Walk Your Dog on Phillip Island

Sand and sea - a perfect combination to walk your dog on Phillip Island.

During summer the beaches of Phillip Island are not only popular with swimmers and sunbathers but are also a favourite with the canine population.

Three dogs enjoy time at the beach, Phillip Island.

Make Sure You Know Where to Walk Your Dog on Phillip Island

What better exercise for a dog than to run unrestricted or chasing a ball on a long stretch of beach?

Although it is exercise for both owner and pet, there are a few rules and courtesies to follow to make the experience enjoyable for all beach users.

Discover Pet Friendly Phillip Island here

There are some beaches on Phillip Island where dogs are prohibited – usually because the beach is a habitat for the endangered hooded plover or other wildlife.

Hooded plovers nest in tide debris on beaches during the summer. You will see signs asking you (and your dog) to keep to the shoreline, away from the nesting area. Please respect these areas as these birds are an endangered species and many young have been killed by dogs roaming free on beaches.

Signs at beach entrances will denote if dogs are not allowed.

Sign at Smiths Beach, Phillip Island, advising beachgoers of the presence of a hooded plover nest.

Can You See the Hooded Plover Chick?

Designated Dog Off-Leash Areas

If a dog is off a chain, cord or leash in a Designated Dog Off-leash Area, it must be brought under effective control by the owner by means of chain, cord or leash if it is within fifty metres of a signed threatened species wildlife refuge area.

Ventnor Beach area between Graydens Road and Ventnor Beach Road - dogs are allowed off-leash at all times

Cape Woolamai Beach (Cleeland Bight) between Palm Beach Avenue access track 350 metres south to Southport Avenue access track - dogs are allowed off-leash between 7.00am and 10.00am and 5.00pm and 8.00pm from 1 December to 30 April each year. Between 1 May and 30 November each year dogs are allowed off-leash at all times

Cowes West beach between Yacht Club access track 340 metres to McKenzie Road access track - dogs are allowed off-leash between 7.00am and 9.00am and 6.00pm and 8.00pm from 1 December to 30 April each year. Between 1 May and 30 November each year dogs are allowed off-leash at all times

Blue Gum Reserve, Dunsmore Road, Cowes

Dog Restrictions

Dogs are not permitted on the following beaches from 1 December to 30 April each year (inclusive) between 8.00pm to 7.00am and 10.00am to 5.00pm:

Cape Woolamai Safety Beach (southern end of The Esplanade to Cleeland Road)

All northern beaches from Ventnor to the eastern most part of Silverleaves with the exception of Cowes Main Beach (Mussel Rocks to Erehwon Point) where dogs are prohibited at all times

Rhyll Beach (McIllwraith Road to Hastings Street)

Phillip Island Nature Parks

Phillip Island Nature Parks manages 1805 hectares of flora and fauna reserves including about 60 per cent of beaches on Phillip Island. In most of the reserves and beaches there are no dogs allowed at anytime for the protection of native wildlife and for the amenity of visitors. There are however some beaches where dogs are permitted on-leash, for example: Devon Avenue Ventnor, YCW and Smiths Beach, Surf Beach and the Colonnades, with summer restrictions in line with the Council managed beaches.

A map of Phillip Island showing where dogs can be walked.

(Map courtesy of Bass Coast Shire Council)

Victorian road rules prohibit drivers from driving with an animal on the driver's lap.

Please restrain your dog by using a seat belt to keep you and your animal safe, as well as other road users.

Dogs frolicking at Blue Gum Reserve, Cowes.

Frolicking Dogs at Blue Gum Reserve, Cowes

When you walk your dog on Phillip Island, please observe the following “rules” so everyone in the community enjoys your dog as much as you do:

  • Keep your dog on a leash if not in a designated off-leash area
  • Do not let your dog jump up at other people – this can be very frightening to young children
  • Pick up after your dog and dispose of droppings responsibly
  • If you are away from home for an extended time, bring a bowl and water for your dog. Some cafes provide water for dogs – great!
  • On the beach don’t let your dog run free where there are lots of people – go to a quieter part
  • Don’t let dogs on to dunes or restricted areas
  • Owners must have voice control over their dogs
  • If a child wants to pat your dog, encourage them to hold out their hand first for the dog to sniff and “get to know”. Immediately touching the top of a dog’s head can be threatening to them and they may react adversely.

    The important thing for owners is to take responsibility for the behaviour of their dog.

    This enhances the experience for everyone and makes everyone’s time at the beach so much more enjoyable.

Dog walker on the beach with two dogs on leads.

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