Campervan exploring with a dog

When we first got our pooch a Nula we couldn’t wait to get on the road and take her to all our favourite spots.

However, travelling with a dog in New Zealand is not for the faint-hearted and can come with its complications and frustrations. There are many Conservation zones within New Zealand that don’t allow dogs and we have often been caught out when trying to find dog-friendly camping spots around New Zealand. We often get asked ‘do you allow dogs in your rental campervans?’ The answer is yes! As proud owners of our Catahoula Leopard Hound - Nula we’ve travelled extensively in our campervan and we’ve got some great insights to share.

  1. Plan ahead. Know where you can and can’t camp with your dog, we’d recommend booking prior to arrival.
  2. Use a stake and cable to keep your pooch under control, whilst still providing some room to move.
  3. Bring the smell of home with their own bedding
  4. Make sure your campervan has good airflow at night, without letting mosquitos in.
  5. Dog food is expensive on the road, stock up before you leave.
  6. Avoid feeding your dog 1 hour prior to travel to avoid car sickness.
  7. Tire your pooch out before a long journey.
  8. Factor in regular stops on long journeys

By following some of these tips, we hope that you can navigate taking your dog on your campervan adventures around Aotearoa, stress & hassle-free.

  1. Plan ahead and call Campsites if you’re unsure whether they accept dogs. Some of our favourites are Earl’s Paradise on the Coromandel, Houhora Heads, and Ahipara Family Camp in the Far North. It’s so frustrating when you’re caught short and turned away due to your four-legged friend. Due to the nature of DOC sites, taking your dog may come with many stipulations & being caught out can often lead to a hefty $300 fine. Freedom camping spots are often great, but be responsible and check the local rules and regulations, especially if you’re parked up next to a beach or area of conservation.
  2. FACT - It doesn’t matter how well trained your furry friend is, most camping sites and public spaces require dogs to be walked on a lead at all times. We won’t leave home on a campervan trip without Nula’s stake and cable which you can use pretty much anywhere, sand, earth and even tie her up to the van. The one we use is a 9m cable which gives her the freedom to roam and find shade, but keep her within reach at all times
  3. Pack your dogs bedding so they have the smell of home with them (and don’t sleep on yours!). Most campervan companies charge a hefty cleaning fee so you want to minimise reasons for them to charge you extra, and excess dog fluff could be one of them.
  4. Make sure you scope out your campervan before you rent as to how much airflow it has. Having mosquito nets over the windows are also great for dogs as it provides security but allows the air to flow freely. Hot cars & dogs do not mix, don’t leave dogs unattended inside the campervan while you go adventuring and make sure you crack a window even if you’re leaving them for a short time. The AA have some good tips for safely travelling with your pet.
  5. It depends where you are travelling to in New Zealand but most local stores will not sell your dogs favourite kibble or treats. Stock up before you leave to avoid them having to eat your leftovers, as well as making sure the water in the campervan is topped up before you get on the road. Changing your furry friend's diet rapidly could land you in some doggy doo doo - quite literally.
  6. Even humans struggle with the winding roads of New Zealand. To avoid any unnecessary clean up, ensure your dog doesn’t eat at least an hour prior to the trip to avoid car sickness.
  7. If you’re anticipating a long journey make sure you tire out your pooch before a road trip. It’ll be more enjoyable for all involved if your furry friend sleeps most of the way.
  8. When planning your trip and letting your friends know of that all-important ETA, make sure you factor in regular stops for your dog. As a rule of thumb, make 15 minute stops every 2 hours or so.

Travelling with your dog can be so rewarding, especially having something warm to snuggle up with at night on those cold Southland evenings, not to mention meeting other dogs and their doggy parents. We do not charge extra for dogs to come along on your trip and only ask that you leave the campervans as you find them.

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