Nothing beats seeing your four-legged friends hurtle around a dog park with sheer joy. Make their day and let your dog off the leash in these four dog-friendly hotspots.
Waiatarua Reserve features large, grassy areas alongside the biggest urban wetland restoration project in the country. You can follow the path around the wetlands for a gentle, off-leash walk. Going at a relaxed pace, it will take you about an hour to walk around the park. For warmer days, there's a dog swimming hole close to the Abbots Way carpark for pooches of all sizes to cool off.
This is a beautiful space to see wetland flora and fauna, with information about the ecology of the area presented on information boards for two-legged visitors to enjoy.
Note that there are a couple of areas off-limits to dogs, including the main central wetland area and the viewing platforms.
Macleans Park is a spacious and scenic green space in Eastern Auckland, with a combination of grassy open spaces and wooded gullies. Dogs are free to roam off-leash throughout the park.
A two-kilometre loop track runs around the park, through regenerating bush and wetlands and offering coastal views. It takes about 40 minutes at a leisurely pace and you can keep your dog off the lead the whole way.
Meola Reef Dog Park
Meola Reef Dog Park is the only fully fenced off-leash dog park in central Auckland. This dedicated canine exercise area is part of the wider Meola Beach Reserve.
The popular park is a dog’s daydream, with a muddy estuary to splash around in, bushes and trees to explore, and plenty of open space to play with other dogs. Humans can enjoy views of the water - it’s particularly spectacular later in the afternoon.
Auckland Botanic Gardens
Covering 64 hectares, Auckland’s Botanic Gardens offers a sweet escape from the city. The stunning gardens are also surprisingly dog-friendly. There is a large off-leash exercise area at the northern end of the gardens where you can set your dog off for a good romp.
Once they’ve tired themselves out running in circles, you can carry on strolling along the many scenic paths through the gardens, as long as you keep your pup on a lead outside of the off-leash area.