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Pet Friendly Holidays around New Zealand

05/12/17

Thinking about going on holiday this summer? Those pleading eyes or anxious circles around the house while you pack your bags are never nice. It’s likely your pet can’t stand the thought of you leaving them behind, and chances are you don’t want to either.

Pet friendly accommodation has been sadly lacking in the past, pickings have been slim, so it was reassuring to find that this is now not the case throughout New Zealand.

But before you hit the road, make sure you plan ahead. Check out our tips on travelling with your pet.

Camping and Holiday Parks

Camping holidays are a classic Kiwi favourite. Sleeping in a tent or a caravan, outdoor cooking, and spending time in the sun is the ideal holiday for many people around the country. But did you know that there are campsites that allow your dog to come along for the fun?

There are a variety of campsites, each offering different services to suit every family. Things to keep in mind are what the leash restrictions are at the campsite, where your dog can play, if there are off-leash dog parks or beaches nearby, and where they’ll sleep.

Bay of Islands - Waitangi Holiday Park

The Waitangi Holiday Park Dog Policy reads, “Dogs are welcome in this Holiday Park. We’ve never had a dog that stole our towels and played the TV too loud, or had a noisy fight with his drunken companion. So if your dog can vouch for you, you’re welcome too!”

The campgrounds and caravan park is a short flat walk along the Te Ti bay shoreline to Paihia town - you and your companion can walk to the supermarket, to the beach, and explore the many bush walks the region has to offer. Either stay in their cabins on the water’s edge, pitch a tent, or roll up in your caravan. Waitangi’s Holiday Park is a great, casual way to enjoy the summer with your beloved pet!

Coromandel – Tapu Campervan Park

Tapu Campervan Park want the whole family to enjoy the old Kiwi tradition of camping. They are passionate about providing an affordable getaway 20 minutes out of Thames for all, pets included!

This camping ground is located right on the beach, but is also surrounded by rivers and swimming holes, which are ideal for your pet to cool off this summer!

Other Campsites and Holiday Parks

The Catlins, South Island – The Whistling Frog Resort: The Catlins is an often forgotten part of the South Island near Invercargill, which offers beautiful beaches, bush walks, and many other amazing attractions. The Whistling Frog Resort is one of few places who welcome dogs in the area, so you can experience all this with your dog by your side! If you bring their bed, they will be able to join you inside the accommodation and in the camping areas.

Hawkes Bay – Glamping at Tuka Tuka Valley: Do you still want the classic Kiwi camping experience but want it to have more home comforts? Tuka Tuka Valley is a luxury campsite located on a small vineyard that is dog friendly! Dogs must be vaccinated, well behaved and kept on a lead at all times due to surrounding farm animals.

Russell – Wairoro Park: Wairoro Park has their very own private beach, and your dog is allowed off-leash on the premises to run around, dig holes in sand, and be part of your beach barbeques. You can even hire a kayak with your dog to explore the sights! 

Bed and Breakfast

Staying in a Bed and Breakfast is like a home away from home, but with someone taking care of you. It is the perfect choice of accommodation if you are looking for a relaxing escape, with personalized attention, home cooked meals, and individually decorated rooms. Bed and Breakfasts open up their heart and home to you, and there are some where that includes your pet too!

You will find that these pet-friendly places will most likely also have their own animals wandering around, whether it is chickens, friendly goats, or other dogs your pet can befriend. There might even be some free range eggs for your home-cooked breakfast!

Dunedin - The Barn Bed and Breakfast

The Barn B&B is nestled in the hills above Blue Skin Bay, just 15 minutes from Dunedin City Centre. Tucked away in total seclusion, surrounded by bush, farmland and local beaches, it is the perfect place to relax and unwind. There are also two friendly dogs on the property, and by arrangement you are more than welcome to bring your dog with you! The only requirement is they have to be good with the resident animals: chickens, sheep, horses and a goat.  

Doctor’s Point beach is a beautiful beach near the B&B Barn, which allows dogs to run around off-leash, making daily adventures with your dog easy. There are also many other places you can travel a short distance to adventure with your furry friend – Aramoana beach, Allan’s beach and Truby King Reserve are only a few.

Other pet-friendly Bed and Breakfasts

Auckland – The Great Ponsonby Arthotel: Pets are welcome at the Great Ponsonby Arthotel! This Bed and Breakfast is just a stroll away from cafes, restaurants, galleries and shops, but also borders a large off-leash dog park for your beloved pet to play. Dogs are also welcome to sleep inside the room if they have their own bed.

Kaikoura – Awatea Country Bed and Breakfast: Travelling with your pets? Awatea Bed and Breakfast is a homestay set in the Kaikoura country, with big gardens and animal paddocks for your furry friend to explore. There are kennels and grazing sites available, and parking for your horse floats. Dogs are also allowed inside if they have their own beds.

Holiday Homes

Do you feel like a holiday, but need a lot of space to involve the whole family, including the furry ones? Holiday homes are the way to go, and with plenty of pet friendly places, you can bring your companion along with you. Choose from an off-grid adventure in the untouched bush of the West Coast, to a more modern experience in some of New Zealand's popular summer destinations.

Punakaiki, West Coast - Sva's Hut

On the West Coast of the South Island, enjoy a totally off-grid experience at Sva's Hut, a private cabin nestled in native bush overlooking Woodpecker Bay. Spend your evenings listening to the waves while the sun sets, and enjoy all of it with your dog by your side.

A short walk down the driveway takes you to one of the most beautiful West Coast beaches where your dog can frolic in the waves and dive in the sand. Just make sure you keep your dog under control at all times to protect the little blue penguins, seals, weka and kiwi that call the West Coast home.

The Punakaiki to Fox River drive is one of the most stunning stretches of coastline you will see anywhere in the world. There is so much to do in Punakaiki, and it does not cost a cent. Just ask Jed, the owner of Sva’s hut, if you can bring your dog along in advance, and soon enough you will be experiencing a true wild West Coast holiday with your beloved companion.

Waiheke Island - Adams Accommodation

Adam and his family started their Waiheke accommodation about 9 years ago, and have been pet friendly ever since. The whole family loves animals. Their ‘Island Dream Cottage’ is found on the North Coast of Waiheke Island, with a 10 acre farm filled with Alpacas, little horses, pet sheep, a few Guinea Foul, and an ex-SPCA dog called Ira.

There are different accommodation types to choose from, and some are fully fenced. Your beloved pet can even sleep inside with you as long as they have a pet bed!

Waiheke Island is famous for its beautiful beaches, wine and jazz festivals, Sculpture on the Gulf, scenic walks, vineyards, wine tasting and amazing restaurants. It is also very dog friendly, with many vineyards allowing dogs to dine with you, and numerous walks your dog can enjoy.

Other pet friendly holiday homes

Wanaka – Bo’s Bach: Fitted out with lake views, mountain ranges to admire, and only a 1 minute walk to town, Bo’s Bach offers you a wonderful Wanaka experience with your best furry friend. There are also a number of suitable walking tracks to enjoy with your dog nearby, giving you a holiday you will never forget with your pet!

Whangaroa – Coastal Chalet Suites: The Coastal Chalet Suites provide you with the perfect romantic getaway, where your pooch can also join! For many, that quality one-on-one time is still not the same without your dog by your side. They will love to look out at the view while you soak in the hot spa, or roam around the gardens sniffing all the smells.

Hotels

Hotels offer a luxurious holiday, complete with pampering packages, in-house restaurants and crisp fresh sheets. Some hotels even offer this luxury to your beloved pet to enjoy! Jet Park is a big supporter of the SPCA, and understand that your pet is part of the family. They have two hotels located in Auckland and Rotorua and are passionate about providing a luxurious hotel experience whether their guests have two legs or four.

Auckland - Jet Park Airport Hotel

Jet Park Hotel in Auckland is perfect for when you are visiting the big city, or travelling domestically or internationally as it is only 5 minutes from Auckland Airport. Their adorable ‘pet suite’ includes a pet bed with a duvet and sheets, a food and water bowl, pet treats, and a large field to exercise your companion! Jet Park even offer pet sitting services for those times that you have to leave your pet unattended. If you’re keen to explore some of the many dog-friendly beaches and parks that Auckland has to offer, there are lots nearby to choose from. Mangere Mountain is an SPCA staff favourite!

Rotorua - Jet Park Rotorua Hotel

Rotorua is full of activities that the whole family can enjoy, whether they have four legs or two! Jet Park in Rotorua is a great option for when you want to include your pet in all the adventure Rotorua has to offer. Like Jet Park Airport Hotel in Auckland, your pet is given a 4-star stay with their very own pet bed, a food and water bowl, pet treats and biscuits, and easy outdoor access. The hotel is only a 5 minute walk to the main town centre, so you and your pet can just wander down to the hub of Rotorua and explore the sights.

 Other pet friendly hotels

Christchurch – Fino Hotel and Suites: This hotel offers pet friendly accommodation to all animals under 40kgs. There are three suites that are reserved for people travelling with their beloved pet – they come equipped with water bowls, dog beds and kitty litter. Fino Hotel and Suites even offer dog walking and pet sitting services!

Motels

If you are looking for somewhere that is similar to a hotel, but has appropriate facilities to prepare your own meals, a motel is the perfect place to stay!

Waiheke Island - Punga Lodge

Spud the Schnoodle is the reason why Punga Lodge became pet friendly. He made his owner realise that a dog is not just a pet, but a family member!

They have a special chalet where your small or medium sized pet is welcome to join you, providing they are sociable and well behaved. The chalet is also at the far end of the property, so your pet won’t be disturbed by other people walking past, and has a private grassed area with a penned off run. The pet friendly unit at Punga Lodge sleeps four people and offers a lounge, kitchen, bathroom, gated deck area with a barbeque and last but not least, your beloved companions very own dog bed!

Punga Lodge is just a short stroll to safe swimming beaches, and a 12 minute walk to the main village of Oneroa. The perfect location to include your pet in all the fun Waiheke has to offer!

Tip: Not able to stay overnight? Make it a day trip – your dog can join you on the passenger ferry to Waiheke Island!

Queenstown – Kinross Cottages

Just a short drive outside of Queenstown, nestled amongst the mountains is this idyllic retreat for the whole family, including the pooch! The historic cottages are located on the old Kinross Station in Gibbston Valley and were established in the late 1860's, and welcome furry companions on request.

The owners’ one-year-old doggy Skye welcomes all guests with a wagging tail and happy face and recommends all the places your furry friends can get up to mischief and have some fun.

The boutique accommodation is set in the middle of a vineyard and is the perfect place to escape with the whole family, whether you are after some peace and quiet or adventuring the great outdoors. The studio cottages on offer are self-contained so you can settle the family in before exploring the area.

Surrounded by mountains, vines & greenery, Kinross Cottages is the ideal venue to spend quality time with your loved ones and furry friends in peaceful surrounds.

There are an abundance of great walks in the area, including the Peregrine Loop for a short walk. Or if you and your pet are looking for a longer excursion, you can start off in Arrowtown and walk all the way to the cottages while taking in the stunning scenery.

Other pet friendly motels

Taihape, North Island – Tarata Fishaway Lodge: There are lots of fun things to do at the Tarata Fishaway Lodge including river swimming, spa pools, clay bird shooting, farm tours, and rafting trips for all ages. But the best part is, Tarata Fishaway Lodge has just built their own dog friendly unit, which is ready for your much loved dog to come and stay! It is fully equipped with a fully fenced courtyard, and a 5 star dog kennel. They also encourage to bring your thrill seeking dog on your rafting adventure, which even includes a dog friendly BBQ lunch, and a dog life jacket!

 

Finding Gobi - The dog who ran 125kms to find a home

24/11/17

Gobi and DionFinding Gobi is the story of a marathon runner who found himself an unexpected companion dogging him during his seven-day race through the Gobi desert.

The Gobi Desert Ultra-marathon was set to be the biggest race of Dion Leonard’s running career. He’d trained extensively for the week-long race through harsh terrain; he had his eyes on the prize.

When he saw a little beige-coloured, terrier-type dog at the runner’s camp on the first day, he assumed it belonged to one of the race volunteers and didn’t pay it much attention. It came as a surprise when he saw her again at the starting line-up the next morning. Looking around for her owner, he couldn’t see anyone – and she’d firmly attached herself to him. She looked up at him with big, brown pleading eyes but all Dion saw was a trip hazard.

As the race began, she followed Dion for a little while before Dion lost her. "I started to speed off and I'm thinking this dog won't last the whole day but she was still with me at the end. From then on she didn't leave my side," he recalls.

Love and loyalty

Up mountain terrain, through the desert, across streams – she followed Dion through it all. This tiny little stray, who would later be named Gobi in honour of the vast desert they had just crossed together, tailed Leonard for nearly 125km.

Perhaps she ran to the catchy tune ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’, or maybe it was the pop classic ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ that keep her going. Or maybe her motivation was simply the love and loyalty she felt towards her new best friend. As Dion says: “I’ll never know what made her choose me but I’m so glad she did.” She’d found the human she wanted to go home and, like a dog with a bone, she wasn’t giving up.

Gobi and Dion 2Turning around

For Dion, the moment he knew he felt the same was day three of the race. As he approached a 40-metre wide river, with Gobi not far behind, he started to wade through.

However, it wasn’t long before he heard barking and whining from Gobi, who was trapped on the other side – the water was too high for her to swim through.“I was a quarter way across the river when I finally did what I had never done before in a race. I turned around,” he says.

After carrying her across the river, it was clear the man and dog were a team now. Scampering ahead, full of energy; Gobi was the perfect race companion for Dion, especially when the exhaustion hit and it was difficult to keep motivated. “Just by being there, Gobi made me want to keep going.”

On day five, the race organisers stepped in and decided it was too dangerous for the little dog to run these massive distances in the intense heat. Instead, they drove her from the start point to finish point on the two final days of the race. But her dedication to Dion never wavered. “She was extremely loyal. The volunteers said she would wait patiently for hours for me to finish.”

A special bond

Ultimately, Leonard took second place in the race. At the final finish line, event organisers produced a matching medal for Gobi, too. Although Dion did not cross the finish line first, he felt he had won something even greater – a new outlook on life and a new friend that he planned on bringing home to Scotland as soon as arrangements were made. 

However, before he could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept before her flight. Dion, with the help of strangers, set out to track her down, and eventually managed to reunite forever with Gobi.

Gobi and Dion 3They say the course of true love never does run smooth and this tale certainly follows that. However, it definitely has a happy ending. Gobi now lives a blissful life with Dion and his family in Edinburgh. She loves playing with Dion’s cat, Lara, and going for walks in the countryside.

Now, Dion can’t imagine his life without Gobi. “We have a special bond. I’m not a hugely spiritual person, I don’t really believe in all that, but I do know that something brought us together. She’s taught me so much and helped me become a better person.”

SPCA prosecutes Auckland man after his dog starved to death

24/11/17

An Auckland man has disqualified from owning animals for 10 years after his pet dog starved to death. Paul Syman pleaded guilty to ill-treatment of an animal and was also fined $2000.

The case began on 3 June 2016 when a member of Mr Syman’s family contacted the SPCA’s Auckland centre seeking assistance for his dog, thinking she might be dying.

An SPCA Inspector visited Mr Syman’s property and found five-year-old Labrador cross Tasha collapsed and unresponsive. She was in an emaciated condition and inflicted with a substantial flea infestation. Tasha also suffered from a sore on her leg, overgrown nails and fur loss consistent with a collar wound.

Mr Syman surrendered Tasha into the ownership of the SPCA and she was taken immediately to the SPCA Auckland animal hospital. Sadly Tasha died the same day due to the severity of her condition.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Tasha was so emaciated that she had the lowest possible body condition score of 1/5 and clinical signs indicating chronic starvation.

She was also clinically dehydrated, which would have caused stress and discomfort. Her obvious and noticeable flea infestation also resulted in a flea allergic skin disease that would have caused Tasha considerable discomfort.

SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says Mr Syman showed blatant disregard for animal welfare, leading to the painful and completely unnecessary death of a dog who relied on him for the most basic of life’s necessities.

“Tasha starved to death and endured a huge amount of pain and stress. She probably would have suffered for a considerable period of time. This could have been prevented with proper care from the person responsible for her wellbeing. It is completely unacceptable to treat animals in this way.”

“While the SPCA is pleased that a significant disqualification period was handed down, we would have liked to also see a court-ordered education programme to truly prevent this type of animal cruelty occurring in the future,” says Ms Midgen.

“A 10-year disqualification will ensure that his risk to animals in the future is managed. SPCA Inspectors will monitor Mr Syman to ensure that he adheres to the disqualification. Breaching this would lead to an automatic prosecution and immediate removal of any animal found in his possession.”

ENDS

 More images available upon request. Please note, the image is extremely graphic.

 

Man sentenced to home detention after he was found keeping 600 birds in poor condition

16/11/17

SPCA vs Rajan media photoAn Auckland man has been sentenced to home detention after keeping a large number of birds in abhorrent condition.

Keshva Rajan pleaded guilty in the Manukau District Court to three charges. These were willful ill-treatment of an animal, ill-treatment of an animal, and failure to ensure that the physical, health and behavioural needs of an animal are met in a manner that is in accordance with both good practice and scientific knowledge. 

Mr Rajan was sentenced to six months home detention, 150 hours of community work, and ordered to pay veterinary and court costs to a total value of $3840. He was also disqualified from owning animals for 10 years.

The case began on 2 September 2014 when an SPCA Inspector visited Mr Rajan’s Glenbrook property. Upon arriving, the Inspector found approximately 600 chickens, rooster and ducks being kept in overcrowded conditions with no dry area, no shelter, insufficient water and no adequate food.

The birds had severe feather loss and were in very thin body condition. They were walking around in thick mud and faeces, amongst the bodies of dead birds. They were so hungry that they were trying to feed on the decomposing birds.

The Inspector seized multiple birds in poor health, and took them for veterinary treatment. A veterinarian examined the birds and stated that, in his opinion, the health and prognosis of the birds was so poor they were unlikely to regain full health even with intensive treatment. Sadly, they had to be euthanized to end their suffering.

“These birds endured a huge amount of pain and stress at the hands of the person who was supposed to care for them,” says SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen.

“A post-mortem examination found the birds had suffered greatly for a number of weeks, if not months. They were severely emaciated, dehydrated, had significant feather loss, and were riddled with lice and worms. Their owner had completely failed to ensure their needs were being met.”

This is the second time the SPCA responded to an animal welfare complaint at a property of Mr Rajan. Between November 2012 and December 2013, Mr Rajan had been under investigation for a number of breaches of the Animal Welfare Act in relation to sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and chickens he was keeping at his Patumahoe property. He had been conducting an illegal poultry and home-kill business on the premises.

In that instance, Mr Rajan was educated, verbal warnings were issued, multiple statutory notices and inspections were conducted over a lengthy period of time and a degree of compliance was achieved. The property was destocked of all animals and sold, and Mr Rajan stated he was closing the business.

However, he later restarted his operation at another property, which was in Glenbrook.

Mr Rajan had also been prosecuted by MPI for offences relating to the commercial aspects of his operation.

“It is disappointing that Mr Rajan did not follow orders after the first series of inspections. Our Inspectors will always try and work with people to achieve the right outcome in the first instance. Unfortunately, Mr Rajan did not cooperate and we were compelled to prosecute,” says Ms. Midgen.

[Ends]

The Great New Zealand Dog Walks

15/11/17

Need some inspiration to get out and about with your four-legged friend? Heading to a new part of the country for the first time? Try our guide to these great dogs walks around New Zealand.

 Auckland

Kakamatua Inlet

Just 40 minutes from Auckland’s CBD, Kakamatua Inlet is the perfect weekend adventure for you and your four-legged friend. It’s a much-loved destination for Auckland dog owners so your pal is sure to find someone to play with!

A short leashed walk through some beautiful New Zealand bush opens out to dog paradise – a beach that’s off-leash 24/7, even during the summer months! As you walk into the inlet there’s a freshwater stream that’s perfect for not so confident swimmers, or for washing off sandy dogs before getting back in the car.

The beach itself is surrounded by cliffs, making it a very safe place for off-leash play. When the tide is out there’s a huge area for zooming around and chasing tennis balls, and at high tide your dog will love running in and out of the gentle waves. In the summer months many dog owners wade in the clear water with their pups, and the shallow area can be good for kids to enjoy too.

When your dog is all worn out, just five minutes down the road is The Huia Foodstore, a very dog-friendly café where you can buy treats for you and your pooch! It’s the perfect place to refuel before heading home again.

Mission bayAuckland’s waterfront

If you are searching for more of a leisurely stroll with your dog, Auckland’s waterfront is the place to go. It is lined with dog-friendly cafes on one side, stunning beaches on the other, and is a paradise for dogs and their owners all year round.

Although the beach is out of bounds much of the time in summer, your dog can still walk on the adjacent sidewalk on a leash. During the winter months you will find countless dog owners giving their companions a chance to ditch the lead and burn off excess energy on the beach. They frolic in the waves, and chase other dogs through the sand to their hearts’ content.

The flat boardwalk, sea breeze, and beautiful views also make it a great place for a relaxing family stroll. The kids can ride their bikes or scooters, or be pushed in a pram with ease, and your dog will love being a part of the family outing.

It is completely up to you how long you want to walk. It will take you about 35 minutes to walk from Saint Heliers to Mission Bay, or 20 minutes if you only want to go as far as Kohimarama. But the beauty of the waterfront is you can make a day of it. You can stop for breakfast or lunch one of the many cafes and restaurants along the way, or just spend time on the beach taking in the spectacular sights.

 

Other great walking spots:

St Leonard’s Beach: A steep staircase descends into this beautiful North Shore beach. It’s best at low tide and is great for people swimming too in the summer months.

Waitakere Ranges: This Regional Parkland has hundreds of walks of varying lengths and levels of difficulty. Check the Auckland Council website for up to date information on where dogs are permitted.

Warkworth Cement Works: This old cement works in North Auckland offers an incredibly deep swimming hole. It’s off-leash all year for dogs so if your pooch is crazy about the water, pack a picnic and make a day of it.

Mount Eden Summit: Park at nearby Mount Eden village and enjoy a walk through suburbia and up this volcanic summit. You’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the city.

 

Taranaki

Backs Beach

Dogs are part of the family, so during the warmer months, dog owners love nothing more than for their furry friends to join in on the fun. While this can be tricky with a dog ban on most beaches during the summer, Back Beach is an off-leash dog heaven all year round!

At low tide, a large stretch of black sand is uncovered, giving your dog plenty of room to race around. Its popularity means your dog will meet old friends, and make new ones, becoming the perfect place for a social occasion. A classic west coast beach, Back Beach is dramatic, surrounded by cliff faces, and with spectacular sunsets. Not only will your dog love the scenery, but you will too.

Although surfers and families congregate here to take advantage of the special sights Back Beach has to offer, there is an understanding that dogs are also welcome.

 

Other great walking spots:

Tehenui – A beautiful off-leash dog walkway that follows the scenic Te Hunui River. It winds its way up from the coast through a variety of native and exotic flora, several picnic areas and swimming holes.

Barrets Domain – The domain offers three off-leash dog walks that you can enter from Roto Street. It is also a wildlife refuge, so keep your dog away from the wetlands and pond area.

 

Wellington

Mapuia WalkwayMaupuia Walkway

If you are looking for an off-leash walk with views – you can’t go past Maupuia Walkway! Beginning at Akaroa Drive where you can park your car, the path follows the edge of Maupuia Heights, and boasts a breath-taking panorama.

Take your time, stop for a moment at one of the park benches and watch the yachts sail the harbour. The route is gentle and is a little under a kilometre long so a return journey will take you around 40 minutes – a good distance for a casual walk or for those doggies with little legs!

If you prefer a longer walk, once you reach Prison Road you can take a connecting path down the hill to Shelly Bay however remember to put your pooch on a leash before leaving the off-leash area.

This is a must-visit walkway for you and your best friend to take in some of Wellington’s most magnificent views!

Hutt Valley

The Hutt Valley is a great destination for Wellington dog lovers. With a designated dog-friendly beach (west of Petone Wharf), much of the Hutt River bank being off-leash dog walking areas, and beautiful bush walks - if your dog loves the water, exploring or generally frolicking with other dogs they are in for a treat!

During weekends, people from all walks of life converge on Petone beach, and on the west side of Petone Wharf it is all about dogs. Here it is a usual to see small dogs hooning with big dogs, dogs finding their perfect patch of sand to dig, and others adopting a new human who is in possession of a magical ball thrower.

The Hutt River also has a lot to offer. With various entry points, the river trail makes its way through peaceful tree and bush lined areas. At the Melling Road entrance you will find a dog exercise area with rolling green hills, backing on to the Hutt River where your dog can take a dip if they’re game. Be careful in the summertime or times of low water flow as toxic-algae can be an issue in some areas of the Hutt River and is hazardous especially to dogs.

The Hutt also has beautiful bush walks in its Regional Parks – some of which are dog friendly provided your dog is kept under control and does not enter farmland. If you fancy a longer, more intense trek, the Belmont Trig Track has it all. You will be met by the challenge of walking a steep track, but be rewarded with the beauty of mature native forest and expansive views from the Tararua to the Kaikoura ranges. Belmont Trig is 457m high, and the walk, depending on the route and your fitness level, can take 3-4 hours. It is a great walk take in the beautiful native surroundings and escape to the hustle and bustle of city life.

 

Other great walking spots:

Oriental Parade: This gentle stroll around Wellington’s waterfront can’t be beaten on a sunny day – bring the whole family and stop for an icecream on the way.

Lyall Bay Dog Beach: The airport half of the beach is Wellington’s most popular off-leash dog exercise area. Busy even during winter, there’s lots of place to run and play fetch.

Ian Galloway Dog Park: This is Wellington's largest fully fenced dog park and is a great place to socialise your pup.

 

Marlborough

Taylor riverbankTaylor River Reserve

Located right in the centre of Blenheim, the picturesque walk along the Taylor River is the place to be for any Marlborough dog owner.

It’s a popular spot, so in the evenings and at the weekends you’re guaranteed to meet a range of friends for your dog to play with (and they’re allowed off lead). While they’re occupied, enjoy the scenery of the river and native trees and shrubs.

The terrain is flat enough for all ranges of walkers and there are rubbish bins and toilets along the route for your convenience. 

The best thing about the Taylor River is that you can do as much or as little as you want to. If you’re in a rush, there are six carpark access points so you can have a quick walk through the 4.6km area of concreted pathway. However, if you and your pal are feeling keen you can walk the extra 5km up to the Taylor Dam Reserve - an area which is perfect for a picnic with the whole family.

Rarangi Beach

This stony beach is one of Marlborough’s best kept secrets. Located Just 15 minutes from Blenheim, Rarangi offers stunning views of both the sea and the Wither Hills

Take your dog on a meander through the pine forests, explore the sand dunes or wander for miles on the beach’s stony shores. There are plenty of sticks to collect and new smells to discover along the way.

Bear in mind, Rarangi is a surf beach. Some days it’s calm but other days there can be rough swells and hidden dangers, so be careful to check the conditions before letting your pup go for a swim.

Keep your eyes peeled for seals who have also been known to frequent the beach. And for the true nature lovers, there is a dog friendly DOC campsite located on the beach where you and your family can stay overnight.

 

Other great walking spots:

Sutherland Stream Reserve: Walk along the stunning reserve at the base of the Wither Hills Farm Park.

Pollard Park: 24.6 ha of wooded parkland, meandering stream and floral gardens.

 

Canterbury

The Groynes

The Groynes is one of Christchurch’s most popular dog walking spots and it’s easy to see why. With 8 fenced areas, three agility courses, two spring fed streams for dog swimming and acres of open spaces, your dog will be easily entertained for hours.  

Anytime you visit The Groynes, you’re likely to encounter a wide range of dogs from the very big to the very small. There will always be a perfect playmate for your pets.

It’s a great place to take the whole family, with plenty of picnic spots across the park as well as free barbeques and multiple children’s playgrounds.

BottlelakeBottle Lake Forest

While Bottle Lake Forest is not a designated dog park and is unfenced, it boasts a large forest pine plantation and beach area alongside the coast in the north-east of the city.

The Bottle Lake Forest dirt and sand tracks wind through 1000 hectares of pine forest and is mostly flat, where owners can run or walk dogs. Maps at the beginning will help so you don’t get lost. And if you’re keen you can end up at the beach for a refreshing swim.

The forest walks are particularly sheltered so suitable in all weather conditions.

 

Other great walking spots:

The Bridle Path. A great, steep walk for dogs with high energy needs and the reward of great views at the top.

Victoria Park & Harry Ell Track. A large enclosed dog park with panoramic views over the city and conveniently close to the popular Harry Ell Walkway in the Port Hills.

Taylors Mistake. A stunning walk from Sumner beach to Godley Heads. Stunning views of the sea. Make sure you keep your eyes out to sea and on the rocks below you may spot a seal or a dolphin.

 

Dunedin

Ross Creek Reservoir

If you were to ask any dog owner in North Dunedin what their favourite walk is, they are bound to mention the Ross Creek Reservoir. It is a peaceful native bush trail that is relatively sheltered from the elements, and with lots of smells to sniff, creeks to drink from, and bush to discover. Your dog won’t want to leave!

The reservoir can be entered from various points along Burma and Tanner Road, but the main entry is from further down Ross Creek at Glenleith, 4km from the city centre. The track is perfect for an easy stroll around a small circuit, or you can explore one of the many longer track loops. You can walk or jog with your four-legged friends, and some tracks are suitable for wheelchairs or prams.

While walking, you will be surrounded by a range of flora, and greeted by the calls of wood pigeons, fantails, and bellbirds. But the most notable feature of the reservoir is the picturesque dam and valve tower that was built from local stone in the 19th century. 

It is particularly stunning on a sunny day as the blue sky reflects off the still, glassy water – a perfect place for you and your dog to sit on the park bench overlooking the dam, and take a rest before continuing through the bush.

 

Other great walking spots:

Shand Park: Do you have a small breed dog? Then check out the small dog exercise area inside Shand Park at Green Island – one of the only spaces dedicated to the little guy in Dunedin!

Saint Kilda beach: A popular off-lead spot for dogs, particularly in the winter months. With massive crashing waves, high sand dunes, and washed up seaweed, there's hours of doggy fun to be had here.

 

Queenstown

Arrow River Loop Track - Arrowtown

Following the beautiful willow, sycamore and larch lined Arrow River (home of the gold rush in the 1800s), the Arrow River Loop trail was built in 1998 to commemorate 150 years of European Settlement in Otago. The 4.2km track is the perfect walk for you and your furry four-legged friend.

If your pooch loves water they’ll be in heaven - on this track you’ll find yourself zig-zagging the chortling river. The river has many moods, sometimes tranquil, often rushing over rocks and bluffs, then widening to limpid pools. It’s the perfect place to take your dog for a dip, especially during the hot summer months. 

Walking the loop takes about an hour. The track is nice and wide, is well maintained and suitable for wheelchairs and prams making it the perfect walk for the whole family.

Bobs coveBobs's Cove Track and Nature Walk

If you are looking for a picturesque but secluded spot to take in the true beauty of Lake Wakatipu, Bob's Cove Track and Nature Walk is one of Queenstown's top dog-friendly spots.

The start of the track is around 13km from Queenstown - a short car ride for you and your pooch from the main town. It begins with a meandering track through native bush surrounded by local wildlife, so listen out for the harmonious chirps of Tui and Bellbirds.

Continue along the path veering off to the left while following the signs for 'picnic point'. You'll soon be treated to a glimpse of the lake, and see access points down the verge onto the shore of the cove. All year-round this stunning bay makes for a breathtaking sight. In summer, the colourful trees line the shore, while the winter air creates a misty magical hue over the waters.

Prepare yourself for a stunning 360 degree view of the lake and mountains - a conveniently situated little bench on the top makes for a perfect lunch spot while you and your canine take in the surroundings. 

The track then continues back around the other side, so continue the way you came to complete the loop. It takes around 1.5 hours depending on your walking speed, and there are options to connect on to the Twelve Mile Delta track for a longer tramp. 

Overall, a stunning and easy walk for the whole family around a secluded part of Lake Wakatipu that showcases the true beauty of Central Otago and its mountain ranges and crystal clear aqua lakes.

 

Other great walking spots:

Arawata Bridle track - Park of the original bridle trail from Queenstown to Glenorchy with stunning views of the lake and rock formations that draws in local rock climbers.

Mount Crichton Loop track - Perfect for the whole family, featuring a waterfall, native bush and wildlife, and a historic hut with an impressive story.

Don’t forget:

  • Ensure your dog is under your control at all times, even in off-leash areas.
  • Dog walking and leash restrictions can change and some beaches have strict rules during the summer months. Check with your local council and always abide by posted rules.
  • Bring a portable pet water bottle for your dog, especially in the warmer months. There’s not always access to drinking water while out on an adventure.
  • Don’t forget doggy poop bags and always clean up after your dog!