Find out where you can and can't take your dog on public conservation land in South Marlborough.

You can take dogs to most DOC areas in South Marlborough, provided you have a permit and the dog is under control. This means they must not harass other people, wildlife or stock, and you must carry a lead at all times.

Why is access controlled?

Dogs can be a threat to a large variety of New Zealand’s native animals. They can disturb and harass or even kill wildlife, especially if they are not under control. Dogs are a particular threat to ground-nesting and flightless birds such as weka. These birds may desert their nests if they are disturbed by dogs, leaving their eggs or chicks to die. Dogs can also attack or intimidate people. Controlling dog access also protects and respects other people's rights to use and enjoy public conservation areas.

Dog on Mt Royal Summit. Photo: Rachael Mason.
There are many places in South Marlborough where responsible dog owners can take their dogs

Please remember that some DOC tracks also pass through private land and council land. It is your responsibility to obtain permission from private land owners to take your dog on their property, and check any conditions governing dogs on council land.

Obtaining a permit

Contact DOC's Marlborough office to obtain your permit, free of charge. You will need to provide:

  • your details
  • your dog’s registration number
  • breed and description.

Permits are normally given for all dog access areas for up to 6 months.

Dogs going into the Clarence Valley and Sawcut Gorge/Isolated Hill Scenic Reserve must have been dosed for sheep measles. This must have occurred less than 1 month but more than 2 days prior to visiting the area, and a vet’s certificate showing this carried on site.

DOC's Marlborough office periodically runs weka aversion training which reduces the number of weka killed by dogs. Contact the office to find out more:

Hunting with dogs in South Marlborough

Dog owners should be aware that there may be traps or poison laid on DOC land. This should be advised by signs in the area. The DOC website also provides information on large operations, see the latest pesticide summary for the North and Western South Island.

You can take certified disability assist dogs into controlled dog areas and you do not need a permit for any public conservation land. This includes certified dogs under training.

If you wish to use dogs while hunting you will need both a hunting permit as well as a dog permit and keep to areas where dogs are allowed. There is a limit of 4 dogs per hunting party. Dogs must be kept under control and not used for hunting until within the hunting area.

Dogs are not permitted inside or under DOC huts. Dogs are only allowed at campsites that are specified as being dog access campsites.

Access for dogs and their owners in South Marlborough  

The list below shows the areas where dogs are allowed in south Marlborough. It is your responsibility as the owner to:

  • Only go where dogs are allowed
  • Get a permit before you go
  • Ensure you dog remains under control
  • Clean up after your dog
  • Ensure you dog is registered

What if I ignore the rules?

It is an offence to knowingly kill, injure or disturb protected native species. Warranted DOC officers have legal powers to seize a dog if it is in an area where dogs are not permitted. A dog may even be destroyed if it is found injuring or distressing native wildlife, regardless of whether this occurs on or off DOC land. Dog owners whose dog commits an offence may face imprisonment for up to 12 months, or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Controlled access by permit


Mt Richmond Forest Park:

  • Mill Flat

Coastal campsites:

  • Okiwi Bay (Kaikoura coast)
  • Rarangi
  • Robin Hood Bay


Robertson Range:

  • Mt Robertson Track
  • Pukaka Track

Mt Richmond Forest Park:

  • Alpine Route
  • Northbank tramping and walking tracks
  • Wakamarina Track
  • Waikakaho Track (dogs may be taken on to the northern (Cullen Creek) end of the track with permission from the landowner, Jimmy Stuart, phone +64 3 574 2331. No dogs are allowed to be taken onto the private land at the southern (Waikakaho Valley) end of the track.

Other tracks

  • Seaward Kaikoura Range Tracks (including Mt Fyffe) - some areas restricted during lambing time
  • Sawcut Gorge/Isolated Hill Scenic Reserve (with permission from Blue Mountain Station owners and sheep measles vaccination certificate)
  • Leatham Conservation Area tracks
  • Ferny Gair Conservation Area/Black Birch Reserve (with permission from landowners for access through private property)
  • Glazebrook Conservation Area
  • Clarence Reserve (with sheep measles vaccination certificate)


  • All DOC huts within the above areas/on the above tracks.

Note that dogs are not allowed inside or under DOC huts.  Dogs must be in the kennels provided or tied up somewhere suitable outside.

Picnic and amenity areas

  • Bluegum Corner (Rarangi Beach)
  • John Chaytor Picnic Area (Pukaka Valley)

Controlled access - no access for dogs


  • All campsites except those listed in controlled access by permit


  • Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
  • Ohau Stream
  • Wairau Laggons (except hunting dogs during duck shooting season)
  • Whites Bay tracks
  • Waikakaho track (only Waikakaho Valley - southern end of track, dogs may be taken on to the northern (Cullen Creek) end of the track with permission from the landowner.


  • Rarangi Surf Club (Whites Bay)

Picnic and amentiy areas

  • All other picnic and amenity areas except those listed in controlled access by permit.
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