This guide book gives very comprehensive information on sights to see, accommodation (divided by budget), restaurants, and more. There is also a lot of interesting history, both to the country generally, and to each specific region or town. The overall effect is, however, just slightly overwhelming, having the feeling of a directory. This isn't helped by the dense print, and lack of pictures. That said, these do enable the book to have pretty compact dimensions. I wonder if, however, some of the more obscure destinations could be omitted, in order to allow more space to elaborate on the most popular sights.
For planning a visit, there is more than enough information. However, it might be hard to prioritise, because there is just so much in the book. There are five suggested tour routes, but these only get a page each. I would like a bit more guidance on prioritising where to go.
It would be nice to have more of the maps in colour.
Lonely Planet must have recognised some of these shortcomings, because it has produced a "discover New Zealand" book, which is basically a much pruned-down version of the text of this book, but with a larger, better-spaced-out text, colour maps, and colour photos of suggested highlights to visit. If you don't quite such comprehensive information as the larger book provides, you might want to consider the "discover" version instead. But both are excellent.