Here’s our take on dog-friendly beaches, there are, of course, many other dog-friendly designated parks and reserves but we’ve concentrated on the beaches because of their unique abundance on the Central Coast and the sheer joy they present to dogs (and the stress-busting smiles they give their watching humans). Don’t forget your poo bags; on-the-spot fines may apply for anyone not picking up after their dog (and it spoils the area for everyone else too). And keep all dogs — big and small — at least 10 metres from children’s play areas, even if you know your dog is childproof.
From south to north:
The northern end of Patonga, from the beach access at Jacaranda Avenue, near the Patonga Beach Hotel, is an on-leash area. South of Jacaranda Avenue, down to Meroo Avenue (look for the boundary sign), is all off leash. It’s a popular place for tourists and pelicans as well as four-footed friends.
Pearl Beach, between Umina and Patonga in Broken Bay, is a secluded cove with luxury weekenders and beach houses. From the southern end at Paul Landa Park along Green Point Road, there are spectacular views back to Lion Island and Palm Beach. The off-leash dog-friendly area extends from the northern end of Pearl Beach right down to the beach access at Agate Avenue.
Ocean Beach, Umina
Ettalong and Umina dogs are spoilt for choice. As well as a dog-friendly beach zone on Ettalong Beach, the very southern end of Ocean Beach at Umina is also an off-leash area but in between the two, it’s strictly humans, beach towels and seagulls only.
From the beach access at Kourung Street is an on-leash dog zone but it soon becomes off-leash, all the way around to the Augusta Street beach access.
Although it’s more of a doggie bushwalk than a beach (despite the name) the off-leash area extends from the point at Araluen Drive through the Araluen Drive Reserve to approximately Pretty Beach Road.
Killcare and Putty Beach
The 4 km dog-friendly area can be reached from the carpark off Beach Drive at Killcare. Turn left on the sand and head north as far as the boundary sign about halfway along the beach. Take note, though, that the beach backs onto Bouddi National Park’s coastal wildlife corridor where dogs are prohibited in the interests of protecting the ecological habitats of native flora and fauna. On-going dog access to the beach depends on dog-owners being mindful of these protected areas.
Copacabana Beach and Macmasters Beach
The dog-friendly off-leash zone extends from the southern end of Copacabana Beach to Macmasters Beach (although Cockrone Lagoon is out of bounds) as far as Gerda Road but watch out for the signs because the southern-most section here is an on-leash area.
Between North Avoca and Avoca, the off-leash area extends from View Street south to the shark tower just past the lagoon.
Wamberal Beach and Terrigal
The off-leash area begins from the beach access at Surfers Road, Wamberal, south to the on-leash/off-leash sign towards Terrigal. From there, it’s an on-leash zone up to Painters Lane. Terrigal Beach itself is prohibited to dogs but there’s an off-leash area around the headland at Terrigal Haven.
It’s off-leash dog-friendly from the beach access at Henry Street, south to the Crystal Street beach access.
Shelly Beach North
You can access the off-leash area via the walkway off Shelly Beach Road (adjacent to the golf course) and walk north up to the beach as far as the access stairs opposite Swadling Street.
The Entrance Beach North
Dogs can roam free on the beach from Wyuna Avenue to Stewart Street.
Lakes Beach, Budgewoi
The off-leash area extends from around 500 metres north of the Surf Club up to Ocean Street (look for the boundary sign).
Check the latest at Central Coast Council for more information and in case of changes.