The short book is a description of the five sacred mountains and three mountain torrents (wufeng sanjian 五峰三澗), of the Daoist temples and monasteries located there, and a collection of the biographies of 23 Daoist masters living ontop of the five mountains during the Southern Dynasties 南朝 (420~589) and Tang periods, mainly based on inscriptions of stone slabs.
At the end of the book, a short biography called Zhenjun zhuan 真君傳 is added that is attributed to the Han-period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) writer and bibliographer Liu Xiang 劉向 and includes the biographies of Master Red Pine (Chisongzi 赤松子) and the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu 西王母).
A second appendix consists of the eulogy Tian Xiansheng xiezhen zan 田先生寫真贊, a biography of Tian Liangyi 田良逸 compiled by Zhuge Huang 諸葛黃, called Master Menggu 蒙谷子.
The Nanyue xiaolu is very interesting as one of the few surviving descriptions of the Daoist mountains. Earlier books like Lu Hongyi's 盧鴻一 (d. 740) Songshanji 嵩山記, Zhao Mi's 張密 Lushan zaji 廬山雜記, Linghu Jianyao's 令狐見堯 Yusishan ji 玉笥山記 and Du Guangting's 杜光庭 (850-933) Wuyishan ji 武夷山記 are long since lost.