Dog-Friendly Auckland: Visiting Auckland with a Dog

Despite being the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland (or Tāmaki Makaurau) still has a surprising amount of green space, and plenty of things to do with your dog. If you’re visiting Auckland with your dog, check out my recommendations of dog-friendly activities, including some great parks and walks, plus where to dine and stay with your dog.

Dog-Friendly Auckland

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Auckland

During your time in Auckland, make sure you tick off some of these great dog-friendly activities to do in and around the city…

#1 Head Up Mt Eden

It’s not possible to ascend the Sky Tower in the centre of Auckland with your dog, but for views just as stunning of the city, head to Maungawhau / Mount Eden, the highest natural point around.

Mt Eden View
Head up Mt Eden for glorious views of Auckland

Just a short distance from the city centre, there are multiple car parks around the edge of the dormant volcano, along with multiple walking tracks to the summit, plus a boardwalk around the edge of the volcano’s crater, which is due to be completed in March 2023.

It’s a bit tricky for dogs to walk on the metal boardwalk, but out of respect for the heritage values of the site, it’s requested that everyone walks on the boardwalk.

On Top of Mt Eden
A boardwalk loops around the top of the crater

Mt Eden is also a great spot to allow your dog some off-leash time. There is a fenced off-leash dog “paddock”, in between the Clive Road entrance and Summit Road. Dogs are also allowed off-leash in Tahaki Reserve, at the base of the mountain, in the area northeast of the bowl, demarcated by the bush and pathway.

#2 Climb One Tree Hill

Auckland is home to many prominent mountains, dormant volcanoes that dot the Auckland volcanic field surrounding the city. Most of these remain as islands of green space, with one of the other prominent spots being One Tree Hill.

One Tree Hill
Head up One Tree Hill with your leashed dog

Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill is an important location both culturally and archeologically. It was once the largest pā, or fortified village, in the surrounding region, and in 1940 an obelisk was completed on its summit, a Māori memorial. The summit also contains the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, who once owned the land and bequeathed the money for the building of the obelisk.

One Trip Hill Memorial
The obelisk at the summit of One Tree Hill

While the road to the summit is these days closed to most vehicles, it’s a popular walking and biking route. There are also some alternative tracks over the grassy hillside. From the summit are views to the north and south to Manukau Harbour.

Dogs need to be kept on leashed at One Tree Hill Domain, plus in the adjacent privately-owned Cornwall Park. Dogs are also restricted from certain parts of Cornwall Park during the lambing and calving season.

#3 Visit the West Coast Beaches

The west coast black sand beaches near Auckland are wild and windswept, but less than an hour’s drive from the city. They’re the perfect destination for an adventure with your pup.

One of the best known of the west coast beaches is Piha, and it’s a great spot to visit with your dog. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach area between Monkey Rock and the access track at Little Lion Rock Corner, at the start of Marine Parade North, between sunrise and sunset.

Piha Beach
Dogs are allowed off-leash on part of Piha Beach

They’re also allowed on-leash on the beach area between Monkey Rock and a point 190m north of North Piha Road. Note however dogs are prohibited from other beach areas, plus a number of walking trails. See the dog walking section on the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park website for full details.

#4 Catch the Ferry to Waiheke

One of the best day trips (or weekends away) from Auckland is heading to Waiheke Island, home to countless vineyards and beautiful beaches, and just a short ferry trip away from the centre of Auckland.

On the passenger-only Fullers360 ferries, pet dogs are welcome to join you for free. They can travel inside if they are in a suitable carrier, otherwise there is allocated seating on the external decks for people travelling with pets.

Fullers360 Ferry to Waiheke Island
Dogs can join you on the Fullers360 ferries to Waiheke Island

Dogs are also permitted to join you on the car ferries operated by Sealink. It’s recommended that you book one of the 45 minute sailings to Waiheke Island, which have a seating area for passengers on the outside deck, where you can sit with your dog. Only registered guide dogs and assistance dogs are permitted inside the passenger lounge.

For maximum freedom, take your car with you, so that you can tour the island at your leisure. Alternatively, book into a Wag ‘n’ Walk with Wine tour with WineHeke Tours. Check out more dog-friendly tips for Waiheke Island.

#5 Stroll Along the Waterfront

The city centre of Auckland is situated right on the harbour, and a stroll along the waterfront is a must when visiting Auckland, past the many marinas and wharves, the Sky Tower nearly always visible.

Dog-Friendly Auckland
Stroll along the waterfront in Auckland

Perhaps start your walk from the newly redeveloped Wynyard Quarter precinct, where there is affordable on-street parking, if you can find a free spot. Alternatively, dogs are welcome to join you on trains into the city – see more below.

The Wynyard Quarter is connected to the older part of the city by the Wynyard Crossing over the Viaduct Basin. Check the historic Rolling Lift Bridge, plus the gorgeous old Ferry Building, dating from 1912. Keep an eye out for the new street art dotted around the waterfront and Wynyard Quarter.

Wynyard Crossing Auckland
The Wynyard Crossing bridge

#6 Visit the Auckland Botanic Gardens

The sprawling Auckland Botanic Gardens are situated a 20 minute drive south of the city, just off the Southern Motorway. There’s plenty to see at the gardens, which are free to enter. Perhaps combine exploring the many types of gardens with viewing stunning artworks along the self-guided Permanent Sculpture Trail.

Best of all, leashed dogs are welcome to join you at the gardens. There’s also an off-leash dog exercise area on the northern side of the gardens – just search for “Botanical Gardens Off Leash Area” on Google Maps. If making a beeline to it, it’s closest to the Everglade Drive access gate.

Dog-Friendly Walks in Auckland

There’s no shortage of dog-friendly walking trails around Auckland to follow with your pup by your side. In addition to the walks mentioned above, these are some other great dog-friendly walks in Auckland.

#1 Walk Around Ōrākei Basin

Distance: 2.9km loop

The Ōrākei Basin is just east of the city centre of Auckland. The remains of a volcanic crater, these days the circular lagoon is a busy spot for boating, but is also encircled by a dog-friendly walking path, a combination of paved path and a boardwalk on the northern side. It takes about an hour to complete the full loop.

Orakei Basin from Above
The Orakei Basin is a circular lagoon in a volcanic crater

Start your walk anywhere around the basin. There’s a convenient carpark on the western side of the basin, plus plenty of on-street parking along Upland Road, which is connected to the loop path by a short path near the Tonks Street intersection. Ōrākei train station is also conveniently close.

Orakei Basin Off-Leash Dog Walk
Dogs are allowed off-leash along part of the walk

Dogs are allowed off-leash along parts of the walking track, including the grassy area on the southern side of the basin. Follow the signs and leash them when required, including the boardwalk on the northern side of the basin.

Orakei Basin Boardwalk
Make sure you leash your dog on the boardwalk

#2 Waiatarua Wetland Walk

Distance: 2.4km loop

For another scenic walking path close to the centre of Auckland, that includes off-leash stretches, head to Waiatarua Wetland Reserve in Remuera. The only freshwater lake on the Auckland isthmus, it was formed when a large lava flow blocked a river 9000 years ago.

These days the reserve is a wonderful spot to enjoy a walk with your dog. There is a walking path that loops around the reserve, that takes about an hour to complete. There’s even a dog swimming hole in the southeastern corner of the reserve! Just be mindful it can be muddy after rain.

Waiatarua Reserve with Dog
Enjoy a walk at Waiatarua Wetland Reserve with your dog

Dogs are allowed off-leash around much of the outer part of the reserve. Note though, that dogs are prohibited from the wetland areas themselves, plus need to be leashed on the walking paths that cut across the centre of the reserve.

An easy spot to park is the carpark next to the Waiatarua Reserve Playground, just off Grand Drive. Just keep your dog leashed until you reach the reserve proper.

Waiatarua Reserve Off-Leash Dog Walk
The start of the Wetland Walk near the carpark

Dog-Friendly Parks in Auckland

There’s plenty of off-leash dog parks in Auckland, with many off-leash dog exercise areas mentioned above. For a full listing of parks you can take your dog in Auckland, check out the search option on the Auckland Council website, with the option to filter by off-leash and dedicated exercise areas only.

One of the best fenced dog parks close the city centre is at Meola Reef Reserve. Located at Western Springs, just west of the city, this long grassy reserve jutting out into the harbour has a very large fenced dog park on its western side.

Meola Reef Dog Park
Meola Reef Dog Park is a fabulous fenced dog park in Auckland

From the small carpark on Meola Road (which fills up during busy times), its just a short walk along a gravel path to the entrance gate. There’s also a gravel path running the length of the enclosed area, along with bins and a water fountain.

Meola Reef Dog Park Gate
The entrance to the Meola Reef Dog Park

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Auckland

There’s no need to head all the way to the west coast of Auckland to enjoy off-leash beaches with your dog. While many of the beaches close to the city centre have restricted hours, at least over the summer months, there are a few options that are off-leash all day long.

On the North Shore, head to Saint Leonards Beach, located at the end of St Leonards Road in Hauraki. There’s a long staircase to descend (and later on climb back up), but you’ll be rewarded with a beach that allows dogs off-leash 24/7. The beach is best visited outside of high tide, when much of it is covered in water.

Alternatively, head east of Auckland to Mellons Bay and Mellons Bay Beach. This small beach is located just off Mellons Bay Road, where there are two convenient carparks and toilets. Dogs are allowed off-leash all day long on the beach to the west of the water pipe.

Note that to the east of the water pipe, dogs are prohibited between 10am and 5pm during the summer months, from 1st December to 1st March. However, there are allowed off-leash before 10am and after 5pm, plus all day long from 2nd March to 30th November.

Dogs on Public Transport in Auckland

Auckland is a surprisingly dog-friendly city when it comes to public transport, with pets often permitted on public transport.

With trains, pet dogs that are leashed and wearing an approved muzzle are welcome on board, as well as smaller domestic pets (including small dogs) in a suitable pet carrier, small enough to fit on your lap.

Pets are only allowed on trains during off-peak hours, between 9am and 3pm and after 6:30pm on weekdays, plus weekends and public holidays. Pets travel free of charge, with a limit of one per passenger.

Britomart Station Ticket Barriers
Dogs are permitted on trains in Auckland

With buses, there has recently been a trial allowing small domestic pets in suitable carriers on board buses during off-peak hours, which ended on 5th February 2023. Depending on the success of the trial, larger dogs wearing a leash and muzzle may also be allowed on buses. Check the website for the latest news.

When it comes to ferries, generally dogs are allowed to travel onboard, but you need to check with your specific operator for details. For example, pets may only be permitted on outdoor decks and charges may apply.

Dog-Friendly Dining in Auckland

There’s no shortage of cafes in Auckland permitting dogs to join you in outdoor dining areas. And that’s if you’re not tempted by grabbing takeaway fish’n’chips to enjoy in the many waterside parks.

For a great selection of cafes, one of the top spots in Auckland is Ponsonby Road. We enjoyed a wonderful brunch at Little Garden, which has a quiet European-style courtyard at its rear.

Secret Garden Outdoor Tables
The European-style courtyard at Little Garden

Dog bowls are offered at the entrance, including for passing hounds, plus you can add dog treats to your order. If ordering brunch, make sure you include the mushrooms. Alternatively, it’s a great spot for a coffee or hot chocolate.

Secret Garden Dog Bowls
Dogs are very welcome at the Little Garden on Ponsonby Road

Another dog-friendly cafe nearby is archie cafe. Also open daily for breakfast and lunch, the cafe has an outdoor side alley with multiple small tables, along with a larger table at the rear. Their focus is on “tasty toast & special coffee”.

Archie Cafe Exterior
archie cafe also welcomes dogs

If you’re visiting the Wynyard Quarter in the city centre, one dog-friendly spot we didn’t get a chance to try was Good George North Walk. Good George originated as a brewery in Hamilton, and these days then name is behind multiple restaurants and bars around the country, including this one with excellent water views.

Good George North Walk
Good George North Wharf at the Wynyard Quarter

Good George North Walk is open daily for lunch and dinner until late, except on Mondays when it closes at 6pm. They have a wide-ranging menu, as well as wines and cocktails, in addition to a long list of their own brews directly from the Waikato brewery.

Dogs are welcome to join you at their undercover tables out the front. Water bowls are provided, plus there’s a cute water bowl for all passing dogs, both big and small, out the front.

Good George Dog Bowls
Dogs can join you at the outside tables at Good George North Walk

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Auckland

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links. See my full disclaimer.

Auckland is home to a wide range of dog-friendly accommodation, from hotels to apartments to camping grounds.

For starters, if you’re after a luxury boutique stay, look no further than QT Auckland, in the heart of the city. Like all QT hotels across New Zealand and Australia, the hotel offers their Pup Yeah! package, with one dog up to 20kg permitted per room.

Included in the dog-friendly hotel package is a designer dog bed, bowls, your dog’s own mini-bar (full of treats!) and their own in-room dining menu. A $150 cleaning fee is charged per stay and direct bookings are required. Double check with the hotel whether leashed pups can join you at the glamorous rooftop bar.

Another hotel close to the city and waterfront that welcomes pets is the Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park, located right opposite the large Victoria Park. Up to two dogs or cats up to 20kg in size each are allowed in selected suites, with an additional cleaning fee of $150 for one pet or $200 for two pets charged upon check-in. See their full pet policy.

For a more affordable hotel stay further out in the suburbs, consider Roomie Apartment Hotel, 10km west from the city centre in Avondale. These funky, spacious apartment-style hotel rooms all come with a fully-equiped kitchen, modern bathroom and free parking.

If staying with a pet, book a Pet Lovers Courtyard Studio Apartment. These ground-floor apartments have direct outdoor access and their own fully-fenced deck, along with a luxury pet bed, bowls and a welcome treat. Two Bedroom Pet Lover and Twin Studio Pet Lover apartments are also available on request.

A wonderful pet-friendly cottage located in Onehunga is the Harbour View Cottage. This gorgeous, renovated weatherboard cottage can accommodate up to four, with rates varying based on the number of guests. Well-behaved dogs are welcome upon request – enquire directly for full conditions and charges.

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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