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Australia & New Zealand on a shoestring: Big Trips on Small Budgets    by Paul Smitz, Sandra Bao & Pete Cruttenden order for
Australia & New Zealand on a shoestring
by Paul Smitz
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Having relied on Lonely Planet guides for all my travels in my younger years, I now look to them as sourcebooks for family travel with my husband and teenagers. And what better places to aim for than Australia and New Zealand, with their wide variety of exotic flora and fauna (including the Great Barrier Reef off Australia and New Zealand's Fiordland), the aboriginal and Maori cultures, cosmopolitan cities, and of course Lord of the Rings locations for Tolkien fans.

The guidebook opens with overview maps and a brief discussion of 'Responsible Travel'. There's a highlights summary - urban, outdoor, island & beaches, and off-the-beaten track places - and suggested itineraries. 'Getting Started' includes when to go, costs and how to stay on budget, suggested books to read and movies to see before traveling, and favorite festivals. For each country, there is a snapshot of current events, historical information, culture (including Aussie and Kiwi humor), wildlife and environmental challenges. At the back of the guide, a section on Health topics includes discussion of crocodile attack, various marine nasties, and venomous spiders. There's also a useful (and entertaining) Glossary of Australian and New Zealand English, with terms and phrases like bushwalking, no worries, and pakeha.

Specific region/city entries include detailed maps, Internet access and resources (new since I last used these guides in the 70s), things to see, activities and tours, accomodation and eating. I enjoyed looking up the entry on Great Keppel Island, where I learned to scuba dive decades ago, and reading that the real star of the Tolkien film trilogy 'is the breathtaking NZ landscape' (I can only agree after hiking on different trails there, all with stupendous views). Lonely Planet's Australia & New Zealand on a shoestring is a necessity for budget travelers, but I also recommend it as a wonderfully informative resource for anyone interested in exploring all the region has to offer.

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