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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent information
We had space for both this travel guide and its best known competitor and I have to say that what set this book apart from its rival was its wealth of additional information (without being inaccessible). It describes the highways that you travel down to particular places so that you know if there are interesting landmarks to stop along the way. The passages about local...
Published on 4 Jan. 2011 by Shoe

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does this mark a wrong turn for Rough Guide?
Having used Rough Guides extensively in many countries, the seventh edition of the 'The Rough Guide to New Zealand' (2010) is something of a disappointment. Yes, of course the quality does vary from one country guide to another, even though the publisher does endeavour to maintain consistency, but this is more worrying. Several years ago I purchased the excellent 3rd...
Published on 1 Jun. 2011 by Fifty Something


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does this mark a wrong turn for Rough Guide?, 1 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Rough Guide to New Zealand (Paperback)
Having used Rough Guides extensively in many countries, the seventh edition of the 'The Rough Guide to New Zealand' (2010) is something of a disappointment. Yes, of course the quality does vary from one country guide to another, even though the publisher does endeavour to maintain consistency, but this is more worrying. Several years ago I purchased the excellent 3rd edition of this same guide (2002) but then decided to defer my trip until I had more time to do the country justice. Recently, then, I thought that it would be a good idea to travel with the latest edition.

Since I had earlier annotated my now out-of-date 3rd edition, I decided to transcribe my notes into the pristine new copy which arrived with Amazon's customary speed and efficiency. My suspicions were, therefore, raised when I soon noticed that the 7th edition is rather shorter (837 pages compared to 1038). The type font is, however, smaller in the 7th edition and I assumed that this accounted for the thinner volume.

Wrong. Gone is some of the really helpful descriptive stuff concerning walks and other activities. Meanwhile critical assessments that I have always considered set Rough Guide well ahead of their rivals (I have never really been a fan of Lonely Planet) have now been muted. Taking just one example, all reference to the poor quality and high price of accommodation and eateries in Mount Cook village has been removed in the 7th edition.

Equally, the description of some shops, galleries and craft establishments' seemingly un-missable attractions rekindled memories of old fashioned package holiday companys' adverts for their often iffy value excursions. Although that may, in part, simply be a balance issue caused by the removal of so much of the good stuff, the overall impression is one of a less useful and, worse, less objective guide.

Rough Guides have often been my starting point for travel planning but this has been a troubling experience. Although I consider that this marks a retrograde step, perhaps it is the result of a deliberate decision on the part of the publisher to make the product more appealing to a wider audience. Hopefully that is not the case and other country guides will be spared the same fate. If not, I for one will be looking more carefully at some of the competition.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent information, 4 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Rough Guide to New Zealand (Paperback)
We had space for both this travel guide and its best known competitor and I have to say that what set this book apart from its rival was its wealth of additional information (without being inaccessible). It describes the highways that you travel down to particular places so that you know if there are interesting landmarks to stop along the way. The passages about local history and culture were really interesting and well written. But most importantly it had some brilliant ideas about what to do in NZ that weren't in other books, for instance it suggested mountain biking the Queen Charlotte Track and gave lots of information and advice about it and that ended up being one of our favourite activities in NZ. It's rival may be slightly better on information about restaurants but this one was definitely less dry and more interesting
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent practical guidebook to NZ, 6 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
Having just spent a year in New Zealand, I can confirm that the Rough Guide to NZ is a very useful guidebook. I must have read every page of this book several times over! The practical information is accurate, as far as I can tell, and the contextual information is very useful. Travelling in New Zealand is pretty straightforward anyway, but the Rough Guide made planning complicated trips very easy and there are some great accommodation recommendations. Overall I found it the most informative of the available guidebooks to New Zealand.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 25 Jun. 2003
This book is fantastic. I have just come back from travelling for a year which 3 months of it i spent in New Zealand. It has been the most wonderful experience but New Zealand is by far the best place on earth.
The book was consistantly accurate and never let me down once. The recommendations for restaraunts, bar's, clubs, shops, public transport etc etc are fantastic. Not once did we find a bar that had been closed for years or a shop that was selling something completley different to what it said in the book. By using the book alone, we managed to travel our way from the very top of the north island to the bottom of the south island. We also managed to get some discounts in some hotels because they had been recommeneded in the Rough Guide.
If you are going to NZ you have to get this book, it will be your bible and you will be very, very lost without it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typically Rough, 4 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Rough Guide to New Zealand (Paperback)
The Rough Guide to NZ is typical of other Rough Guides - that is, it is well-researched, easy to read and find the info you want and with very useful info about places to visit, places to stay and places to eat.

It does tend towards the pack-packer, hosteler rather that more middle-of the- road traveller. Well worth getting.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No questions left unanswered, 29 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
I choose this book carefully - I only wanted to carry one as space is precious in a backpack! This is very informative and up-to-date having checked out all the 'others'. My only criticism is there is no space to write your own notes but this criticism applies to all the travel guides. I haven't travelled yet but have be able to plan my trip quite precisely with the aid of this book. Softback and light weight in comparision with some of the others. Will also be purchasing a separtate map as page size restricts coverage! Have a good trip!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't have lived without it!, 10 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to New Zealand (Paperback)
We toured New Zealand in a campervan and took a number of guidebooks, but the Rough Guide outshone all of them - it was our bible! Almost every place we passed through got a mention (particularly on South Island), with lots of useful information for the larger places as you'd expect, and information about the road ahead (including telling you when you were about to enter a region with no petrol stations/cash machines...)

We were short on time as we had less than a month there, and the Rough Guide helped us to find things we would have otherwise missed and to make the most of our time - short forest walks accessed from car parks along the road; great viewpoints; accessible caves; beaches with penguins and seals; interesting local museums. When part of our itinerary didn't go to plan, we were able to plan in something even better using the information in the guide. We also bought a road atlas, but for the towns we always found the Rough Guide town maps far clearer and more informative.

We generally found it very accurate and up to date - as long as you add about $5-10 dollars to the price of attractions and accommodation!

Overall - highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 20 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Rough Guide to New Zealand (Paperback)
I bought about 15 guide books for my 2nd trip to NZ and I liked this one the best. There's loads of info on loads of matters and not just the common touristy things. Buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive coverage, accurate and easily accessible, 7 July 2012
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to New Zealand (Paperback)
The Rough Guide to NZ is a great 'one stop shop' for any type of holiday around New Zealand. It's my number 1 NZ guidebook.

Additionally I purchased the recent New Zealand editions by National Geographic and DK Eyewitness and used all three guidebooks to take a four week tour right across the South Island; from Picton via Kaikoura, Christchurch and Queenstown to Milford Sound. This Rough Guide repeatedly provided accurate and clear descriptions of practically every town and village, natural attractions, places to visit, fun activities along the way - as well as including the more mundane issues like post office locations. I found it is broad in its coverage and manages to include a great many details - hardly a 'brown tourist attraction sign' was left unmentioned.

The book was consistently accurate with travel 'technical data' (e.g. distances and timings, map locations, price ranges etc). The book also provides consistently helpful, clear, perceptive and non-ideological language about the character, culture and history of the different areas. In regards to Maori legends and art the Rough Guide came across as respectful and neither patronising nor fawning.

The layout of this Rough Guide means information is, on the whole, pretty accessible - you soon learn where to find a place's narrative, key sights, and meal/sleep listings for each regional area or town, although some of the definitions of area boundaries can seem a little unnatural. (If I remember rightly, Arthurs Pass comes under the Kaikoura chapter, not the Christchurch or Southern Alps heading.)

The maps are clear, accurate and easy to navigate by. The boundaries and colours could however be more sharply defined for reading in dim moonlight - but if you want a full street map or orienteering map, it's not the right product anyway.

The index and page references are accurate. The book itself is light for its size, compact and sturdy.

Overall, I found the text to be refreshing in its clarity and accessibility. The authors appear to have found the right distance from their clearly loved subject - it finds a good balance between promotional tourist board 'puff' at one extreme, and a listing of 'must do activities for the 'me' generation' on the other.

I'll skip the 2012 edition but I hope the authors reunite for another update in a few years time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Need, 15 May 2012
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to New Zealand (Paperback)
Although I grew up in New Zealand, it was over 20 years ago that I left, and there is a lot I don't know about the country from a tourist point of view.

My girlfriend and I are going on holiday to NZ at the end of this year and doing a "greatest hits" tour of the country, and this book was invaluable in helping to decide where is worth visiting, good places to stay and trips to go on. It is very down to earth in its approach, and if a place is not worth going to it tells you.

It also contains a good mix of travel information and historical and cultural detail to put the trip into context. I'll be sure to pack it along with all my other travel must-haves.
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