New Zealand may not be the largest country in the world, but it’s made up of islands, so there is plenty of coastline. And coastline often means beaches. Most dogs love a romp across the sand and into the surf – or they can learn to love it, if you teach them how. So, where should you take your furry BFF to visit the beach in New Zealand?
Before you head out, remember two things:
- Not all dog breeds are “natural swimmers.” If your pup isn’t used to swimming or is new to the perplexing action of surf, take things slowly. You want your guy to have fun, not be fearful.
- Waves can be vigorous and, therefore, dangerous in some locations. Even if your pooch is a beach veteran, it’s always smart to keep a close eye on him near the water.
If you’re in Auckland, you will find numerous options for dog-friendly activities, in town or a short distance away. There are many places to walk with your dog around town as well as opportunities to spend the day at a beach. That said, Auckland Council wants you to remember that dogs and people share the space, so pet parents are expected to keep their canines under control.
Every beach in the Auckland area has signage that explains the allowed access hours for dogs as well as other rules specific to that area. You’ll find this is also common to other public recreation areas throughout in New Zealand. Dogs may be welcome all the time, or they may be allowed only in specified parts of the beach. Many beaches allow off-leash action, but some do not. And you can expect more restrictions during the busy summer season.
Bethells Beach (Te Henga)
If you’re looking for a superb but not-so-crowded beach, try this one. It’s about a half-hour drive to the north of Auckland proper.
The middle section of this especially scenic beach is an off-leash area for dogs (the boundaries are marked by poles). Piha is popular with surfers as well as dogs, which means big waves.
You and your pup can walk along the coast from Takapuna Beach to Milford Beach whenever you want, for most of the year. However, in summer, it’s people only between 10am and 6pm, so you’ll have to confine yourself to early-bird or evening visits.
Lyall Bay Beach is quite large and it’s hugely popular with families. So many dog owners frequent the beach, there are actually organized meet-ups you can join to meet new two-legged and four-legged friends. There is even a dog-friendly café where you can take a break. While dogs are not allowed on the central part of the beach, where the playground and seawall are located, they are welcome at all times elsewhere. This map shows exactly which areas of the beach are available to dogs.
If you’re looking for a walk instead of beachy play, take the path that runs from Seatoun beach around to Breaker Bay beach, then head back over the mountain for a different returning view.
Elsewhere around New Zealand
Looking for dog-friendly beaches that aren’t necessarily near the big cities? You might want to visit one of these:
- Bottle Lake Forest Park, Christchurch
- Golden Bay, Nelson
- Mt Maunganui Beach, Tauranga
- Ocean Beach Domain, Dunedin
Sometimes You Don’t Want Sand between Your Toes
What’s just as much fun as hitting the beach with your dog in New Zealand? Camping! All that gorgeous geography on the interior of the islands, waiting for you and your favorite exploring partner to nose about and see the sights.
Always Be on Your Best Behavior
No matter where in New Zealand you go with your dog – the beach, the mountains, or around town – you’ll want to check first to learn about local dog control rules and regulations. When you know the “rules of the road,” you can travel safely and show off your best pet-iquette. You and your furry companion will always be welcomed with friendly hellos and wagging tails.