I recently came across this pair of iPad apps called “New Zealand Journeys”; there’s one for the North Island and a separate app for the South Island. Having been to New Zealand recently, I took the North Island app for a test drive.
Author Steve Bicknell and his wife Penny took 2 years to make this guide. The aerial shots are absolutely stunning, and were shot from their Wilga, with Penny flying while Steve manned the camera. Each of the two apps contains over 1000 photographs.
I was very pleasantly surprised that this was NOT yet another activity referral service. There’s no advertising in the app. It’s really designed for someone who’s spending (or planning to spend) a few weeks touring the island, and goes into great detail on what there is to see and do at each location. It’s broken down into “journeys”, which are really just well-designed routes through each of the areas they cover, with history, sights to see, and links to other websites with more information on each.It’s got interactive Google maps built into the app for each area–a really nice touch, and a big step up from the usual static map you’d expect in this sort of app. The map outlines the driving route you’ll take to see all the points on the given journey.
At each stop on the journey, you’ll find an interesting description of the location, with a refreshingly non-tourist-board-sounding tone and a ton of details.
Some of the sections have pull-out details describing the photos. I found this to be pretty useful, as the scenery is such that you don’t want to block it with permanent floating text, yet you DO want to know more about the fantastic scenes laid out in front of you.
As a photographer and private pilot, I was enormously impressed with the quality of the imagery, and also jealous of what had to be hundreds and hundreds of hours of flying over some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. And as a recent visitor to New Zealand, I was chagrined to see and read about how much I’d missed on my trip. If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand, you’d be nuts to not spend the $5.29 each of these apps cost. Pack these apps onto your iPad and bring it on the plane–it’ll make the flight from Los Angeles to Auckland seem almost too short.
You can find the apps on iTunes, or start here.