12 Dog Friendly Bush Walks in Sydney You Should Try

Healthy Lifestyle

Husband and wife enjoy a dog friendly bush walk in sydney

There’s plenty of beautiful bushland in Sydney for you to explore. But much of it is off-limits to dogs because the walks take you through National Parks. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the best dog-friendly bush walks and hikes in Sydney the whole family can enjoy and connect with nature.

#1 Bidgigal Reserve

Excelsior Ave, Castle Hill Drive

In the heart of bush country, the Hills District is the stunning Bidgigal Reserve. Keep an eye out for Aboriginal and European cultural heritage including rock shelters on your walk through the park. 

The Platypus Track is an easy 1.7km, 1-hour walk alongside the creek. The Burraga Track is 4.7 km taking 2.5 hours to complete while the Murri-Yanna track is 8km and takes 4 hours to complete. Other unnamed tracks are available. Most tracks have steps, uneven and rugged sections with informal creek crossings and slippery rocks. During wet weather, not all crossings may be passable. Water levels in the creek can rise quickly so leave the area if it starts to rain heavily or consistently. 

The reserve has picnic facilities, barbeques, playground, toilets, and shops if you want to make it a full day out.   

Dogs are allowed in the reserve if kept on a leash. During fox baiting season the reserve is closed to dogs. They post warning signs at all reserve access points so check before entering.  

Distance: Choice of 1.7km, 4.7km or 8km 

Lead Required: Yes, at all times

Difficulty Level: Ranges from easy to hard

#2 William Howe Regional Park

National Park in Mount Annan. Located near Campbelltown in Sydney's Southwest

Experience the beautiful greenery of William Howe Regional Park. Home to ancient landscapes from the Sweet Water Dharawal Aboriginal People. The landscape features Aboriginal storylines and is an important place for Aboriginal people. You can visit this Regional park all year round. 

The Loop trail is mostly gravel so during the warmer months and on sunny days the track can get very hot. This can burn your dog’s paws, you should visit this location early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat

Entrances to the park are located at the end of several suburban streets so you can enjoy an early morning walk or afternoon stroll through William Howe Regional Park

Keep an eye out for the Brown-Striped Frog, one of the most common frogs found in Australia and Peron's Tree Frog which is only found in NSW. 

Important: This dog friendly walk has no water facilities. Bring enough drinking water for you and your pooch! 

Distance: 2.5km 

Lead Required: Yes, at all times

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Walking your dog through William Howe Regional Park

#3 Strickland State Forest

Strickland Forest Road, Somersby

For those living in the northern suburbs and Central Coast area, you can’t beat a walk through the Strickland State Forest. This is one of the best dog walks in Sydney with over 10km of bush walking trails. Choose your track and enjoy walking past waterfalls, creeks and under the canopies of trees and palms. 

The Arboretum Loop Trail has a suspension bridge to cross during the 2.3 km walk that takes you past Hoop Pines and Bunya Pines. The Bellbird Trail is a track off the Arboretum Loop. Combined is a total distance of 3.3 km with creek crossings and another small suspension bridge. The Cabbage Tree Trail is 1.7 km of changing landscape from dry eucalypt at the start to lush cabbage tree palms, ferns and boulder outcrops.  

Distance: Choice of 1km to 3km bush walks

Lead Required: Yes, at all times

Difficulty Level: Ranges from easy to moderate         

#4 Wolli Creek Regional Park

The Walk, Earlwood

This one is a little outside the CBD, but it’s well worth checking out. The Wolli Creek Track is 2 km one way and will take you through beautiful bushland. The short steep hills and occasional steps make this a grade 3 trail. Grade 3 trails are suitable for most ages and a range of fitness levels. Making this an ideal hiking trail for you and your dog. 

Early morning and sunset are the best times to spot the local wildlife that includes pelicans and other birds, Egrets and Tawny Frogmouths. If you’re looking for a longer walk, take the 13 km Two Valley Trail which runs from Campsie to Bexley North. Before setting out on a 13 km hike with your dog, make sure he or she is physically capable.    

You’re always required to keep your dog on a leash  in the park. 

Distance: Choice of 2km to 13km 

Lead Required: Yes, at all times

Difficulty Level: Moderate to hard

A man bushwalking through Wolli Creek Regional Park with his dog

#5 Allenby Park Walk

Clearview Place, Brookvale

This is a hidden gem located in northern Sydney. Allenby Park is 42 acres in the suburbs of Allambie Heights, Beacon Hill and Brookvale. If you’re looking for an easy dog walk, in Sydney you can’t go past Allenby Park Heights. 

Enjoy steep valley slopes that are joined by two major creek lines, waterfalls, mossy boulders and coastal views. There is 2.5 km of various trails -  which all up will take you 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete. There is also Aboriginal heritage to explore along the way. 

The picturesque bushland is home to threatened species including the Powerful Owl and the Glandular Pink-Bell. This is the perfect dog walk to enjoy if you don’t have more than an hour to spare. Just remember to keep your dog on a leash at all times. 

Distance: 2.5km 

Lead Required: Yes at all times

Difficulty Level: Easy

#6 Cooper Park Bush Trails

Suttie Road, Bellevue Hill

Cooper Park has it all from large bushland areas, picnic facilities, playground and playing fields.  A creek and the native tree and shrub-lined hills make a perfect backdrop for the extensive walk trails and paths. Shelter sheds and picnic areas provide rest spots for walkers.  

The 38 acres first became a park in 1913 when Sir William Cooper gave a parcel of land to the council.   

Dogs are always permitted on a leash but may be off-leash on the turf sports grounds between 4.30 pm and 8.30 am. 

Distance: 38 acres of various walking & hiking tracks

Lead Required: Yes. Dogs are allowed off-leash during certain times 

Difficulty Level: Easy

#7 Wingello State Forest

15 Marulan Street, Wingello

Wingello State Forest has various walk trails winding their way through radiata pine plantations, hardwood forest including stands of peppermint, manna gum and stringybark. The area is popular for bike riding and hiking with the tracks rated as moderate. 

Wingello State Forest is made up of 3 trails. The blue loop is 6 km long of fire trails. The red loop is 25km long and is much more challenging. Famous for its insanely steep short climb “The Wall”. The yellow loop is a 19 km long hike and includes more challenging climbs, but once complete enjoy fire trails and dirt roads taking you back to the start. 

Your pooch will love it here because they’re allowed to roam free off-leash.  

Distance: Various tracks - choice of 6km, 19km and 25km 

Lead Required: No

Difficulty Level: Moderate to hard

Family of three hiking through the bush in sydney with their dog

#8 Lake Parramatta Reserve, Parramatta

Lackey Street, North Parramatta

With three marked bush trails, you and your best friend will be spoilt for choice. There’s 75 hectares of bushland surrounding a beautiful lake. The longest walk at Lake Parramatta is the full circuit with a distance of 4.2 km. It will take around two hours to complete. The other two tracks are much shorter and easier to complete. The lake was established in 1856 after damning Hunts Creek. Now the dam is decommissioned, and Lake Parramatta is a popular recreation spot.  

Distance: Various tracks - full circuit 4.2km 

Lead Required: Yes at all times

Difficulty Level: Moderate

#9 Two Creeks Track

Slade Ave & Tyron Road, East Lindfield

Despite its proximity to the CBD, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re miles away, hiking deep in the Australian bush. Two Creeks Track circles East Lindfield taking in beautiful views of the Gordon Creek, Coachwood forests, and sandstone gully bushland.   

The 7.5km return walk will take around 2 hours and is classified as moderate with steep, rough sections and some steps to navigate. The track ends at Roseville Bridge where you need to turn around and head back. 

The Little Digger Track is a shorter 2 km return walk past waterfalls, rock pools, Sydney Red Gums and Sheoaks, and ferns. You might see the inscription ‘C Coy Engineers’ in a rock at Moores Creek. Look out for an array of Australian native animals including the Powerful Owl, Eastern Water Dragon and Ringtail possums and frogs.    

If you start your walk at the address above, you will need to pass under the Eastern Arterial Road via a storm-water tunnel. If it has been raining, start your walk from the corner of Tryon Road and Eastern Arterial Road near Lindfield Oval so you don’t need to use the tunnel. Picnic facilities are available at Echo Point Park.  

Distance: Various tracks - 2km to 7.5km 

Lead Required: Yes at all times

Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

Mother and daughter on a bush walk in sydney with their dog

#10 Waverton Park

Corner Woolcott Street and Woolcott Ave, Waverton

Waverton Park has an easy trail that takes you through bushland with magnificent views of Sydney Harbour and through the old BP site where the city once held its oil stores in tankers. The historic Geraghty Gates are in the north-west corner of the park. The kids will love the motoring themed playground.

Waverton Park is perfect for those pooches who love to walk without a lead. All the paths and trails are off-leash but dogs must stay off the sports grounds when the fields are in use and stay 10 metres away from the playground.

If you have plenty of energy, keep taking the trail down to Balls Head Reserve and the Coal Loader sites. While this reserve requires dogs to be kept on a leash, there are some off-leash areas and access to small beaches. Kids love exploring the Coal Loader tunnels.  

Important: Dogs aren’t permitted on the sports field when organised sport is being played or 10m of the playground.

Distance: Various tracks 

Lead Required: No, restrictions do apply

Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

#11 Berry Island Reserve

10 Shirley Road, Wollstonecraft

The Sydney Harbour and Bridge scenery never gets old, so if you’re up for another bush walk with a view, try the Gadyan Track on Berry Island Reserve

On your walk, look out for Aboriginal carvings, shell middens and axe grindings. You can read about the area’s significance to local Aboriginal people on the signpost at the start of the 750-metre loop track. Edward Wollstonecraft created a stone causeway over mudflats to connect the small island to the mainland in the early 19thcentury. The area was gazetted as a reserve in 1925.  

It’s not a long walk, so it’s suitable for dogs (and their owners) of all ages and fitness levels. BBQ facilities and a fenced playground are available, so it’s a perfect spot to make a day of it.    

Distance: Roughly 20-minute bushwalk 

Lead Required: Dogs must remain on a leash while in the reserve

Difficulty Level: Easy 

Man running at sunset through Berry Island Reserve, Sydney with his dog

#12 Manly Dams Walks

112 King Street, Manly Vale

The Manly-Warringah War Memorial State Park offers various Manly Dam Walks through the tranquil bushland.  

The Park Circuit track is 7.3 km and takes around 3 hours. It’s a formed track with some obstacles, steep sections and steps. Check out the Gulgaldya Muru Interpretive Point and waterfall on your way around. Walkers share the track with mountain bikers.

The Nature Trail is a 1.5 km 40-minute one-way walk. Eva’s Track is a 1-hour circuit, the Curl Curl Track is 30-minutes one way, McCombs Hill Track is a 25-minute round trip, Health Track is another 25-minute circuit and Wildflower Walk is 15-minutes. 

Manly Dam is Sydney’s largest freshwater lake and allows fishing, swimming and water skiing with a boat ramp available.  

Dogs must be on-leash and can access the bush tracks from various entry points except for the picnic area where dogs aren’t permitted. 

Important: Dogs are excluded from the area during fox baiting. 

Distance: Various tracks - Park Circuit track is 7.3 km

Lead Required: Yes

Difficulty Level: Choice of easy to hard tracks

Tips for Safe Bushwalking With Your Dog

Some of these bush walks and hikes aren’t easy and require some preparation to ensure both you and your dog remain safe. 

Bring Plenty of Drinking Water 

Make sure you pack plenty of water for you and your dog even if the weather is cool. A collapsible dog bowl or pet bottle dispenser will ensure they get enough to drink when out bushwalking or hiking. Keep your dog away from pools of stagnant water.

Know Your Pets Limits 

Watch your dog for signs of stress and exhaustion on the bush walk. If they start to pant excessively then you should stop and rest.  

Check Your Dogs Health Records 

Make sure your dog is up to date with their vaccinations, flea and tick treatment at least 48 hours before your hike. You should also check your dog’s fur coat for ticks, burrs, seeds and sticks when you get home. 

Clean Up After Your Dog 

Even if you’re out in the bush you should always clean up after your dog. Dog faeces are a threat to native wildlife, other dogs and even humans drinking filtered water at one of the campgrounds. 

Be First Aid Ready 

Just like us, your dog can hurt themselves when out on a bush walk. Always take a pet first aid kit as you might not have quick access to an open vet clinic when out on a bush walk. 

Tell Friends or Family 

You should always alert someone when you’re planning on going for a bush walk in case you or your pet gets injured or lost. Ask them to alert police if you don’t return as planned. Remember to let them know when you return home or as soon as you arrive back at your car! 

Keep Your Dog on a Lead

A lead will stop your dog from wandering off on a bush walk. When out in the bush dogs are at risk of getting lost, being bitten by a snake or eating 1080 bait. These are extremely dangerous and can be deadly for your dog. It's always a good idea to stick to the trails and keep your dog on their lead even if they are allowed to roam free. 

There’s something very rewarding about watching your dog explore new smells when out on a bush walk. Pick a spot and set off next weekend!

Tammy George

Please note: Tammy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic please consult your healthcare professional.

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