Most helpful positive review
Next Job is to go and Book the Plane Tickets!
on June 14, 2013
I have yet to visit New Zealand, though it is high on my list of intentions. Certainly, having read through this guide it has moved to somewhere near the top. The editors have made a huge effort to approach New Zealand from every direction so that whatever your interests and whatever the time scale you are working to, they have covered it.
The first couple of chapters are general rather than area specific and cover various 'Best of' and Favorite lists such as the Best Beaches, My Favorite Boutique Hotels, The Best of New Zealand outdoors and then general itineraries - the wine lovers tour particularly appealed to me! I guess the purpose of these sections is best viewed as being to whet your appetite. Well worth skimming through as if anything looks particularly interesting to you it may direct you to an area you would not otherwise visit.
There are then eleven sections which are area specific. There is a lot of emphasis on what is a suitable itinerary given a limited time period. Eg The Bay of Islands in 3 Days or Northland in a week. In this way you are constantly being directed towards what the editors consider are the highlights. A feature of this book is that it comes at any given area from multiple directions. For example in the case of Auckland we have Auckland with Kids, Auckland in One Day, Auckland in Two Days, Favorite Moments in Auckland, Auckland Art and Architecture, Auckland Shopping, Restaurants, etc etc.
There is a removeable map in a pouch at the back of the book. I suspect this is not large enough scale to be of practical use and will be no substitute for a proper map if you are on a fly drive tour. However, there are plenty of area maps in the text which show places of interest. The general standard of production is quite high, with plenty of colour printing throughout. I have to say this is not always the case with such guides where publishers seem to take a delight in saving a few pennies on printing.
Towards the end there are some general advice sections covering history and culture, special interest trips and essential information on planning a tour and getting around. The index appears comprehensive. My impression is that this is a very useful book. If, as in my case, you have not previously visited New Zealand, you would do best to start by scanning through the whole book and making a note of what appeals to you. Plan your itinerary according to your wish list and then read through those areas in detail and firm up the details. That's what we will be doing later this year hopefully!