Down Under by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson has an international reputation for his eccentric, off-kilter travel narratives, in which he delves deep into the history and national character of a country, through interacting with its people. Down Under, Bryson travels throughout Australia by car and train, and seeks to unlock the secrets of Australian history and national identity. His modern-day journey allows him to relate the tales of the 19th-century explorers who opened up this vast land for Western colonizers. Bryson’s ironic and whimsical sense of humor is given great scope by the Australian sense of self-deprecation, and Bryson’s endless curiosity about the history, nature and society of Australia is contagious.
If you can get the audio version of this it is well worthwhile. Bill reading his own book is great listening.[/text_output]
Breath by Tim Winton
Tim Winton is so wonderfully Australian. His books are largely set in Western Australia and all of them are beautifully written. Sometimes a little confronting but always descriptive of the country and the people.
Breath is a coming of age story set on the coast of Western Australia, where two thrillseeking and barely adolescent boys fall into the enigmatic thrall of veteran big-wave surfer Sando. Together they form an odd but elite trio.[/text_output]
Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood
Set in 1920s Melbourne and with plenty of trips into country Victoria this series is a wonderful way of getting a sense of a location. Many of the places referred to are still standing in Melbourne, Castlemaine of Ballarat (the beauty of old towns!)[/text_output]
For a sense of Melbourne, you can’t go past the Jack Irish series. Jack does venture into regional Victoria, especially those towns where there is a horse track. So if you a fan of crime, horse racing and travel this is a great series. They are also great to listen to too.
Arkie’s pilgrimage to next big thing by Lisa Walker
I’ll be honest, this isn’t brilliant but it is what every traveler wants to do in Australia and that is, visit the Big Things! Arkie travels from Northern NSW to the Sunshine Coast visiting big things in an attempt to “find herself”. It’s fun.