway up until the boathouse at the end of Ferry Road.
#4 Hawthorne Canal Dog Park, Leichhardt
Heading a few suburbs west, another popular dog park in the Inner West of Sydney is the Hawthorne Canal Dog Park. This park is located the western side of Leichhardt, in between the light rail line and Hawthorne Canal.
This park is home to Cafe Bones, a dog-friendly cafe that claims to have been the first to serve a cafe-style dog beverage, their Pupaccinos. The kiosk-style cafe also serves up a variety of beverages and meals for humans, with outdoor tables and chairs scattered around.
The park is partially fenced, at least if you enter from the southern side, after crossing the light rail line. It is however unfenced on the northern end and along the canal, which is not recommended for dog swims. There’s also plenty of shady trees.
#5 Rowland Reserve Dog Park, Bayview
Heading to the northern reaches of Sydney, along the Northern Beaches, a popular destination is the Rowland Reserve Dog Park in Bayview. The park is also known as the “Bayview Dog Park” on Google Maps.
This park is an ideal spot to visit if you have a water loving dog. The off-leash dog exercise area doesn’t just include a wide expanse of grass, but also the adjacent beach on the edge of the Pittwater.
It’s a great swimming spot for dogs in Sydney. As well as being quite calm, smaller dogs can stick to the shallow waters along the edge of the sand bar, while more confident doggie swimmers can head out into the deep waters just off the shore. Often a dog washing van is handily parked up nearby.
Dogs are allowed off-leash in the reserve and on the dog beach all day long. Try to grab one of the free one-hour parking spots in the adjacent carpark or park along the street, otherwise parking can be quite expensive.
#6 Blackman Park Off-Leash Dog Park, Lane Cove West
Another great off-leash dog park in Sydney that’s adjacent to a dog-friendly cafe is Blackman Park in Lane Cove West. Head down the end of Lloyd Rees Drive past the playing fields, where you’ll find Puppy Tail Cafe and a fenced dog park, as well as plenty of parking and toilets.
This fully fenced dog park has two separate areas. The larger main area has an excellent agility course, plus a shade cloth to provide some shade on sunny days. There’s also a second smaller area generally used by smaller dogs, although there’s no rules on the gate. Both fenced areas are double gated and have water fountains.
Dogs are also allowed off-leash on the adjacent grass fields when they are not in use, plus on the shared path around the park before 9am on weekdays.
The adjacent kiosk-style Puppy Tail Cafe offers hot and cold drinks, as well as a small food menu and treats for pups. There’s hooks outside for attaching your dog while you make an order.
#7 Shale Hills Dog Park, West Hoxton
One of the best dog parks anywhere in Sydney, but particularly handy if you live in the southwest of the city, is Shale Hills Dog Park. The park is located in a section of the Western Sydney Parklands at West Hoxton.
For a fully fenced dog park, the park is surprisingly large – there’s plenty of room for lots of dogs to run around and still have their own space! There’s also a smaller fenced area just for smaller dogs to enjoy.
This off-leash dog park also has an agility course and training stations, great for trying something different with your pup. There’s also a scent garden for a less energetic sniffing session, and shade shelters at the end next to the carpark.
#8 The Ridge Dog Off-Leash Bush Park, Barden Ridge
Another great dog park in an out-of-the-way spot in southern Sydney is the Ridge Dog Park. This bush dog park is located in Barden Ridge, just off the New Illawarra Road. Follow the signs to the rear of the reserve behind the golf course and multiple sporting fields.
What I love about this park is that while fully fenced, it’s quite a large area. It’s also a mixture of grassy stretches and bushy trees, tucked in next to a bush reserve, so there’s both lots of room for dogs to run around, plus interesting parts to sniff and explore.
The park has two separately fenced areas, with an extra gate between both areas. There’s no rules on the gate, but it’s more likely that the smaller, northern area is the domain of smaller dogs when busier. Shaded seats, water fountains, bags and bins are also provided.
As it’s next to sporting fields, it’s best to visit either during the week or early or late in the day on weekends. The dog park is only open from 7am to sunset.
#9 Observatory Hill Park, Millers Point
Arguably home to some of the best views of any off-leash dog park in Sydney, Observatory Hill Park near the southern end of the Harbour Bridge is also a great spot to head if you’re in the city centre with your dog.
Dogs are allowed off-leash in the majority of the park that wraps around Observatory Hill, including the lawn on the northern side facing the harbour. It’s also a popular spot for picnics and wedding photos, so make sure your dog is under control when off-leash – this isn’t a fenced dog park.
#10 Enmore Dog Park, Enmore
Inner city Sydney isn’t home to many fenced dog parks, with Enmore Dog Park one of the most popular options in the Inner West. The dog park is located next to Enmore TAFE, in between Sarah, Simmons and James Streets.
Thanks to being heavily utilised, not much grass survives in the park, with the dusty dirt becoming muddy after rain. There is however a sealed path that loops around the park. The park is also home to plenty of shady trees, seats, a water fountain and some dirt to top up any holes dug by your dog. Just note that the entry isn’t double gated.
#11 Sir Joseph Banks Park Off-Leash Dog Area, Botany
An alternative fenced dog park that isn’t too far from the inner city suburbs of Sydney (and could even technically be argued as being in the Eastern Suburbs…) can be found at Sir Joseph Banks Part in Botany. The fenced area is close to the end of Hayden Place, on the north side of this large park.
This excellent and relatively large fenced dog park has multiple double gate entrances, a water fountain and biodegradable poop bags, that can be placed into the worm farm recycling bins being trialled. There’s also plenty of shade and seating, plus lots of natural areas for exploring and a sandpit for digging.
Technically, the dog park is only open from 7am to 7pm, or 8pm during daylight savings time, with a later opening time of 8am on Sunday mornings. There’s also plenty of paths for on-leash walks in the surrounding reserve.
#12 Berry Island Reserve, Wollstonecraft
The North Sydney council area is home to plenty of off-leash dog exercise areas, with dogs allowed off-leash in most parks in the council area, except for bushland reserves. One of the best options to visit with your dog is Berry Island Reserve, at the end of Shirley Road in Wollstonecraft.
The off-leash dog exercise area is a large grassy peninsula, that leads to the “island” covered in bush. There’s also the chance for doggy paddles in the water on one side of the peninsula. Just be warned this is also a popular picnic spot and parking can be difficult on weekends.
Dogs can also join you on a walk along the 750m-long Gadyan Track that loops around the former island, but need to be kept leashed. There’s also more bush tracks nearby, including the track to Smoothey Park on the western side of the peninsula and multiple tracks through Badangi Reserve.
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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.