The best guide books for discovering Australia

Who am I?

As a full-time travel writer for 30 years, I’ve travelled all over Australia and am still constantly surprised and thrilled by new places. Ask me what my favourite place is, and it’s impossible to choose! From the grandeur of Western Australia’s Kimberley and the red ochre colours of the Outback to the deep blue of the oceans and lush rainforests...I love it all and I love sharing my discoveries – both in cities and on the long and winding roads – with readers. When I’m not travelling or writing about it, I’m usually planning the next trip!

I wrote...

Frommer's Australia

By Lee Mylne,

Book cover of Frommer's Australia

What is my book about?

Find the Australia of your dreams – scope out Sydney’s best surf beaches, find the top laneway cafes and street art scenes in arty Melbourne, discover the best places to come face-to-face with Australia’s unique wildlife, and the most colourful underwater playgrounds on the Great Barrier Reef. Learn why Indigenous experiences are the key to unlocking Australia’s reality. Then there are the hotels, restaurants and unmissable attractions…and I’ve visited them all.

Updated every year (until the pandemic temporarily interrupted travel plans), this guide distills the best of Australia’s capital cities and their surrounds. The Frommer’s format is tried and tested, honest and opinionated and designed to appeal to all budgets.

The books I picked & why

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Ultimate Road Trips Australia

By Lee Atkinson,

Book cover of Ultimate Road Trips Australia

Why this book?

Australians love a road-trip – the longer, the better. This book, by one of Australia’s top driving holiday experts, is jam-packed with information and advice to make yours as easy as possible. Driving is definitely the best way to see our vast continent, and the route maps and distance lists are hugely useful. It’s a great resource on where to stay – everything from swank hotels to camping spots – and what to do. Want to know the best time of year to visit a certain place? That’s covered too.

Top Walks in Australia

By Melanie Ball,

Book cover of Top Walks in Australia

Why this book?

Melanie is passionate about the great outdoors and has hiked all over Australia. Her book (a second edition is due out in early 2022) covers an incredible 66 walks and her love of the landscape shines through. Some of the walks are well known, such as Tasmania’s Overland Track, while others are lesser-known. Designed for all abilities and time constraints, there’s really something for everyone, whether you want to walk in tropical rainforests or rocky ancient escarpments. It makes me want to pull on my hiking boots and go!

Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia

By Bruce Pascoe, Vicky Shukuroglou,

Book cover of Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia

Why this book?

Far from an ordinary guidebook, Loving Country, A Guide to Sacred Australia gets to the heart of this ancient continent through the eyes and stories of Australia’s First Nations people. Beautifully designed and illustrated with photographs, the book opens up an Australia that many visitors never – sadly – see. Exploring Australia’s Indigenous culture is one of the best ways to understand this country, and there are many ways of doing that, if you seek them out. After consultation with Indigenous communities and elders, the authors have chosen just 18 places to feature, telling the stories of the Dreaming, explaining traditional cultural practices, and outlining tours that will open a new world to those who care to dive deep into the culture.

The Great Barrier Reef: A Journey Through the World's Greatest Natural Wonder

By Len Zell,

Book cover of The Great Barrier Reef: A Journey Through the World's Greatest Natural Wonder

Why this book?

The Great Barrier Reef is known as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders -and is a major drawcard for visitors to Australia. This book, written by renowned Australian marine biologist Len Zell is not a guide in the usual sense of the word but contains all you’ll ever need to know about what Australians call simply “the Reef” and more. Produced in partnership with the BBC’s The Great Barrier Reef television series, the book takes you on a journey along 2,300km of Australia’s north-eastern coastline. Not one to shy away from reality, Zell also looks at the environmental challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef and what the future may hold. There are practical hints and tips too – but if you just want to buy it for the fabulous photography throughout, that’s fine too!

Australian Geographic Outback Queensland

By Danielle Lancaster,

Book cover of Australian Geographic Outback Queensland

Why this book?

The Australian Outback is a must for anyone who wants to see this country in all its diversity. Far from being just desert, the Outback is varied and fascinating. While this book only covers Queensland, it is a rich introduction to what the Outback offers. Photojournalist Danielle Lancaster knows it well, and the large-format images bring the scenery, wildlife, history, and towns of Queensland’s Outback to life. Whether you are interested in National Parks, dinosaur fossils, desert dunes, stunning gorges, or history, there’s plenty of interest here. As well as an introduction to places you may want to see, it’s also a beautiful souvenir.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, and Australian Outbacks?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, and Australian Outbacks.

Australia Explore 167 books about Australia
The Great Barrier Reef Explore 6 books about the Great Barrier Reef
Australian Outbacks Explore 10 books about Australian Outbacks

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change, Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback, and Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country if you like this list.