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Best family friendly dog walks across the Illawarra! Illawarra Dog Beaches, Walks and Dog Parks

Spend any time in the Illawarra and you will see that we LOVE our canine pals!

Whether they are small, white fluffy ones, big, fat slobbery ones… Here at Parents Guide Illawarra, we see fur babies out and about everywhere!

And as a region of dog lovers, we know that there is no happier dog than one allowed to run full pelt across the sand to sniff his mate’s bottom!

We’re extremely lucky in the Illawarra, to have full and un-leashed access to some of the area’s most beautiful beaches and parks. Grab your pooch, (and kids if they are willing) and check out some of the best family friendly dog walks in Wollongong and the Illawarra!

What are the best dog friendly beaches in Wollongong and the Illawarra?

What better way to cool off on a hot day?

For unlimited off-leash action without any restrictions, the following beaches are a must visit. It’s worth remembering that dog beaches are often un-patrolled, so take extra care if you have your kiddywinks with you or if your dog’s a swimmer. 

Macauleys Beach, Thirroul
A fave for many Northern Illawarra dwellers. McCauleys is accessed from Corbett Avenue and is a very sociable dog beach whilst being a very beautiful spot, with a creek to paddle in and lots of driftwood and pebbles to throw. You’re likely to make a new friend every time you visit.

Sharkey’s Beach, Coledale
A couple of minutes down Lawrence Hargrave Drive from Coledale Beach Campground is Sharkey’s Beach. This is a lovely spot, often quiet and has the added bonus of being located close to the fabulous Earth Walker Cafe so you can partake in a yummy coffee and one of their famous “Cronuts” before you set off.

Puckey’s Estate / Fairy Meadow Beach, Wollongong
Puckey’s offers a fabulous long stretch of white sand – maybe best for the kind of dog with good re-call abilities! Access the north end of the beach via Elliotts Road. Stuart Park is at one end also, so bribe your kids to come with you for a play at the park after the walk! For more on the iconic Stuart Park Playground – click here!

Coniston Beach
A fave choice with no roads nearby, so if recall is an issue at least you pup can run off the crazies without worrying so much about roads. Again, a social beach where locals love a chat!

Stanwell Park Beach, Stanwell Park
Famous for its big surf conditions, this beach is a dramatically beautiful spot to exercise your dog. Access via the reserve, and head north of the lagoon for the un-timed un-leashed area. There is a fab park for your non-fur babies, and both toilets and a kiosk at the reserve. Dogs must be on-leash at all times when not on the beach.

MM Beach (North Port Kembla Beach)
Located at Gloucester Boulevard, Port Kembla, south of the Surf Club. This is another long stretch of beach perfect for exercising the whole fam. Like most of the unrestricted dog beaches, MM Beach is un-patrolled.

Where are the best dog parks in Wollongong and the Illawarra?

Let them run to their hearts content at an off leash dog park!

If sand and salt water aren’t your thing, there is also a really great selection of dog parks available throughout the area. Dog parks are a lovely alternative to beaches, often quieter and generally securely fenced. For a new pup, or nervous dog, they can for a much less overwhelming experience. Try and tire out new pups a bit before taking them to a dog social place, their energy will then be less frenetic and they will likely enjoy the experience more.

  • Edward Street Park, Mittagong offers a lovely, friendly and fully-fenced space which is great for those dogs who forget their own name as soon as their leash is unclipped. Access via Edward Street.
  • Eleebana Reserve, Koonawara is a large off-leash area surrounded by trees and Brooks Creek on one side, and a quiet residential area on the other. Access via Eleebana Crescent.
  • Figtree Oval, Figtree is another lovely dog park with a roomy off-leash area and a nice playground for your non-fur babies. Access via Princes Highway, near Illawarra Opthalmology,
  • King George V Park, Port Kembla is a fantastic location for a dog park, adjacent to a great kids park and the amazing Port Kembla pools facility. Access via Cowper Street.
  • Oak Flats Dog Park is a great place to let your dog burn off some energy. Local users of this area provide several water bowls, as well as doggie poop bags. Fully fenced too.
  • Proud Park, Helensburgh offers a good off-leash area, surrounded by bush with a cricket pitch in the centre. Access via Nixon Place.
  • Riley Park, Unanderra is a nice dog park with a large open grassy area for off-leash fun. Surrounded by relatively quiet residential streets.
  • Flinders Dog Park, Shellharbour  is a dog-friendly leash-free park situated on Whittaker Street, between Arrabi Street and Atchison Street. There is a dog agility section and a fully-fenced off-leash area. 

Further afield… Burrell Road Dog Park in Campbelltown includes a great play area for a smart dog to practice their tricks with purpose-built hurdles, steps and loops and a great off-leash area. There are 2 separate zones, each designated for different sized dogs.

Whilst you’re in the area, check out William Howe Regional Park, one of only a handful of NSW National Parks that allow full doggie access – as long as Rover remains on-leash. Access via Mary Howe Place.

And finally, for those looking for adventure… as a rule, dogs are not permitted in most NSW national parks and reserves, however She-Oak Crossing Walk (access via Nerang Road car park), is a 2-3 hour 4km loop located in Bomaderry Creek Regional Park and allows access for your dog, as long as they are on-leash at all times. 

Seeing our fur babies crashed out after a long walk is the best!

See Wollongong Council’s guide to Dogs on Beaches and Parks for further info.

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