New Zealand is beautiful. There are lush green forests, imposing mountains, and expansive turquoise seas. Every part of the country boasts stunning scenery and the Bay of Plenty is no exception with countless dazzling destinations. Many of these places would be wonderful places to bring your dog. Unfortunately, dogs often aren't allowed in regional parks, national parks, reserves, farmland, and public areas that cross private land. 

Some notable Tauranga pooch-free places, include: Mount Maunganui, Papamoa Hills, McLaren Falls Park, Otanewainuku, and parts of the beach (Mount Main beach, Pilot Bay, and within 200 metres of a surf life saving club). Permitted hunting dogs are allowed in the Kaimais and require Kiwi aversion training to go south of State Highway 29. Contact the Department of Conversation for more information. 

Here are our top 5 favourite doggie destinations around Tauranga: 

  1. Motuopuhi "Dinosaur" Island, central Tauranga. Access an hour either side of low tide from Turret Road. A lap around the island doesn't take more than 20 minutes unless you take your time and play. It's muddy so be ready to bathe your dog when you get home. Prepare the car, too. 
  2. Puketoki Reserve, Te Puna. A 2-3m walk through gorgeous bush that never seems to be too busy. Dogs will also enjoy playing in stream by the carpark. 
  3. Kaiate Falls, Welcome Bay. Featured in the Lonely Planet, this stop is busy on sunny weekends and holidays. With lots of stairs down and then up again, it won't be good for dogs with joint problems or dogs that are too small to jump up the large steps. We love this walk for the noisy waterfalls, especially in the rain. 
  4. TECT Park, between Tauranga and Rotorua on SH36. TECT park has two walking trails that allow dogs on leads: the 3km Te Rerenga Tunnel Track and the 1km Lost Tank Track. TECT Park also has an off-leash dog area. 
  5. The beach. Dogs love the beach. You can start after Moturiki Island (Leisure Island) and keep walking down the coast. By Omanu Surf Club and Papamoa Surf Club your dog should be on a lead, but the rest of the way it's a free run. Up to the dunes and down to the sea, your puppy will be as happy as can be. 

More information from the City of Tauranga and a few honourable mentions:

  • Yatton Park, Greerton. Wise, shady trees (to pee on if that suits your party). 
  • Waikareao Estuary loop, central Tauranga. The Daisy Hardwick section (from Maxwells Road) is a nice section of track through bush and boardwalk over the estuary. The section along the motorway is a bit noisy and dusty and most suitable for those determined to do the loop (8km) or multiple laps. 
  • Kulim Park to Fergusson Park, Otumoetai. A gorgeous, flat waterfront walks with mount views the whole way along. Hot on a sunny day. 
  • Johnson Reserve, Welcome Bay. There are always lots of dogs around Johnson Reserve so it can be a good opportunity for socialisation. The tiny waterfall is fun and refreshing for dogs (and kids) in the summer, but adults humans should not have high expectations for taking impressive photos of the mini falls. 
  • Rotary Park, Maungatapu. Also a fun spot to bring dogs who like stand up paddle boarding. 
  • Walking Trails at the Lakes, Pyes Pa. There are some permanent orienteering courses set up along many of the trails (maps here) and some geocaching, too. 
  • The Gordon Carmichael Reserve, Bethlehem. 
  • If you've got the time, a trip to the Redwoods in Rotorua is the most majestic and best smelling spot for walking the dog (on lead). 

Happy dog walking! I'd love to hear your favourite dog-friendly spots. 

This article has been reposted on Medium