New Zealanders love their dogs and most of us would do anything for them.
This is evident in the rapid growth of doggy daycare centres popping up in recent years, allowing busy dog parents to drop their fluffpots off for a day of running, sniffing, and tug-o-warring with like-minded canines. It’s obviously a win-win for both species, as evidenced by the numerous video montages of dogs dashing to the daycare doors and checking themselves in for the day; in some, mum or dad just waves from the car and drives off.
But what to do when you want to holiday WITH your furry best mate? Well, you pack up the doggy gear and head to Rotorua to check out all the dog-friendly places within minutes of the city centre.
Firstly, book your accommodation and Pampered Pet Package (pictured above) at Jet Park Hotel Rotorua. In your pet-friendly room, your fluffy will find a pet bed and blanket, dog bowls, a treat and toy. There’s even an outdoor pet wash station so you can tidy up Fido if he gets a bit dirty frolicking in the forest. The dog-loving staff will also happily provide you with info on all the places you can go for playtime, walkies and schnacks.
With Jet Park being so centrally located, it’ll be a snap to get to the best places for exercising Ella, including areas where she can be off lead, as long as she’s dog-friendly and well socialised, and you still have full control over her. One of the locals’ favourites is the lush, forested Scion research park where dogs can run and play at will, and even jump into the river.
Alternatively, keep Lupe (that's actually local legend Lupe pictured above) on his lead and cross Tītokorangi Drive (formerly Longmile Road) to the famous Whakarewarewa Forest (aka The Redwoods) if you prefer tracks that are well manicured and clearly sign-posted. There are toilet facilities here for humans, and rubbish bins for doggy doo bags ('cause we know you’re responsible like that!).
Trail dogs that are trained to stay with you at all times are welcome to join you on the mountain bike tracks, and there's a fantastic place nearby to meet up with friends for nibbles, a few drinks, and a leg-soothing shinny dip (as demonstrated above) after you and Bart have been out for a blat on the bikes. Secret Spot Hot Tubs is not only a mountain bike friendly place, but they also welcome four-legged customers to hang out too. Just be prepared for extra pats and ear-scratches for your buddy.
When it comes time for a nosh, there are some great cafés that love to see canine customers as much as the human sort. Walkable from the Scion research park, and at the end of Tītokorangi Drive (formerly Longmile Road), you’ve got Eastwood, located on the Scion campus. Great for a delicious wood-fired pizza for you and house-made Puperoni treats for Poppy.
Heading the other way up Tītokorangi Drive and crossing Tarawera Road, you’ll find both Sequoia Eatery and Good Eastern Taphouse. The former is fantastic for breakfast, a great coffee and slice, or lunch. The latter is perfect for lunch or dinner, and, as their name implies, cold liquid refreshments on tap. Both places have tie-up stations with water bowls for parched pups right next to where you’ll be dining.
On the other end of town, overlooking Lake Rotorua, is Terrace Kitchen. Just nip in through the side door where you’ll find a gorgeously grassy courtyard with cosy tables tucked under umbrellas and a breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner menu featuring innovative and seasonal delights, Atomic coffee, specialty cocktails and an excellent range of wine and beer. If you and Lola loved Eastwood, Terrace Kitchen may evoke a certain déjà vu due to the signature clean and sophisticated yet cosy decorating style of the owners of both of these establishments.
Last, but certainly not least, is Guidough’s Bakery on Springfield Road. This tiny takeaway offers gorgeous freshly made sourdough breads, cinnamon scrolls, quiches, filled donuts, savoury pies and amazing sandwiches on fresh focaccia rolls – just perfect for breakfast or lunch on the go when Charlee is chomping at the bit for another run. There’s a little spot to tether her just outside the door, and a water bowl as well.
Who's a good girl??