Dog Friendly Beaches in New South Wales

Posted by Jackie Ly on

Brunswick Head Beach, Australia

Spending time at the beach with your dogs can provide numerous benefits for both of you.  

For dogs, it’s an opportunity for physical exercise and mental stimulation. They can run and play in the sand and water. It can also help to improve their overall health and well-being

For dog owners, spending time at the beach with your pets can be a great way to bond and create lasting memories.  

Being around the ocean and fresh air is relaxing. It drains away stress and is proven  beneficial for your mental health. 

When you have the chance, take your dog to the beach! Just prep for the rules. 

Rules and Regulations for Dog-Friendly Beaches in NSW

Summary of the general rules for dogs on beaches in NSW

In New South Wales, Australia, there are several rules that apply to dogs on beaches. These include:

  1. Dogs must be on a leash at all times when on the beach, unless they are in a designated off-leash area.
  2. Owners must pick up and dispose of their dog's droppings in a responsible manner.
  3. Certain beaches may have specific rules or restrictions in place for dogs, such as restricted access times or certain areas where dogs are not permitted.
  4. Dogs are not permitted on some beaches at certain times of the year, such as during the summer months or during peak swimming season.
  5. Owners must have control over their dogs and prevent them from disturbing other beachgoers or wildlife.
  6. Any dogs found to be causing a nuisance or disturbance may be removed from the beach by local authorities.

Always check the specific rules and regulations for the beach you plan to visit. They can vary depending on the location.

Information on seasonal restrictions and designated off-leash areas

There are also specific seasonal restrictions and designated off-leash areas for dogs in NSW. These rules vary depending on the local council and the specific area.

Seasonal Restrictions

During the summer months, many councils have implemented a total ban on dogs at certain beaches or parks. This is usually in place from December to February, and is intended to protect the safety of beachgoers and the local wildlife.

Some council areas also impose restrictions on dogs during the summer months in other public areas such as parks, gardens and playgrounds.

Designated Off-Leash Areas

Many councils have designated off-leash areas for dogs, where they can run and play freely. These areas are typically fenced and may have specific rules such as having dogs on-leash outside of designated areas.

Councils also have a list of designated off-leash areas where dogs can be exercised. It is important to check with the local council for the exact locations and rules for these areas.

It is important to check with the local council for specific restrictions and designated off-leash areas in a particular area. 

It should also be noted that dogs must always be under control, whether they are on or off-leash, and owners must always clean up after their dogs.

Always respect local rules and regulations when visiting dog-friendly beaches 

Respecting local rules and regulations when visiting dog-friendly beaches is crucial for maintaining the safety and well-being of both dogs and humans. 

These regulations often include leash laws, designated areas for dogs to swim and play, and guidelines for cleaning up after your dog. 

Failure to comply with these rules can result in fines or even being banned from the beach, and can also contribute to negative perceptions of dogs and dog owners in the community. 

By following the rules and being a responsible pet owner, we can help ensure that these beaches remain a fun and safe space for all to enjoy.

List of Dog-Friendly Beaches in NSW

1. Brunswick Head Beach, Brunswick Head

There are clear signs directing you to the off-leash area of Brunswick Heads Beach. Just south of the Surf Club, it stretches for another 400 metres south to the Tyagarah Nature Reserve's border. 

Efficient parking is available, and adjacent to the beach access path, you'll find a dispenser stocked with plastic-free, compostable poop bags.

2. Belongil Beach, Byron Bay

Located to the west of Byron Bay's Main Beach, this is a hotspot for travellers. However, you should steer clear of any beachside picnics. 

Belongil's off-leash area begins a short distance west of the Main Beach parking lot and continues all the way to Manfred Street in the neighbourhood's western part. 

The Treehouse on Belongil Cafe is conveniently located nearby and serves delicious lunches, dinners, and drinks.

3. North Wall Beach, Coffs Harbour

North Wall Beach, one of the nearest beaches to the downtown area, is off-leash at all hours.

The beach lies close to the marina and the old jetty, to the north of the break wall. There is a wide grassy reserve and ample parking just near to the beach (just keep dogs on a leash). Use the search bar to locate "Park Beach South Dog Beach" on Google Maps.

4. Nobbys Beach, Port Macquarie

Parking is available at the southern end of the beach and a short staircase leads directly to the sand, making this popular spot just 4 kilometres south of the city centre ideal for a day at the beach. 

The cliffs around it also ensure that the dogs are protected from the traffic on the main road.

The waters are largely protected, but can still be turbulent depending on the wind, and are just the right length for a great off-leash walk or play. Keep an eye out for the brand new stick and ball collection.

5. Nine Mile Beach, Tuncurry

Almost the whole length of Nine Mile Beach is dog-friendly, making it a popular destination for owners with canine companions. However, dogs must be kept on leash at all times on the southernmost section of the beach in Tuncurry's town centre, whereas dogs are allowed to run free on the beach from dawn to nightfall north of the 4WD access road.

The beach is not ideal for swimming, especially for inexperienced swimmers, as it is not patrolled and the waters can be harsh. It's important to keep your dog away from the beach road that 4WDs use. 

It's the ideal place to go on a beach drive with your dog if you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle and the necessary permits.

6. Bagnalls Beach, Port Stephens

Port Stephens, located only a few hours north of Sydney, is a favourite summer getaway for many Sydney residents (and a more peaceful spot to escape to the rest of the year). Bagnalls Beach is one of the few local beaches that welcomes canines.

The beach is a short walk west of Nelson Bay's town centre, between Nelson Bay and Corlette. Since it faces the port rather than the open ocean, the water is always calm, making it ideal for dogs with anxiety about the water.

 With crystal clear water and soft, white sand, this place is paradise.

7. Horseshoe Beach, Newcastle

Dogs are not allowed on most of the beaches in the Newcastle area, but there is a fantastic dog-friendly alternative within easy driving distance. Located on the opposite side of the peninsula from Nobbys Beach (towards the harbour), you'll find Horseshoe Beach.

It's a little beach that gets crowded with people and dogs because of how popular it is, but it's still a good place to take your dog for a walk. 

The harbour waters are tranquil, making it ideal for dogs that aren't confident in the water, and it backs up to a dune region, so there are no noisy highways nearby.

At the western end of the beach, you'll find a large parking lot, and from there, it's just a short walk on-leash to the lighthouse and breakwall at Nobbys Head, which is a popular destination for sunset strolls.

Tips for Enjoying the Beach with Dogs

How to prepare and pack for a beach visit with dogs

To prepare for a beach visit with dogs, make sure to bring plenty of water and bowls for them to drink from, as well as any necessary medications and a first aid kit. Bring appropriate beach gear such as towels, sunscreen, and umbrellas for both you and your dogs.

Pack plenty of dog-friendly snacks, and bring along a leash and a dog specific beach bag to hold all of your essentials. Make sure your dog is comfortable with the water and has had plenty of opportunities to practise swimming and retrieving before arriving at the beach. 

Finally, research the beach beforehand and make sure it is dog-friendly and familiarise yourself with the local laws and rules.

Tips for keeping dogs safe and happy at the beach

It’s assumed that when you bring your dog to the beach, they’ve already been socialised. This means they have no barking problems and they’re used to kids, or people of all sizes, and the usual noises of traffic and birds. 

Socialisation is key to enjoying taking your dog to the beach or anywhere. 

Bring plenty of fresh water, shade, and appropriate gear such as a life jacket and sunscreen for dogs with short or light-coloured fur. 

Always keep an eye on your dog and make sure they are not getting too hot or tired. Keep them on a leash or in a secure area and be aware of any potential hazards such as strong currents or hazardous debris in the water. 

Bring a shovel or rake for your dog to play with and consider bringing a portable dog beach shower to rinse off any sand or salt water after swimming. 

Remember to always clean up after your dog and abide by any local beach regulations regarding pets.


Responsible beach-going with dogs in NSW is crucial for maintaining the health and safety of both the dogs and the local ecosystem. Allowing dogs to run freely on the beach can lead to conflicts with other beachgoers and can also disturb wildlife such as sea turtles and migratory shorebirds. 

Additionally, it is important to clean up after your dog to prevent pollution and the spread of disease. 

By following local leash laws and picking up after your dog, beach-goers can ensure that everyone can enjoy a safe and clean beach experience.

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