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Posted on 20/12/2019 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Dog walking lowdown

Summer is finally here, it’s time to pack your sunscreen, grab the kids and your furry family members and hit the beach. Phillip Island Nature Parks and Bass Coast Shire Council also ask you to remember one more thing to ensure your summer is safe and relaxing for everyone – including our wildlife. Please check and observe all beach entry signs that explain the dog regulations before you hit the beach.

“Phillip Island’s dog regulations are in place so that everyone can share and enjoy the beach and help to ensure and the safety of our wildlife,” said Ben Thomas, Phillip Island Nature Parks Ranger in Charge.

Phillip Island’s beaches are divided into three main categories:

1. No dogs anytime all year round.
2. Dogs permitted on leash.
3. Dogs permitted off-leash.

In addition, between 1 December - 30 April, dogs are only allowed on beaches between 7am – 10am and 5pm – 8pm where dogs are already permitted.

Dog owners can also opt to exercise their pooches at the designated off-leash area at Ventnor Beach and the inland off-leash area at Blue Gum Reserve on Dunsmore Rd in Cowes, where no time restrictions apply.

The Island’s busy holiday season is also a peak breeding period for some special and threatened wildlife such as Short Tailed Shearwaters and Hooded Plovers that depend on our beaches to survive.

“The period before and after sunset and sunrise is really important for wildlife that nests, roosts or feeds in the dunes, beaches or intertidal zones,” said Ben.

“Just the presence of dogs, either on or off lead, can cause a lot of stress for wildlife and some people. Restricting dog walking to off-peak times provides the best balance for the enjoyment of all beach users,” Ben said.

Another reason to read and observe all beach access signs is to avoid risking a fine. Both Nature Parks rangers and Bass Coast Community Safety Officers will be out on patrol this summer to answer questions and to enforce the laws.

Pick up the updated Where Can I Walk My Dog? brochure from the Cowes or Newhaven visitor information centres; Phillip Island Nature Parks Cowes office or online at or


Fast facts:

- For dog walkers, Phillip Island’s beaches are split in to three main categories: no dogs anytime, dogs permitted on leash, and dogs permitted off-leash.

- From 1st December until 30th April dogs are only allowed between 7am – 10am and 5pm – 8pm (where dogs are already permitted).

- These seasonal restrictions cover the Island’s peak visitation period and peak breeding period for the rare and threatened fauna that depend on our beaches to thrive.

- There are two exceptions – the designated off-leash area at Ventnor beach and an inland off-leash area at Blue Gum Reserve on Dunsmore Rd in Cowes.

- Don’t risk a fine! Be sure to check the beach access signage before you take your dog on to any beach.

- Full summary: Where Can I Walk My Dog? brochure Where Can I Walk My Dog?