Scott Cook is an American outdoors writer and author of one of NZ's best travel guides, NZ FreNZy guide books. Scott's guidebook is perfect for discovering lesser-known and unheralded off-the-beaten-path wonder spots, as well as the best of NZ's "must see" sites. It's an NZ road trip planning must-have.
Written by Scott Cook
Hi, my name is Scott Cook. Writing guidebooks about the outdoors is all I do for a living — I have no other day job.
Fortunately, the five guidebooks I’ve written have all been successful so I’ve moved from struggling self-published author to something a bit more enjoyable!
It all started in 2005 when I travelled to New Zealand for the first time to take a 3-month vacation and explore the natural wonders of the fabled New Zealand landscape. I didn’t arrive with much of a plan as I figured that I’d have three months to sort things out. The main planning aid I had was a Nelles New Zealand map. This map features little stars pointing out places of interest such as hot springs, caves, special beaches, trees, rock formations and the like. This map got me super excited to get to New Zealand, buy a campervan, then hit the road to explore all these wonder-spots!
My plan was to pick up a heap of locally-written guidebooks once I was in New Zealand that would feature all these touted places of interest just like the guidebooks that I have written for my home state of Oregon, USA. To my dismay I wasn’t able to find the kind of local knowledge exploring guides like I had in mind. I asked around at many tourist information centers (i-Sites) and book shops but I was constantly steered towards Lonely Planet and its brethren. A quick look through the Lonely Planet revealed that it didn’t have the details to find all the neat points of interest that were liberally sprinkled all over my Nelles map.
I was so discouraged at the lack of detailed information available that within about a month I committed myself to writing my own type of New Zealand outdoors guidebook. The rationale was simple: I was finding WAY TOO MANY fascinating and beautiful spots that got no coverage in the mainstream travel guides or at the local i-Sites. Every night I would sit in my camper checking my Nelles map then digging through a stack of Department of Conservation (DoC) guides, free i-Site guides, and an “Adventure New Zealand” guidebook to plan my next day’s foray. Occasionally, I’d check-in with local libraries to reference some expensive New Zealand hiking guidebooks as well as books about hot springs, caves, beaches, and the like. Even with all this painstaking research I discovered that I had passed right by some really interesting spots because there had been no local signage nor any help from the i-Sites to find the local points of interest.
Out of my frustration came the ideas behind NZ FreNZy – a unique guidebook that was easy-to-use, fun-to-read, and packed full of details on how to find New Zealand’s most treasured spots. I spent most every day and night of the next six New Zealand summers travelling the land and unraveling its many secrets. It was no easy feat to compile five wonder-filled summers of researching the vast swath of New Zealand, trying filter the good from the blah, the free from the commercialized, the touristy from the hidden into two slim NZ FreNZy guidebooks. Six years of New Zealand magic--wow, such a wonderful task! I sussed it out, boiled it down, summed it up…and spit it out. Voilá… NZ FreNZy North was released in 2009 and NZ FreNZy South in 2010. The reviews on Amazon are there to tell you how I did.