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Top 10 dog-friendly beaches in New Zealand

Skyscanner New Zealand has put together a list of of the best dog-friendly beaches in the country.

If you’re wondering where the dog friendly beaches of New Zealand are, wonder no longer! There are plenty of New Zealand beaches offering off-leash stretches and adjoining dog-friendly parks, where you can throw a Frisbee, frolic in the water, or play a game of catch with your canine companion.

1. Takapuna Beach, Auckland

For wandering souls, the coastal walkway from here to Milford Beach makes a great stroll all year round. Keep in mind that during the summer, this stretch becomes a restricted zone – the Takapuna Beach ‘dog hours’ are before 10am and after 6pm. But for the rest of the year you can happily let your dog off the leash. If you’re looking for somewhere in the south, Kohimarama is a fantastic stretch of sand, with views out to Rangitoto Island that will please owner and pet. The Kohimarama Beach dog rules allow you to let your furry friend off-leash before 10am on Saturdays.

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2. Bethells Beach (Te Henga), Auckland

Bethells Beach is 30 minutes north of Auckland’s city centre, so not as well known as some of the others on this list, but the beach is second to none – and dogs think so too. There’s loads of space to play, go swimming, and to tucker themselves out completely.

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3. Ocean Beach Domain, Dunedin

Whilst it might not have as much sand as the other New Zealand beaches on this list, the Ocean Beach Domain is great for a coastal run or walk with your pup. It’s a popular area for walking your dog without a lead in summer, and if you’re based further south, Brighton Beach Reserve is just as dog friendly, and has more sand.

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4. Lyall Bay, Wellington

Lyall Bay Beach has a vast stretch of sand that’s perfect for a game of fetch and a dip in the sea, but dogs are not permitted near the seawall area or the children’s playground (understandably). This is such a popular area for dog walkers that there are meet-ups for owners and pooches take place on Lyall Bay. The Spruce Goose Café makes this beach a little bit better, with good coffee and a dog friendly decking area outside too.

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5. Bottle Lake Forest Park, Christchurch

Waimairi Beach (on the east side of the forest park) is a great place to run with your dog, but it’s a restricted area between December and March. However, you can take your dog off the leash in Bottle Lake Forest Park, just behind the beach, and it’s only 10km north of Christchurch city centre.

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6. Piha Beach, Auckland

There is an off-leash area in the mid-section of North Piha Beach, which is marked out by poles on the beach. If you aren’t already familiar with Piha, it’s a beautiful Auckland beach with great surf – but you also need to keep an eye on your pup, as the waves can get rough.

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7. Golden Bay, Nelson

You might think the North Island has the best beaches for dog walks, but this beautiful section of Nelson has plenty of play areas for dogs in the summer time. Pohara Beach, Patons Rock Beach and Rangihaeata are just 3 of the dog-friendly (off-leash!) beaches in the area, there are plenty more around the Tasman District too. Check out the restrictions and prohibited areas of Nelson’s beaches on the council’s website.

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8. Mt Maunganui Beach, Tauranga

Whilst you do have to keep your dog on a leash for some areas in Mt Maunganui, Blake Park is a well-sized exercise area for dogs in Tauranga. There’s also a great market scene in the surrounding area and food trucks for a bite to eat whilst on walkies.

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9. Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf

Many people are put off by the short ferry ride over to Great Barrier Island, but the rugged beauty makes it well worth the journey. There’s a plethora of off-leash areas too! Mulberry Grove, Gooseberry Flats, Medlands Beach, Okupu Beach, Awana Beach and Okiwi are all great places to explore with your dog on Great Barrier Island.

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10. Te Awanga, Hastings

The Haumoana Te Awanga beach front stretches from the Tukituki River to the lines of Clifton camp. Whilst dogs aren’t welcome near Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony, they’re free to play on this stretch of the beach. For afters, you can go to Haumoana or Te Awanga town for some lunch and a beer. Great for holidaying Aucklanders and their pups.

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Beach Region
Takapuna Beach Auckland
Bethells Beach Auckland
Ocean Beach Domain Dunedin
Lyall Bay Wellington
Bottle Lake Forest Park Christchurch
Piha Beach Auckland
Golden Bay Nelson
Mt. Maunganui Beach Tauranga
Medlands Beach Great Barrier Island
Map