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

From December 1, 2019, dogs are not allowed on:

1. Cape Woolamai Beach (Cleeland Bight) between Palm Beach Avenue access track 350 metres south to Southport Avenue access track between 10.00am and 5.00pm and between 8.00pm and 7.00am from December 1 to April 30.

2. Cowes West Beach between yacht club access track 340 metres to McKenzie Road access track between 10.00am and 5.00pm and between 8.00pm and 7.00am from December 1 to April 30.

At all other times the above beaches are declared a Designated Dog Off-leash Area according to the following conditions:

  • the dog owner carries a chain, cord or leash
  • has effective voice control of the dog
  • does not allow the dog to attack or rush at a person
  • always keeps the dog in sight

The off-leash beach area at Ventnor between Graydens Road and Ventnor Beach Road is a designated dog off-leash area at all times.

The Blue Gum Reserve in Dunsmore Road, Cowes, is a designated dog off-leash area at all times.

Dogs are not permitted on some Phillip Island beaches - refer to signage. On all other beaches, except as referred to above, dogs must be leashed at all times.

Bass Coast Shire map of Phillip Island showing dog walking areas.

(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.

Walking the dogs on the beach at Phillip Island.

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