Best Australian guidebooks? Depends …

Lonely Planet has 15 different guidebooks for Australia alone (click the picture to go to its Australia products).

Lonely Planet has 15 different guidebooks for Australia (click picture to see its page).

One of the great services provided by the UW-Stevens Point International Programs office is its library of guidebooks and other resources. If you’re thinking about the Australia winterim 2015-16 trip, you can check out several guidebooks or videos and learn a bit more about what Australia has to offer.

Among them are the Lonely Planet printed guidebooks to Australia and to Sydney & New South Wales (where the UWSP winterim is focused), as well as that publisher’s DVD version of “Australia: The South East.”  I’ll be reviewing each of these, as well as a number of other guides and resources, over the next few months.

It turns out Lonely Planet started as an Australian company, so one would expect its Australia products to be excellent.  (It does guidebooks for the world, though — it recently listed 489 different ones on its web page.)

Right now, I’m looking over the three LP guides from International Programs, as well as reading Robert Hughes’ excellent history of Australia, Fatal Shore. I’ve got an order in for Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country, which is Amazon’s best-selling guidebook to Australia.  It also comes highly recommended by Mark Tolstedt and Tamas Bodor of the Division of Communication, both of whom have led the Australia winterim trip in the past (Tamas, in fact, got back from the last one about six weeks ago).

In the meantime, here are some other links to guidebooks on Australia. I include them because for experienced travelers, guidebooks are like beer (whose consumption in Australia apparently is becoming more discerning): everybody has a favorite, and tastes vary dramatically.  I’ve always been partial to the Moon Guides, especially because I’ve found Moon’s Costa Rica guidebook to be so thorough and because its author, Christopher Baker, has an eye and a style I’ve come to trust after finding his reviews spot-on during my travels around that country with my Costa Rican wife, Yami, and family.

  • This forum on Fodor’sTravel.com, which was a bit of a surprise because Fodor’s is an obvious competitor to most of the guidebook businesses mentioned on the forum, but the discussion is pretty open.
  • “Guidebook Guide” from the web site IndependentTraveler.com (Australia is the first section on the page; this is a more commercial site, but the reviews look thoughtful)
  • “Top 5 Austalian Travel Books”  Again, this looks like a thoughtful, but brief, review.

Check back later for more info!

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