Headed Down Under? Read These Books About Australian Adventures

Headed Down Under? Read These Books About Australian Adventures


Whether because of its opportunities for kangaroos sightings or the lively culture of its seaboard cities, Australia remains a favorite destination for travelers. As you plan a your summer getaway—whether during their summer this winter or ours in June—dive into these fascinating adventures tales set in Australia.

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    1. In the Land of Oz

    Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson’s memoir of Australia, which is being re-released to mark the 25th anniversary of its publication, remains a classic portrait of the country. While offering hilarious notes on kooky locals and misadventures in the Australian Bush, he also zeroes on the darker contradictions at work within Australian society, namely the fraught relations between whites and Aborigines.

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    2. In a Sunburned Country

    No collection of Australia adventure lit would be complete without Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country. In this classic travelogue, the itinerant travel writer trains his razor-sharp wit on every odd character, creature and locale he encounters, from the mysterious rock formations at Uluru to the giant (12-foot!) earthworms of Gippsland. If you’re looking for a bracingly spot-on portrait of the country that’ll also leave you keeled over with laughter, this is the book for you.

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    3. 30 Days in Sydney

    Man Booker Prize winning novelist and Australia native Peter Carey returned to Sydney in the midst of the 2000 Olympics to take stock of how the city and country had changed during his 17-year absence. The result is a vivid and impressionistic guide to the spirit of Australia—as only an Aussie could deliver.

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    4. Fearless

    Fearless is the story of German adventurer Freya Hoffmeister who, at 46, set out to kayak around the entire circumference of Australia, and to become the fastest person to have done it. Glickman describes how Hoffmeister brushes off the warnings of experts and leaves her 12-year-old son at home to complete the mission, trading a life of comfort for nights spent in the desert and run-ins with crocodiles and great white sharks.

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    5. Swimming with Crocodiles

    When Will Chaffey, a product of the New England boarding-school circuit, decided to take a gap year before college, he probably didn’t anticipate behind hunted by a man-eating crocodile in the wilds of Australia. But then, he probably didn’t anticipate being charmed by an enigmatic herpetologist (that’s a person who studies amphibians, not herpes) who would convince him to journey along Australia’s Prince Regent River (“a trek so dangerous it had never been attempted by outsiders”), either. Swimming With Crocodiles is both a coming-of-age story and a chronicle of that greatest kind of Australian adventure: one predicated entirely on surprise, risk-taking and spontaneity.


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