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Tramping in New Zealand: 53 Great Walks    by Jim DuFresne order for
Tramping in New Zealand
by Jim DuFresne
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I wish I'd had Jim DuFresne's Tramping in New Zealand before I hiked the Routeburn and Milford Tracks there in 1979. Though I did it on impulse, with little preparation and inadequate supplies, I thoroughly enjoyed myself - but would have been much better prepared if I'd read the guidebook first. This 6th edition opens onto enticing photos and an introduction to New Zealand's favorite escapist activity, tramping some of the world's Great Walks through spectacular - and amazingly varied - scenery from the Great Barrier Forest to Stewart Island.

In his brief Foreword, Peter Hillary (Sir Edmund's son) tells us he is able to think better when he walks and that 'I have been to the North and South Poles, and to the summit of Mt Everest twice, and yet I crave returning to the great walks and landscape of New Zealand.' Following this is a handy Table of Tramps that provides a comparative overview of duration (day trips to megawalks), difficulty, best time of year, transport needed, a descriptive summary, and a page reference for detailed information on all 53 walks. Further general information includes Planning, the New Zealand Environmental Care Code, Geology, Wildlife, Plants, National Parks, and Fishing.

Walks are grouped by region - Far North, Central North Island, Southern North Island, Marlborough Region, Nelson Region, Canterbury, Arthur's Pass National Park, West Coast, Mt Aspiring National Park, Fiordland National Park, and Stewart Island. Each region is introduced by Highlights, Climate, and Information sources. Content for each Walk includes sleeping and eating in its Gateway city, History, Maps, Planning needs, and a day by day tramping overview. In the middle of the guidebook is a special section on New Zealand's nine Great Walks (all taking three to five days and three of them in Fiordland National Park).

Additional information at the back of the book includes reminders for communal living in backcountry huts, how to make tramping with kids a success, Reading the Weather, Tramping Cuisine, Permits & Fees, Health & Safety, and a very useful Equipment Check List. If you're planning a trip to New Zealand in the future, you'll find Tramping in New Zealand: 53 Great Walks an invaluable resource. I can't wait to go tramping there again!

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