Only 90 minutes from Hamilton or 1 hour from Auckland, Port Waikato is an awesome little town, right on the coast where the Waikato River meets the Tasman Sea. It’s a good size beach with no fuss, and plenty of space for dogs to play.
I took five dogs out there for an adventure this time round, and all of them had a blast. Spring (the Huntaway) is my current foster dog and is still learning about being off lead in new places, so a rainy, quiet day at Port Waikato was an ideal outing for her. Once we got past the area directly in front of the carpark, we had the beach mostly to ourselves besides the occasional car driving past, and had lots of space to work on our heel and recall as well as zoomies!
There are large sand dunes to the side of the beach, with tracks through them for exploring. I haven’t been up there myself yet, but hope to explore them sometime in the near future.
The drive out to Port Waikato is gorgeous (especially on a sunny day!) and well worth the trip. If you are wanting to make this a day trip, you could also check out the Nikau Caves Cafe and Waterfall Walk at Waikaretu (dog friendly, blog post coming soon) or Harker Reserve/Vivian Falls at Onewhero on the same day.
Toilets/Bins – Yes
Car Parking – lots, proper car park as well as road side.
Food – If you are after a coffee and/or some food before/after your trip, Sylvia’s cafe is located right by the car park and is dog friendly with great outdoor seating and water bowls available! Perfect for a hot sunny day.
Other – Always check the tides before going, as the beach pretty much disappears at high tide! Be aware that this is a shared space and there may be fishermen, horses, quad bikes and utes etc on the beach. Usually once you get past the first fifty metres from the carpark you have the beach mostly to yourself. Check the signage before you go on the beach, and be aware that there have been shellfish toxins around the area so don’t let the dogs eat anything they find on the beach.
The couple of times I’ve been there I have been approached by a few unruly but friendly dogs on the beach. This hasn’t been an issue for my dogs, but if you have a reactive dog this is something to keep in mind.