Where to Watch Birds in New Zealand

Author: Kathy Ombler

Publisher: New Holland, $34.99

I have no idea how many dedicated bird watchers there are in this country but presumably the number is sufficiently large to warrant this charming book. It is subtitled “More than 30 of the country’s best birding locations” (Taranaki, apparently, is not one of them because it is not mentioned) although the author makes it clear that it is not a definitive guide to the entire country.

At one level, this book is a clearly written guide for those who plan their holidays around birding (location, how to get there and how to find your way around once you are there, birds of the area, accommodation, useful contacts, additional reading etc). There are many subheadings, boxes and maps which presents the information clearly but few photos so one clearly needs to carry other books to identify the birds. But at another level, it is one of those quirky, highly specialised books which is nice to have in the bookcase even if you are not an ardent birder. It is full of interesting little bits of information about the areas and about conservation in general in our country.

It is certainly worth having if you holiday around the country or if you host overseas visitors who are interested in nature generally. I won’t be giving my copy away.