Book Review: Outstanding Scenic Walks of New Zealand, by Peter Janssen

Available in selected bookshops nationwide.

outstanding_scenic_walksWith increasing numbers of New Zealanders living in cities and green space diminishing around them many are seeking places to get away from it all for a short time during their days off work. A newly published book compiled by Peter Janssen, will be a valuable tool for them to read up about safe places to visit around their area or to take with them when they travel further away on holiday. Janssen a keen outdoorsman with a vast knowledge of New Zealand’s walking tracks, has recommended 200 short walks in his book Outstanding Scenic Walks of New Zealand.

The vast majority of the walks are under two hours with many less than 30 minutes so they will suit those who want an enjoyable outing that doesn’t require heavy boots or a pack. There are twenty six regions included from Northland to Fiordland, and a map of each area highlights where in the region the walk is located. Travel directions are also included with each walk as well as the walking time, whether it is easy, medium or a hard grade and some information on New Zealand’s flora, fauna and geology, which relates specifically to that walk.

The “Walk Tips” supplied by Janssen give advice on equipment needed, security in the walk car parks as well as health and safety issues with wildlife, water and kauri dieback disease. These pages at the beginning of the book will be especially important to new migrants to our country or tourists as they may not be aware of some of the pitfalls which the walker can encounter. The glossary of Māori words is also helpful, and the coloured photographs in the centre of the publication highlight many features along the walks.

I have enjoyed picking this book up from time to time and reading about areas in New Zealand I am not familiar with, I found the nature notes particularly enlightening, even learning new facts about local walks I have been on. The historical facts woven throughout remind the reader how many of our country’s interesting features were formed, and changes along the way due to weather as well as human occupation. It is an incredibly user-friendly guide book, very easy to read, with some fascinating facts for example “New Zealand has 28 species of native bees” , but unlike the honeybee they do not sting.

Travel writer Peter Janssen is the author of a number of practical and informative travel guides including Excellent Short Walks in the North Island and South Island, Exploring Aotearoa, and 175 Classic New Zealand Pubs to Visit. His latest work is a stunning book, the winding track on the attractive glossy cover inviting the reader to open the book, and begin exploring their local area and to take it with them when they trip around the country.

Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh

Outstanding Scenic Walks of New Zealand
by Peter Janssen
Published by New Holland
ISBN 9781869665234

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