If you own a dog, you’ll know the places you can go and things you can do are limited, especially without your best friend mortally embarrassing you by spontaneously dropping one at the worst possible moment.
If you don’t own a dog, there’s a good chance you wish you did, and want to go somewhere you can pretend you own a dog, without the hassle of knowing you’re literally responsible for an animal’s excrement.
So, for dog-owners and dog-lusters alike (that’s not a Mitchell Pearce crack, just a poorly-worded phrase), searching for a place to take your pooch for a fab day out or, alternatively, annoy the crap out of dog owners by stopping every time you see a cute doggy and asking for a picture… This one’s for you.
We’ve rounded up the best dog-friendly spots on the Gold Coast, so you’ll know where to head for a coffee or swim with your four-legged pal.
All-Time Coffee | Mermaid Beach
Remember jaffles?? You put a sandwich in a toaster press, close it up like a savoury waffle maker forcing the cheese to ooze out the sides, and it’s like the most perfectly-toasted cheese sandwich you’ve ever had? Well, All-Time Coffee makes them! We’re kickin’ it old school guys, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. So now you can enjoy an expertly-made coffee and a sweet or savoury treat (read: vegan-friendly donuts!) while your best friend is not only permitted, but adored. Seriously, check out their Facebook page, it’s like half coffee shop half “Cutest Dogs on the Gold Coast” fan page. If you’ve got a cute dog, or want to see some, and you’ve got a hankering for a jaffle or two, we recommend visiting the guys at All-Time Coffee.
Bumbles Café | Budds Beach
Bumbles are all about that pooch, with a full outdoor area overlooking the stunning canal so your pooch can sit and rest after your leisurely morning walk, while you enjoy a coffee and brekkie. The sweethearts at Bumbles Café will even supply your pooch with water and ample room to rest their weary legs—such a tough life they lead!
Genki Café | Palm Beach
Located in beautiful Palm Beach, where dogs almost outnumber humans, it’s essential to lock in a go-to café where you and your pooch can hang. Genki Café have eight outdoor tables so your pooch never has to leave your sight, on top of a gorgeous fit-out and a simple but delicious menu. All of this makes Genki Café an easy choice for you both.
Elephant Rock Café | Currumbin
Elephant Rock Café is the second love of owner Greg; whose first love is—yep, you guessed it—animals! In another life Greg was a vet and so has managed to combine both his passions, with the longest running pet-friendly café on the Coast. Successfully operating for 26 years, Elephant Rock Café not only serves up consistent nourishment but also welcomes all pooches big and small. Although your big boys must hang on the outside, which is probably wise given they’re the ones most likely to snap up your whole meal in a single bite! With food that good, who can blame them?
The Spit is a glorious land where dogs rule supreme and us feeble humans can do nothing about it. Seriously, one time I was there with a friend’s Staffy; she stole a soccer ball from these guys, punctured it, completely deflated it, and ran away. And they were just like, “ehhh it’s okay; it was a freebie from the paper anyway.” Honestly, where else could a dog get away with that?! You’re guaranteed some excitement with your pooch at The Spit and it’s a great opportunity for them to have some off-leash fun in the waves!
This not-so-little treasure is just about perfect for dog owners on the southern end of the Coast. Connected to Palm Beach at the river mouth, the Currumbin Estuary meets up with the beach for a calm, relaxing chill-out spot with your pooch, with the still water ideal for vertically-challenged pups. Oh, and children. With a large off-leash area for your pooch to go wild and, best of all, Dune Café not far away with facilities to hold your dog while you grab the essentials. Then it’s down to the beach where your pup can frolic around with all the other pups, play fetch with anything they can get their mouth around and have a splash in the ocean when they’re ready—which is usually immediately. Honestly, if we could maintain the energy of a dog at the beach, we definitely would.
Tallebudgera Creek | Burleigh—Palm Beach
Another gem among Gold Coast’s dog beaches is Tallebudgera Beach; north of the Tallebudgera bathing reserve to the Tallebudgera Creek entrance. Park in the Talle Surf Life Saving Club and walk your pooch to the sand where they’re free, again, to run a muck and live that carefree dog’s life they deserve! What’s best, Burleigh is only a short powerwalk north over the hill (not through the National Park headland though, you hear?); perfect when you’ve worked up an appetite for lunch, and they’ve run themselves to near exhaustion. It’s a win-win.
Pizzey Park | Miami
Feel the buzz of GC athleticism by taking your pooch to Pizzey Park’s off-leash dog area. Part of Miami’s massive Pizzey Park sporting complex, with just about every sport available to play and train, you’ll be surrounded by active Gold Coasters and best of all: their doggies! With obstacles and plenty of spots for your dog to quench their predictable thirst, Pizzey Park is considered one of the best.
Musgrave Recreational Park | Labrador
Smack bang in the middle of the GC, Musgrave Recreational Park is definitely all about your pooch. This sprawling area is surprisingly natural and full of foliage considering its central Southport location, and your dog will have a blast running off with their new best dog-friend with you yelling “GET BACK HERE.” But don’t worry, it’s fully fenced so that little
shit fella isn’t going anywhere. Except the back of your car, where you attempt to be mad momentarily. But who could be mad at that panting happy face? Totally worth it.
Burleigh Esplanade | Burleigh
While not a dedicated dog park and no off-leash areas are available, Burleigh Esplanade is a fantastic opportunity to teach your pup how to walk on a lead and interact with other dogs. With a beautifully scenic walk—and we mean the beach and the locals—take your pooch for a leisurely stroll along the pathway from north to south. But in all seriousness, if your pooch is young and/or antisocial, with so many other families and dogs around, it’s a great way for them to become accustomed to people and doggies of all shapes and sizes, and stop being such an awkward weirdo. And yes, okay, maybe help you get a date as well. Whatever, we’re selfish humans and we can’t help it.
Want to know all the best dog-friendly spots on the Gold Coast? Check out this comprehensive guide, it’s woof-tastic.