You don't have to leave your best friend at home on your next holiday, writes Megan Wood
There isn't much worse than having to drop your beloved dog off at the kennel, watching as their sweet puppy eyes absorb the sad fact that they will once again be abandoned for a week while the rest of the family enjoys a break. If you are hoping to avoid that trauma this year, why not try one of these pet-friendly campgrounds, motorhome sites and hotels in and around Auckland?
Clarks Beach Holiday Park
This hidden gem lies less than an hour from Auckland CBD and is even closer to the airport. Clarks Beach Holiday Park is a beautiful, spacious family camp on the shores of the Manukau Harbour with panoramic views of the adjacent golf course and beach. Ideally suited for leisurely holidaying, there is a children's playground on site and a boat ramp close by. The swimming is best at high tide, unless you like it muddy. For those other times the park features a shaded pool. A selection of powered and tent sites are pet-friendly, for up to two dogs, by prior arrangement. The dog sites are very popular so get in early and make sure you call ahead to check your fur-friend is welcome. There are limits of only one four-legged guest per site at select times of the year.
Clarks Beach Holiday Park, 226 Torkar Rd, Clarks Beach. clarksbeachholidaypark.co.nz
The little village of Leigh sits only 80km from Auckland City, right next to the stunning wine region of Matakana. Leigh Central is for motorhome travellers only, with dogs allowed, and is a great stopover on the way further north, or a good place to spend a few leisurely days enjoying the amazing wine, food and stunning views around this part of the Auckland region. Each motorhome site has power, water and Wi-Fi and there's a communal area and kitchen.
Leigh Central, Totara Rd, Leigh. leighcentral.co.nz
Piha Domain Motor Camp
Out at Piha, one of Auckland's stunning west coast black sand beaches at the foot of the Waitākere Ranges, is the laid back and friendly Piha Domain Motor Camp. Roughly 50 minutes' drive from Auckland CBD, Piha Domain Motor Camp is great for families or keen surfers who don't want to leave home without their puppy pal. Perfectly situated, this campground is just a stone's throw from the beach. The open campground is for tents and motorhomes only. Well-behaved pets are welcome, but they need to be on a lead or well within the owner's control at all times. The attitude towards pets is very welcoming and they have even had cats on leads from time to time.
21 Seaview Rd Piha, Auckland. pihacamp.com
Muriwai Beach Campground
Muriwai, renowned for its big surf and black sand, is a must-visit for anyone travelling in and around Auckland. This spacious campground lies right next to Muriwai Beach and is surrounded by the lush greenery of Muriwai Regional Park. Muriwai Beach is not for the faint-hearted, being one of the rougher west coast beaches, but there are plenty of safe activities for the kids, including horse rides along the beach (subject to availability and seasons). The campground offers powered and unpowered sites for your motorhome or tent. There are fully equipped kitchen and shower blocks, toilets and a communal barbecue area. This stunning spot allows well-behaved dogs by request.
451 Motutara Rd, Muriwai, Auckland. muriwaibeachcampground.co.nz
If the weather turns against you or you find that camping is not for you or your pooch, these pet-friendly hotels and other accommodation options will be your lifeline.
Opening its doors in November the QT Auckland will be joining the hotel chain's other pooch-friendly locations in Wellington and Queenstown. QT confirms that their "Pup yeah" initiative is "specifically for pets of the pooch variety" is only for dogs under 20kg and they are only allowed to sleep on the dog bed provided.
4 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland CBD. Inquire online qthotels.com/
Just over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, in the leafy inner-northern suburb of Birkenhead you will find Fernglen B&B. Surrounded by bush and looking out to Waitematā Harbour this boutique B&B has just two rooms with a shared bathroom between them. This is one for the nature-lover who loves to go on rambling walks with their beloved K9 after a big home-cooked breakfast. At the end of the day you can curl up with a book from Fernglen's library while sitting on the deck taking in the expansive harbour views. There is also a sauna.
33 Hebe Place, Birkenhead, Auckland. Inquire online fernglenbnb.co.nz
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com