When we were considering living full time on the road we had a few concerns about whether our dogs would adapt. We also wondered if they’d create some challenges. However, we needn’t have worried as they have been absolutely amazing and love their new gypsy lifestyle. With lots of new places to explore, new smells, different rivers to swim and new people to meet, by the end of the day they’re exhausted.

Places that allow dogs have been fantastic. Murchison is a great pet-friendly village. We stayed at an NZMCA park, right in town. And managing three dogs was easy, especially with the use of mobile dog fencing. It only takes a few minutes to put the enclosure together and provide an area where the dogs are contained.

Portable dog enclosures are quick and easy to assemble

We found several dog-friendly walks – most request that dogs are kept on a leash. A favourite was the River Walk, which is only five minutes out of town. It’s an easy walk beside the Matakitaki River. After following the track through the bush the dogs enjoyed cooling off in the river.

The next dog-friendly place we stayed was Hanmer Springs. The NZMCA park is beside the Hanmer River, and across the road is the Hanmer Reserve. It’s an area where dogs are allowed and provides a pleasant walk beside the Hanmer River. It was perfect for our water dog ‘Paddy’ our Irish Water Spaniel. As you’d expect, water is one of his happy places, so it was easy for him to spend a couple of hours playing in the water, chasing after stones we threw in for him.

After leaving Hanmer we drove a short 40 minutes south to the Balmoral Reserve, just out of Culverden, before the Hurunui bridge. It’s a large, popular reserve that’s also pet friendly. A couple that were caravanning beside us had two small dogs, and also a cat that confidently and happily went for walks on a harness. Balmoral Reserve is paradise for dogs. The well-maintained grounds have large grassy areas with lots of trees for shelter and shade. And bordering the reserve is the Hurunui River – a popular river for swimming and fishing.


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