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Dog-friendly Gold Coast: Best beaches, stays, cafes and more

Want to keep your kids AND your fur babies happy on your next Gold Coast getaway? We reveal the best things to do, places to eat and where to stay with your canine companion in Australia’s beach holiday hotspot

A dog on the beach at Burleigh Heads © Destination Gold Coast
A dog on the beach at Burleigh Heads © Destination Gold Coast

Known for its gorgeous beaches, year-round sunshine and healthy lifestyle, the Gold Coast isn’t just an ideal Queensland family holiday destination – it’s also an excellent place to plan a trip with your pets. 

One thing’s for sure – locals love their dogs on the Gold Coast. They take them pretty much everywhere. So it’s no wonder there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches, off-leash areas and cafes where families and their pooches are welcome.

A dog in a room at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park
A dog in a room at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

When it comes to accommodation, the Gold Coast’s pet-friendly holiday parks are fabulous for the whole family (Fido included). You’ll even find cabins that allow dogs inside, so your four-legged friends aren’t missing out on the fun. 

Headed to the Sunshine State with a canine in tow? These dog-friendly cafes, beaches and parks deserve a spot on your travel itinerary.

Dog-friendly Gold Coast cafes and pubs

Dune Cafe on the Gold Coast
Dune Cafe on the Gold Coast

Whether you want to sip a smoothie alongside an Acai bowl or indulge in a local brew with a burger while your canine companion nibbles a well-deserved treat, the Gold Coast has you covered. 

Dogs are warmly welcomed at the family-owned BSKT Cafe at Nobby Beach, which also has a play area for kids and free WiFi to keep the teens and tweens content. Enjoy a healthy benny or vegan choc chip pancakes for breakfast or prawn tacos or a lamb curry for lunch. Housed in an old Queenslander at Burleigh Heads, The Paddock Bakery is another winner. Also try Dune Café near the dog-friendly Currumbin Lagoon, and Le Vintage Boutique Café just off the M1 in Worongary.

If Dad is looking for a lager, pop into Black Hops Brewing at Burleigh Heads or Biggera Waters, or Hound & Stag Brewing Co. at Arundel, where dogs are allowed in certain areas.

Best dog-friendly Gold Coast beaches

An aerial view of Tallebudgera Creek and Tallebudgera Beach © Tourism and Events Queensland
An aerial view of Tallebudgera Creek and Tallebudgera Beach © Tourism and Events Queensland

Dogs are allowed on their leash at most Gold Coast beaches, but there are a few spots where they can run around and chase balls freely. Check out Tallebudgera Beach at the northern end of Palm Beach where it joins Tallebudgera Creek, and the stretch from Muriel Henchman Park at Main Beach up to The Spit. Dogs can also get their paws wet at Biggera Waters Beach at set times from 5am to 8am and 4pm to 7pm each day.

Off-leash dog parks on the Gold Coast

A family playing with their dog at a park on the Gold Coast © City of Gold Coast
A family playing with their dog at a park on the Gold Coast © City of Gold Coast

There are plenty of well-established off-leash dog parks across the Gold Coast. Pack a picnic and head to Discovery Park at Helensvale, Musgrave Park at Southport or Rosser Park, which is part of Gold Coast Regional Botanical Gardens, at Benowa. As a bonus they also all have great kids’ playgrounds. There’s also an off-leash dog exercise area at the park along the Paradise Point Foreshore, with magical views to boot.

Dog-friendly Gold Coast markets

A family at Dogs on the Green markets at Benowa
A family at Dogs on the Green markets at Benowa

The Gold Coast has some fabulous markets where happy hounds can be seen trotting alongside their owners as they peruse the local wares, feast from food trucks and bop along to live beats. 

Time your visit to coincide with the Village Markets at Burleigh Heads, which are held on the first and third Sundays of the month, or one of the beachfront art and craft markets. They’re on at Kurrawa Park in Broadbeach on the first and third Sunday of the month, Queen Elizabeth Park at Coolangatta on the second and fourth Sundays, Esplanade Park at Paradise Point on the fourth Sunday and Justins Park at Burleigh Heads on the last Sunday.

You can also pick up just about anything you could ever want for your furry friend at the Dogs on the Green markets, which are held three times a year in April, July and October at Benowa. They feature more than 70 stalls, including rescue groups, treats, accessories, meals and therapies. Paws at the Park is also held at Mudgeeraba Showgrounds in August. 

Pet-friendly Gold Coast accommodation

BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is dog friendly
BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is dog friendly

Four-legged friends will feel just as home as their humans during a stay at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park, Helensvale. The park has a range of dog-friendly campsites, cabins and cottages where up to two pets can sleep inside with their owners. There’s a huge off-leash dog park, split into areas for small and large dogs, and a DIY “puppy pampering palace” where you can treat your little buddy to a wash and blow dry.

Nibbles Terrace at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is dog friendly
Nibbles Terrace at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is dog friendly

While dogs aren’t allowed in the pool area or water park, they can join their people on the poolside terrace at Nibbles Café, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kennels are also available for when you want to hit the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks such as Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World and Dreamworld, which is less than 10 minutes’ drive away.

More dog-friendly activities on the Gold Coast

The Australian Outback Spectacular © Tourism and Events Queensland
The Australian Outback Spectacular © Tourism and Events Queensland

If you are so inclined, you can even hire a self-drive boat from Duffy Down Under and take your dog on board! While pets sadly aren’t permitted at Gold Coast theme parks, animal lovers are sure to get a kick out of seeing the show dogs performing impressive tricks at the Australian Outback Spectacular bush-themed dinner. If you get there early you can even get your photo taken with one of the stars.

More Information

Pet-friendly stays at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park 

Produced in partnership with BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

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