One of my favourite pastimes when we are travelling is to read. I love sitting outside in the shade of a tree with a good book and I particularly like Australian authors and books that are set in places I have been to. I have even read books that have inspired me to visit somewhere. For example, The Opal Desert by prolific Australian author Di Morrissey inspired me to visit Lightning Ridge.
So I have put together this list of Books to Read While Travelling Australia. Some I have read and others I have added to my ‘must read’ list.
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Three brothers, one death, a fence-line stretching to the horizon.
Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland.
They are at the stock-man’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron.
The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cam. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…
The Lost Man is available in a soft cover for $24.99. If you love a good crime thriller I can highly recommend Jane Harper’s books.
Arcadia by Di Morrissey
A breathtaking Tasmanian tale of ancient forests; of art and science; of love and, above all, of friendship. In the 1930’s, in an isolated and beautiful corner of southern Tasmania, a new young wife arrives at her husband’s secluded property – Arcadia. Stella, an artist, falls in love with Arcadia’s wild, ancient forest. And when an unknown predator strikes, she is saved by an unusual protector…
Two generations later, Stella’s granddaughter, Sally, and her best friend, Jessica, stumble over Stella’s secret life in the forest and find themselves threatened in turn.
What starts as a girls’ adventurous road trip becomes a hunt for the story of the past, to solve the present, and save their future…
A modern mystery born in a timeless Tasmanian forest, from Australia’s favourite storyteller.
Arcadia is available in hard-cover for $24.99 or e-book for $14.99. You will find yourself wanting to visit all the places that Di’s books are set in.
The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham
In a quiet farming town somewhere in country New South Wales, war is brewing.
The last few years have been punishingly dry, especially for the farmers, but otherwise, it’s all Neralie Mackintosh’s fault. If she’d never left town then her ex, the hapless but extremely eligible Mitchell Bishop, would never have fallen into the clutches of the truly awful Mandy, who now lords it over everyone as if she owns the place.
So, now that Neralie has returned to run the local pub, the whole town is determined to reinstate her to her rightful position in the social order.
But Mandy Bishop has other ideas. Meanwhile the head of the local water board – Glenys ‘Gravedigger’ Dingle – is looking for a way to line her pockets at the expense of hardworking farmers already up to their eyes in debt. And Mandy and Neralie’s war may be just the chance she was looking for…
A darkly satirical novel of a small country town battling the elements and one another, from the bestselling author of The Dressmaker.
The Year of the Farmer is available in soft-cover for $24.99 and e-book for $14.99 and is what I am currently reading.
The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns
Little secrets grow up to be big lies…
They’ve been best friends since their sons started high school together, and Felicity, Emma and Neve share everything … or so they thought.
But Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage hides a shocking secret which, with one word, threatens to destroy her and her family’s happiness. Emma is in denial about a potential custody battle, her financial constraints, the exhaustion she can’t seem to shake off and the inappropriate feelings she has for her boss.
And single mum Neve is harbouring a secret of her own; a secret that might forever damage her close-knit relationship with her son.
When the tight hold they have each kept on their secrets for years begins to slip, they must face the truth. Even if that truth has the power to hurt the ones they love, and each other. Perhaps some secrets weren’t made to be kept.
The Art of Keeping Secrets is available in soft cover for $32.99 and I have to say Rachael Johns is amongst my favourite Aussie authors.
Welcome to Country by Marcia Langton
Whilst the Indigenous tourism industry continues to grow, no comprehensive travel guide is currently available.
Welcome to Country is a curated guidebook to Indigenous Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. Author, Marcia Langton offers fascinating insights into Indigenous languages and customs, history, native title, art and dance, storytelling, and cultural awareness and etiquette for visitors.
There is also a directory of Indigenous tourism experiences. These are organised by state or territory, covering galleries and festivals, national parks and museums, communities that are open to visitors, as well as tours and performances. This book is essential for anyone travelling around Australia who wants to learn more about the culture that has thrived here for over 50,000 years. It also offers the chance to enjoy tourism opportunities that will show you a different side of this fascinating country.
Welcome to Country is available as a Hard Cover book – $39.99 and also as an e-book – $14.22.
Burke & Wills by Peter Fitzsimons
‘They have left here today!’ he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.
In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off. Led by Robert O’Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26 camels.
Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local Indigenous people.
In desperation, leaving the rest of the party at the expedition’s depot on Coopers Creek, Burke, Wills and John King made a dash for the Gulf in December 1860. Bad luck and bad management would see them miss by just hours a rendezvous back at Coopers Creek, leaving them stranded in the wilderness with practically no supplies. Only King survived to tell the tale.
Yet, despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in our nation’s history – and their story remains immediate and compelling.
Burke & Wills is available in hard cover – $49.99 and soft-cover $35.00.
Journey’s to the Other Side of the World by David Attenborough
The further adventures of a young David Attenborough – from Madagascar and New Guinea to the Pacific Islands and the Northern Territory of Australia.
Following the success of the original Zoo Quest expeditions, in the late 1950’s on-wards the young David Attenborough embarked on further travels in a very different part of the world.
From Madagascar and New Guinea to the Pacific Islands and the Northern Territory of Australia, he and his cameraman companion were aiming to record not just the wildlife, but the way of life of some of the indigenous people of these regions, whose traditions had never been encountered by most of the British public before.
From the land divers of Pentecost Island and the sing-sings of New Guinea, to a Royal Kava ceremony on Tonga and the ancient art of the Northern Territory, it is a journey like no other. Alongside these remarkable cultures he encounters paradise birds, chameleons, sifakas and many more animals in some of the most unique environments on the planet.
Journeys to the Other Side of the World is available in hard-cover for $29.99.
FOR THE KIDS
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
I was walking down the road, and I saw a donkey hee-haw! And he only had three legs. He was a wonky donkey!
In this very funny, cumulative song, each page tells us something new about the donkey until we end up with a spunky, hanky-panky cranky stinky dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey, which will have children in fits of laughter! There is much fun to be had by listening to the song and trying to predict the new word for each clue given!
The Wonky Donkey is suitable for ages 0 to 4 and perfect for in the car as it comes with a CD. Soft-cover + CD $16.99
The Travel Bug by Benjamin Gilmour and James Gulliver Hancock
The journey of a bug with an identity crisis
A strange little bug doesn’t know who he is or where he’s from. Even his name is a mystery. So he sets off to seek answers. He journeys the world meeting wonderful creatures, seeing amazing sights and eating delicious food. Adventures he has, but still no one knows what insect he is.
Maybe, just maybe, the path he is on is the answer he seeks. The Travel Bug is a gently philosophical picture book about identity, fate, the joy of travelling, and the discovery of kindness and kinship across cultures.
The Travel Bug is available for immediate download as an e-book for $14.99 or $24.99 for the hard-cover version.
Dingo: The Dog Who Conquered a Continent by Jackie French
Australian author, Jackie French’s critically acclaimed and best-selling ANIMAL STARS series looks at history through the eyes of an animal.
All of Australia’s dingoes may be descended from one south-east Asian ‘rubbish dog’ who arrived here over 5,000 years ago. This is a story about the first dingo. It is also the story of Loa, who heads off across the sea in his canoe when the girl he loves marries another. He takes only his spears and a ‘rubbish dog’, one of the scavengers from around the camp to eat if he gets hungry, or to throw to threatening sharks or crocodiles. But when a storm blows boy and dog out to sea, both must learn to survive in a strange new world as partners – and even as friends.
From renowned author Jackie French comes a story about survival in our earliest times. Suitable for ages: 9-13 and perfect if you are schooling on the road.
Dingo: The Dog Who Conquered a Continent is available for immediate download as an e-book for $9.99 or soft-cover for $14.99.
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If this list has left you wanting more then check out Dymocks Books Top 101 for more books to read while travelling Australia.
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