Thursday, November 29, 2007


These are subjects about which I harbour romantic notions but whenever I actually go walking or tramping I find that the anticipation is often greater than the realization so I have come to the conclusion after all these years that now I am really an armchair walker and tramper!

This after walking the Milford Track twice, the Tongariro Track, numerous day walks around New Zealand, several parts of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk in the UK , the Cotswold Way, Hadrian’s Wall , and various chunks of Tuscany.
But these days I love and devour books on walking and tramping rather than actually doing the walking! So what joy over the past week when a whole raft of wonderful books on walking in New Zealand have found their way to my book-laden desk.
Image above from this website.

Ian Trafford Reed $20

With three National Parks, plus mountain ranges, bush clad hills, golden beaches and numerous rivers there are loads of places to enjoy day walking in Nelson.
Ian Trafford details 80 plus walking tracks in his handy sized book each one accompanied by a track guide, travel times, access details and points of interest.
There are more than a dozen titles in Reed’s Day Walks series to which this is a valued edition.

Marios Gavalas Reed $20

The companion volume to the Nelson title this book provides readers with important information for each of the 70 walks including track conditions, access points, lookout points, duration, and degree of difficulty. Within the region there is a wide variety of walks from easy family walks to more challenging tramps for the fittest among us.

Gavalas has written several others in the Reed Day Walks series.

Pat Barrett Shoal Bay $30

And here we have I guess the equivalent of the two above titles in one volume. Publishers must hate it when coincidences of this kind arise.
I guess if you are only walking in Nelson or Marlborough then you would go for the Reed guide above that covers the particular area you are visiting but if you are planning to walk in both regions than you’d go for the Shoal Bay title.
This is an area much loved for both its accessible tramping tracks as well as the more difficult longer tracks over more difficult terrain for seasoned trampers and again in this guide the author outlines the walking time for each track along with a grade for the walk, access information, details for the best route, attractions to watch out for, notes on weather, terrain and the equipment required.
The author has walked all the tracks himself and the book is illustrated throughout with his stunning photographs.
The advantage this guide has over the two earlier guides mentioned are that all the photos are in colour as are the Department of Conservation maps whereas in the earlier guides most of the photos and the maps are black and white.
Pat Barrett is a Christchurch-based tramper of 30 years experience with four other outdoor titles to his credit. He is also a contributor to Wilderness & other magazines.
Shoal Bay was acquired by Longacre Press in 2003 and they have sensibly, (in my view!), retained the imprint for how-to books on fishing, tramping, finance and business, 4 wheel driving, and genealogy, subject areas in which Shoal Bay had built up a great deal of expertise and for which they were admired.

Eric Dorfman Penguin Books $49.95

I have kept the best ‘til last ! What a stunner .
I can’t say I had heard of author Eric Dorfman before but Penguin Books advise he left his job at Te Papa to start his own communications business and to complete this book. He lives in Wellington, has a PhD and has worked as a wildlife ecologist in various parts of the world. Well all that is good stuff but for me from now on he will be known as the guy who pulled together that simply gorgeous book on our 14 National Parks. I could really wax lyrical here but I reckon my best bet instead is to urge you to scurry down to your local bookseller next week (publication 3 December) and check it out for yourself.

This book provides much greater detail on our National Parks than any other previous publication. A truly superb coffee table book of 264 pages that includes:

*About 250 colour photographs from DOC’s spectacular archive. (Don’t you love the cover? Above Green Lake, Fiordland National Park).
*History and natural history.
*Amazing variety of landscapes.
*Cartography specially created for this book by DOC cartographer Chris Edkins.
*Walking & tramping guides including information about level of difficulty, (some very bloody difficult!), duration, directions etc.
*DOC huts, all you need to know.

Great reference material at the end of the book not least including an extensive bibliography and detailed index.

Send this to ex-pat kiwis around the world and you’ll make them homesick for sure.
And watch for this title when the Montana NZ Book Awards shortlist is announced in the New Year.
My congratulations to the author, publisher and all involved.

No comments: