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Dog friendly autumn walks for you and your fur-friend

“Do you wanna...” The ears perk up. Her tail pounds on the floor.

“.... go for a....” She’s already at the door or may have the case of zoomies from the prospect of a …

“Walk?!” Smiling at her excitement, you grab the leash and head out on your walk together.


Past studies describe dog owners’ “vicarious pleasure (that) demonstrates how dog walking can produce a shared happiness.” A common thread between all dog parents is seeing their dog’s reaction when they ask the rhetorical question, “Do you wanna go for a walk?”

But we don’t need a study to understand why dogs are man’s best friend.

Dogs add so much to our daily lives with their unconditional love, infinite loyalty, and infectious joy.

Imagine the joy we could add to theirs when we take them on holiday.

Orakei Korako Cave & Geothermal Park

For more dog-friendly inspiration for your next Taupo holiday, check out our Ultimutt Travel Guide to Taupo

Imagine how happy your pup is on the car ride to the Taupo region. Picture the stunning walks with changing leaves, serene lake views, and exciting new smells to sniff.

With these 5 autumn walking tracks in one of the most dog-friendly towns, you and your pup will both be excited to get out the door!

1. Rangatira Point Track

We mentioned the Rangatira Track in our story, but we didn’t showcase the best part!

This lakeside walk is a hidden gem for you and your fur friend.

For the energetic pups (anyone who has a collie or huskie), begin at the first carpark off Acacia Bay Road for a 1.5 km walk one-way. If your pet is a senior angel, there’s two other carparks with shorter walking distances.

Wander together through native bush with the lake right at their paws. For the dogs who can’t stay out of the water, this is heaven on earth with small beaches to swim in. Launch your paddleboard or kayak and voyage together to the Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings (a few minutes past Whakamoenga Point).

Once you get to the boat ramp, stroll an extra 30 minutes to Whakamoenga Point. The flat volcanic rocks formed for a day of enjoying the lake views and bounding from the rocks into Lake Taupo.

What to expect:

  • 30 minutes to 1.5-hour return
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • No public facilities
  • Three carparks

2. Opepe Scenic & Historic Reserve Walk

The Opepe Scenic & Historic Reserve Walk is a relatively flat loop just 10 minutes outside Taupo town. It may look like an ordinary walk through tōtara, miro, mataī and kahikatea forest.

But within the lush greenery are living pieces of the historic Opepe settlement.

Amble through a mature forest that survived centuries of storms and volcanic eruptions on the Northern Track (1.5 km). On the opposite side of SH5, the Southern loop (3km) contains remnants of rich history. Along the trail, your duo will discover pieces of the old settlement- tōtara fencing, a watering site, and a historic sawpit.

Or venture through both loops for a long morning walk then fuel back up for lunch at Replete Café & Store or any of the other dog-friendly cafes in Taupo town. For an après-hike adventure, blaze the bike trails with your trusty trail dog at Craters MTB Park or take an Ernest Kemp cruise with your best fur friend on board to the Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings.

What to expect:

  • 30-45 minutes or 1-1.5 hours return
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • No public facilities (bring water for you and your pup)
  • Carpark access

3. Waipahihi Botanical Reserve

Spring is stunning.

But autumn at the gardens cannot be missed with its flourishing trees and colors, prime picnic spots, and the sweeping views of Lake Taupo, the mountains, and Taupo town below. 

The 35 hectares of rata, flax, kauri, and hebe bring this autumn walk to life and are a favorite for local dog parents. You pass by other dog moms on walkways, themed with flowers and plants, offering an afternoon for you and your dog to get lost together in this oasis.

With lunch spots throughout the gardens with scenic views, you and your pup are spoilt for choice of picnic tables, open reserves and scenic views. Your picnic date is made easy with packed lunch options from Baked with Love or Bodyfuel Café.

Between the beautiful flora, the endless walking loops, and the panoramic views, we don’t know who will be happier!

What to expect:

  • Various walking times
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Public facilities available
  • Carpark access from the gate entrance
  • Picnic tables and seating

4. Pukawa Bay Walks

If you haven’t gotten a chance to visit the south side of the lake, you’re missing out!

Get away from the hustle and bustle and venture to the secluded holiday havens of Omori and Pukawa.

The Pukuawa Bay Loop Track is a favorite for dog parents in the area. The short inclines are worth the glorious views eastward across Lake Taupo and the remote countryside. Under the cover of native rimu, mataī and tōtara trees is where you and your fur friend will treasure the cozy beginnings of autumn.

Your best walking buddy begging for more?

In Pukawa village, Pukawa to Omori Track begins through bush right along the lake’s edge. Your pup won't know where to inspect and sniff between the pond, Omori Reserve, and the beach.

Continue through the Omori Stream to Omori for a quick caffeine break for you and a water break for your fur friend, returning via the same track.

What to expect:

  • 45-minute loop or 1.2 hr one way
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Public facilities at Omori Reserve
  • Parking access

5. Oruatua Walk

Does your dog love the water?

If you’re close to the Turangi area, you won’t want to miss this lakeside hidden gem.

At the mouth of the Tauranga-Taupo River, an easy walking loop to explore the river, native bush reserves, and stunning Lake Taupo views, is waiting for his pawprints.

The track begins with native bush and forest overhead before opening up your dog’s dream of a beach, for them to play and just be the joyful dogs that they are.

It's the perfect mix of bush, wetland, and lakeside beach on this short walk for you and your best friend.

What to expect:

  • 30-50 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • No public facilities
  • Parking Access (follow the unpaved road from Kapua Street to the lakeside clearing)

Please note to keep your pup on a lead at all times while enjoying these walks together.

I once read this quote that completely changed how I view my dog and her companionship.

“Dogs might be in just a small part of our lives. But to them, we are their whole life.”

So why not share the best life with them on your next Taupo holiday.


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