A trip to New Zealand
involves so much planning and choices that chances are you'll need to buy a book and/or map to aid in your trip planning and navigation throughout the country.
Below are books and maps that we've used. Story Nature Press has also published a book on the topic of New Zealand Waterfalls. We've also included other books in the literature that may help you find what you need. The list is by no means complete, but hopefully it is enough to get you going on your quest to inform yourself on your travels.
A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls (Story Nature Press):
This one-of-a-kind 288-page themed travel guide is an invaluable companion, trip planner, and keepsake focusing on the country's waterfalls. It's a full color book with photos, maps, ratings, directions, tidbits, index, and references. The book has also earned the Fore Word Magazine 2006 Book of the Year Bronze Award in the Travel Guide Category, and was a finalist in the 2006 Indie Excellence Book Awards. You can buy this book direct from the publisher
New Zealand (Lonely Planet):
We've been fans of Lonely Planet books for their thoroughness and organization. They make for great resources when you're just starting out on your trip planning, figuring out which local restaurants to go to, studying detailed maps, and even finding budget accommodations. And for the country Aotearoa (NZ's Maori name), this is no exception. You do want to get the latest book because their info on food and accommodations gets outdated very fast.
Driving Scenic New Zealand (Craig Potton Publishing):
We've found this book quite useful in planning certain driving routes as well as getting a feel for how long a particular drive would take and what sights there were along the way. They've selected a number of drives though you don't necessarily need to follow them to a T if you have other things in your trip plans. The spiral binding was also nice so we could lay the book flat when browsing through.
Tramping in New Zealand (Lonely Planet):
This is a fine book talking about the various multi-day tramps (backpacks) in the country. Since most of the hikes talked about here are quite difficult, we didn't really use this book a whole lot except for the sections that pertains to our interests (e.g. Tongariro Northern Circuit, Milford Track, Routeburn Track, etc.).
New Zealand (Insight Guides):
To be honest, we bought this guide for the photos and for supplemental information for the Lonely Planet guide. However, it's finely produced and quite pleasing to the eye.
Spiral Guides: New Zealand (AAA):
When I first researched for our New Zealand Trip, I took a look at this book because we're AAA members and we were able to pick it up on the cheap. They have decent writeups and photos getting me acquainted with the country. But after looking at their recommended itineraries, their credibility fell off the map. I mean, their 5-day itineraries were laughable (not to mention expensive because you have to fly everywhere and the flying doesn't even account for the delays in waiting at the airport, picking up car hire, etc.). But to be fair, they're writing for a vacation-starved American audience so maybe some poor soul might actually follow their itinerary and spend their time checking out airports and twisty roads.
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Tumonz: This vector-based GPS-compatible (with our old Garmin etrex) was perfect for navigating with a laptop and trip planning on the home PC prior to the trip. If you're a real serious user or need some additional information besides just the map itself (like property boundaries, underwater sea contours, and aerial photos, etc.). The interface took a little getting used to but once you get it down, you'd wish all map softwares were like this. The only gripe I have with this software is the klunky and awkward interface regarding saving maps, overlays, GPS tracks, etc. We used Version 2 of the software but they have since come out with Version 3. Perhaps they might have cleaned up the file/map/overlay management interface in this new version though I can't say for sure.
Kiwi Pathfinder: North Island (Kiwimaps, Ltd.): When we weren't using our GPS software, we found these road atlases to be very useful and detailed. The spiral bindings were nice to make it easier to browse through without the book closing in on itself.
Kiwi Pathfinder: South Island (Kiwimaps, Ltd.): Like the North Island atlas, it's the same quality and fine level of detail and ease-of-use.
New Zealand Mapped GPS: This raster-based GPS-compatible software had a bit of an awkward interface for GPS recording and navigating within the software itself. So we didn't use it while in the field. However, the maps did have the look and field of a digitalized version of topographic maps that you could buy on paper from those mapmaking companies licensed with LINZ. Some of the markings on the maps include waterfalls with heights, but the accuracy of some of these is questionable.
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