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New Zealand Handbook: The Travel Guide (Footprint Handbook) Paperback – 1 Oct 2001
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"A well researched, readable book that maintains Footprint's reputation for informative, easy-to-read, well presented guides." The Traveller Magazine; "Of all the main guide series this is genuinely the only one we have never received a complaint about." The Bookseller (UK)" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
There is a passion for travel and discovery at Footprint that has been reflected in our publishing since the South American Handbook was first published back in 1924. More than 80 years on, our aim is still simple: to give travellers a refreshingly different view that helps them to follow their own route and have a unique, memorable experience. Over 100 current guides reflect the many ways in which people enjoy independent travel; whether exploring ancient sites, seeking an adrenalin-filled adventure or relaxing on the beach, our authors do all they can to bring our customers the very best of each destination we cover.
Who are Footprints customers?
Footprint books are used by seasoned travellers of all ages and nationalities. What they have in common is a determination to travel independently and to get their own unique experience of the world. Footprint customers love adventure, are resourceful and enjoy getting off the beaten track. They are inquisitive about different cultures and sensitive towards the communities they encounter.
What makes Footprint different?
An ever-increasing number of travellers are discovering Footprint books, taking them on trips, enjoying an approach to travel that is distinctly different from other guides.
These are the features of the books most valued by experienced travellers:
The authors of Footprint guides have a depth of knowledge and passion for the destination, which ensures that the books are always detailed and accurate. They show places to eat, sleep and visit that are away from the tourist haunts and are often known only to the locals.
The books provide a wide range of options for travellers seeking out the very best activities and adventures. This gives travellers the freedom to explore off the beaten track, providing unique, memorable experiences. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The book is most useful if you have your own transport and you enjoy walking, as it's best feature is detailing the large number number of 1-5 hour walks you can under-take if you want get out to some of the more incredible and less visited views. However it may not be detailed enough with regards to the more famous walking tracks (Milford / Keppler etc) and you may want to get the Lonley Planet Tramping guide in addition.
However I also loved the book for it's inspirational 2-3 week itineraries, that not only thoroughly cover north and south island, but give you a real flavour of the places you will be visiting.
Not to mention being the only guide book that actually comes of the fence with it's hostel reviews, practically guaranteeing you won't come across a single Bus crowd. It's a great suppliment to the free BBH hostel guide
Unfortunatley it's no lighter to carry than Lonely Planet.
Should really be subtitled: "New Zealand: restaurants to avoid and hotels to drive by."
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I am a journalist based in London and do a great deal of traveling in the South Pacific. I always carry a guidebook and until recently relied on Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. This time however, on a recent two-month trip around New Zealand, tired of these major players (which always seem to rely more on their brand name rather than quality) I decided to try Footprint and the work of sole author Darroch Donald.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt the book was a valuable companion and the best and most entertaining guidebook I have ever come across.
The style was so refreshing and at times most amusing which was a nice change from the usual stuffy historic ramblings and bland descriptions.
Over all, compared to other guides I have used and regarding New Zealand in particular, I felt it was very well researched, accurate and up to date. The fact that the same author (who obviously loves the place) wrote and researched the entire book was also a major asset.
Of course there are a few spelling errors and I did come across the odd company or restaurant no longer in existence, but that is to be expected of any travel guide.
I was also interested to read about the omission of Milford Sound. In the book I purchased Milford Sound was included in the text so I presume this was just an error in editing with the first print run.
So in summary don't hesitate-I thoroughly recommended the Footprint New Zealand Handbook and now travel as a true convert to the company. I see Donald also contributed to the first edition of Australia and if New Zealand is anything to go by that book will be equally as much fun.
Unfortunately, while Mr. Donald provides a refreshing tone to the book, the inaccuracies and lack of critical information made the book useless to me. As my trip continued, I became increasingly annoyed by minor and major issues, and eventually stopped using the book by week 4.
A glaring example is a lack of useful information (and index reference) regarding Milford Sound itself. Perhaps it was just an editorial oversight with a section cut mistakenly, but this is one of the most desirable places to visit in New Zealand. There is a description of the road to Milford, but as I approached the area looking for lodging and activity information, I could find none and had to turn to the internet for useful information. As a popular, yet remote destination, it is critical to have information about boat trips, kayaking, flights, lodging, fuel, bookings and other transportation options. I can't see how this could have been omitted deliberately--but it's just not there (although it is pictured on the cover and not referenced in the photo).
A second example is the dearth of useful maps to help get orientation. The book mentions a lot of towns, but doesn't provide map guidance to show you where they are. The primary maps seem to be the ones that show 3-6 major cities at the head of each of the 15 sections that discuss potential destinations. There a few local maps, but not nearly enough as other guides. A travelers problem that resulted: The listed bus went close to Invercargill, but not through--couldn't find out how far Gore or Balfour are from Invercargill (pretty far).
There are several small instances of a lack of clarity which could be editorial overight, but for travelers, some small omissions could end up as larger problems. I.e., the transportation section for Whitianga discusses a 5 minute ferry crossing--in the graphic it says "passenger ferry" but in the text discusses it as an option for gaining access to the sights on the other side. Unfortunately, there are few transportation options once you get across without a vehicle--or you'll need to backtrack 40km in your car if you don't want to take a tour.
There are numerous minor editorial mistakes (mis-spellings, innacuracies, businesses and activities that no longer exist) which you expect with any guide book. These are easy to bypass initially, but after finding a pretty shallow look at the rest of the country, they leave you feeling more and more annoyed than patient.
Overall, one would do far better by joining the local auto club, where you can get a guide to lodging, maps, and guides to activities that are actually up to date (which I ended up doing). The Lonely Planet guide was the only other one I used, which as better, but still mediocre (3 stars) Originally, I purchased the book as a change. I got that--a fresh tone, but I also received too much empty space and won't look to Footprint again for now.