Sydney is a city with an almost infinite number of places that doggies can visit, sniff, and walk around. But even if dog-friendly urban cafes and Starbucks Puppuccinos are a fun place to take your dog and drink a latte while you update your Instagram, the best locations for hiking with your dog are located just outside the city.
From coastline walks to forest trails and rough bush treks, there are plenty of opportunities to walk, see beautiful sights, and experience some of the most beautiful nature Australia has to offer in the company of your four-legged friend. So the next time you have to walk your pup, do both of you a favor and ditch your usual route for one of the following dog-friendly walks near Sydney.
1. Lake Parramatta
Located just 30 km from Sydney, this popular weekend getaway offers three on-leash walks where you and your best mate can explore a breathtaking cross-section of Australia's flora and fauna. Open all year round --- from 6:30 am - 5:30 pm --- Lake Parramatta has a free car park and plenty of picnic areas near scenic views.
The Lake's three walks all stop where the next one begins, so you can walk to your heart's content without missing any of the amazing views the Lake has to offer. She-Oak track, a 1500m paved trail, is the first one you'll encounter and is a tranquil, enclosed loop that ends in the more interesting Banksia track.
Once you reach Banksia, the concrete path stops and the terrain gets more uneven. This 2500m moderate walk, which is named after the Banksia trees which abound in the area, takes you through the eastern edge of the lake and some of the area's most significant sights --- like Old Man and its beautiful Hairpin Banksias.
Finally, you can't go home without visiting the Lake Circuit, as its 4km will take you and your pet through a variety of terrains like creeks, rainforest remnants, bush, and small clearings filled with wildflowers.
2. Narrabeen Lagoon Trail
Completed in 2015, the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail is a wonderful setting for a canine-friendly adventure. The 8.4km track features picturesque bushlands and plenty of birds that your dog will love chasing, as well as stunning views of the Narrabeen Lakes in the background that will look perfect in your Instagram account.
The long walk, which takes between 2-3 hours to complete, is actually divided into 5 sections --- Middle Creek to Bilarong Reserve (2.2km), Bilaron Reserve to Berry Reserve (1.2km), Berry Reserve to Jamieson Park (1.5km), Jamieson Park to South Creek (2.3km), and South Creek to Middle Creek (1.2km) --- so you can just pick one and leave the others for another visit.
The terrain around Narrabeen is quite varied, so your pup will have a field day exploring the bush, parklands, and lush forests along the way. Furthermore, the popularity of the site means that there are water bubblers, toilets, picnic tables, shelters, electric barbecues and other amenities you'll need if you plan to stay the whole day with the family. The only shortcoming is the limited free parking space. However, you can always use one of the metered parking areas or just leave your vehicle in a residential area and walk to the park.
3. Bondi to Coogee
Perhaps one of the most famous walks in Australia, this Sydney classic has earned its reputation for a good reason. Starting from Bondi Beach, this 6km trail will take you and your canine friend trough iconic beaches, rugged cliffs, sheltered bays, and tide pools --- a true feast for the senses that your pup will love seeing, smelling, and exploring.
Enjoy the smell of the trail winds while you pass through Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, and Coogee Beach. Although dogs aren't allowed in any of the beaches, there are a few off-leash spots along the way where you can let your pup roam free --- like the one at Marks Park, Tamarama, where dogs can walk without leash between 4:30 pm and 8:30 am.
The best hours to visit the walk are either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, during the summer, to avoid the midday heat. However, you can visit the walk at almost any time of the day during the winter. Besides offering a rich variety of views and smells that your dog will love discovering, the trail's near-urban location means that there are plenty of cafes where you can stop and get a meal to recharge your batteries before you resume your hike.
4. Two Creeks Track
With gullies, ditches, rocky waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, and grassy clearings as far as the eye can see, this 6.1km track was made for dogs. Located just some 15 minutes north of the city's North Shore, the Two Creeks Track is a moderately-difficult trek that follows Gordon Creek until it meets Middle Harbour.
Along the trail, you'll encounter pristine river waters, quaint cobbled tracks, and sandstone caves which will entertain your pet for hours. The only downside of this walk is that it crosses a section of the Garigal National Park where dogs are prohibited. However, you will find plenty of interesting landmarks along the way, such as its coachwood forests and impressive heritage works, to make up for it.
If you walk at a moderate pace, it will take you 2-3 hours to complete the track. So make sure you stop in the picnic area to have lunch and don't leave without taking a selfie in one of the track's many representative wooden bridges.
5. Burraga Loop Track (Bidjigal Reserve)
Named after the Bidjigal clan of the Darug people, the Bidjigal Reserve's 186-hectare area is home to incredible bushland landscapes, huge overhanging rocks, a rich collection of plants and animals, as well as invaluable Aboriginal cultural remains dating back hundreds of years. Despite being only 4km long, the Burraga Loop Track offers a summarized view of all the wonders that lie in Bidjigal Reserve that you can see in only a couple of hours.
While dogs are welcome in the Loop Track, they should stay leashed at all times. So, if you were looking for a scenic location to work on your cardio while your furry friend spots you, the Burraga Track is a must-visit place.
6. Clovelly To Maroubra
If you are tired of the repetitive urban landscape, then the Clovelly to Maroubra trail is just what you and your dog need to leave Sydney's hectic pace behind. Located in East Sydney, this paved 7km track offers mesmerizing sights of the ocean as far as your eyes can see. Plus, the track has several off-leash spots where you can let your pet explore the area and make friends on his own while you sit down and enjoy the view.
Although the track switches from concrete to beach almost randomly it seldom leaves the shoreline, so you and your pet will have plenty of ocean breeze to keep you fresh. If you are a beach bum --- and honestly...who isn't? --- then don't forget to check out the beach stops --- like Bronte and Coogee --- which are peppered along the way.
7. Strickland State Forest
While driving an hour to walk your dog can seem excessive to some, those who have visited Strickland Falls have quickly changed their minds. Located on the Central Coast, his refreshing rainforest is exactly what you and your pup need to decompress from the rigid city life. Better yet, dogs can walk leash-free and the small number of visitors makes for a more intimate, immersive experience in the wild.
Strickland Forest has two main tracks you must visit. If you take the 2.3km Arboretum Loop Trail, you will pass through a chic suspension bridge as well one of the country's oldest arboretum --- which has trees dating as far as 1887. On the other hand, if you go for the Strickland Falls you'll walk through a magical landscape filled with waterfalls, cabbage tree palms, and small creeks.
Regardless of which route you choose, make sure you take food, water, bug repellents, and plenty of salt to keep the leeches from ruining your experience during the wet season.
8. Sirius Cove Reserve (Mosman)
Located in the suburb of Mosman, in Sydney's lower north shore, Sirius Cove is a dog-friendly getaway where your pup can run, play, and meet other dogs leash-free --- all day on weekdays and from 4 pm-9 am during the weekends and public holidays. Charming and adjacent to the city, Sirius Cove is a great place to have a picnic with family and friends while your nosey dog explores everything on the beach.
The 250m-wide beach is surrounded by a sandstone wall which ensures that the waters are very quiet and shallow, so your dog will love trampling through the water and seeing it splash. There is also plenty of trees nearby to give shade, so you won't have to carry extra baggage to stay away from the sun.
Whether it's scenic coast walks or wild bush trails, Sydney is surrounded by dog-friendly tracks where you and your best mate can enjoy an afternoon of exercise and bonding with nature. So, the next time your dog is jumping in your house trying to catch your attention, take it to one of these marvelous locations. Your pup will love the new variety of smells and you can de-stress seeing some of Australia's most beautiful natural wonders.