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The Best Dog-Friendly Camping Grounds In Canterbury


Camping is the perfect holiday option for dog lovers. With beaches, hiking trails and all that the great outdoors has to offer, it’s a furball wonderland out there. One of the great things about canine camping is the opportunity to get away with your pooch without having to worry about organising a dogsitter.

These days, many campgrounds and holiday parks are more than happy to accommodate man’s best friend, some even offer purpose built dog cabins. We’ve put together a list of our favourite dog-friendly camping spots in Canterbury. All you’ll need now is a tent, your pooch and a sense of adventure.

Little River Campground

Just 45 minutes from Christchurch, this little haven is the escape you and your pooch have been dreaming of. Set in the Okuti valley among five hectares of native bush and ferns, Little River Campground is a home away from home. The site was a former bird sanctuary and provides plenty for you and your canine friend to explore.

Little River has powered and non-powered sites, along with cabins and private spaces for group bookings. The campground offers free WIFI, but why spend time on the net when you are amongst such natural beauty. Dogs are allowed everywhere in the park besides the cabins as long as they are on lead and well behaved. There are plenty of great tracks for walking and bird watching. If the sun’s getting a bit hot, take your pup down to the river to cool off in the fresh running water.

More info:
Location: 287 Okuti Valley Road, Little River 7591

North South Holiday Park

Within walking distance of Christchurch and other local tourist attractions, North South Holiday Park is happy for holiday-makers to bring pooches along for their stay. The park boasts all the facilities you’d expect from a decent campground, and even has an outdoor pool. There’s plenty of space for running around and canine play, with great walks nearby on offer also.

There is no charge for dogs to stay on site, and a $10 charge, along with a refundable deposit if you are staying in a cabin. Management asks that you let them know in advance if your furry friend will be accompanying you.

More info:
Location: 530 Sawyers Arms Road, Harewood, Christchurch 8051

Leithfield Beach Holiday Park

A 40 km drive north of Christchurch, this seaside holiday park is the perfect place for furry friends to join in and explore. Welcoming dogs all year round, the campground itself is well-equipped and one of the best in the area, with shared kitchen and BBQ facilities, kids playground and outdoor pool.

This place is paradise for beach-loving pooches, with plenty of sand and surf to play all day. Kawai Riverwalk, Leithfield Beach, and the Amberley farmers market are great spots to visit in the area for well behaved dogs. The holiday park also boasts a fully-fenced powered site for your dog to have complete off-leash freedom, while the rest of the site is open to dogs provided they are on their leash and away from the facilities.

Rakaia Gorge Camping Grounds

This place is all about getting back to nature. With no power on site, it’s just you, your pup and the great outdoors. What it lacks in material comforts, Rakaia makes up for in natural beauty, with stunning river views and pristine campgrounds. This is also a well-known spot to do some stargazing in the evenings.

Despite no power to the sites, there are hot showers available, along with toilets and an undercover area for meals. Pooches are welcome, but must be on lead at all times. Thankfully there are several lovely trails and the river nearby to go for long walks and take in the serenity of this magical place.

More info:
Location: 6686 Arundel Rakaia Gorge Road, Mount Hutt 7782

Lake Taylor Campsite

This riverside campground offers you and your dog the opportunity to camp right on the shoreline. Part of Lake Sumner National Park, the campsite lies within a picturesque setting with stunning views in every direction you look. Facilities are basic but adequate, with a drop toilet, sheltered kitchen area and running water.

The campsite is pet friendly, as long as you keep your dog on leash. Lake Taylor is secluded and often very peaceful so be mindful of your pooch not disturbing other campers looking for some space and solitude. The area is an amazing place to explore by foot and there are many walks for you and your furry friend to take in the scenery.

More info:


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Pioneer Park Campsite

Located next to a stream and surrounded by forests, Pioneer Park is a pooch-friendly paradise. Part of a 390 hectare conservation area with a wide variety of native and exotice trees, this campsite is a lovely place to enjoy nature at its finest. There are 40 non-powered sites available for camping and campervans. Facilities are limited, but enough to enjoy your stay, with drop toilets and running water that requires boiling before drinking.

Dogs are welcome, as long as they are kept under control on a leash. Pioneer Park has two main walking tracks for you and your pup to enjoy, as well as historic relics to explore from the pioneers the area takes its name from. If it isn’t too cold, you can take a refreshing dip in the nearby stream that runs through the park.

More info:
Location: 1705722, Broomfield, Christchurch 8042

Alpine Pacific Holiday Park

Located in Kaikoura, Alpine Pacific Holiday Park is set amongst some world-class natural beauty. With mountains to one side and the sea to the other, this place is perfect to enjoy the great wonders with your pooch by your side. You may even spot a whale or two, if you’re lucky.

The holiday park offers pet-friendly cabins that allow for pooches and even cats to stay. Dogs have to remain on-lead around the park and away from communal areas. Aside from this, there’s plenty to take in. Nearby there are some fantastic dog-friendly beaches for you and your four-legged friend to roam and explore.

Dogs are allowed to stay at the park between February 1st and December 23rd, the summer period is too busy for dogs unfortunately.

More info:
Location: 69 Beach Road, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Timaru Top 10 Holiday Park

This dog-friendly park sits in a quiet and relaxed area a short stroll from the idyllic Caroline Bay. Dogs are welcome here year-round, with top-notch facilities on offer. There are a number of different accommodation options including studios, units, cabins and powered campsites.

The park is well-situated a short stroll from the beach and the town, where there are plenty of dog-friendly cafes to grab a coffee and snack. Close by are a number of great trails to walk with your pooch, along with points of historical interest to explore. Then, of course, there's the beautiful beaches, where dogs are allowed to roam on leash.

More info:
Location: 154A Selwyn Street, Waimataitai, Timaru 7910, New Zealand

Alpine Adventure Holiday Park

Hanmer Springs is home to the iconic thermal pools and some spectacular mountain views, as well as the Alpine Adventure Holiday Park. This place has everything you need to get amongst nature and enjoy the great outdoors. The park is spacious and set on 22 acres of peaceful tree lined land for you and your pup to take in.

Furry guests are more than welcome provided they are kept on lead and away from the shared parts of the park. There’s plenty of space to run around and play as well as dog-friendly trails to explore and take in the wonderful surroundings. Get in touch with the park ahead of your stay to let them know your dog is coming too, that way they can make sure you are set up in a pooch-friendly space.

More info:
Location: 200 Jacks Pass Road, Hanmer Springs 7334, New Zealand


Lake Tepaco is truly an extraordinary place, taking in the views here can be one of life's great pleasures. Not too far from the local township, this holiday spot offers cycling, swimming, kayaking and fishing, but don’t let your pups worry, there is plenty for them to do too!

One of the most scenic tourist spots in the country, the NZMCA park in Lake Tekapo is not only dog-friendly, it also has a fenced off dog area so your pup can make some other canine friends and play all day. The park is part of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, which has a reputation of being well maintained, with good facilities and a great community of like-minded holidayers.

Nearby Tepaco Springs and The Church of The Good shepherd are sites not to be missed.

More info:
Location: Te Araroa Trail, Canterbury 7999

There’s no better way to take in the best of what New Zealand has to offer than through its holiday parks. Camping is a perfect way to bond with your dog and keep them active and healthy. We hope this list has given you some inspiration to pack the tent and get out there with your pooch. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our tips for travelling with your dog. Remember to keep your dog safe and that every campground will have their own set of rules, so make sure to stick to park guidelines. Don’t forget the doggie bags either.

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