September 4, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: 4WD South, 115 Off Road Adventures in NZ’s South Island

Mark Wilson looks out for rocks while crossing the Poulter River, in the Canterbury high country.

4WD South, 115 Off Road Adventures in NZ’s South Island
Mark Wilson
4WD South, 2013, 274 pages
ISBN 978-0-473-25476-6
$50 inc postage from

Forget the pretty pictures and diagrams that often feature in books like this. In the author’s words, 4WD South is “very much a ‘work’ book or field manual to accompany the website. In these days of mobile technology people have the ability to access the web on a journey, coverage permitting, and the maps render really well on an iPad or similar tablet device.”

As noted in the item below, this new book is the latest in a line of off-road adventure guides by the author and because it’s just out, is pretty much up to date. Unfortunately, tracks are always changing, or closing, so the beauty of web interactivity is that updates can be posted as soon as notified. It’s a sensible way of covering an ever-changing topic like this.

Slightly smaller in format than its 2006 predecessor, 4WD South, Exploring South Canterbury, Otago and Southland, the book really packs in the information, with a succinct overview of each track, then turn-by-turn instructions. Two aspects are outstanding: one is that it’s indexed both by region and by alphabetical name, so it’s no problem if you want to look up, say, No Name Road but have no idea where it is. It’s way better than early volumes that were numbered from north to south. The other is that Mark Wilson and the designer spent a lot of time working on the typography and organisation of the book so it’s really easy to use on a bumpy track. The man-sized ringbinding helps with usability and strong covers and thick pages should give it a good lifespan in the glovebox.

If you’re planning on doing some South Island tracks, a copy needs to be in your 4WD's glovebox.

1 comment:

  1. It's a good book, I just got one. I do miss the photos and maps that the older books used to have, though