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64 DOC campsites are now dog-friendly

NZMCA members with dogs know it’s not always easy finding campsites where both owners and their pets are welcome.

However having a canine companion doesn’t need to stop you from visiting conservation campsites. With a little bit of research and preparation, you can enjoy dog-friendly campsites on public conservation land throughout New Zealand.

There are 64 motorhome and caravan accessible DOC campsites where dogs are allowed. Read on for some of our top picks and visit the DOC website for the full list.

A few of them are detailed below

Mavora Lakes Campsite (TD #9196)

A trip to DOC’s Mavora Lakes campsite is unforgettable. Set right on the edge of North Mavora Lake, the campsite delivers tranquillity and majestic New Zealand landscapes in equal measure.

Teetotal Campsite (TD #6356)

Whatever your favourite outdoor activity, Teetotal campsite is probably near it. Boating, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, ice skating – this area has you covered.

Putangirua Pinnacles Campsite (TD #5157)

Camp beside the Putangirua stream on the south Wairarapa coast, at the start of the walk to the famous Putangirua Pinnacles rock pillars. The campsite is near the beach and has wonderful views across Cook Strait to the South Island.

Dogs on conservation land

An adventure in the wilderness is great fun for you and your dog. However, even the friendliest dog has the potential to disturb or even kill native species such as kiwi – or to get lost in the bush. Following a few simple rules keeps you, your dog and wildlife safe. 

  • Know before you go – check the DOC website to see where dogs are allowed (look for the blue dog symbols) and don’t take them to areas where dogs are prohibited. Be sure to check your local Council’s dog bylaw as well as this may contain further restrictions. 
  • Some campsites and conservation areas require a permit to bring dogs, so make sure this is sorted before you visit. 
  • Dogs should always be under control – if you don’t have perfect recall over them, this means on a leash. If your dog is off-lead, consider using a muzzle, as even the best trained dog can get over-excited when they encounter wildlife. 
  • Be considerate of other track users – not everyone enjoys a slobbery greeting! 
  • Don’t forget to take food and water for your dog. 
  • Pick up any dog poo or leftover food and take it out with you. 
  • If you want to visit conservation land often, consider enrolling your dog in an avian awareness and avoidance training programme (see the Kiwis for Kiwi website for details). 
  • Remember that our special species live off public conservation land as well – if you take your dog to beaches, you never know where a penguin or fur seal may turn up. Ensuring your dog stays close to you and you’re scanning the beach far ahead will help avoid any stressful incidents. 
  • For more information about dogs on public conservation land, including conditions for hunting dogs and disability assistance dogs, visit the DOC website or call the nearest DOC Visitor Centre.


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