This compact guide seems more concerned with presentation including photographs and maps in colour than is usually the case for Lonely Planets with their serious-minded focus on detail. The logical if slightly repetitious approach is to “drill down” from an initial overview to aid general planning, through suggested road trips covering the area as a whole (6-8 days for the Northland and Bay of Islands or 4-5 for the Coromandel Peninsula) or in different parts (2-3 days for a circular coastal tour north of Auckland or for the popular Waiheke Island an hour from Auckland). Each trip is then broken down into a sequence of destinations, all cross-referenced with the suggested trips, concluding with advice on driving in New Zealand.
It is useful to have a detachable map, although it would be better to have a pocket to slip it back into, rather than a tear-out folded sheet which can easily be mislaid or damaged.
This book seems most useful for New Zealanders themselves or those making regular visits to the country who have “done” the main tourist spots nationwide. I was actually looking for day trips out of Auckland, and would have liked a few suggestions for this. I decided that one could be 45 minutes west from Auckland to Piha with the Lion Rock and Bethells Beach, but was deterred by the “black sand” and apparent lack of a direct road route between these two coastal sites. Shakespear Regional Park on the east coast seemed a possible option but I decided on Tauharanui National Park, 1.25 hours north of Auckland. The guide book helped me to think this out, but I had to go on the internet to find a map of area, with suggested walking routes, all of which could easily have been included in this guide.