My daughter is heading to Australia and New Zealand after graduation. I've loved the Rick Steve's books for Europe, so I haven't paid attention to the other brands. Any thoughts?
Check out www.tripadvisor.com for the forums for specific cities in both countries. Lots of local experts can help you.
DK publishing has an Eyewitness Travel series that we've used on past trips. They have excellent guides for both Australia and New Zealand, as well as a "Backroads Australia" publication that we wore out on our last visit - lots of scenic drives and off the beaten path excursions.
Can find them on Amazon.
We used Frommer's EasyGuide to Australia. It was great.
I really like the Moon Guides. The ones I've used offer the kind of suggestions re logistics that are so helpful in the RS guides. And I've found the Moon Guides to be more comprehensive than RS in the cities/regions covered.
I'd also recommend Lonely Planet books. If your daughter has any specific questions, she may find it helpful to post those on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum, which is similar to this one. There's a very well travelled group there. One "caveat" however - the TT is not as "well behaved" as the RS forum.
People her age here in the UK would not dream of using guide books, as the Internet provides far more info than any guide book. For her age group, the Lonely Planet is best.
These are two huge countries and unless she wants to carry round half a ton of paper, any guide book is going to be relatively scant on detail. An ebook will probably be more useful than a paper version.
Per George's comment re Trip Advisor, check out their "things to do" section for ideas - it's a pretty good planning resource.. and an excellent supplement to the various guide books.
You don't say how long she'll be spending in each country, but given the vastness of Australia I'd suggest looking at Jetstar.Com (the Qantas low cost airline) as a cheap and efficient way to connect points of interest around the country.
I'd recommend Lonely Planet books and forum. It's more geared for students compared with Fommers or Fodors and being an Australian company they should be the best resource for that area. If "Let's Go" still covered A-NZ I would recommend that as well but it looks like they've scaled back to Europe only.
Thanks everyone for the helpful advice. I know she'll do most of her planning online, but I figured a book or two would make a nice xmas gift:)
I would agree with Robert on the DK guides.
They are excellent.
Definitely Lonely Planet. Google "Trip Advisor Top 10 Best Things to do in Sydney/Melbourne/Adelaide/Brisbane/Cairns etc." These sites are a good place to start.
We used a really good web site when planning our New Zealand trip - 100% Pure New Zealand