Man walking in the bush with his dog

Image: Sabine Bernert | ©


A guide to where you can take your dogs on public conservation lands, and the conditions of access.

Exercising your dog can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Conservation lands are places where New Zealand’s unique plants, animals and heritage are protected. Help us look after our native wildlife by taking your dog only to approved dog areas. 

Note: This is a guide. Access conditions change. Always check with the nearest DOC visitor centre for notices about dog access and track closures before you set out.

Why dog access is controlled

Our conservation land is vitally important for the survival of endangered species. Many of our native birds are flightless and have few or no defences against predation. They need as much protection as we can provide as even the most obedient, domesticated dogs and cats can reveal their expert predator instincts in the wild.

A dog is capable of sniffing out and killing a kiwi with ease and uncontrolled dogs can easily kill remaining kiwi populations. Controlling dog access also protects and respects other people’s right to use and enjoy public conservation land.

Other pets

No pets are permitted in national parks or dog prohibited areas unless express written approval is granted. In some cases other pets can be restricted from conservation land that is open to dogs. This may be for biosecurity reasons or active pest control programmes. Traps or sentry bait stations may have been set, posing an injury or poisoning risk to your pet.

If you ignore the conditions

Dog owners who take their dogs into ‘no access’ areas, controlled areas without a permit, or breach the conditions of their permit are liable to prosecution.

A dog may be seized and impounded or destroyed if it is found in a national park or controlled dog area without a permit.

When out with your dog

  • Keep your dog under control at all times.
  • A dog out of sight is a dog out of control.
  • Carry a leash and use it.
  • Ensure that your dog does not disrupt other people's enjoyment of the park.
  • Clean up after your dog.

Disease control

You can help prevent the spread of diseases.

  • If you are planning to enter or to pass across farm land with your dog you must have permission from the farm owner.
  • To prevent the spread of disease such as sheep measles and E coli you may be requested to have your dog immunised (sheep measles immunisation approximately $1.00 - $2.00 per dose).
  • Dog droppings may contain harmful bacteria or diseases that can easily spread to farm animals, so be sure to remove your dog’s waste.
  • If you are taking dogs into areas with kauri, know what to do to help stop the spread of kauri dieback
Back to top