Auckland's messy public transport, resilient Cantabrians, caffeine-fuelled Wellington and a surprisingly buzzy Hamilton are among the highlights in the latest Lonely Planet New Zealand travel guide.
Lonely Planet says its latest edition pays tribute to the strength of New Zealand's people in the aftermath of a series of challenges.
It says New Zealand has had it tough over the last few years, referring to the Pike River coal mine explosion, the Rena oil spill, and Canterbury earthquakes.
But the 16th edition of the popular guide, due out next month, is not without Lonely Planet's characteristic strongly expressed opinions.
It says Auckland is a much more vibrant city following the Rugby World Cup, but its public transport system is still a mess and the council's new Hop smartcard is probably not worth troubling about.
The guide says Christchurch is coping resiliently and creatively in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes.
It dubs Wellington a wonderful city with a cocktail-and-caffeine-fuelled hospitality, and a pub crawl in Hamilton, which it calls surprisingly buzzy, is apparently a must.