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Dog friendly areas

Council recognises the need and benefits of dog owners and their pets to be able to access and use public open space areas such as parks, reserves, foreshores and beaches. Council also considers other users of these areas too.

There are a number of dog friendly areas available for the enjoyment of pets and their owners that have been provided by Council, however certain conditions/restrictions on their use do apply.

The NSW Companion Animals Act requires that dogs must be under effective control (i.e. on a lead) at all times they are in a public place. The only exceptions to this legislative requirement are:

  1. In specifically designated and signposted 'Off Leash' and 'Leashed' exercise areas, and
  2. Where the location is specifically designated as a 'Dogs Prohibited' area, such as dog-free beaches.

Council shares this view and requires dogs to be on a lead at all times in any public area in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region such as parks, reserves and beaches unless otherwise stated.

Please note that dogs are not permitted within 10 metres of picnic facilities, playgrounds or BBQ's which is in accordance with the NSW State Legislation.

Dog owners must clean up their dog droppings from any public areas. A $275.00 on-the-spot fine can be issued where this is not done.

Dog owners are required to carry a plastic bag to pick up dog droppings. Community acceptance and public health will be enhanced as a result of this responsible action.

* For more information see Pet Owners Responsiblities

Permitted Areas - Off Leash

Dogs are permitted in these areas unleashed at any time:

  • North Shore Beach from northern end on Corrilla Estate North to Limeburners Creek National Park boundary at the Broken Bit
  • North Shore Beach from southern end of Corrilla Estate South to the breakwall
  • Rocky Beach, Port Macquarie
  • Nobby's Beach, Port Macquarie
  • Lighthouse Beach Port Macquarie from Watonga Rocks south to the 4WD beach access point Lake Cathie
  • Rainbow Beach, Bonny Hills from Duchess Creek north to Middle Rock
  • Spooney's Bay, Bonny Hills
  • Grants Beach, North Haven from the northern end of the surf club car park, north to Grants Head
  • Washhouse Beach, Dunbogan from the breakwall to the North boundary of the Kattang Nature Reserve
  • Dunbogan Beach, Dunbogan from the Seaview beach access point south to Beach Street access point
  • Henry Kendall Reserve, Laurieton, in the fenced dedicated dog park. 
  • Blackbutt Park, Wauchope, in the fenced dedicated dog park.
  • Stuart Park, Port Macquarie, in the fenced dedicated dog park.

Permitted Areas - On Leash

Dogs are permitted on the following beach areas whilst under effective control of a competent person by way of a leash, cord or chain:

  • Oxley Beach, Port Macquarie
  • Cathie Beach, Lake Cathie (Molong Street beach access point to Middle Rock)
  • Rainbow Beach, Bonny Hills  - from leash free access point north to Duchess Creek (for access to leash free area only)
  • Grants Beach, North Haven (from Surf Club car park north for a distance of 200m)
  • Dunbogan Beach, Dunbogan (from the southern boundary of Kattang Nature Reserve to the Seaview Avenue beach access point).
  • Sancrox Reserve

If the reserve, park or beach is not listed in the above lists, it means that the area does not permit dogs in that area.

Prohibited Areas - No Dogs Allowed

If any dog is found within a dog prohibited area Council Rangers or the Police may issue you with an on-the- spot penalty notice of up to $330.00 or alternatively may take you to court.

Dogs are prohibited on the following beaches and reserves:

  • North Shore Beach (adjacent to Corrilla Estate residences)
  • Pelican Island, Port Macquarie
  • Town Beach, Port Macquarie
  • Flynn’s Beach, Port Macquarie
  • Shelly Beach, Port Macquarie
  • Little Bay, Port Macquarie (directly north of Tacking Point Lighthouse)
  • Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie (from Tacking Point to Watonga Rocks)
  • Cathie Beach, Lake Cathie (from Dirah Street Beach access to Molong Street Beach access)
  • Rainbow Beach, Bonny Hills
  • Bartlett’s Beach, Bonny Hills
  • Grants Beach, North Haven (from Northern end of Surf Club car park to the breakwall)
  • Pilots Beach, Dunbogan
  • Washhouse Beach, south of the Kattang Nature Reserve Boundary
  • Dunbogan Beach, south of Beach Street access point
  • Dunbogan Beach, from Camden Head to the southern boundary of Kattang Nature Reserve.
  • Cowarra Dam

Exemption for Guide Dogs

Not withstanding the provisions of this policy, guide dogs may be exercised unleashed on any dog permitted beach area.

The Future of Leash Free Areas

Council acknowledges the need for some park based leash free areas. In the coming years, Council will allocate park based areas in Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Laurieton where people can exercise their dogs leash free.

This page was last updated on: 22 September 2020