Take your pup for a lakeside stroll. © Michelleraponi

Eight dog-friendly walks around New Zealand


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Looking for a walking trail suitable for the whole family – four-legged members included? We've picked eight short walks around New Zealand where you can take your furry friend along too.

1. Hātea Loop Walkway, Northland

Take your pup on a pretty urban walk through the Whangārei Town Basin past the marina, restaurants, shops, galleries parks and playgrounds. The full name of the walk is Hauraki o Te Whai or ‘the pathway of opportunity.’ 

The fully accessible loop, suitable for wheelchairs and strollers, circles the Hātea River, linking the town basin with William Fraser Memorial Park.  

Highlights along the way include the impressive Te Matau a Pohe bridge, Reyburn House, Whangārei’s oldest house built in 1870, and a great kids playground. 

  • Time and distance: 1 hour, 4.2km
  • Type: Easy walking
  • Dogs: Welcome

2. Karangahake Gorge, Coromandel

There are many tracks to choose from in Karangahake Gorge. Take the 2.5km, 90 minute Rail Tunnel Loop for an easy stroll starting at the Ohinemuri River and passing through native bush to the gold mining relics of the Crown Battery and a 1,100-metre-long tunnel. 

For something a little longer, the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway is a 7km, four hour return walk that includes three bridges, a waterfall and many swimming spots for you and your four-legged friend to cool off.  

  • Time and distance: 30 minutes to 4 hours
  • Type: All fitness levels
  • Dogs: Must be on a lead

3. Charming Creek Walkway, West Coast

Follow an historic bush tramway through the lower Ngākawau Gorge and Charming Creek Valley to the abandoned Charming Creek Coal Mine. 

Access the walkway either from SH7 at Ngākawau, 35km north east of Westport, or via Seddonville, following the gravel road for 10km to the entrance at the Charming Creek mine site.

Along the way you’ll cross a suspension bridge, pass the beautiful Mangatini Falls and spot saw milling and mining relics. 

  • Time and distance: 2.3 hours, 9.5km one way
  • Type: Undulating Trail
  • Dogs: Must be on a lead

4. Blue Lake Track, Rotorua

Set off from the Blue Lake car park at Lake Tikitapu Scenic Reserve on a loop that circumnavigates the lake. Enjoy native bush, stunning views and beautiful lakeside beaches. 

The track features some steps, rocky surfaces and boggy patches if it’s been raining. The final section takes you along the road, so take care as the road is narrow in places. 

  • Time and distance: 90 minutes return, 5.5km
  • Type: Easy bush paths with a few ups and downs
  • Dogs: Must be on a lead

5. Mount Isobel Track, Canterbury

Mount Isobel, which towers 1,342metres above Hanmer Springs Village, is described as the most climbed mountain in Canterbury. 

The track includes bush paths, alpine trails and some scree slopes, so it’s suitable for people with good fitness. 

A full day walk, the Mount Isobel track begins at the Clarence Valley Road car park and passes through woodland, subalpine scrub and open grassland as you climb higher. 

Although it does take some effort to reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with views over the Hanmer Basin, Wairau Plains and surrounding mountains. 

  • Time and distance: 5 hours, 7km
  • Type: Steep climbing on a hard tramping track
  • Dogs: Must be on a lead

6. Ōrongorongo Track, Wellington

The Ōrongorongo Track is the most popular walk in the Remutaka Forest Park, for humans and canines alike. Travelling along well-maintained gravel and forest tracks, you’ll pass through beautiful podocarp forest, beech and northern rātā. 

With some steep climbs involved between the Catchpool Valley and Ōrongorongo River your pup will no doubt appreciate the swimming holes at the Turere Stream at the end of the track. Pack a towel.  

  • Time and distance: 4-5 hours, 10.4km
  • Type: Some climbing require
  • Dogs: Must be on a lead

7. Great Lake Walkway, Taupō

You’d be hard-pressed to do this lakeside walk and not find any dogs; it’s a popular spot for pooches. 

Also known as The Lion’s Walk, the walkway sets off from Taupō Boat Harbour and sticks to the shoreline al the way to Five Mile Bay Recreation Reserve. 

A scenic stroll suitable for all ages, you can enjoy views across Lake Taupō to Mount Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngāuruhoe on a clear day. 

  • Time and distance: 10km one way
  • Type: Easy Walking
  • Dogs: Welcome 

8. Church Bay Circuit, Waiheke Island

Catch the ferry to Waiheke Island from Central Ackland to tackle the picturesque Church Bay Circuit. Dogs are welcome on board the ferry, but they must travel outside.

You'll set off from Matiatia Wharf on the path that leads to the southern end of Matiatia Bay. You’ll cross the foot bridge and follow the coast towards Te Miro and Church bays, before heading back inland via Alison Park to Oneroa Village for lunch, coffee or a spot of shopping. Head down the hill to enjoy the sublime beach. The loop returns via Ocean View Road to Matiatia Wharf and the ferry ride back to Auckland City. 

  • Time and distance: 3 hours return, 8km
  • Type: Steady and steep climb
  • Dogs: Must be on a lead

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