Discover pooch-friendly adventures in Hamilton that will tucker out four-legged family members...and adventurous kids! They can all be wrapped up in less than one hour - so perfect to escape the house and get a dose of nature.
Taitua Arboretum | West Hamilton SH23
Wander under towering redwoods, discover magical stone fairy-circles and relax with a picnic. Despite its popularity, a full car park doesn’t mean crowded paths with jostling people. Somehow everyone dissipates into the 20-hectare park so you can enjoy a peaceful stroll. The loop track has varied landscapes: pasture with inquisitive cows, woodland forests, and a very zen bamboo enclave with ponds – can you spot any frogs? Keep an eye out for cute fairy homes tucked into tree roots. And, there’s often a stash of Tron Rocks so bring some to hide, or re-home ones you find.
Need to know: Well-graded dirt paths. Suitable for walking and buggies. Allow 1 hour for a brisk stroll. Follow SH23 towards Raglan, turn into Howden Road then Taitua Road. Toilets at car park. Dogs on leads.
Legacy Park | Temple View
Explore cute wooden shacks overlooking a small lagoon on the outskirts of Hamilton. This small reserve has boardwalks that zigzag under mature trees and over bridges, before leading to an excellent playground perched on a hill. Such a cool place for a mini-adventure to blow out the cobwebs. And, its ideal for little legs as you can wrap this adventure up in half an hour.
Need to know: Concrete paths and boardwalk. Suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. No bikes allowed. Dogs on leads. Toilet available. Foster Road at Temple View.
Hammond Park | Riverlea
Kids will enjoy tearing along the boardwalk perched between cliff faces as the Waikato River surges past. Luckily when settlers arrived in the Waikato this terrace provide too difficult to clear and today remains a rich forest remnant. It is also an important wildlife corridor that allows native birds from neighbouring forested areas to feed, and is home to the tiny native long-tailed bat. A beach at the beginning of the walk makes a nice picnic spot and dogs can have a paddle.
Need to know: This easy 30 min return walk is suitable for buggies, wheelchairs and bikes. Dogs on leads. Parking is available on Malcolm Street, Riverlea.
Mangaiti Gully | Huntington
This urban gully feels isolated from the hustle and bustle of city life that surrounds it and is a popular outing for families with pooches and two-wheeled enthusiasts. It meanders through regenerating native bush and alongside Kirikiriroa Stream - youngsters on bikes and trikes will enjoy zooming along the wide boardwalks. Take a breather on the bench seats and keep an eye out for kererū/New Zealand pigeon and pīwakawaka/fantails which often flit nearby.
Mangaiti Gully Restoration Group has a long-term planting programme underway to entice more kererū/New Zealand pigeon to the area. Miro is being planted for its berries which the native bird loves. Gaps in forest coverage have been identified for miro planting, along with tawa, pigeon wood and nikau. Ultimately the group aims to develop pockets of feeding stations for the pigeon within the gully. Find out more here.
Need to know: Concrete paths and boardwalk suitable for buggies, bikes and wheelchair users. One steep hill off Keswick Crescent. Allow 45 min (about 1.2 km) for a casual stroll of the loop. An easy loop begins near 53 Keswick Crescent. After a short descent into the gully, keep turning left to return to your starting point via Helmsdale Court and a short stroll along Keswick Crescent. Dogs on leads.
Mangakotukutuku Gully & Peacockes Reserve Esplanade | Bader
Looping through the deep Mangakotukutuku Gully, this adventure includes two green-spaces enveloped by lofty trees; Sandford Park and Peacockes Reserve Esplanade. Starting from Fitzroy Avenue, a steep side-path leads down into the tree-lined gully beside Mangakotukutuku Stream. Lanky pines on the steep banks tower over the gully, providing shade along the way, while native ferns and harakeke/flax crowd the edges of the wide pathway. Cross the road when the gully pathway ends, and follow the white footpath to the end of Bader Street and into Peacockes Reserve Esplanade before crossing Peacockes Road and reentering Sandford Park. The exit to Fitzroy Avenue is near the overhanging pipe.
Need to know: The main loop has well-graded gravel and concrete paths – outdoorsy buggies will cope fine. But the short steep section is not buggy-friendly and can be avoided by parking on Bader Street. Allow 1 hour (about 2.5 km) to complete the loop. Car parks on Fitzroy Avenue and at the end of Bader Street just before Norrie Street. Dogs on leads.
Looking for more family-friendly walks? Our Hamilton & Waikato guidebook has 100+ outdoor adventures including adventures for walking, bikes, buggies and dogs. Grab a copy from PaperPlus stores here.