Need to blow the cobwebs off you and your pooch? Let him loose in these dog-friendly parks around Auckland.
1. Pt England Reserve, 254 Pt England Rd, Pt England
Forty-one hectares of rural grazing and coast on the edge of the Tamaki River bordering Pt England and Glen Innes should mean plenty of workout for those with four or two legs. There are lots of entry points to the reserve, which has a specific dog exercise area, or join the Point to Point walkway if you want to enjoy a longer excursion.
2. Macleans Park, 67 Macleans Rd, Pakuranga
With wide open pastures and planted gullies, not to mention the beach hinterland, Macleans Park in Auckland's eastern suburbs is the largest in the area. You can enjoy the great sea views on offer while pooch gets the wind in his ears, and there are well-maintained pathways for the times when you need to keep your feet dry.
3. Taipari Strand, Taikata Rd, Te Atatu Peninsula.
Located on the sheltered western side of Te Atatu Peninsula, the Strand has meandering walkways and great grass areas to work on your throwing skills. There's even a boat ramp that launches into Henderson Creek (but keep pooch on a leash here).
4. Waiatarua Reserve, Grand Dr, Remuera
Water dogs love this park - there's a communal pond to swim in, plus the edge of a central wetland to jump in and out of the mud. There's even a bit of bush for them to run through. Your only mission will be suppressing your retriever's instinct to fetch the ducks.
5. Shepherds Park, John Bracken Way, Beach Haven
Great for a social outing, this park is famous for its "doggie playgroups" of enthusiastic owners and their four-legged friends. At quieter times you can walk across the park's spacious fields and down to the water so your pooch can take a dip and cool down if he needs to.
Doggie dos and don'ts
Off-leash means still under control - make sure you can see your dog at all times. And if he can't obey voice commands, he's not ready for off-leash.
Carry your leash at all times - be prepared to re-leash the minute you spot trouble coming.
Know your dog - if the park shares space with farm animals, keep your dog away and obey the farmer's signs.
Dogs must be leashed within 10m of any kids' playground, and stay away from sports grounds too.
Clean up - carry that bag and be prepared to scoop the poop, even in the wide open spaces of a beach or paddock.