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Our Favourite Books About New Zealand Travel

When planning a holiday, these books about New Zealand travel can serve as a starting point and source of inspiration.

New Zealand is renowned for its adventurous spirit, and plenty of travellers – both locals and visitors alike – have had something to say about their experiences. We’ve collected a list of books, guides, and stories that we find to be the most useful and inspiring for anyone interested in visiting New Zealand, the North Island and South Island.

Here are our favourite books about New Zealand travel.

1. New Zealand: Your Essential Guide to the South Island by Philip Cristian Claassen

New Zealand: Your Essential Guide to the South Island by Philip Cristian Claassen

This excellent guide takes travellers on an incredible journey from the top of the South Island; follow the road south along the dramatic West Coast where mountains tower over the landscape, then inland to the magnificent wilderness of the far south with its many splendid lakes, and finally up the rugged east coast with its abundance of wildlife until the road again ends at the top of the South Island. In addition to much visited towns and attractions, the guide includes off the beaten track and quirky attractions, hidden gems, ghost towns, mind-blowing natural attractions and quaint villages in remote settings. With nearly 400 attractions, parks & gardens, historic ruins, waterfalls and lakes, this is one of the most comprehensive guides.

2. Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook by Ian Brodie

Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook

Since the first screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, New Zealand has become the embodiment of Middle-earth to millions of moviegoers and Tolkien readers the world over. This definitive full-colour guidebook updated in 2011 showcases the principal movie-set locations around New Zealand as seen in all three films. A perfect reference book for everyone enchanted by the beauty of the locations in the movie trilogy, it contains valuable background information and exclusive anecdotes about the filming, with sections written specially by Sir Peter Jackson, Alan Lee, Sir Richard Taylor and Barrie Osborne, plus contributions from the cast and crew.

3. Terrance Talks Travel: A Pocket Guide to New Zealand by Terrance Zepke

Terrance Talks Travel: A Pocket Guide to New Zealand

New Zealand is a small country but it welcomes millions of visitors because it is big on adventure. Discover all the awesome attractions and activities that are possible on North and South Islands, as well as the idyllic Cook Islands. This pocket guide packs a punch and provides information on a plethora of different topics, such as: how to breeze through the notoriously strict customs service and the entry requirements, when to go on a thrilling whale watching tour, where the best dive spots are, and other practical advice on everything from travel documents to local cuisine. This book has already become one of Terrance’s top sellers!

4. Hellbent For Paradise: Tales from Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud by Zoë Cano

Hellbent For Paradise: Tales from Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud

Hellbent for Paradise is the inspiring – and often nail biting – tale of Zoë Cano’s exploits roaming the jaw-dropping natural wonders of Aotearoa New Zealand on a mission to find her own paradise. From the outset of this 5, 000 kilometre road trip odyssey, this free-spirited motorcycle traveller is pushed to her limits as a series of catastrophic cyclones come crashing through New Zealand. Along the way, Zoë encounters colourful people from all walks of life, including artists and musicians, sheep farmers, Maori fishermen, a healer, stargazers, fellow travellers and even motorcycle gangs who’ll all open her eyes and introduce her to the raw underbelly of the country.

5. Notes from New Zealand: A Book of Travel and Natural History by Edward Kanze

Notes from New Zealand: A Book of Travel and Natural History

In Notes From New Zealand, American naturalist and writer Edward Kanze tells of three expeditions to New Zealand, known to its Polynesian settlers as Aotearoa, “Land of the Long White Cloud.” He travels the length of the 1,000-mile long group of islands, from Cape Reinga in the North to Stewart Island in the South, on a difficult but not-quite-impossible mission: to find and observe the rare and unique tuatara, a reptile harking back to the Mesozoic and found only in New Zealand; one of the rare, endemic native New Zealand frogs; and one of the peculiar, almost mammal-like birds known as kiwis, nocturnal and secretive and extremely difficult to locate in the wild. The book combines history with natural history as it explores New Zealand’s stunning diversity and beauty.

6. Moon Living Abroad New Zealand by Michelle Waitzman

Moon Living Abroad New Zealand

Moon Living Abroad New Zealand offers straightforward tips and advice on how businesspeople, students, teachers, retirees, and professionals can make a smooth transition to living in a new culture and country. It’s packed with essential information and must-have details on setting up daily life, including obtaining visas, arranging finances, gaining employment, choosing schools, and finding health care, plus practical advice on how to rent or buy a home for a variety of needs and budgets. With extensive color and black and white photos, illustrations, and maps, Moon Living Abroad New Zealand will help you find your bearings as you settle into your new home and life abroad.

7. How to Move to New Zealand in 31 Easy Steps by Sara Dawn Johnson

How to Move to New Zealand in 31 Easy Steps

The author, her husband, and their two daughters moved to New Zealand in 2012 by sailing their home—a 38-foot sailboat—across the Pacific ocean. They carried their dream of New Zealand residence aboard their small ship. Once they arrived, they successfully navigated the work and residence visa process and are now permanent residents of New Zealand. She tells you exactly how they did it. In addition to describing the visa process, this book also presents the realities of settling in New Zealand. You’ll learn how to find a job, choose a town to live, settle in when you arrive, get your kid(s) enrolled in school, rent a home, talk like a Kiwi, and enjoy New Zealand like a local!

8. A Maverick New Zealand Way by Mary Jane Walker

A Maverick New Zealand Way

A Maverick New Zealand Way was a finalist in Travel at the 2018 International Book Awards. It contains more than 600 photos and maps, plus nearly fifty chapters describing Kiwi adventurer Mary Jane’s travels and work as a nature conservation volunteer in her own country. This book also contains intelligent historical background and discussions of New Zealand’s urban areas as well as many tales of outdoor adventure. A German translation of the book is in the works.

9. Moon New Zealand: Travel Guide by Jamie Christian Desplaces

Moon New Zealand: Travel Guide

New Zealand (‘Aotearoa’ in Maori) may be relatively small, but boy is it varied, and boy is there a lot to explore! From tropical beaches to rainforests to glaciers to mountains to volcanoes and even a desert (sort of), this country has it all. Hike it, bike it, kayak it, or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, bungee jump or skydive into it — after all, it is the adventure capital of the world! And Moon New Zealand will show you how.

10. How to Buy a Campervan in New Zealand by Lindsey and Adam Nubern

How to Buy a Campervan in New Zealand

Buying a campervan is the cheapest and most freeing way to travel around New Zealand. Not sure how to buy one? The authors have got you covered! Lindsey and Adam Nubern bought their campervan and traveled through New Zealand for five months, and their complete step-by-step guide will save you time, money, and stress figuring it out yourself. You’ll learn where to look for cheap campervans, what prices to expect, what to look for when test-driving, tips to negotiate the price down, which government forms to complete, and everything else you’ll need to know for your trip to New Zealand!


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