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Walk this way

karikariOne of the great pleasures in owning a dog is taking it for a walk. Sure, it can be a burden when the weather doesn't co-operate, but it's always worthwhile when you see that face light up and their tail wag so fast they could almost get airborne. Dogs are prone to boredom so the more variety we can provide during these walks, the better - for both of us, since a contented dog makes for an easier day.

At the weekend we try to find long challenging treks where we all get a good workout, staying fit and healthy. Here are a couple of excellent walks we've found in the Waitakere Ranges, west of Auckland.

1. Omanawanui Track - listed as 3km, 2 hrs 15 mins. Combine with the Kura track to return and you have a 4 hour loop. To quote DOC, "Omanawanui Track is regarded by many as a secret jewel in the treasure trove of tracks in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. Despite a few steep sections, the track rewards walkers with its sparkling water views out over the Manukau Bar and its mixed canopy forest." We'd second that. The views up high need to be earnt in sweat, but are inspirational.

2. Mercer Bay Loop / Comans Ahu Ahu Track (combined) - together these two tracks near Piha beach provide a 3 hour trek. Again, fairly challenging with incredible vistas. On a blustery day you and your dog will certainly get to experience the elements.

Both walks require good footwear and reasonable fitness. It's always worth checking track conditions first with DOC, especially after rain.

kuraWe feel priveleged to have access to such beauty in NZ but with privilege comes responsibility - dogs must be kept on a leash for the majority of both walks due to the presence of protected species, and use of predator traps / poison in the area. It certainly doesn't do Rio any harm to stay on his leash every now and then. Furthermore, no bins are provided along the track so take your rubbish with you when you leave.

We are always looking for great new places to take our little monster for a walk. If you enjoy any great dog walks near where you live, feel free to share. You'll make a few dogs very happy in the process.

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