Written by Mary Rean
And for the locale’s four-legged residents, the delights on offer in Ponsonby are just as rich, and some, such as walks, can give their owners a whole new perspective on the area.
Fresh air and exercise is one of those activities that most dogs love and all dogs need, and in Ponsonby there are all sorts of great pathways and rambles not far from the front door.
The Grey Lynn-Westmere loop walk explores Wellpark Reserve and Jaggers Bush Reserve, an off-leash area, goes along the creek to the harbour’s edge at Westmere Park and the end of Garnet Road, through areas with native bush and birds and views across Auckland Harbour. At low tide, you can take a short cut alongside the harbour.
Another walk explores both Cox’s Bay Reserve and Grey Lynn Park. Cox’s Bay Reserve is made up of three parks – Hukanui Reserve with the Cox’s Bay Reserve boardwalk, Bayfield Park and Cox’s Bay Park. It is a mini-paradise for dog owners with off-leash dog exercise areas, and, with children’s playgrounds and picnic sites, it’s family friendly too. Open spaces, sculptures, playing fields, creek, mangrove swamps, gullies, the bay, a field with cattle and tall mature trees can all be enjoyed on this walk.
Point Erin Park, accessed from Shelly Beach Road or St Marys Bay Road, is another off-leash area for dogs, and you can turn it into a good walk, too, if you decide to carry on down the steep steps at Jacob’s Ladder and find your way around the Westhaven Promenade to the Viaduct, or cut back up through Victoria Park, where there’s a playground and skatepark for the children. Pop into Victoria Park Village for an organic coffee and tasty home baking at Standing Room Espresso, where your pooch is welcome, too. There are tables outside and doggie bowls for refreshments.
The 7km Meola Reef Loop, starting at 171-181 Meola Road, Pt Chevalier, offers everything a dog could hope for - long grass to frisk through, a muddy, smelly (sometimes complete with health warnings) estuary, trees and a big field in which to chase other dogs. From an owner's perspective, the park is safe for dogs to be off the lead, as the area where they run freely is fenced. A word of warning though, gumboots are essential through the winter months because it gets boggy.
Although there is no café within walking distance, in the weekend a van sells coffee at the entrance close to the zoo carpark.
A gem for dogs is Western Park on the corner of Ponsonby Rd and Beresford St, Freemans Bay. It is off lead all the time but dogs must be kept away from the sports fields and playground. A bit of a hidden treasure, from the street, all you can see are a couple of buried-building sculptures and some public toilets. But paths meander down to the bottom of a landscaped valley that feels well away from the rest of the city. The park is sheltered and the steep terrain is good exercise for pets and owners, and at the right times of the year, the dog will love to scuff through piles of fallen leaves. Coffee… well, take your pick, it's Ponsonby Rd, but the cafés in Ponsonby Central, a block away, are dog friendly, and bowls of fresh water can always be found in the laneways.
Maybe you prefer a coffee without too much of a walk. In that case, choose from a selection of dog-friendly cafés in the area, just waiting for you to drop in.
Call in to Catroux at 129 West End Road, Westmere, where they offer outdoor seating and a water bowl to quench your pooch’s thirst. To round off the morning, Cox’s Bay dog park is a five-minute stroll down the road. Or there’s Garnet Station, an organic café at 85 Garnet Road, Westmere, that welcomes pooches with water bowls, and serves everything from coffee to pizza and pasta.
Herne Bay’s Dear Jervois also has plenty of outdoor seating with metal legs to tie up your dog, a water bowl at the front door and delicious food (for you). Then wander down to one of Herne Bay’s little beaches for some exercise.
Ripe Deli in Grey Lynn is also happy to accommodate your pooch with water bowls on offer. The coffee here is all takeaway, so you can grab your caffeine fix and head five minutes down the road to Grey Lynn Park, another off-leash dog exercise area.
Part way down Ponsonby Road is Dizengoff, where the outdoor seats are popular with dogs and owners who might enjoy a spot of people watching as they sip their lattes.
A tad closer to town is Allpress Expresso Cafe at 8 Drake Street, Freemans Bay. A large covered front deck features plenty of seating and space for the dog to lie down. After enjoying a coffee, wander across the road to Victoria Park.
As the evening draws in and coffee is no longer the drink de jour, it’s handy to know of a bar or two where your pooch is welcome. Nomad, at 5 Pt Chevalier Road, a local bar and eaterie, allows doggie visitors and even offers rugs and treats when needed, while Golden Dawn at 134b Ponsonby Road provides dog bowls and has a great open space where your pooch can plonk himself down. Jervois Road Wine Bar and Kitchen, at 170 Jervois Road, also has an open-door policy for dogs.
Of course, walking and drinking coffee aren’t the only essential activities for dog owners, and in Ponsonby, many of the other everyday necessities – or frivolities – for dogs are on the doorstep, or very close by.
If he’s a bit of a showoff, your dog gets a chance to strut his stuff at the Pride dog show, part of the annual Auckland Pride Festival, held in February each year, putting his best foot forward in the Best Dressed, Best Dog/Owner Look-a-Like, Biggest Dog, Smallest Dog, Best Talent/Trick or Best in Show categories.
Keeping your dog trimmed and groomed is always important and Ponsonby is well-served with groomers. There’s Barkley Manor Dog Daycare and Grooming, a state-of-the-art “manor-style” facility in Grey Lynn, which, in addition to daycare and grooming facilities, also has a specialist dog training school.
If you’re more into DIY, then Animates in Richmond Road has facilities where you can wash your own dog, and they provide a grooming and a pet adoption service through the SPCA, plus a new vet service has just opened. Petstock in Rose Road also caters to the needs of your dog and, with the Humane Society, runs a doggie adoption service every couple of months. There’s also Paw Hub Pet Grooming in Great North Road, a recent addition to the beauty scene, run by Fernanda Marangoni, who has worked as a groomer for over 16 years in salons in Brazil and New Zealand.
On birthdays and special occasions, such as after graduating from puppy school, Amy’s Secret Kitchen in Brown Street has been known to produce a special cake made up of carrots and peanut butter with a wholemeal cream cheese icing.
Fancy a spot of shopping for a good cause? Pet.kiwi at 381 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, was started by a vet and her team of vet nurses and animal rescue workers to bring new products into the market and to benefit animals. Pet.kiwi provides a free vaccination service for pet rescue shelters in Auckland, and runs adoption days and events to help find homes for rescue animals, plus a part of every purchase helps to buy vaccines.
The health and wellbeing of your dog is at the heart of Raw Essentials’ business. Located at 401B Richmond Road, the company specialises in producing a nutritious, natural, real-food diet for pets, using a mix of raw meat, bone, organs and tripe from a variety of protein sources such as wild pest species, farmed and human-grade animals.
If you’re not so keen on dogs, and have a visitor (plus their furry friend) coming to stay, The Great Ponsonby Arthotel might be just the ticket. Pets, provided they bring their own beds, are welcome at this bed and breakfast on Ponsonby Terrace.
Once your pooch is walked, fed, relaxed, trimmed and looking good, make an appointment with Furever Photography at 320 Ponsonby Road, Three Lamps. Furever is New Zealand’s only pet photographer specialising in studio portraits of pets. The team are all passionate about animals and the studio is set up to ensure that your animals feel relaxed and at home while they are being photographed. The studio portraits that Furever’s photographers take of your pets aim to capture their personality and characteristics, and are turned into works of art for you to hang on your walls and enjoy for years to come.
We're giving you the chance to win a $1000 pet portrait voucher from our friends at Furever Photography. Photographic Sessions are only $185, which gives you $805 to spend towards your artwork!
To go into the draw to win a $1000 Furever Photography studio portrait sitting for your pooch simply go to our Facebook Page then tag a friend and like our page. The winner will be announced on our Facebook page on Thursday 1st June,2017.