Just like us, our dogs love to explore what New Zealand has to offer, so it should come as no surprise that DFNZ has rounded up our favourite dog-friendly waterfalls to tick off of your list. Simply add them to your ‘favourites’ on the Dog Friendly New Zealand mobile app and save them for later – you’re welcome!
Whangarei Falls, Northland
Follow the Hatea River on a 6km walk from Whangarei Town Basin, stopping off at the dog friendly Mair Park along the way. We’ve been told there is often a man selling great coffee in the Whangarei Falls carpark which is a great opportunity to take a break and enjoy a caffeine hit before walking back. We recommend visiting these falls during the winter or a particularly tropical summer, as they do run a little weak after a dry spell.
Kitekite Falls, Waitakere Ranges
This wouldn’t be a complete bucket list without Kitekite Falls, a local favourite among Aucklanders. An incredible 3-tiered waterfall with a 40 meter total drop, this is a great spot for your canine companion to cool off with a dip while you enjoy a picnic on the bank. As with all waterfalls, did you even go if you didn’t Instagram it? You’ll find plenty of gram-worthy backdrops both at the bottom and the top of Kitekite Falls, so make sure you have your camera at the ready!
Lucas Creek Falls, Auckland
The very accessible and truly spectacular Lucas Creek Waterfall is a great adventure right in the heart of the super city. Not only is it dog friendly, but when we say accessible we mean for everyone: kids strollers and wheelchairs too! Being only a short, paved five-minute walk from the road, it is one of the more underrated waterfalls around. This is a perfect outing for the family, with a variety of eateries and bars nearby for post-adventure refreshments.
McLean Falls, The Catlins
Located in the Catlins coastal area, take an easy 40 minute return walk through native bush and set your sights upon the spectacular 22 meter waterfall. Running along the Tautuku River, McLean Falls is one of the highest in the Catlins Forest Park and is a must-see when visiting the region. We recommend practising caution here during or after wet weather as there can be slips – keep your pup on lead and perhaps save this one for a summertime roadie!
Pine Valley Waterfalls, Nelson
An easy walk with a major pay-off, the Pine Valley Track leads to a stunning horsetail waterfall that flows into several swimming holes for summertime dips. If it’s a quick jaunt you’re after, this track offers great bang for your buck and once dusk hits, you’ll be guided by the light of glow worms!
Owharoa Falls, Bay of Plenty
Hidden in the heart of the Karangahape Gorge, you’ll find Owharoa Falls. With the stunning staircase waterfall, it’s the perfect place to take a break from trekking along the Hauraki Rail Trail and stop for a stunning photo opportunity. Watch for the green sign on the roadside which marks the entrance to this gem and make sure to pack your togs for a refreshing paddle with your pup!
Wentworth Valley Falls, Coromandel
A serene and stunning walk alongside the Wentworth River, the Wentworth Falls Track takes you across two bridged crossings and through native bush before climbing to the top of the falls. Either stop half way and enjoy an incredible view of the falls in all their glory, or complete the experience with a tramp to a basin at the very top. The Wentworth Falls themselves are among the tallest in the Coromandel area, at around 50m in height. While you’re there, explore the several paths that lead away from the main track to abandoned gold mines.
Karamatura Falls, Auckland
Not widely well-known, the Karamatura Falls are located near Huia in Auckland. You’ll follow a short 3.5km loop trail through picturesque bush, warming up with a relatively flat and easy stroll and ending with well formed stairs to the top. Better than squats in a gym, work the glutes and enjoy being in nature with this track – and don’t forget to document it with a snap at the top!
Seton Nossiter Park, Wellington
Nestled in Belmont Gully you will find an unmarked track that takes you to a small but magical waterfall. Halfway up the valley there is a dog exercise area where your dog is free to roam off-leash, and further beyond is a great spot with picnic tables set beside the stream. For the history buffs amongst us, you’ll also find concrete abutments of the viaduct built in 1885 by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company. At the time it was New Zealand’s biggest timber viaduct, now you can spy the remnants in regenerating bush near the main entrance at Mark Avenue, Grenada Village.
Oakley Creek Waterfall, Auckland
Rich in Maori and European heritage and with an abundance of native flora and fauna, Oakley Creek is one of Auckland’s longest flowing streams. Race sticks down the fast flowing current, and if you’re lucky you may even spot a local – the threatened New Zealand Longfin Eel. You can start your walk from Phyllis Reserve or Heron Park, but we recommend leaving prams, bikes and scooters at home as the narrow concrete path has some steep sections and stairs. After a 10 minute walk you’ll find the highest urban waterfall in New Zealand (and the only waterfall in Central Auckland!).
Newton’s Waterfall, Canterbury
Starting from Akaroa Town, take this fun walk through pretty neighbourhood streets before a quick hike takes you to a substantial reward at the end. Boasting lovely gardens, native bush and fun fence crossings, gather the kids and leash up the dog for an easy stroll. This track is deemed suitable for all skill levels so we suggest a Sunday morning with a caffeine pitstop in Akaroa thrown in the mix.
Kaiate Falls, Bay of Plenty
Only a 30 minute drive from Tauranga you’ll find Te Rerekawau, or Kaiate Falls, a pair of pretty impressive waterfalls. The first part of the walk consists of a triple tiered series, after which you will descend to a second, more dramatic waterfall into a secluded plunge pool. The main track is quite steep in some places so you’ll be happy to know both you and the pooch are able to take a cooling dip, or rest on the many ledges to admire the view for a while. However you enjoy this track, it’s a must-see when visiting the Tauranga area.
As always, don’t forget to tag @dogfriendlynz in your Instagram snaps!
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