Do Do - Doo, Run, Run: Sydney's Dog Friendly Beach

by wandering freditor / Jan 07, 2015 / 0 comments

Australians generally love three things: their food, their beaches … and their dogs. Why people who are sheep-like followers, if you pardon the oxymoron, are referred to as “drovers’ dogs;” there is a bronze statue “of the dog (who) sits on the tucker box, five miles from Gundagai,” a New South Wales country town and dog immortalised in poems and song, while the Australian cattle dog, the Kelpie, is an apocryphal name give to blokes regarded as “humpers,”… for apposite reason! He’s a bit of a kelpie, mate. So it comes as no real surprise that some of Sydney’s superb coastal pathways come “dog equipped,” with appropriate poo-bag dispensers along the way, and very heavy fines for those foolish few who think that the “Poo Fairy” will take care of droppings. And perhaps, surprise, surprise, but most dog walkers are responsible and take care of clean ups, grateful to authorities for letting them and their canine courtesans caress the cliffs together.


Dog-friendly beach in Sydney, Australia


Harry Lime, the desert dog, in Australia


Our dog is Harry Lime, pictured above on the pathway from Bronte beach to Bondi’s famous beach, one of Sydney’s classic coastal walks. He is a Desert Dog from Bahrain, a stray, much loved, and flown to Australia at vast expense, now at ease with the sound of cockatoos, Kookaburras, and the booming surf. He is not allowed on Bondi Beach, of course, and we saw it on a grey day, but he loved racing up the many steps at each headland, standing like a canine Cortez, looking at the Pacific Ocean. Now dear reader, I cannot leave you with a “grey Bondi,” for the sun usually shines daily on her fair beach. If you come early enough, it looks so sunny, and if you are late, well from this distance the beach looks fly-speckled with all the bikini-babes and body surfers, belles and blokes without boards, and kiddies with boogie-boards in the shallows. Bondi is an Aussie icon, like kangaroos, QANTAS, and Crocodile Dundee, and at Christmas and New Year - summer time in Oz - the beach is a “foreign field” of overseas party goers all mingling with the locals, mainly English and Irish, and Americans, Dutch, and Deutsch, but increasingly, Asians too. And always plenty of police to insure the “boys are just boisterous,” and the girls just groovin’.


Sydney's Dog Beach


Sydney's Doggie Beach


Harry too, loves the many “dog friendly parks.” The grass is great on paws that have seen only the stony desert floor. The same “clean up” rules apply and “amenities” include doggie bags, “special purpose” bins, a cool water tap, and often a lap bowl. Again, most people “do the right thing” and woe-betide those who don’t and are spotted, for Aussies are quick to speak out, and forthright, too. But the real joy for us has been Sydney’s own “dog friendly beach” at Greenhills, between the wonderful Southern surfing beaches of Cronulla and Wanda. Dogs are not only tolerated, but welcome, every day before 10am and after 4pm. The beautifully clean broad rind of beach is behind low, protective sand dunes, and we found a particularly attractive dune-bush at which to honour a promise made to bring to Australia, our two Cane dogs (strays born in the sugar-cane fields of Barbados), the Diplomatic Dog (DD) and Miss Lucy. Sadly, both died while we were living 10 years in Bahrain. Harry Lime, named after the legendary Orson Welles character in one of the best B&W films of all time, The Third Man, is their ‘beneficiary.’


Sydney's Dog Beach


The beach is a very social place with lots of dogs circling and sniffing, chasing balls or new found friends on the sand, dashing into the low shore break and ‘surfing’ ashore, digging, rolling, and occasionally pooping, with bag-carrying owners like removalists, transporting the litter away at the end of their stay. And in all the times that we have visited, I have never seen or heard a dog fight, although invariably there is the snapping of yappers, carried away on the sea-breeze. Here, under the azure blue skies, with kite surfers slicing the foam and soaring, mobile police patrols on quad-bikes, lifesavers too, motoring along the beach, why would anyone think of fighting, even crusty and cantankerous canines? Not our Harry Lime, oft merely a sniff and a shrug, then a jog up the beach.


Parasailing, Sydney, Australia

So for anyone coming to Sydney with Fido or Fifi, kennels are fine, but if you want your dog to share in the holiday, Dog Beach is the place for a swim and a surf, for you, and Maggie or Murph. It is a unique concept and a wonderful setting for walking and wetting, and your dog will be hugely grateful. Just watch him woof and play! Like Dirty Harry, you can “Make his day.”


Dog Beach, Sydney, Australia




Winfred Peppinck is the Tales of the Traveling Editor for Wandering Educators



All photos courtesy and copyright Winfred Peppinck