Sharon Fong has been greeting creatures great and small – from Chihuahua puppies to Great Danes – at her clifftop Snells Beach bach, Ferndale Cottage, for the past three years. She now has a continuous stream of pet owners wanting to stay at the north Auckland property which has views over the waters of Kawau Bay from the top of the section, and 1.8-metre-high fences to keep even large dogs contained.

Living nearby, Sharon ensures she meets and greets all her canine and human guests on their arrival.

“We’ve never had a problem with any of the dogs,” says Sharon. “Guests are asked to leave the bach as they found it but I always go over it thoroughly when they leave. Ninety-five percent of people are really good and the bach never smells of dog. The people who bring their dogs are responsible and look after them.”

Owners are asked to pick up their dogs’ droppings and keep the gate shut to prevent unruly escapades by escapees. One animal-loving couple not only brought their two dogs to Sharon’s bach but also a cat and a pet bird!

“The cottage was immaculate after they left but I don’t want to encourage cats as we have a lot of bird life here,” says Sharon, who enjoys walking her chihuahua-foxie cross on the off-leash beach below the property. Take the walkway next to the property and it’s just one minute to Snell’s Beach’s eastern end. At low tide you can walk to the white stand of the western end of Snells or in the other direction, Algies Bay.

Off-lead at Ohope

Jane Fedo, the owner of one of the Whakatane region’s few fully fenced, pet-friendly holiday homes, permits pets inside her fresh and funky bach. It’s one block back from the 11km long Ohope Beach, where dogs can, at set times, run off-lead.

The two-bedroom, freshly painted house has a big tiled bathroom where dogs can sleep, and if you need to leave your pets while you go out, there’s a double garage on the property. Jane asks that doggie droppings are scooped up and disposed of in plastic bags, and likes pets to be kept off the new furniture and beds. “As the area is residential it is important your dogs don’t cause a noise nuisance with excessive barking,” says Jane, who has a golden retriever.

With a one-metre high fence, this property keeps small dogs safe on the section and they can also be contained on the sunny balcony.

Twenty minutes east of Ohope at Ohiwa, Hugh Douglas’s original ‘50s bach is a welcoming spot for dogs tired out from running on the area’s many miles of deserted dog-friendly ocean beaches. This is a true canine paradise! A friendly Lab next door will enjoy the company of your pooch while you sit back with a Chardonnay and enjoy the sunset over the water.

Half of those renting this two-bedroom clifftop retreat are dog owners. You can relax with your pooch inside as furnishings and floor coverings are older, it’s clean and there are plenty of games, books and memorabilia for rainy days.

What to expect from a pet-friendly pad

Pet friendliness comes in varying degrees, from the likes of Sharon Fong, who even provides a doggie blanket for the comfort of pets on the couch, to Opotiki’s Des Draper, who is cool hosting “handbag- type dogs” due to his Opotiki clifftop holiday home’s polished floorboards.

Ask the bach owner for the rules of the house for dogs, so you know exactly where your pet can go and what’s expected of you. While some owners welcome dogs inside; others may stipulate they need to be kept outside. Don’t expect all baches to have full dog fencing; check with the owner before you book.

Check if there is a suitable place to leave your dog if you go out without your pet. As dogs can sometimes behave differently at someone else’s house, it may be best to leave your dog in one room – such as a tiled bathroom or a locked garage.

What’s expected of you

Even though you’re on holiday, you’ll need to dedicate time to walk and play with your dog so they don’t go psycho in someone else’s house! A content pet is a well-behaved pet.

Open communications with any close neighbours so they can easily let you know if your dog is disturbing them.

Unless otherwise agreed, leave the bach as you found it, or even a bit cleaner than when you arrived. This includes cleaning your dog’s slobber off windows, thoroughly vacuuming and double checking for pet hairs. The next guests may not be used to pets, and may even have allergies to them.

Before you go on holiday

  • Ask the owner for their house rules for dogs.

  • Check the council’s off-leash areas and times in the area you’ll be visiting. A simple Google search with the name of the council and “off leash dogs” should bring you to the right page. If you’re going to a Department of Conservation area, check its website as dogs can be prohibited from these areas.

  • A week before your break, trim your dog’s nails so they’re less likely to scratch floors and furniture.

  • Worm and de-flea your dog.

How to find a pet-friendly pad

  • In the “Find a bach” section of this page, select the region and location you wish to search. This will bring up all the baches in this area with a “Pes ok ” tick.

  • Some listings have details on what is available for pets; if they don’t, check with the owner before renting.

More info

See pet-friendly baches around New Zealand >