Monday, March 4, 2013

New Zealand's North Island by Lonely Planet

 So, it's a little difficult to review a travel guide. You really won't know how good it is until you're in the middle of your trip and find out how helpful it really was. I'll be able to supply some feedback on that in July sometime. As travel guides go, however, I think this one stacks up pretty well, though my favorites are usually Rick Steeves' guides to Europe.

Lonely Planet's guides seem to be written for a younger, hipper crowd than for a middle-aged fellow like myself. As my wife will tell you, though, I'm so that I really enjoy finding a guide that focuses on the lower end of the lodging scale, with lots of hostels, B&Bs and campgrounds listed, and not so many five star hotels. I probably won't feel bold enough to get into the radical adventure touring they feature at times, but a few excursions, like rappelling down into a cave and rafting through glow worm lit passages sounded intriguing.

The time of year we're going, winter in New Zealand, probably won't be ideal for tramping (hiking) or sunning ourselves on beaches or surfing the breaks, but we do love the coastline, and will probably spend plenty of time there, as well as visiting as many hot springs as possible. Plenty of winery tours are listed, so that should keep us occupied for a while.

One of the great things in all modern travel guides is the abundance of web sites listed, which I'm bookmarking like crazy. The only downside to this guide is that I found the maps to be a little short on detail - it really needs a larger map tucked into a pocket in back, for the big picture and overall itinerary development.

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