Sadly, pet friendly accommodation in New Zealand is lacking.
Our canine friends are a big part of our lives. We forge strong and close bonds with them. Being separated from them can cause anxiety on both sides.
But unlike France and other parts of Europe, most New Zealand hoteliers do not embrace our canine companions, despite more than half a million dogs registered around the country.
Having explored the Auckland market, I realised the regions in New Zealand are better serviced than the cities. I could only find two pet-friendly establishments close to Auckland's CBD and none of the big name hotels wanted a bar of me and Brookie, my west highland terrier. The Langham, Sofitel, Sky City and the Stanford Plaza all declined my reservation request when I tried to book a room with Brookie.
So I decided to go on a roadie with my terrier to the Bay of Islands. The pickings were slim and there was a distinct lack of top-notch digs for dogs, apart from some apartments in Paihia. Although no five-star hotels or luxury lodges welcomed pets, some holiday parks and motel-type accommodation did.
This is what we found.
Edgewater Palms Apartments
The Edgewater Apartments in Paihia are on the waterfront and are modern, beautifully appointed and just a few hundred metres from the buzz and restaurants at Paihia wharf. This was by far the best we found and more pet friendly accommodation of this calibre is needed.
It was reassuring to see the management so trusting of dog owners, issuing no rules. They request you ask before bringing your dog, as they only allow small ones.
Aloha Seaview Resort Motel
This Paihia motel welcomes small and medium dogs. Three were in residence when we visited. With a number of different styles of accommodation, it pays to call in advance so they can ensure you have the best accommodation to meet you and your dog's needs. They ask you to keep your dog on a lead in communal spaces and bring its bedding, food bowl and food. The beach, just five minutes away is a great place for your dog to run, swim and explore.
Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park
The owner of the Orongo Bay Holiday Park, Angela, describes the the place "as a bit quirky", with an eclectic group of buildings including cottages, cabins and lodge rooms dotted over the spacious property.
Parts of the Bay of Islands are renowned for their kiwi populations and the holiday park is in a weka and kiwi protection zone. Angela is adamant that dogs can exist with kiwis in semi-urban environments as long as they are controlled. We were made to feel very welcome and were encouraged to visit the back of the property where the kiwi reside in the low scrub and we saw one.
A couple of permanent residents live in the park, so dog sitting can be arranged ensuring you can enjoy non-dog friendly activities, such as cruise to the islands.
Bay of Islands Holiday Park
This holiday park in Paihia was beautifully maintained with campervan sites among an olive grove and apartments at the back of the property.
They welcome dogs, but insist they not be left alone.