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Christmas in the Waikato

Visiting family over Christmas gave George and I the opportunity to explore some more areas around Hamilton and test out some more dog friendly accommodation.

We enjoyed a walk at the local park in New Plymouth, before packing up the car and heading on our overnight adventure. I wanted to try and do the drive in one go without stopping for another walk, but with a few options up my sleeve, I waited for George to get a bit restless and then made the stop.

It was Te Kuiti before we were both ready to stretch our legs, so we parked up at Brook Park, located behind Bosco Cafe on the main road. Brook Park is on-lead for doggies as sheep graze here, but its big enough for a decent walk or just a quick stopover. Bosco Cafe also has outdoor seating where dogs are welcome, so it also offers a chance for a much needed caffeine hit. I've also documented some other options for Te Kuiti from a previous trip: Te Kuiti options

After a short drive, we reached our family stopover in Cambridge. While George could enjoy the ample backyard, it was a very warm day and I decided I needed to take him for a quick afternoon cool off. Family had warned me about the dangers of the Waikato River and the strong currents so gave me a tip to visit Dominion Ave better known as Riverside Park (accessed from Williamson St) where there was a boat ramp as it was a safe spot to access the water. George and I headed down there to find just a few others enjoying the green space. The water currents are quite clear to see and you also get an idea of just how dangerous they could be. The advantage of this little spot, it at the bottom of the boat ramp driveway is a small area of water where the currents aren't strong so its mainly still water. George enjoyed a cool dip and then we headed back to the house to enjoy the rest of our afternoon.

Knowing I needed to stock up at Raw Essentials in Hamilton, id planned to stay overnight as they weren't open on Boxing Day. Searching for accommodation at late notice over the holiday period left few options for an AirBNB/bach setup, but luckily I had found a motel that had pet friendly units available. Unfortunately on updating the blog recently, the motel has advised they are no longer pet friendly.

Leaving Cambridge in the early evening, we set off for Hamilton. After dropping things off at the room, I thought we would do a final walk before it got too dark. Looking for dog off-lead options was made easy thanks to this little map provided by Hamilton Council: Click here for the map.

George and I headed to Claudelands Park, which was a hive of activity with kids at the playground and friends playing a game of soccer even at that time in the evening. With so many others making good use of the park, it was hard to find a decent area of clear space for a proper run around, but we walked the perimeter and at one point I put George on lead as I was concerned about being so close to a main road. Many others were enjoying time off lead here, and it is officially an off-lead park so do what you feel most comfortable.

After a comfortable nights sleep in the accommodation, we were up bright and early to start our day with a walk and then a visit to Raw Essentials. Knowing Raw Essentials is in Queenwood, I looked on the council map to see what options were out that way. We had visited Braithwaite Park on a previous visit (see here) so looked for somewhere new to try and saw that Day's Park was an off-lead option.

To access Days Park, we parked up at the end of Arran Road but you can also access it from River Road as there is sufficient parking at approx 775 River Road for those of you using Google Maps. Entering via Arran Road however is a small cul-de-sac so a bit safer to enter and exit the park with a dog in tow. Heading downhill the pathway leads in many directions with wide open spaces and lots of large established trees for shade on a hot day. Even at 8am in the morning it was heating up so we stuck to the main path for a while, and then headed down a short driveway at the opposite end of the park to get access to the river.

There are many points in the park where you and your dog can choose to stroll alongside the river in the comfort of the shade of the trees. Again, watching to be careful of the strong currents, your dog can enjoy a swim here before heading back into the main area of the park. The whole park is off-lead, although there is a park that sits further along the pathway which is called Swarbricks Landing which is off limits but based on the size of this place, you don't really need to venture as far as that. After George enjoyed a quick dip, we headed back up the pathway to walk up the grassy hills and enjoy a view of the park from one of the many well placed seats. We had a bit of time to kill until the shop opened so we enjoyed watching other doggies have their morning stroll before heading back to where we had parked the car. Days Park offers something for every dog, so it's well worth a visit if you're ever in the area.

After a quick stopover at Raw Essentials, where George loves to visit as he's always spoilt with treats from the lovely ladies that work there we were back in the car to head home and enjoy the rest of our Christmas break.

Places visited:

Brook Park - Te Kuiti

Riverside Park - Cambridge

Claudelands Park - Hamilton

Days Park - Hamilton

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