Must-do list a surefire holiday boredom-buster

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN
Last updated 16:00 16/12/2013

BOOK REVIEW: Explore New Zealand: 101 Must-Do's for Kiwis
Compiled by AA (Random House NZ, RRP $45)

The Christmas school holidays are looming ever closer, so maybe now would be a good time to start some pro-active planning on what to do with the young'uns.

And with that next break being the biggie for the year, being prepared with some ideas for things to do during the many weeks of freedom isn't a silly idea because once Christmas Day itself has been and gone, most kids are starting to suffer from a good dose of boredom.

Fortunately, this book has all you need to know about what to see and do, and where, in this small but perfectly formed nation of ours. It also has a stray apostrophe on the cover because "dos" is neither possessive nor a contraction, but while I'm a tad obsessive about apostrophe abuse (my mother was a proof reader, she ensured her offspring knew what to do with the little critters), I'll ignore it for now and move on to the content.

Explore New Zealand follows on from I Love You New Zealand, a book published as a result of the Automobile Association's "101 Must-Do's" campaign.

Of course, things change and during the past seven years new activities and attractions have popped up all over the place.

New Zealanders voted on an initial selection of 1600 experiences, and the resulting most-favoured 101 are in this book.

The attractions are many and varied - from beaches, national parks and ski-fields to spas, festivals, Pineapple Lumps and wineries.

The locations are equally varied, with offerings from all around the country. Southern entries include a good mix from Fiordland and Otago (with all the expected touristy fun of Queenstown) but just one option in Southland: the Southern Scenic Route.

However, if you really wanted to get into a debate on what should or shouldn't be in the book, you'd never finish arguing. No doubt there will be some readers who will be peeved because their favourite place didn't make the cut, but to pull together a comprehensive list of all that is worth seeing in New Zealand would require several volumes.

Quite sensibly, the AA has limited the final cut to 101 options and gone with those that got the most votes. The result is a book that is packed with stacks of photos and definitive proof that the pavlova belongs to New Zealand.

At $45, this would make a great gift for that hard-to-shop-for family member or friend, or even for a homesick expat.

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