Last Updated on March 28, 2022 by Kyle Tully

With it’s beautiful beaches and sparkling coastline, Port Stephens is a perfect little, pet friendly getaway. It’s a gorgeous place the locals love to share with their fur babies too. You’ll spot lots of Border Collies, Golden Retrievers and mixed terriers sharing this oasis as their home and life.

Cafes & Restaurants

Most cafes in the area with outdoor seating will allow well behaved fur babies to join you for brunch.

We have found the below to be the most accomodating for people with pooches:

  1. Cheeky Dog: Pups are allowed both inside and outside. Yay! By far the most pet friendly venue in the bay, even holding events for pets and their owners.
  2. Murrays Brewery: With lots of soft grass and rolling hills, your fur buddy is guaranteed to have a great time.
  3. Kin Cafe: A beautiful courtyard out the back to bask in the warm sun on cool mornings. Also – puppaccinos!
  4. Little Nel: Outside on the patio, perfect for people and puppy watching.
  5. Wanderlust Bar: Tables outside to allow your pooch to chill while you enjoy a morning coffee.
  6. Blueys: Prime: located in the D’Albora Marina where you can enjoy a meal by the water with your buddy.
  7. Inhouse Kitchen (Home Interior): Outside only, but pooches welcome.
  8. Below Deck (Little Beach Boathouse): Enjoy the sunset on the deck with a beer in one hand and your best (furry) buddy in the other.
  9. Lighthouse Tea Room: With sweeping views of Shoal Bay and Hawks Nest to one side, and your best bud to the other.

Accomodation

Bringing your dog with you is not only great for the family but also for the animal. It’s good exercise, mentally stimulating and they love being out in nature. They are usually very well behaved when travelling as long as their needs are met.n If you have more than one dog then make sure they get along!

  1. Bannisters, Soldiers Point: A 4 star boutique hotel where the ground floor Ocean Deck and Luxury Suite are dog friendly rooms. Opening out onto the garden and with easy beach access for an afternoon stroll with your four legged friend.
  2. 2 Dogs Cottages, Lemon Tree Passage: The cottages are within a few minutes walk of an off leash dog exercise area along the waterfront of Tilligerry Creek and only a five minutes drive to the dog friendly beach at Mallabula. Each cottage has a secure fenced grassed yard with a medium sized dog kennel. Dogs are allowed inside too! Bowls for water and food are provided together with exercise toys.
  3. Bay Escapes, Fingal Bay & Shoal Bay: The owners believe that a holiday is that much better when your four-legged family can also come along. The cottages and villas are fully fenced with safe, gated outside areas and your dogs are also welcome inside.
  4. The Retreat Port Stephens: With the exception of large or aggressive dogs, the pet friendly buildings have specially designed yard areas off the back of the buildings so that your pet is both secure and close by. This area has been created so that there is a space for your pet to run around off a lead as the rest of the property your dog must be on a lead.
  5. Beaches Serviced Apartments: There are only two available for pet stay. The one bedroom apartments are on the ground floor with the fenced yard for your little bud to run around.
  6. The Oasis, One Mile: The resort is pet friendly. There is a small fee of $15.00 per pet, per night. Just advise on your booking if you are bringing your pet, so they can allocate you a pet friendly cabin.
  7. Marty’s @ Little Beach: There is one pet friendly apartment is available upon prior telephone request only. The pet friendly apartment cannot be booked over the internet/booking sites.

Selected campground also allow pet stays with varying conditions. It’s best to contact them directly.

You can also find private rentals and AirBnb accomodation that allows pets.

Another option is to put your pet up in the local puppy hotel for boarding – Nelson Bay Kennels (Four Paws) They tend to book out way in advance so early bookings are recommended! Day release, baths and grooming are also available to ensure your buddy has a wonderful stay.

Beaches, Parks & Public Spaces

A tired and exercised dog, is a happy dog! Port Stephens has numerous parks and reserves where dogs may be exercised off-lead. The below are some wonderful spots local puppers just love!

  1. Bagnalls Beach: 24hr off lead dog beaches. There’s a reason the locals love it!
  2. Birubi Beach: Popular with tourists, locals and doggos, dogs are allowed on lead at all hours, and off lead after 5pm, and before 9am.
  3. Boat Harbour: With lots of off and on lead walking tracks, there are endless options to tire out your four legged friend.
  4. Fingal Bay Foreshore & Fenced Dog park: The foreshore is a wonderful walk and contains a fenced, off-leash dog park. One of only two in the immediate Bay area.
  5. Lancaster Park (Soldiers Point): The second fenced, off-leash dog park. Open 7am – 7pm.
  6. Corlette On-Lead walking tracks and parks: Lots of intertwining paths that lead to various dog friendly parks. Full map here.
  7. Nelson Bay Marina / Foreshore: On lead, of course, but a beautiful coastal walk none the less.
  8. Twilight Markets, Fingal Bay: When the markets are on, this outdoor event happily invites your pooch to join in on the festivities!
  9. Kooindah Park, Lemon Tree Passage: This is an off lead, dog exercise area.
  10. Billy Beach, Mallabula: A wonderful, off lead, dog beach.
  11. Tanilba Bay Boardwalk: This picturesque boardwalk allows off leash play.
  12. Bunnings – They welcome you to pop your little guy into a trolley as you grab what you need!

There are plenty of other dog specific parks and walks that can be located via this map here

Other pet resources

Veterinarian:

Boarding Kennel:

Council Ranger:

Port Stephens Council Rangers
Phone: 02 4988 0255 – 24 Hours / 7 Days
Fax: 02 4988 0130
council@portstephens.nsw.gov.au

Pet Stores:

What do I need to know about taking my dog out?

Know what your dog is like – are they shy? Flighty? Friendly? Or even too much for some other dogs? Knowing what to expect can make it a much more enjoyable experience for everyone, including your pet.

While it’s easy to think you’re dog(s) are friendly and social, others may not be. Make sure your dog comes back when you call! Smaller dogs and rescue dogs tend to be afraid of other dogs, so make sure that your dog comes back if other dogs show signs of timidness or fear.

Be sure to bring bags to dispose of faeces (it is an offence to not pick up and dispose of droppings), that your dog is collared and tagged and you have a sturdy lead. There are various dog bowls around, but a travel bowl almost always comes in handy!

Can you take dogs on Mount Tomaree?

No. There is a sign that clearly states no domestic pets as you start the track up. Dogs and domestic pets are not allowed in the national parks (of which Mt Tomaree sits) to avoid destruction and contamination of local flora and fauna.

Responsibilities of dog owners

  • If your dog is in a public place, it must be under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain or lead. The exceptions to this are: dogs exhibited at a show or engaging in obedience or agility trials or a dog secured in a cage or in an approved off-lead area.
  • If your dog is being exercised in an approved off lead area it must always be under effective control of a competent person.
  • You are not permitted to walk more than 4 dogs at any one time in an on lead or an off lead area.
  • Greyhounds must be muzzled at all times when in a public place, except if the greyhound has successfully completed an approved greyhound retraining program and the greyhound wears an approved collar when it is a public place.
  • If your dog defecates in a public place, it is an offence not to remove the faeces.
  • Dogs are prohibited in children’s play areas, food preparation/consumption areas, recreation areas, public bathing areas, school grounds, child care centres, shopping areas and wildlife protection areas.

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