New Zealand’s 6 most pet friendly staycations to visit in 2020

We've picked our favourite pooch friendly rural retreats so you can enjoy some quality time with your furry family member.



A perfect holiday is one that the whole family can enjoy together, but often hotel policy means our four-legged friends get left at home.


We've picked our favourite pooch friendly rural retreats so you can enjoy some quality time with your furry family member in the great New Zealand countryside.


1. TAUPO


Taupo is a small town that is absolutely packed with beautiful sights, attractions and activities. It is defined by the sparkling waters of Lake Taupo, which is framed by the spectacular volcanic mountains of Tongariro National Park. There are plenty of places to explore, including walks alongside the Waikato River and Huka Falls downstream of the lake. There's a good reason why Taupo is adored by locals and visitors alike.



Stay. Cascades Lakefront Motel is a multi-award winning motel situated right on the waterfront, with the most spectacular views. After a long day exploring, you can take a dip in their heated swimming pool or spa, or cook up a feast on one of the BBQs. The motel is set in spacious grounds with plenty of room for your pooch to play.


Eat. There is no shortage of options for foodies in Taupo, whether you're after fine dining or fish and chips on the lakefront. Check out The Brantry, which is owned and run by two well known Taupo sisters, Prue and Felicity Campbell. You can enjoy top quality New Zealand cuisine, using the best local produce - all in the stylish, intimate surroundings of their recently refurbished original 1950s town house.


Walkies. Take a stroll along the Huka Falls tracks. You can take a scenic walk along the banks of the Waikato River, or simply explore the many lookout points at Huka Falls, one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand.


2. NELSON


The oldest city on the South Island, the Nelson region is also the sunniest! Known for its stunning landscapes, rugged mountains and golden beaches, it has also gained a reputation for being New Zealand's creative mecca. With one of the largest numbers of working artists and galleries in the country, you’ll find an array of craftspeople living in the region.



Stay. Heights House at The Cliffs is just a little bit special. The luxury B&B is located at the top of a cliff overlooking the Tasman Sea. There is a path and stairs around the corner from the house that allows you to access the ocean where it is just a short walk to Tahunanui Beach.

Eat. Founders Café is the place to visit for local award winning craft beer and cider straight from the tap. There is also a full a la carte menu with hand crafted food, quality barista made coffee, daily baking and welcoming service. All situated within the unique grounds of Founders Heritage Park.


Walkies. Tahunanui Beach is a great spot for dog walking and exercise and no leads are required. The golden sands provide plenty of space for exploring.


3. CHRISTCHURCH


Christchurch is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity. The city is constantly evolving, always giving locals and visitors something new to explore. Expect street art and innovative projects, a bustling hospitality scene and established green spaces.



Stay. Fino Hotel and Suites was the first pet friendly hotel to open in Christchurch, right in the heart of the historic CBD. Two special suites are allocated as pet friendly, a Penthouse Suite and a Fino Suite. Both are spacious and refined - much larger than a regular hotel room - with all of the mod cons, along with some unique touches. Pet beds and feeding bowls can be provided free of charge on request.


Eat. A mainstay on every best restaurant list, Twenty Seven Steps is situated upstairs on picturesque New Regent Street. The heritage space is popular—and for good reason. It serves hearty, flavoursome meals made from locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients.


Walkies. The hills around Christchurch are littered with walking tracks that provide endless perspectives down into Diamond Harbour, over to Banks Peninsula, and out over the Canterbury Plains. Top picks for doggy walks include the Mount Vernon Farm Track and the Godley Head Walkway.


4. QUEESTOWN


Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most exciting destinations. Surrounded by towering mountains, positioned on the edge of a lake, Queenstown is a hub of adventure, thrumming with adrenaline and an omnipresent sense of fun.



Stay. For something a little different, rent a Quirky Camper! You might choose Mahara, a glorious campervan that, even with the stunning Queenstown countryside literally on your doorstep to explore, you might struggle to leave. The warm and inviting space is like a Scandi style log cabin on wheels. If that doesn't float your boat, there are several more campers available from Quirky Campers in Queenstown, each with their own wonderful personalities and features. Each one is 100% pet friendly.


Eat. You will never struggle for food choices in Queenstown - the region is widely celebrated for its fresh produce and wonderful Central Otago wines. Amisfield Bistro is well worth a visit. Head Chef, Vaughan Mabee currently holds the spot of top chef in the country, after being recognised in the 2019 Cuisine Good Food Awards. The menu changes frequently but expect a stunning representation of New Zealand food culture, delivered flawlessly, showcasing ingredients at their best alongside intriguing local artisan products.


Walkies. There are loads of trails in and around Queenstown that are dog friendly. Jacks Point, the Fernhill Loop, Queenstown Hill, or simply along the long shore of Lake Wakatipu. The playing fields in town are also dog friendly if your mate needs some off-leash time.


5. MATAKANA


The picturesque Matakana region is a foodie's heaven known for its weekend farmers market, boutique food shops and spectacular vineyards.



Stay. On Point is a gorgeous Kiwi holiday home in Point Wells, a peaceful garden village that is part of the stunning Matakana coastal region. An easy ten steps from the waterfront, it's the ideal place to sit back and enjoy the harbour views or get out and have fun kayaking, swimming or canoeing through the calm waters. Boat parking and a jetty is also available.

Eat. Rothko is an award-winning fine-dining restaurant situated on a 25-acre Matakana property, which also features a winery, galleries and the popular Sculptureum Gardens. Indulge in lunch or dinner with a glass or two of local wine before spending some time admiring the impressive collection of artworks from around the world.


Walkies. Omaha Beach, which is just around the corner from Point Wells and Matakana Village is known as one of the most dog-friendly beaches in Auckland. The beach offers 4km of perfect white sands - and there is even a cafe next to the carpark so you can sip on your favourite coffee while you're walking.


6. MANGAWHAI


Mangawhai, also known as Mangawhai Heads, is nestled between the Pacific coast and rolling farmland. You’re offered a choice of seaside experiences here – a surf beach on one side and safe harbour beaches on the other.



Stay. The Glass House is a north facing, 2 acre property boasting one of the most spectacular locations in Northland. The entire 33m length of the North face is floor to ceiling windows and every room in the house opens out onto one of the largest decks in Mangawhai.


Eat. You can't visit the region without dropping in on Bennetts of Mangawhai in Mangawhai Village. Attached to the famous chocolate shop is their popular cafe, which serves freshly made pastries, sweets and a seasonal menu showcasing local produce. Treat yourself to a signature hot chocolate and famous cinnamon brioche in their Mediterranean-style courtyard.


Walkies. There are a few dog-friendly walking tracks in the Mangawhai Community Park, including Paul's Track, which is a one hour loop, and Last of the Summer Wine, which runs directly through the park. The tracks are mainly in mature kanuka and have numerous linkages between them. You are also allowed to walk your dog on some areas of Mangawhai Heads Beach - a superb spot for a run!