The best places to walk your dog in the Inner West
When you own a dog, there’s no doubt it becomes an important member of the family – no matter how big or small that family is. According to the RSPCA, about 61% of all households in Australia have a pet, and of those, 40% have close companions of the canine kind.
There are plenty of reasons why: there’s the unconditional love they give us, the companionship, the benefits to our health and general wellbeing and our social life through getting outdoors (whatever the weather!) to the local dog park.
All these factors can be particularly beneficial for senior members of our community and those living alone, so let’s take a look at what Canada Bay and the greater Inner West area have to offer your BFF (best furry friend) when it’s time for walkies.
Off-leash areas in Canada Bay
There are two categories of off-leash dog parks to consider. Some parks are unrestricted, so you can walk dogs unleashed at any time of the day and day of the week. Others have time restrictions. Keep in mind, though, that whether there’s a restriction or not, dogs need to be under control at all times – so it’s worth practising that ‘recall’ to make sure Fido responds immediately when you want them to! And always remember to pick up after your pooch – most parks have plenty of bag dispensers and bins. Here are just a few highlights of where to get out and about. For a full list of parks to explore with your dog, click here.
Unrestricted off-leash areas
Battersea Park, Abbotsford
A lovely spot to take your pooch for a stroll along the water’s edge of the Parramatta River at the Concord end of the park.
Five Dock Park, Five Dock
For owners of playful (or selectively deaf!) pooches, there’s an allocated fenced area near the skate park for them to let off some steam while you relax.
Cintra Park, Canada Bay
Just a hop, skip and a jump, or if you prefer, a leisurely stroll, from Canada Bay Club, you’ll find this lovely riverside spot on Lyons Road West.
Majors Bay Reserve, Concord
Dog-owners of Canada Bay really do have all the luck – here’s another great area near the river for a pleasant walk for both you and your BFF.
King George V Park, Rhodes
Another fenced dog park near to the Ryde Bridge on the Parramatta River. A good, safe spot for your dog to run off some excess energy with its other furry mates.
Other unrestricted off-leash areas include:
- Drummoyne Park, Drummoyne
- St Georges Crescent Reserve, Drummoyne
- Kendall Reserve, Cabarita
- Lower Phoenix Park, Rhodes
- Lysaght Park, Chiswick
- Powells Creek Reserve, North Strathfield
- Timbrell Park, Five Dock
- Storey Park, Five Dock
Image source: City of Canada Bay
Restricted off-leash areas (before 9am and after 5pm)
Brett Park, Drummoyne
Tucked in a curve of the Parramatta River near Iron Cove Bridge, this grassy park is also a popular spot for runners and footie players.
Halliday Park, Five Dock
Running along the edge of Hen & Chicken Bay, Halliday Park is the perfect place to walk the dog and take in the views across the Parramatta River to Bayview Park along the way.
McIlwaine Park, Rhodes
Bordering the tranquil Brays Bay, this park is popular with families for picnics and barbecues, and is another great spot for dog walks.
Other restricted off-leash areas include:
Image source: City of Canada Bay
More hot dog spots in the Inner West
If you’re planning on ‘straying’ a little further afield from Canada Bay, the best place to start is at the Inner West Council website, which lists every park and off-leash area.
Glebe Foreshore Parks
This wonderful waterfront trail is actually four parks in one – Blackwattle Bay Park, Federal Park, Jubilee Park and Bicentennial Park. And it has the lot – fantastic harbour and Anzac Bridge views, plenty of grassed areas, access to the water for dogs to cool off in, and a variety of interesting and accessible walks for people (and dogs!) of any age. The off-leash sections vary along this route, so keep an eye on the signs.
Mort Bay Park, Birchgrove
Another lovely waterside spot, Mort Bay Park has great views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for you, and lots of space for the dog to run around off the lead. Keep in mind that some of the areas are out of bounds, such as within 10 metres of the children’s playground.
Enmore TAFE Park, Enmore
This popular all-day-round off-leash park may not be the most glamorous in the Inner West, but what it lacks in good looks, it makes up for in fun for dogs of all kinds. In fact, it even has its own Facebook group.
Hawthorne Canal Reserve, Leichhardt
This must be one of the most popular destinations for dog-lovers in the Inner West, because it boasts ‘the world’s first dog-friendly café’, Café Bones, which serves pooch-friendly goodies as well as human-grade treats. The ideal spot for you and your BFF to relax and enjoy a break with friends.
Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Newtown
You’ll see dogs – and humans! – of all shapes and sizes at this popular Inner West park. This lovely tree-filled park has plenty of grass for dogs to run around on – although it’s important to check the off-leash time restrictions at weekends. Weekdays are fine, though – it’s off-leash all the way!
Bridgewater Park, Rozelle
This is the spot for your doggy pal to really stretch its legs while you take in the lovely views over Iron Cove. This large, grassy space on the water’s edge includes a sports ground, so if there’s a sport event on the go, your dog will need to be leashed. Otherwise, go for it!
Sydney Park, St Peters
Yes, we know it’s not strictly within the Inner West boundaries, but this 40-hectare park is incredibly popular with our canine-loving community because it’s so dog-friendly. Everywhere is leash-free, apart from the wetlands (which are fenced off), the oval, children’s play area, barbecue spots and cycle track. Lots of leafy, tree-lined areas, a designated doggy plunge pool and great views of the city seal the deal. Plus, you can pick up a coffee in the park while the pooches play.
Adopting a pet
For our senior Inner West residents who’d like to enjoy the company of a dog, there’s a wonderful adoption program run by Inner West Neighbour Aid in conjunction with the RSPCA. The pets tend to be older, perhaps having been given up by an owner who’s had to move into residential care. The many benefits work both ways: the adopted pet brings love and companionship (and a good reason to get out for a walk!), while the person who adopts is giving that pooch a happy home to live out its remaining years. Win-win!
Image source: RSPCA New South Wales
Volunteer to walk a pet
Of course, there are many reasons why some people can’t keep a dog permanently. They might live in accommodation that doesn’t allow pets, for example, or have other commitments that don’t leave enough time for a full-time furry companion. If you’re still keen to get out and about with a dog by your side – and there’s no doubt it’s a great way to exercise – why not look into offering your services as a volunteer pet walker. You’ll be doing someone a great service by helping them remain independent at home, and yourself a lot of good, too. Inner West Neighbour Aid has an excellent volunteer program to get people and pooches together.