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Scott Cook: Explorer and Travel Writer

My name is Scott Cook and I’m an American outdoors writer. Writing guidebooks about the outdoors is all I do for a living—I have no other day job. Fortunately, the five guidebooks I’ve now written have all been successful so I’ve moved from struggling self-published author to something a bit more enjoyable!

Get a FREE copy of Scott's NZ Guide Books

We are so passionate about giving you a unique New Zealand travel experience that we hired the author of NZ’s best travel guides to help you plan your next road trip. Scott Cook’s NZ FreNZy guide books take you to the lesser-known and unheralded off-the-beaten-path wonder spots as well as the best of NZ's "must see" sites. As a Wilderness exclusive, when you book a Wilderness campervan you get a FREE digital-PDF copy of Scott’s highly-rated books.

My Story

In 2005, I travelled to New Zealand for my first time, simply 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! 

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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.

NZ Frenzy South Island

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.

My Partnership with Wilderness Motorhomes

Now why are you reading this self-penned bio on Wilderness Motorhomes’ website?  The reasons are two-fold. First, I thought my books would be an instant fit with the New Zealand campervan hire industry and second, Wilderness is one of the very few campervan hire companies that cares enough about its clients’ holidays to attempt to provide some helpful local’s knowledge to their clients.  Surprisingly, most New Zealand campervan outfits don’t seem to worry where you take or what you do in their campervans and motorhomes just as long as you do hire one.  Most companies don’t see it as their job to help you have a great New Zealand trip…they are there just to hire-out the campers.  As evidence of this reality, in early 2009, with my new NZ FreNZy North guidebook in hand, I attempted to meet with almost every major campervan hire company to discuss the possibility of them providing my book in their vans or at least offer the book for sale on their depot counter tops. To my frustration, none of the major companies would meet with me, let alone entertain the notion of offering my book for sale to their clients.  The big players wouldn’t even hear me out.

Who is Scott Cook

Then I found Wilderness Motorhomes, mostly by accident, and I found a different sort of company!  I had never noticed any Wilderness campers on my extensive travels because they don’t tart-up their campers with huge colorful brand advertising.  A Wilderness Motorhome was nearly undistinguishable from any other Kiwi-owned RV…and thus it didn’t scream out “Tourist”.

I never knew the company existed.  I first became aware of Wilderness via their nearly-perfect ratings on the Kiwi-run Rankers travel review website.  When I popped-in to chat with John and Mary at their Auckland depot, their different approach to operating Wilderness was immediately apparent.  We hit it off right away! With just a brief look through my book, they instantly grasped my concept and execution and knew there was nothing like it available to New Zealand travelers (John had an idea that he’d have to actually write his own guidebook but first he had a motorhome company to run). Thus Wilderness Motorhomes was the ONLY motorhome rental company with fully self-contained motorhomes interested in going to some effort to help make their customers’ travels in New Zealand even more special. Wilderness encouraged me to hurry-up and finish my South Island version so they could offer a comprehensive planning aide to their customers.

So here we are now. You, a future New Zealand traveller, are reading about travel planning in an attempt to sort out the myriad of decisions you’ll need to make to thoroughly and effectively plan your upcoming New Zealand travels. Surely you’ve checked other companies’ websites…surely you’ve seen that the planning advice offered is either thin or lacking.  Please read on and I think you’ll come to realize that Wilderness is a different sort of company. Wilderness already provides the best vans and now they are taking the necessary steps to help you make the best plans.  Your dream trip will soon be a reality.  Best vans, best plans…unforgettable!!

Believe me, no other motorhome rental company will go as far for you as to hire a specialized New Zealand travel expert to help you sort through all the decisions there are to make.  No other motorhome rental company “gets it” like Wilderness. Together, Wilderness and I will help you have the best New Zealand holiday/vacation you could possibly have. Read on, you’ll soon see. 

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