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Waiheke goes to the dogs

Vicki Angland encourages all pups to jump on the ferry with their human to enjoy the gorgeous dog-friendly island of Waiheke during the 2022 Waiheke Walking Festival, 10-20 November. She gives dogs a rundown on the walks they can take part in.

Photos by Paul Dyson

The ECOPODS Te Whau Coastal Walk is a wonderful hilly wander around some tracks your human might not find if they’re not a local. Discover the beautiful Kaukarau Reserve, stunning views from Te Whau Ridge and walk back along the undulating coastline. Because of the little blue penguin nests along this track, your human will have to keep you on lead.

The first weekend holds a new walk on the lesser known Musson Track. This is especially for families with kids and dogs, and involves some walking and talking, so patient pups only please! This walk is run by local Sally Horwood and her crew from Waiheke Ratbusters. There will be an opportunity to look at the many pest control devices along this walkway, such as stoat traps, rat bait stations and monitor tunnels. You’ll help collect the ink cards with critter footprints, get to ask all sorts of questions, and look out for wildlife along the way. What fun.

There’s the amazing WAIHEKE WALKING TRUST Storytelling Walk which is completely set in the dog-friendly Onetangi Sports Park. This very special walk will have you circumnavigating the Rangihoua Pā site, through park grounds, fields, wetland, a golf course and bush trails. Stories and a map are downloadable when you register for the walk. Your human can listen to wonderful locals telling the stories about the area as you scamper about in the undergrowth.

There is an opportunity to walk one of the best parts of the 100-kilometre Te Ara Hura track, with a special addition. The SCARECROW Palm Beach to Oneroa Walk begins at one of the island’s best beaches, and is guided by knowledgeable local and Patron of the Festival Paul Dyson. As an amazing treat, Paul will guide you and your human up through his own piece of paradise that is in the Mawhitipana Valley. He will tell you about the amazing restoration efforts made by locals and volunteers as you venture along this stunning north side of Waiheke. This is an on-lead adventure for you.

The GLOWING SKY Oneroa to Palm Beach Walk will take you through the same quiet roads, tracks, beaches and valleys but in the opposite direction. After this walk, there’s an option to join fellow walkers for a casual meal at Arcadia Café Restaurant.

Last but certainly not least is the FULLERS360 Dog Friendly Walk from Matiatia to Oneroa Village, via Mokemoke Pā site and Owhanake Bay. This stunning coastal path takes the scenic route from Matiatia around the coast to Cable Bay (not the winery) and Owhanake Bay, and on to Oneroa village. The track passes the historic Mokemoke Pā site, the multimillion dollar homes dotted around the coast, and dips in and out of tranquil unpopulated coves and bays.

You need to be on-lead for parts of this, but it’s worth it getting to the bays - especially Owhanake. Owhanake is a shingle beach and grassy reserve where you can go wild. The walk usually takes about two hours, but it will take way longer if you love to swim and refuse to get out of the sea.

More information
  • Sign up to the Waiheke Walking Festival newsletter at Bookings are open to register for walks from 3 October 2022.

  • The walks have named sponsors which help fund the festival and keep many of the walks free of charge, although some do have a small fee to cover associated costs such as food, wine and transport. Most of the dog-friendly walks are free!

  • Dogs travel for free on Fullers360 ferries.

  • The Waiheke Island bus company will let dogs travel with their human on the bus. Of course, this is at the driver’s discretion, and will need to be on best behaviour!

  • The main beaches of Oneroa, Palm Beach and Onetangi are dog friendly and off-lead from 2 March until 30 November. At other times, i.e. over summer, they are off-lead before 10am and after 5pm.

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