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The best and the worst of NZ towns and cities

Media release – August 19, 2008

The best and the worst of NZ towns and cities – latest Lonely Planet guide

Bay of Islands is a bit over-hyped, Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most liveable cities, Dunedin is surprisingly artsy and Hamilton’s stretch of bars and eateries leave Auckland’s Viaduct for dead.

These are the views about some places in the latest Lonely Planet New Zealand guide book.

Hawke’s Bay is a cable TV lifestyle channel come to life – food, wine and architecture are the shared obsessions, best viewed through a rosé-tinted wine glass.

Invercargill, Kaitaia and Pauanui – an upmarket refugee camp for over-wealthy Aucklanders - get the thumbs down.

Naseby, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Twizel, Opoutere, Takaka get a big stamp of approval.

Wellington strikes a balance between creative exuberance and an institutional mindset, crucial to the day-to-day running of the country. The city is neither altogether bohemian, nor overloaded with bureaucratic stuffed shirts.

The Lonely Planet guided, released today, praise the country’s beauty, but urges New Zealand’s tourism industry to protect its ‘green’ status.

While tourism numbers in New Zealand rise, so does the environmental cost, with extra visitors putting strain on the “clean, green environment NZ is renowned for.”

The guide says Auckland can “justifiably respond to its detractors, ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful’”. And Christchurch combines “an easy-going provincial charm with the emerging energy and verve of a metropolis”.

“Christchurch is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s most liveable cities, combining an easy-going provincial charm with the emerging energy and verve of a metropolis.’’


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  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland