It’s fair to say the folks in the Inner West love their dogs. And when it comes to places our pups can roam, run, swim and cavort with other canines, we’re blessed with some fantastic local options.
We chatted with Rachel Pickering, owner of Paw to the Floor Pet Services, an Inner West dog walking and pet care service, about some of her favourite dog parks in the area.
Rachel says: ‘Walking is so important for dogs. Fortunately there are some outstanding parks in the Inner West where our pups can run free. My favourite local dog park is the Glebe Foreshore Parks/Blackwattle Bay. It delivers everything you need for an enjoyable walk: stunning views, a variety of possible routes, plenty of water access to cool off, as well as with dog waste bag dispensers, bins and drinking fountains. It gives me joy to see the dogs romp around at the Glebe Foreshore Parks with their friends and go home tired and satisfied. Another great lesser known dog park [technically just outside the Inner West] is Giba Park in Pyrmont. It’s the perfect place to spend a sunny Sunday morning with your pup. Grab a coffee along the boardwalk and head up to the rooftop dog park for some stunning views while your dog has an off-leash romp with its mates.’
Here are some of Rachel’s and our favourite Inner West dog-friendly parks, listed alphabetically by suburb.
Sydney Park Road
Sydney Park comprises 40 hectares of attractive parkland. It’s a favourite among the Alexandria, Newtown and St Peters dog owners as it offers such a wide area for dogs to explore, with winding paths, hills and open grassy space. Please note there are some areas from which dogs are prohibited, including the wetlands, the oval, the cycling centre, playground and barbecue areas.
Mort Bay Park
Mort Street, Birchgrove
An appealing waterfront location with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Mort Bay Park offers plenty of space in which dogs can exercise off leash. There are also some shared areas, and others where dogs must be leashed at all times. Dogs are not permitted within 10 metres of the children’s playground.
Mort Bay Park. Photographs © Ginny Grant
Ross Street, Cardigan Lane and Salisbury Lane
The fenced dog exercise area at O’Dea Reserve has been resurfaced with sand – an excellent improvement. Dogs love playing in the sand there. Several trees provide shade within the fenced area and water is available. There’s also a shaded seating area.
Enmore TAFE Park
Sarah Street and Simmons Street
Enmore TAFE Park offers a large fenced area available for leash-free dog exercise at any time of the day. While it may not be the most attractive park, it makes up for it in spirit. Dogs and humans love to socialise here. In fact, so strong is the Enmore TAFE dog park community it has its very own Facebook page!
Glebe Foreshore Parks
Chapman Road, Glebe
The Glebe Foreshore Parks are an iconic Inner West location overlooking Rozelle Bay and Blackwattle Bay. Four adjacent parks – Blackwattle Bay Park, Federal Park, Jubilee Park and Bicentennial Park – form the Glebe Foreshore Parks, comprising 17 hectares of open grass, sporting grounds, wetlands and harbour access. Blackwattle Bay Park is an off-leash area at all times. The grassed sections at Federal Park are also off-leash areas at all times, except when in use for sport. The western quarter of Bicentennial Park is off leash as well. Dogs love to splash in the water and swim to retrieve balls and sticks at a narrow stretch of beach there. Jubilee Park is a leashed area. If you’re driving to the parks, there is ample car parking available in Chapman Road.
Milo at Glebe Foreshore Parks. Photograph © Ginny Grant.
Abbey at Glebe Foreshore Parks. Photograph © Tobias Lord.
Hawthorne Canal Reserve
Canal and Darley Roads
Dogs and their owners enjoy socialising at Hawthorne Canal Reserve, known widely for the dog-friendly cafe, Café Bones, serving treats for humans and their canines. A designated area of the reserve – bounded by the canal, the light rail pathway and canal bridge, the light rail line, and the car parking area on Canal Road – is available for leash-free dog exercise at all times. Dogs must be leashed outside of this area. Dogs are not permitted within ten metres of the children’s playground.
Camperdown Memorial Rest Park
Federation Road and Church Street
Camperdown Memorial Rest Park is a favourite gathering spot for Newtown’s dog owners. Dogs may exercise off-leash at certain times in the grassy area bounded by Federation Road, Church Street, the St Stephens Church wall and the diagonal path leading from the church boundary to Federation Road during set times. Off-leash exercise is permitted 24 hours a day on weekdays, and between 5 pm and 9 am during daylight savings time and 4 pm and 9 am during non-daylight savings time on weekends. Please check signs as these times can change.
With a large open grassy space and glistening views across Iron Cove, Bridgewater Park is a great spot to let your dog run and socialise. The area between the bay and the sporting ground is off leash at all times. Dogs are allowed to exercise in the sporting ground area too, except when it’s being used for training, organised games or events. Dogs are not permitted within 10 metres of the children’s play area. A waste bag dispenser and dog drinking fountain are available.
Milo at Bridgewater Park. Photographs © Ginny Grant
Balmain Road/Glover Street
The expansive parkland at Callan Park offers two main areas for pups to walk. The Balmain Road and Glover Street sporting grounds are both available for leash-free dog exercise at all times except during training, organised games and events.
Sydenham Green was once a dense residential site that was reclaimed for recreational use. It’s a great spot to exercise dogs that need to be contained, with the fenced area designated for leash-free dog exercise at all times. Water, waste bags and seating are available. Sydenham Green has a strong community feel, with local dogs and their owners meeting there regularly. Sydenham Green also features rather attractive brand-new amenities designed by leading architecture firm Sam Crawford architects. There is an additional off-leash area at the corner of Henry Street and Park Road, bound by Park Lane.
Other notable mentions:
Bede Spillane Reserve, Croydon
Clarks Point Reserve, Woolwich (albeit outside of the Inner West)
Giba Park, Pyrmont (also just outside of the Inner West)
Enmore TAFE Park, Enmore
Tempe Lands, Tempe
Cover image: Milo at Glebe Foreshore Parks © Ginny Grant
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