Top dog-friendly hikes in NSW

Beyond NSW’s parks and paths there’s a plethora of beautiful dog-friendly hikes and walks four-legged friends are welcome to explore. From breathtaking coastal views to peaceful forests and night-lit journeys, an adventure awaits every pooch.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Dec 2023 -
min read

Kiama Coast Walk, South Coast 

If your dog is a beach lover then this walk is for you. Hugging the Kiama coastline down to Gerringong, this full-day adventure will take you past Cathedral Rocks, the Kiama Blowhole and Bombo Headland. There are also a bunch of spots your pooch can cool off in the water including Werri and Bombo beaches. If 20km is a little too long, consider a shorter section of the hike – the north, mid or south – which are around five-to-eight kilometres each.   

Highlight: A great many sections of this walk are off-leash, including Minnamurra Headland, Black Head Reserve, Kaleula Head Reserve and Marsden Head.  

Distance: 20km one-way 

Time: Full-day walk 

On-leash? Yes, with some off-leash areas on the way. 

Couple enjoying a Kiama Coast Walk, Kiama Area

Kiama Coast Walk, Kiama Area - Credit: Dee Kramer Photography 

Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit Walk, Blue Mountains 

Dog-friendly hikes in the Blue Mountains are more common than you may think despite the surrounding Blue Mountains National Park (dogs are forbidden in national parks). The short-but-sweet Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit walk welcomes dogs and offers a unique experience for owners and pets alike. Come dusk, flood and path lights are switched on to illuminate an otherwise pitch-black path and rock formations, enabling visitors to experience the outstanding natural wonders at sunset and beyond.  

Highlight: To enjoy the spectacular views of the neighbouring national park under the cover of night, puppy in tow, is a memory-making experience. Keep an eye out for landmarks Orphan Rock, Witches Leap, Katoomba Falls and Katoomba Cascades. 

Distance: 1.3km circuit 

Time: Up to one hour return 

On-leash? Yes 

Aerial view of Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit Walk, Blue Mountains

Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit Walk, Blue Mountains - Credit: Blue Mountains City Council

Lake Parramatta circuit, Sydney 

Go bush in the middle of the city with this peaceful track in Parramatta. The Lake Parramatta circuit captures all three of the lake’s short walks into a cumulative 4km trail where you’ll encounter local birds, frogs and lizards; you can even hop in the lake for a swim from October into the summer months. There are also several stepping-stone-like pathways your four-legged friend is sure to enjoy leaping over.  

Highlight: If you’re hiking on a clear-sky day you may be lucky enough to snap a photo of the lake mirroring the sky.  

Distance: 4.2km loop 

Time: Up to 1 hour 30 minutes 

On-leash? Yes 

Dog enjoying the water at Lake Parramatta, Parramatta

Lake Parramatta, Parramatta - Credit: Eva-Lotta Baad Peach (AllTrails)

Hume and Hovell track, Snowy Valleys 

If you’re a keen hiker and camper, and are itching to bring your furry friend along for the adventure, this hike is for you. While the Hume and Hovell track is an epic 426km trail spanning Yass to Albury, passing through national parks, the section from Paddys River Dam to Buddong Hut is in Bago State Forest and therefore dog-friendly. Embark on this one- or two-night adventure with your pooch and enjoy wildlife encounters, vast forest and bushland, bridge crossings and creeks.  

Highlight: This is one of the few multi-day hikes in NSW that allows your dog to camp with you, so you can have an overnight adventure with your pup. 

Distance: 28km return 

Time: Multi-day hike 

On-leash? Yes 

Couple enjoying the Hume and Hovell Track, Marchmont

Hume and Hovell Track, Marchmont - Credit: Hume and Hovell Track

Strickland tour, Central Coast 

This full-day hike brings together most of the walking trails in the Strickland State Forest and will transport you to scenes from Jurassic Park, with lush forest, views overlooking the canopy and trickling streams. Hit this dog-friendly trail and enjoy your walk listening to birdsong and if you’re lucky, you may even see a wallaby or goanna. 

Highlight: The suspension bridge over Narara Creek is sure to delight pooches with a bold sense of adventure. 

Distance: 8.2km circular trail 

Time: Up to three hours 

On-leash? Yes, with some off-leash areas on the way. 

The creek line in Strickland State Forest

Strickland State Forest, Gosford - Credit: Forestry Corporation of NSW

Forster Main Beach to One Mile Beach, North Coast 

The out-and-back coastal trail in Forster is as picturesque as they come. Beginning at the ocean bath at Forster’s main beach and heading south to One Mile, this trail passes many points of interest including Pebbly Beach and coastal rocky outcrops. Keep an eye out for views of Nine Mile Beach and Booti Booti National Park, and signage for the off-leash areas where your pooch can roam free.  

Highlight: The view from Bennetts Head Lookout is one you’ll remember. The every-hue-of-blue water below will transport you to the sublime tropics of the Pacific.  

Distance: 4.7km return 

Time: Up to 1 hour 30 minutes 

On-leash? Yes, with some off-leash areas on the way. 

Scenic views over Bennetts Head Lookout at the northern end at One Mile Beach, Forster

One Mile Beach, Forster

Centennial Glen and Porters Pass circuit, Blue Mountains 

This dog-friendly hike just outside of Blackheath in the Blue Mountains is a hidden gem – it’s close to the national park, but not part of it, so it feels one and the same. On this trail you’ll pass rocky cliffsides, walk through canyons and head up and down flights of stairs, plus there’s lush rainforest and classic Australian bushland. While the track is well-marked and maintained, it may be best suited to more experienced and agile dogs that are able to keep their footing.  

Highlight: Let your pooch wet their paws in the Grotto at Centennial Glen – a welcome treat as you move into the second half of the walk.  

Distance: 5.4km circuit 

Time: Up to three hours 

On-leash? Yes 

Dog looking out at the view at Centennial Glen and Porters Pass circuit, Blue Mountains

Centennial Glen and Porters Pass circuit, Blue Mountains - Credit: Hannah Burnett

Remember: Be mindful of others when walking your dog and be sure to observe the etiquette of responsible dog ownership in public spaces. Take care to check signage for details of on- and off-leash areas, as these may differ from location to location. Clean up after your dog and leave no trace.  

Stay safe when hiking and walking in New South Wales. Plan ahead and check walk/hike and local council websites for alerts and closures before commencing. 

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