About an hour south of Sydney, the coastal village of Coledale in the northern Illawarra boasts some highly popular off-leash sands. Sharkey’s Beach, Coledale allows dogs to romp around at all times of the day and is also a popular local surf spot, for those with dogs who like to chase the waves. Just off Lawrence Hargrave Drive, it’s expansive enough to get in a decent walk but far enough from the road to appease over-anxious new dog-owners like Him Indoors, who has taken on the role of responsible dog parent with gusto.
I’ve been visiting this beach for several years now and, I’ll confess, have longed for the day when I could bring my own dog. Our first experience didn’t disappoint.
We weren’t sure how Harry would react given we didn’t know if he’d ever even seen the ocean before. He approached the sand cautiously, gave a few tentative sniffs, and then… he was off! Bounding across the beach like a kangaroo, light-footed and leaping for the sheer, unbridled joy of it all.
It’s a wonderful thing to watch a rescue dog settling into a new life and it feels like every week we break some new boundary: the first lick (and now most greetings involve generous doggie kisses!); the first wag of his tail that wasn’t directly related to food or a ball; and now this new zest for life .
Seeing Harry so happy made me want to cry. Him Indoors
must also have been feeling a touch emotional must have got sea water in his eye because he too was looking a little moist of eye. Happy days all round.
There are a couple of great cafés (dog allowed on outdoor tables, water supplied) in Coledale so you can easily make a day of it if you’re travelling from Sydney. Further down the coast there are more off-leash options if you want to embark on a beach-crawl with your pup. Wollongong City Council operates a traffic lights policy when it comes to dogs on beaches and parks: green for off-leash, orange indicates dogs on leashes are allowed at certain times, and red zones means dogs are prohibited.