Lonely Planet launches latest New Zealand guide
24 Sep 2012
Gentle coastal cycling and mountain biking thrills, kiwi spotting, a new Māori cultural experience with an incredible story, significant arts and culture destinations are highlighted in the latest edition of Lonely Planet’s New Zealand travel guide released today (24.09.2012).
With magnificent Mount Taranaki - the iconic snow-topped volcanic dome rising from the green Middle-earth-like pastures of the North Island’s western tip - presiding over the front cover, the 2012 Lonely Planet New Zealand contains 700-plus pages of insider detail.
Published every two years, Lonely Planet New Zealand is the world’s bestselling guide to New Zealand. The 16th edition is the work of five authors who spent a combined 26 weeks on-the-road researching.
Along with a raft of new tips and experiences, they noted that New Zealanders' welcoming nature and eagerness for travellers to enjoy their visit remains unchanged - "you might be surprised by the extent to which the average Kiwi will genuinely want you to have a really, really good time during your stay."
Hot and happening
The authors’ recommendations include a list of 12 favourite places to see, things to do - "the fresh, the transformed, the hot and the happening".
For the actively inclined, there is mountain biking on Queenstown’s spectacular trails, or the softer option of the Hawke’s Bay Coastal Cycle Trail with its gentle slopes and straights. Or, pick up a map and meander along Nelson’s Craft Beer Trail where "hoppiness awaits".
Arts and culture destinations recommended by Lonely Planet include the redesigned Auckland Art Gallery, Wallace Arts Centre (Auckland), Rotorua Museum’s Don Stafford Wing, and Oamaru’s quirky Steampunk HQ.
Auckland Art Gallery has just re-emerged from a magnificent building project, and Steampunk HQ leads the forefront of a movement where science fiction meets art.
Whakatane’s Te Manuka Tutahi Marae, in the eastern Bay of Plenty, merits special mention. This magnificent 19th century carved Maori meeting house, which has just reopened after a major restoration project, has an incredible tale to tell.
Travellers in search of New Zealand’s most celebrated icons - the flightless kiwi and the game of rugby - should check out Franz Josef’s West Coast Wildlife Centre for an intimate kiwi conservation experience or the comprehensive collections in Palmerston North’s NZ Rugby Museum.
Places to go
Christchurch’s Addington neighbourhood and Auckland’s new waterfront precincts also get the thumbs up.
The guide hails the energy and creativity on display in Christchurch, saying "nowhere in New Zealand is changing and developing as fast as post-earthquake Christchurch, and visiting the country’s second-largest city as it’s being rebuilt and reborn is both interesting and inspiring."
Addington earns the title of Christchurch’s "funkiest and most exciting post-earthquake neighbourhood" that is being "transformed with new cafes, restaurants, theatres and live-music venues".
Opened mid-2011 and just in time for the Rugby World Cup influx, Auckland’s downtown Britomart shopping and entertainment precinct and the Wynyard Quarter's buzzy lineup of cafès, bars, and restaurants, waterfront promenade and recreation areas have quickly become popular haunts. Offshore, the guide cites "wine-soaked Waiheke" and "volcanic Rangitoto" as islands not to miss.
Lonely Planet New Zealand
New Zealand (16th edition) is the first of four new NZ guidebooks that Lonely Planet is publishing in 2012. New Zealand’s North Island (2nd edition) and New Zealand’s South Island (3rd edition) will be available in October, with Discover New Zealand (2nd edition) following in November.
Lonely Planet guides are written by experts who experience first-hand the destinations they write about.
Lonely Planet New Zealand says …
Auckland: " … in 2011 the newly minted metropolis was given a buff and shine to prepare it for hosting the Rugby World Cup. The waterfront was redeveloped, the art gallery and zoo were given a makeover, and a swag of new restaurants and bars popped up - leaving a much more vibrant city in the cup’s wake." (p.62)
Wellington: "‘Welly’ is a wonderful city, voted ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011 … it’s lovely to look at, draped around bushy hillsides encircling a magnificent harbour. Downtown, the city is compact and vibrant, buoyed by a surprising number of museums, theatres, galleries and boutiques. A cocktail- and caffeine-fuelled hospitality scene fizzes and pops among the throng." (p.366)
Christchurch: "A vibrant city in transition, coping resiliently and creatively with the aftermath of NZ’s second-biggest natural disaster … Traditionally the most English of NZ cities, Christchurch is now adding a modern and innovative layer to its damaged heritage heart. Punts still glide gently down the Avon River, and the Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park are still among NZ’s finest public spaces, but an energetic entrepreneurial edge is also evident, harnessing the opportunities emerging from the city’s recent seismic heartache." (p.482)
Dunedin: "Dunedin’s compact town centre blends the historic and the contemporary, reflected in its alluring museums and tempting bars, cafes and restaurants … The country’s oldest university provides loads of student energy to sustain thriving theatre, live-music and after-dark scenes … An easy city in which to while away a few days."(p.535)
Gisborne: "Perhaps it’s the isolated location that’s helped Gisborne maintain its small-town charm … a good place to put your feet up for a few days, hit the beaches and sip heavenly wine." (p.338)
Hamilton: "Highlight: Plotting a pub crawl around Hood and Victoria Sts in surprisingly buzzy Hamilton." (p192)
Hastings: "Positioned at the centre of the Hawke’s Bay fruit bowl, bustling Hastings is the commercial hub of the region … Hastings … also boasts some fine art-deco and Spanish Mission buildings." (p.356)
Napier: "Napier’s claim to fame is undoubtedly its architecture, and a close study of these treasures could take several days … The place to start your art-deco exploration is the home of the Art Deco Trust, the Deco Centre … You can also hire art-deco-style bikes from here, and set off on a self-guided tour of up to four hours." (p.350)
Nelson: "Hailed as one of New Zealand’s most ‘liveable’ cities. In summer it fills up with local and international visitors, who lap up its offerings, including proximity to diverse natural attractions." (p.423)
New Plymouth: "The city has a bubbling arts scene, some fab cafes and a rootsy, outdoorsy focus." (p.226)
Palmerston North: "’Palmy’ has an open-minded, rurally bookish vibe." (p.252)
Tauranga: "has been booming since the 1990s and remains one of NZ’s fastest-growing cities ... Restaurants and bars line the revamped waterfront, fancy hotels rise high, and the once-sleepy burbs of Mt Maunganui and Papamoa have woken up to new prosperity." (p.308)
Whanganui: "With rafts of casual Huck Finn sensibility, Whanganui is a raggedy historic town on the banks of the wide Whanganui River. The local arts community is thriving: old port buildings are being turned into glass-art studios, and the town centre has been rejuvenated - there are few more appealing places to while away a sunny afternoon than beneath Victoria Ave’s leafy canopy." (p.241)
Whangarei: " … you may be pleasantly surprised by the thriving artistic community and the interesting selection of cafes and bars." (p.130)
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