Taitua Arboretum - Hamilton
Walk status: On-Lead
Every so often you get lucky and find some beautiful spots for dog walks. Taitua Arboretum is everything you and your dog could want for a walk and its great to see places like these are dog friendly - although if you've got a phobia of chickens this is definitely not the place for you!
Arriving at the carpark off Taitua Road, the car was swarmed with chickens. They are clearly used to the traffic and expect something as soon as you get out. My advice, be bold as you drive through, they are pretty car savvy and will get out of the way. A few of the locals quite comfortably sped into the carpark, unlike me who did a very slow crawl around some very curious chickens!
Be warned, the chickens are everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The carpark, roosting in the bushes, hanging out on the pathways, everywhere! It's clear this area would be on-lead just for the safety of the chickens and bird life that live here, so keep a watchful eye on your dog even on a lead as the chickens are still quite bold around the pathways being so used to people walking here.
The arboretum covers 20 hectares, varying from wide open spaces, small lakes to colourful gardens all connected by various pathways. The sign at the entrance says to allow 1.5 hours to walk the main track, but we spent around 40mins here and covered most of it so it really depends on how you choose to walk it as to how long it could potentially take.
We started off along the main track heading right which took us on a slight hill overlooking some of the grassy open areas then along the pathways well shaded by the trees above, dodging chickens as we went. At a few spots on the walk, it wasn't clear as to which direction to head to stay on the main track as signage is a bit limited, so George led the way and I followed. There are a couple of spots that show you where you are on the main map which is helpful to decide which way you'll keep going. At one point we also had the option of heading to Tills Lookout which is one thats been on my To Do list for a while. We didn't do it on this day, but an alternative walk could be to start at Tills Lookout, loop around the arboretum and back to make it longer. In total our 40min walk around the arboretum was just over 2.5kms.
While this place isn't an off-lead option, don't let that put you off. It's a beautiful spot and your dog will enjoy the sights and smells of this place even without running free.
Location: End of Taitua Road, Temple View, Hamilton
Things to know:
There are toilets at the main carpark, but not anywhere within the arboretum
Lots of parking available, just watch out for the chickens when you enter