Good travel books can be an essential ingredient for trip preparation as well as a ready reference while on the road. Though there are other travel books on New Zealand, the three below were the ones we used for planning our trip. We ended up packing them all, and used them almost every day as we roamed around the country.
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This guide presents a visual tour of New Zealand. Every page has multiple color photographs so I recommend it to the visually inclined, like myself. The images got me psyched for the adventure ahead. This book is packed with information. As most guide books do, it begins with an overview of NZ including the landscape, flora & fauna but also featuring architecture, National parks & reserves, Maori culture & art, NZ artists & writers, wines, and sporting events. The bulk of the book divides NZ into seven areas with excellent street maps of the major downtown areas and roads maps of interesting areas with suggestions of what to see and do. Geared toward culture more so than off the beaten path adventure. A small guide that easily fits in a purse or day pack.
Our first time using a National Geographic guide book. The author devotes a good 50 pages to the history of NZ and the Maori culture with perspectives of the two islands in terms of the arts & literature, food & drink, and land & landscape. He then divides the two islands into nine areas and interweaves history, interesting facts and tips throughout the book in sidebars. This is a medium size book that’s easy to pop in a day pack. There are color photographs but they are small and fewer than might be expected from National Geographic.
Fodor’s was a gift from a good friend. Due to it’s size we were not planning to bring it along. Once in hand we appreciated all the detail and information it contained so we packed it as well, knowing that traveling by car made it a little easier to have extra stuff.
Other New Zealand Travel Books
Other guide books for New Zealand worth checking out include: New Zealand Driving Holidays, Footprint New Zealand, Frommers New Zealand, Lonely Planet’s New Zealand (Country Guide) or Lonely Planet’s New Zealand’s South Island (Regional Guide).