Worldwide, pet-focused travel is on the rise. In 2020, the American Pet Products Association found that 45 percent of dog owners take their pets with them when they are away for at least two nights – a significant increase from a decade ago. Kiwi pet owners are not immune to this trend, with an increasing number of hotels offering Fido-friendly accommodations.
Traveling with your pet allows you to explore your destination through a whole new lens – and arguably, this is best done by taking a walk with your nice boy or girl. But what exactly makes a dog run perfectly?
According to new research released by TUX, it’s a careful combination of length, distance and location. In August this year, the pet food brand conducted a survey of hundreds of dog walkers across the country. This determines that the ideal walk is one hour and 3 km, and takes place in a park or beach. However, we argue that the best walks also attract travelers to the unique ecology or history of an area.
Regardless of where you head with your canine friend this summer, there’s sure to be a track that fits the bill. Here are seven of them.
A walk along the banks of the Mahurangi River will take you back in time when waterways were the lifeblood of the area. A highlight of this ropes-free trip are the ruins of the Wilson Cement Works, where relics of early 20th century plants sit beside a mining lake.
Of course, if you happen to be in the area on a Saturday morning, don’t miss the Matakana Farmers Market. It is off-limits for dogs, but near the entrance you will find a unique puppy daycare, where pets can relax in the shade to earn donations of gold coins.
This local favorite is sometimes referred to as the Redwoods dog park, but you’ll see dozens of different trees here – Scion is a forestry research zone, where new tree species are being tested. Dogs are welcome to roam freely over large areas, but if you prefer walking on leash the Redwoods across the street allow dogs too.
Whichever park you choose, after your adventure, drive to the dog-friendly Secret Spot Hot Tubs nearby for some well-deserved beer and “shinny” dip.
It can feel a little inconvenient to include a beach on this list, given that much of New Zealand’s coastline is dog paradise (except for bird nesting and restricted areas, of course). But we’ll make some respite for New Plymouth’s popular Back Beach, with its black sand and pretty offshore islands.
More space for ball throwing and dog rowing, this isn’t the longest walk to be had. But you can extend the sightseeing by continuing on the nearby Herekawe Street.
A wide off-leash trail along the Miramar Peninsula, the Maupuia Walkway has some of the best ocean views Wellington has to offer. It is less than 1 km long, but can be transformed into a longer and more heart-pumping ride by taking the down and up links from Shelly Bay.
Victoria Park, high up in the Port Hills, tends to get all the splendor of Garden City. Fair enough: This is probably one of the most beautiful dog parks in the country, with views across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps. It’s also one that most definitely impresses visitors, with countless trails to explore.
However, those in the know head to Groynes. Tucked away just off the highway northeast of the airport, this gated park features a large cross-country area, a river for swimming and a variety of agility trails.
Formerly an old public road, the 2km Karetai Line climbs about 200m uphill, offering unrivaled views of the rugged cliffs of the Otago Peninsula. You can also take this trail to access Smaills Beach, the perfect place to cool off after a long walk.
While most owners prefer to take their dogs on leash walks, we’d be remiss not to include these high mountain trails that require guidance.
This 90-minute trek starts at the Remarkables ski resort and continues its hike through mountainous wetlands to above glacial lakes. There is a $ 10 fee to access the ski trails, but the resulting views make it one of the trails that Queenstown dog owners have rated most highly.
This summer, take your best friend on the road. Sunday Travel has teamed up with Canopy Camping and Tux to create the ultimate gift for dog owners – $ 900 for a stay at one of Canopy Camping’s unique dog-friendly glamping sites, $ 600 off your travel expenses, and Tux’s worth of a year of dog food, worth a total of $ 1989.65.
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