The best dog-friendly parks across New Zealand
Do you want to get your dog out the house and let them off the leash? Are you not sure where the best places are to take your favourite animal friend? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best dog parks in New Zealand to give you some inspiration.
Roland’s Wood (Kerikeri) – Gifted to the people of Kerikeri by a local man named Roland Samson, this beautiful park is a wonderful place for you to let your dog roam for hours. Let your dogs run free as they explore what resembles English woodland, and with so many varieties of flowers, trees and shrubs; the scenery is amazing. It is about 3.5km from the centre of Kerikeri, so it offers a nice getaway for dog lovers who know that finding a good place for your dog to go exploring can prove to be a challenge.
Whangarei Public Dog Park – This is a popular place to take your pup in Whangarei. Located on Dave Culham Drive, you can let your dog have a go on the agility equipment while you sit under the newly built shelter. It’s well kept by the Whangarei District Council, so you can be sure your canine friend will enjoy the trip.
Sanders Reserve – Located on the North Shore in Auckland, Sanders Reserve has vast and adventurous land where dogs can explore to their heart's content. The park has 3 hectares of fenced area, designated specifically for dogs to run off leash, and a trail where they can be walked on-leash. With awesome views of Waitematā Harbour, and coastal forests it’s not only a big place for your pet to roam but a wonderful spot where you can appreciate the scenery at the same time.
Big King Reserve – This is the last remaining Three Kings volcano cone after the others were quarried away. It makes for an interesting scene, which has plenty of space for your dog to run and play. This is a very popular park for people to take their dogs and a group often meets here to walk their dogs together, usually after work. It makes for the perfect opportunity to socialise – both for you and your dog! There are lots of hills and trails to suit any fitness level with beautiful views of the Manakau Harbour, South Head and The Waitakeres. There’s also a water tower with a mysterious painting of Dog, a tribute to the late Murray Ball, the author of Footrot Flats. It has become a popular landmark and many visitors take photos of their own dogs in front of it. One thing to note, paths can be slippery in the winter months so make sure to wear appropriate shoes.
Onehunga Bay Reserve - This is a great place for your dog to take a dip and build up their water confidence. It’s convenient for those looking for a spot not too far out of the city. It has a little lagoon where your pup can splash about in, and with a large grassy area surrounded by a walkway, you can go for a nice stroll – usually about 15-20 minutes. The best part about this reserve is it’s off leash year-round, so perfect for a summer afternoon swim.
- Waiatarua Reserve
- Churchill Park, Glendowie
- Meola Reef, Point Chevalier
Bay of Plenty
Waipuna Park/Johnson Reserve – Located in Welcome Bay, Tauranga, this is a great park if you’re looking to spend a couple hours exploring with your canine friend. With many different trails to go adventuring you’re sure to have a good time, and with lots of large open spaces, bush area, a waterfall and a boardwalk, this park offers so much variety you’ll never get bored! And neither will your dog! This park is so great for walking your dog that you’ll most definitely come across another furry friend for your pup to play with.
TECT All Terrain Dog Park – This is a hidden gem, located halfway between Tauranga and Rotorua on SH36. The fully fenced area is 1 hectare of free reign for your dog. Let them run, explore, have a whole lot of fun! Opened in September 2015, the park has become a go-to place for dogs of all shapes and sizes. There’s built-in dog agility equipment and running drinking water for the dogs to ensure you and your canine friend have the best possible experience. There’s plenty of park benches and picnic tables for you to sit on while your furry friend plays around. While you’re at it, try taking your dog on the on-leash Te Rerenga Trail as well. This spans about 3.5km and is also a good way to treat your pet to the great outdoors!
- Fergusson Park, Matua
- Rotorua Redwoods
- Bowentown Domain & Anzac Bay
Days Park – Located right next to the Waikato River, this Hamilton Park is the highlight of any dog’s day. Dogs love to go swimming around in the river and socialise with many of the other pups that visit. They have the space to run around to their heart's content. The park is well kept – definitely a Hamilton favourite.
Resthills Park – This Hamilton park is not as popular as Days Park but is still a favourite among those in the know. With vast open spaces and many off-leash areas, this is the place to take your pooch if they’re looking for a run. There’s variety too! With bush area, woods and grassy terrain you can bet that your pet will never get bored.
- Mangaokewa Gorge Scenic Reserve, Te Kuiti
- McKinnon Park, Cambridge
- Pukete Farm Park, Hamilton
Marine Park & Battiscombe Terrace Reserve – This area in Waitara, New Plymouth is a good place to go if you want to give your dog both a run along the beach, or through big open fields. There are a few different pathways to walk through, all off leash, or you can spend hours splashing in the water with your canine friend, sniffing through the driftwood laden sand, and the trees and bushes on offer.
Huatoki Domain - This is in the Frankleigh Park suburb of New Plymouth and is a popular spot because of the Huatoki walkway that allows your dog to be walked off-leash. It's right in the middle of suburbia, a hidden gem for those looking to give their dog a run around. With grasslands and bush area, all following alongside the Huatoki River, this park is a good place to add some variety to your dog's day.
Cousins Reserve - Located near Foxton Beach, this is a good place to let your dog have a bit of an adventure after a long day. With large open grass areas, good for a run-around, and lots of trails to explore, there's sure to be some excitement in store for your furry friend. It's not too far away from the beach, so perfect for a quick swim after a good walk!
Kowhai Park – Located in Levin this is a very popular park to take your dog at any time of the day. It’s a fully fenced area with large open spaces for your dog to run around in. If that doesn’t appeal there’s also plenty of bush area for you to explore as well. With amazing views of the mountain ranges and a friendly community of regulars, this highly regarded park is a must-do.
- King Edward Park, Straford
- Kennedy Park, Levin
Ian Galloway Park – This is the biggest fully fenced dog park in Wellington and is sure to be a fun time for your canine friend. It can get quite muddy over the winter months, but during the summer it is a must-go if your dogs need some exercise. It is equipped with a tap and water bowl, doggy-poop bag dispenser, rubbish bins and seating for you to relax while your dog has a good time. The fully fenced area means you don’t have to worry your dog will run out onto the road. They can get to know the other dogs who frequent the park, and maybe make a friend or two!
Ōtaki Dog Park – This is a fully fenced dog park located on the Kapiti Coast. It is relatively new and has already become quite popular for its built-in agility equipment and open space. Dogs are sure to love it here, where they can expend all their energy either running around or trying out the obstacle course.
Willowbank Reserve – This is a large reserve with 5 hectares of space, and flat grassed areas suitable for walking your dog. If you want to let them off the leash, there are two dog exercise areas located on the reserve. These are big open areas surrounded by trees and long grass for your pooch to explore around in and have a good time. It is a nice place for a quiet stroll so you’ll be sure to experience a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
- Tawa Tawa Reserve
- Trelissick park
- Whitireia Park
Branford Park – Located on Maitai Valley Road in East Nelson, this is a popular park for letting your dog off-leash. Here, you can let them run around in the open grass area, or take them on a walk up Botanical Hill to get to the summit otherwise known as the ‘Centre of New Zealand’. While this is not the actual site for the centre of New Zealand, it still offers amazing views of Nelson and is a good way to give your energetic dog some exercise.
Dellside Reserve - This park is found in Richmond, and is one of the largest reserves in the Tasman district. There are plenty of designated dog areas here and some where your dog can be let off the lead. Go up the Richmond hills with your furry friend and see the views on offer. With many different environments from grassy hills areas to bushwalks and woodlands, there's sure to be something here to keep your dog entertained.
Rough Island – Right next to Rabbit Island, this Nelson favourite is a go-to for those looking to give their dog a dip in the estuary. Your dog can be walked through the plantation while they’re on leash, but there are also two designated areas for your dogs where they can be let off the lead to explore.
The Groynes – Situated just north of Christchurch city center, The Groynes dog park is a great place to visit if you’re taking them for a walk along the Otukaikino track. Located near two spring-fed streams so your dog can go swimming, the park has eight fenced areas and three obstacle courses, including one for small dogs. There is also a picnic and BBQ area for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors while your pooch wields their playful energy. To make the park even more perfect there’s fresh drinking water, a wash down area for your dog, bag dispensers and rubbish bins.
Victoria Park Dog Park – This is a fully fenced area where your dog can explore the steep ridges, grasslands and rocky outcrops that are on offer all to their heart's content. Fully equipped with drinking water and doggy-poop disposal bins, this makes for a convenient place to let your dog have a great adventure. Not only will your dog love the place but you will enjoy the stunning views of Christchurch city.
Rawhiti Domain Dog Park – Let your dog off the leash to socialise with all the other furry friends that frequent the park. It’s located in the Rawhiti Domain where there is also a kid play area so it’s the perfect place to take the whole family for a Saturday stroll. With a lot of grass area, trees to sniff around in and agility equipment including an A-frame, tunnel and beam, your dog will have a lot of variety to keep them entertained for hours.
- Halswell Quarry Dog Park
- Bottle Lake
Wakari Dog Park – The Dunedin City Council decided to develop this park to give the community a place to let their dogs have fun. With many undulating hills, valleys, and streams there is no shortage of terrain for your dog to go exploring. Equipped with a level agility area and many different walking tracks, you can spend hours here getting in some exercise for both you and your beloved pooch.
East Taieri Dog Park – This local favourite is on Cemetery road in Mosgiel and fully fenced. There’s one area specifically dedicated to letting small dogs run free. This has an agility course and pipes for your dog to play, so there’s no shortage of places to explore. There’s also another area cordoned off for the big guys as well, so there’s space for everyone to roam!
Kew Park Dog Exercise Area – Give your dog the chance to meet canine friends at this highly regarded place for dog lovers in Caversham, Dunedin. With wide open spaces for your dog to roam, they are sure to love the fresh air and exercise that this park has on offer! There’s an obstacle course for your dog and many trees and shrubs to sniff and explore! While they do, you can sit and watch your dog have a good time.
- Rotary Park
Elles Road Dog Park – Situated near the city centre of Invercargill, this dog park is a fully fenced area. It was established in 2013 by the local council, to give dogs a designated space where they can sniff and chase each other as much as they desire.
Things to bring to the park:
- A Leash – you will need one even if you’re exploring in an off-leash area. Leash restrictions can change from time to time so make sure you’re prepared.
- Doggy poop bags – remember to always clean up after your pet.
- Portable pet water bottle – some places may not have water on hand, so always ensure you have some way of keeping your pet hydrated, especially in the warmer months.
- Ball/Frisbee – sometimes the best way to enjoy a dog park is to play a good old game of fetch.
Remember that you must have your dog under control at all times. If they are off leash, they still need to be under verbal control. If you’re struggling, contact a qualified behaviourist to give you tips on how to get your dog to respond to you.