SPCA New Zealand

Great New Zealand Dog Walks

28 May 2020
Great New Zealand Dog Walks

Looking for somewhere new for you and your best furry friend to explore?

Want to get off the beaten track and make the most of New Zealand’s most picturesque and pup friendly places? Look no further than our guide to some of the best dog walks around the country and get inspired for you and your dog’s next adventure.


Auckland Botanic gardens

Just 30 minutes from the Auckland CBD, Auckland Botanic Gardens are a wonderful, surprisingly dog friendly place to take your furry friend in all seasons.

Covering 64 hectares of land, including 10 hectares of native forest, the gardens are home to more than 10,000 plants from around the world – and feature a wide range of themed gardens that you and your dog will love to discover together!

Much more relaxed than many traditional botanic gardens, Auckland Botanic Gardens encourage dog walking, jogging and picnicking on their beautiful grounds – asking only that you pick up after your pup and keep them on-leash where specified.

With a huge variety of plants, walkways to explore and a large off-leash area at the northern end of the gardens, there are plenty of sights, sounds and smells to make this a fantastic place for city dwellers (and their city dwelling dogs) to escape to.

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.

Other great walking spots

  • Waiatarua Reserve

You may be just a stone's throw away from central Auckland but this amazing Remuera reserve will make you feel like you’re a world away. Follow a 2.5km loop through native urban wetlands for a unique and beautiful tour of one of Auckland’s best dog walks.

  • 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 Victoria

With spectacular views of Auckland city, and nearby Devonport’s charming village, Mt Victoria is a lovely place for you and your dog to spend the day. With a dog friendly off-leash area and plenty of hidden paths, Mount Victoria is a wonderful place to explore.


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 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.

Taranaki other great walking spots

  • Tehenui

A beautiful off-leash dog walkway that follows the scenic TeHunui 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.


Seton Nossiter Park

Located in a valley away from roads, surrounded by bush and with plenty of off-leash and on-leash areas, Seton Nossiter Park is a large, safe and peaceful spot for you and your dog to explore.

With the off-leash site at the start of the park from the Mark Avenue entrance, Seton Nossiter Park offers large grass clearings over a massive 30ha of land.

With plenty of sights and smells to explore in the long grass, dogs will love the chance to stretch their legs and explore. Streams criss-cross through the gully and dogs will love the chance to zoom through the water to cool off!

Once your pup has done all the zoomies they can, pop them back on-leash and head on over to the picnic area to stop for some lunch. Or, if you want to keep going, follow the bush track further up the valley and you’ll find a little waterfall.

A short drive away from the ferry and just 20 minutes from the Wellington CBD, Seton Nossiter Park is a wonderful find for any dog owner – and will keep your and your pup busy for hours.

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 Riverbank 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 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 the 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.

Wellington 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.

  • Trelissick Park

Once a route for Māori and early Europeans travelling from the harbour to Porirua, Trelissick park is a fascinating historical site and a fantastic dog friendly place to take your pup. With a 2km off lead track dogs can tire themselves out with a good run and even cool off afterwards with a swim in the beautiful stream.

  • Ian Galloway Dog Park

This is Wellington’s largest fully fenced dog park and a great place to socialise your pup.


Bottle Lake Forest Park

Bottle Lake Forest, with its peaceful forest tracks, mostly flat terrain and no leashes required, is a wonderful place to get off the beaten track with your pup, without making a long drive.

Set on over 1000ha of pine forest, escape under the pine canopy and make the most of New Zealand’s stunning flora and fauna. Let your dog stretch their legs and listen out for some of the stunning wildlife to be found at Bottle Lake – including the little owl, fantails (piwakawaka), plovers and grey warblers.

Sheltered from the wind and rain, and featuring streams and lagoons for dogs to cool off in, Bottle Lake Forest Park is a wonderful option year-round for people and pups to get back to nature.

The Groynes Dog Park

Just 20 minutes from the Christchurch CBD, The Groynes dog park is a fantastic place for you and your pup to let off some steam.

With large, open spaces, eight fenced areas, and two spring-fed streams for your pup to swim in, The Groynes Dog Park is doggy paradise. Including 3 agility and obstacle courses – including one for smaller dogs – and big, open spaces, this is a great place for high energy dogs to tire themselves out. And once you’re finally ready to head home there is even a wash down area for dogs, so you don’t take the park home with you!

While your dog will be having the time of their life, there is also plenty for you to enjoy at The Groynes dog park, including playgrounds and barbeques for public use - making it an ideal place for getting together for a feed with your furry friends.

Canterbury other great walking spots

  • The Port Hills

The Port Hills are a great choice for anyone looking for a fitness challenge! Littered with walking tracks to choose from, The Port Hills will reward your efforts with stunning views from the top.

  • Rawhiti Reserve

With plenty of trees and open spaces for dogs to stretch their legs, this large dog park will keep you and your pup busy for hours. Featuring an agility course and a securely fenced area, this is a great place to let your dog burn some energy.

  • Hagley Park

This lovely reserve in Christchurch central is a great place for city dwellers to make a quick escape to with their pups. Spend hours wandering through the daffodils in Spring, or let your dog off-leash for some socialising in the designated dog friendly areas.

  • South New Brighton

On hot days there’s only one thing to do: head to the beach! The best time to come is during low tide, when there is plenty of beach for your dog to chase sticks or bound through the surf.

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