Sanders Reserve

Sanders Reserve is 10 minutes out of Albany, Auckland. Here there is a large off-leash area for dogs with estuary access and some days there are filled water bowls( weather dependent). There is also a play ground for children, bike trails, horse trekking trails and further on-leash areas to walk your dog. After dusk there is a great view of the city lights.

Car parks are at the top of the hill by the playground however if you want to park closer to the dog off-leash area, you can park in the turn around at the end of the road.

Make sure to bring doggie bags!


Cascade Falls

On Aucklands west coast, out in ‘the wops’ you will find this very secluded waterfall.

The last stretch of the road is unsealed and you will park up emersed in the giant grassy area. From here it is a 40 minute round trip to the waterfall.

Reaching the waterfall at the end of the track requires you to navigate across a few large rocks, you will start to see the bottom of the waterfall however if you want to see it all you will need to hop into the pool and swim around the corner, making it a real adventure.

It is very uncommon for this waterfall to get busy so enjoy it while it lasts.

Kite Kite Falls

Kite Kite Falls is just a short drive from the well-known, New Zealand, surf beach Piha.

Here there is a car park that will get very busy in summer. Before you start The track there is a small picnic area and tap to wash your feet under. The track to the waterfall is 30minutes there and 30minutes back. Dogs are allowed so long as they are under control of the handler. Once you arrive at the waterfall there is very little space out of the water especially when it is packed in summer. However there is a medium sized pool under the waterfall that is suitable for swimming in.

Matapouri Bay and more

Matapouri Bay is just out of Tutukaka in Northland. You will be greeted with crystal clear water, white sand and some moderate waves. If you walk left and keep walking you will find a sign and a track leading you to the ‘mermaid pool’. The track is steep and will take you about 30minutes but it is definitely worth it for one of New Zealands top natural wonders. If you do plan to go to the mermaid pool, check the tide before hand as you will want to go when the tide is low so it is not dangerous. In Matapouri is the local dairy where you will find large, scooped ice cream at $1 per scoop. A true Kiwi’s favorite.

Owharoa Falls

These falls are perfect for a pit stop on your road trip. Just a 1 minute walk from the road or 20m off SH2 at Karangahaki.

The trail will take you to the bottom of the falls and greet you with a larger pool which is perfect for swimming. There is only a small area of land around the waterfall and can get popular over summer.

Near by is a cycle track and/or walk that will take you parallel to the gorge, through ruins and over the famous bridge and into the tunnel( Hauraki Rail Trail Tunnel, 1km long). Also near here is the old Karangahaki gold mines which you can explore, take a torch.

Wentworth Valley Camping and Falls

Just 7km out of Whangamata( a kiwi summer holiday spot) is the Wentworth Valley waterfall and campground.

Wentworth Valley road has 5km of gravel and a small stream crossing. At the end of the road there is parking space.

From here it is a 2 hour return track to the VERY tall waterfall. The track follows parallel to the river/stream with some bridges you will need to cross. At the end of the track there is a look out where you will be able to see two teirs of the fall and a small, tourist-made track leading to the bottom of the waterfall where there is a lovely pool to swim in. The water will the very cold as the pool is mostly shaded by trees.

The low price campground has 60 non-powered sites at $13 per adult per night, $6.50 per child per night and 0-4 year olds are free. There are toilets here. In the peak season you will need to book a campsite by contacting the manager.

Omeru Reserve and Falls

Hidden in the rural area of Waitoki on Auckland’s North Shore is this hidden gem.

Omeru falls consists of three separate waterfalls, a large picnic area, public toilets and a chicken inhabited car park.

It is about a short 10-15 minute walk from the car park to the main waterfall, at this waterfall there is a trail that will take you to the base and another trail taking you around the pool and to the top of the fall where there is a spot to jump off.

The picnic area has multiple concrete picnic tables and a large grass area.

There is a dairy and takeaway shop a few minutes before you will reach the reserve.

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