Books About Travelling Australia (Novels)

📚 16 BEST Books About Travelling Australia (Novels)

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Whether you’re in the throes of planning some Aussie travel or are just looking for some road trip inspiration, reading books about travelling Australia is a good way to keep your spirits high.

There are many reasons people embark on journeys around Australia. For some it’s about the exploration and adventure, while for others it’s to return home or reconnect with loved ones or memories of decades past.

These books about travelling Australia include witty stories, outrageous adventures, sombre mysteries and hilarious experiences that you couldn’t plan if you tried! So, grab a drink, pull out the camp chair and have a read through these truly Aussie tales.

Don’t forget to check out these 20 great kids books for travelling Australia.

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Travelling Australia Books


Kimberley Sun (Di Morrissey) BOOK

Kimberley Sun

by Di Morrissey

The Kimberley – from the red desert to the remote town of Broome – is the backdrop for Kimberley Sun. This is the enthralling story of modern relationships and the unbreakable ties we all have to the past.

Lily Barton is beautiful, adventurous and 50-something. She is looking for a complete life change. Sami, her daughter, is 30, driving alone through the outback and finally, reluctantly, confronting her family roots. Together they are swept into a world where legends, myths and reality start to converge.

Those who come into their orbit bring stories that change each of them. From Farouz, the old Afghan camel driver, to Bobby, the Chinese/Aboriginal man who is tangled in the murder of a German tourist, to Biddy, the survivor from Captain Tyndall and Olivia’s era… and who is the mysterious artist hiding in the desert? All have a secret and all have a story to tell until each finds their place under the Kimberley sun.

The sequel to Tears of the Moon – a favourite for all Di Morrissey readers.

Pages: 480
On eBay: Paperback & Audio CD →


Are We There Yet? (Rachael Weiss) BOOK

Are We There Yet?

by Rachael Weiss

Two girls who ‘just wanna have fun’, hit the open road in a quest to discover the perfect ‘solo gal’ holiday. Warm, engaging, and bloody funny, this is also an armchair traveller’s guide to finding happiness in a couples’ world.

For two glorious weeks we’re going to forget about work, leave all care behind, run away from the empty routine of our lives and pretend we are Thelma and Louise, minus the assault and descent into a criminal vortex, of course.’

Rach and Jules, two thirty-something gals, hit the road in search of the ultimate solo holiday and the secret to eternal happiness.

Are We There Yet? is part travelogue, part road trip and for the most part extremely funny. When they’re not trying to tone their bums and impress their sexy, if not-so-bright, fitness leader, dis’ing divorcees over the ninth bottle of chardy, or questioning the pampered existence of Namronette Kitten Seven Space Kitten with a Mission, Rach and Jules are on a quest for truth, honesty and the perfect pub pash. Along the way they contemplate the really big questions, like: What does a single girl do for sex these days? Is there such a thing as a meaningful internet date? What happens when your best friend has the nerve to fall in love? And is it okay to eat basil after it’s been stuffed down a bloke’s trousers?

Whether you’ve been single, are single, know someone who’s single or might indeed be single sometime in the future, Are We There Yet? will have you laughing all the way to the health spa or the nearest bar.

Pages: 228
On eBay: Paperback →


Dancing Home (Paul Collis) BOOK

Dancing Home

by Paul Collis

When he was in gaol, he’d begun to prepare himself for the fight of his life, a showdown with the policeman, McWilliams would face life with death, and see who blinked first.

Blackie and Rips are fresh out of prison when they set off on a road trip back to Wiradjuri country with their mate Carlos. Blackie is out for revenge against the cop who put him in prison on false grounds. He is also craving to reconnect with his grandmother’s country.

Driven by his hunger for drugs and payback, Blackie reaches dark places of both mystery and beauty as he searches for peace. He is willing to pay for that peace with his own life.

Pages: 240
On eBay: Paperback →


Wife on the Run (Fiona Higgins) BOOK

Wife on the Run

by Fiona Higgins

When social media and a mobile phone expose a high school scandal and a husband’s shameful secrets the only thing left to do is run. A beleaguered wife and mother escapes it all on a family road trip – without technology – to reclaim her life and rebuild her family.

A mother’s greatest fear. A wife’s worst nightmare.

When two technology-related disasters hit within days of each other, Paula knows her comfortable suburban life has been irrevocably blown apart. One involves the public shaming of her teenage daughter, the other is a discovery about her husband that shocks her to her core. With her world unravelling around her, Paula does the only thing that makes any sense to her: she runs away from it all.

She pulls her children out of school and takes off on a trip across Australia with her elderly father and his caravan. The only rule is No Technology – no phones, no Facebook, no Instagram, no tablets, games or computers. It’s time to get back to basics and learn how to be a family again.

It all sounds so simple – and for a while, it is. But along the way Paula will meet new, exciting complications, and realise that running away is only a temporary solution. The past has to be faced before the future can begin.

Pages: 432
On eBay: Paperback & Audio CD →


Swallow the Air (Tara June Winch) BOOK

Swallow the Air

by Tara June Winch

When May’s mother dies suddenly, she and her brother Billy are taken in by their Aunty.

But, their loss leaves them both searching for their place in a world that doesn’t seem to want them. While Billy takes his own destructive path, May sets out to find her father and her Aboriginal identity.

Her journey leads her from Australia’s East Coast to the Far North, but it’s the people she meets, not the destinations, that teach her what it is to belong.

Swallow the Air is an unforgettable story of living in a torn world and finding the thread to help sew it back together.

Pages: 216
On eBay: Paperback & Hardcover →


Croc Country

by Kerry McGinnis

Young widow Tilly is making a new life for herself, keeping house for the rangers at the Binboona Wildlife Sanctuary in the isolated wilderness of the north-western Gulf Country. Caring for injured wildlife and helping to run the popular tourist campsite are just the distraction she needs from everything she left behind when her husband, Gerry, and young daughter were lost at sea.

But when the police show up asking questions about Gerry, the peaceful routine she’s built is disrupted as she begins to question what really happened to her family. The arrival of botanist Connor stirs up even more emotion and has Tilly questioning who she can trust. When she and young ranger Luke stumble across evidence of wildlife smugglers on a visit to the local caves, suddenly her sanctuary is no longer safe and it becomes clear the past has well and truly come back to haunt her.

Set against the lush backdrop of the Northern Territory with its vibrant birds and deadly wildlife, this is a chilling and highly evocative family mystery about the wild and dangerous things that can happen in the most remote and untamed corners of our country.

Pages: 368
On eBay: Paperback & Audio CD →


Red Dog (Louis de Bernieres) BOOK

Red Dog

by Louis de Bernieres

Red Dog is a West Australian, lovable friendly red Kelpie who found widespread fame as a result of his habit of travelling all over Western Australia, hitching rides over thousands of miles, settling in places for months at a time and adopting new families before heading off again to the next destination and another family – sometimes returning to say hello years later.

While visiting Australia, Louis de Bernieres heard the legend of Red Dog and decided to do some research on this extraordinary story. After travelling to Western Australia and meeting countless people who’d known and loved Red Dog, Louis decided to spread Red Dog’s fame a little further. The result is an utterly charming tale of an amazing dog with places to go and people to see.

Red Dog will delight readers and animal lovers of all ages.

Pages: 128
On eBay: Paperback, DVD & Audio CD →


Too Much Lip (Melissa Lucashenko) BOOK

Too Much Lip

by Melissa Lucashenko

Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley.

Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble – but then trouble is Kerry’s middle name.

Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.

Pages: 328
On eBay: Paperback & Audio CD →

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Packing Up to Travel Australia (Planner)

Packing Up to Travel Australia

The ultimate pre-travel planner for anyone hitting the road for a big trip!

  • 41-page Planner
  • Checklists
  • Decision-making prompts
  • Travel set-up planning
  • Budget estimates & more
  • DIGITAL & PRINTABLE
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Gemma's Bluff (Karly Lane) BOOK

Gemma’s Bluff

by Karly Lane

On a working holiday in the country, away from commitments and other people’s expectations, will Gemma find love and a new way of life?

Smart and reliable, Gemma Northcote has always done what’s expected of her. So it’s not surprising that after uni she defers to her father’s wish that she join the family business.

Gemma’s best friend, Jasmine, is a different personality altogether. She thrives on spontaneity, is unpredictable and has generally pursued her own path.

When Gemma and Jasmine decide to spend a working holiday on a large rural property, their friends and family are surprised. Neither has any experience of country life (unless you count Jasmine’s love of McLeod’s Daughters) and they’re not exactly farming types.

Away from her family, Gemma feels liberated. The longer she’s away the more she questions what she really wants to do with her future. Ultimately, she realises she needs to choose between duty and what’s right for her in life – and love.

From the bestselling author of Bridie’s Choice and Poppy’s Dilemma, this inspirational novel is sure to appeal to anyone who’s questioned the direction they should take for true happiness.

Pages: 368
On eBay: Paperback →


Almost Perfect (Kelly Denley) BOOK

Almost Perfect

by Kelly Denley

After being a full-time wife and mother since the age of 17, by 31 Kelly Denley has lost sight of who she truly is, so when the pregnancy test comes back positive for number eight, she isn’t exactly ecstatic. Then things get a whole lot worse. Postnatal depression takes its toll on Kelly, her father is given just a year to live, her husband is retrenched, one daughter is hospitalised and another on antidepressants and, in a final frightening development, her eldest boy, who suffers from Asperger’s, threatens suicide. Distraught, Kelly blames herself and knows that everything has to change.

As the family gradually find their feet, in a bid to prove she’s more than just a mother, Kelly takes a giant leap out of her comfort zone and dons a school uniform to finish an education cut short by teen pregnancy. The suburban mum, used to sneers about her large brood like ‘Don’t you know what causes it?’ blitzes the HSC with an amazing 97.3.

But that, it turns out, is just the start of an incredible journey for the Denleys. Concerned about her children’s school problems and behaviour, Kelly takes dramatic action, putting her university dream on hold so the family can travel Australia for a year in the hope that the experience will draw them closer together. How Kelly tackles both the joy and pain that lie in wait, from discovering the beauty in nature she’d always been too busy to see and mastering the art of home-schooling in a tent, to nearly drowning in a flooded river and more heartache over her children, makes Almost Perfect an inspiring, moving, yet often hilarious rollercoaster ride of a memoir.

Pages: 320
On eBay: Paperback →


Rose By Any Other Name (Maureen McCarthy) BOOK

Rose By Any Other Name

by Maureen McCarthy

Rose wants to be alone but instead she’s on a road trip of discovery with her mother. This is a warm, generous novel big on family dynamics and a rich portrait of a feisty young girl facing up to love, loss and life’s big issues.

‘Don’tcha just hate the way you get caught up in stuff without really wanting to? You make a wrong move, and before you know it you’re in some weird scene that isn’t you but … how do you get out of it? Maybe you lied, maybe you stole, maybe you betrayed your closest friend. It happens. Yeah. Then it goes a bit further, and suddenly you’re one of those jerks you hate because … you can’t be trusted.’

Rose is all packed up. She’s got a van full of petrol and a stack of CDs. She’s got a surfboard in the back and a secret that won’t go away. But that’s okay. She also has enough attitude to light up the night sky. Then her mother decides to come along … and Rose’s road trip takes an unplanned U-turn, straight to the heart of last summer.

Pages: 342
On eBay: Paperback & Audio CD →


We of the Never Never (Aenaes Gunn) BOOK

We of the Never Never

by Aeneas Gunn

In 1902, newly-married Jeannie Gunn (Mrs Aeneas Gunn) left the security and comfort of her Melbourne home to travel to the depths of the Northern Territory, where her husband had been appointed manager of ‘The Elsey’, a large cattle station.

One of the very few white women in the area, she was at first resented by people on and around the station, till her warmth and spirit won their affection and respect. She had an unerring ear and eye for the sounds and sights of the country; and this is her moving and simple account of her life amidst the beauty and cruelty of the land, and the isolation and loneliness – together with the comradeship and kindness of those around her.

The favourite of generations of Australians since it was first published in 1908, We of the Never-Never can truly be called a classic.

Pages: 256
On eBay: Paperback & Audio CD →


Castle of Dreams (Elise McCune) BOOK

Castle of Dreams

by Elise McCune

A ruined castle deep in the rainforest holds a secret that unites three generations of women: two sisters who find themselves in love with the same man as the Second World War rages and, decades later, a young woman determined to uncover the secrets in her grandmother’s hidden past.

Growing up together in a mysterious castle in northern Queensland, Rose and Vivien Blake are very close sisters. But during the Second World War their relationship becomes strained when they each fall in love with the same dashing but enigmatic American soldier.

Rose’s daughter, Linda, has long sensed a secret in her mother’s past, but Rose has always resisted Linda’s questions, preferring to focus on the present.

Years later Rose’s granddaughter, Stella, also becomes fascinated by the shroud of secrecy surrounding her grandmother’s life. Intent on unravelling the truth, she visits the now-ruined castle where Rose and Vivien grew up to see if she can find out more.

Captivating and compelling, Castle of Dreams is about love, secrets, lies – and the perils of delving into the past . . .

Pages: 368
On eBay: Paperback

Castle of Dreams is set in one of Queensland’s most popular tourist attractions, Paronella Park. During your travels, make sure you visit the beautiful crumbling castle in the Innisfail hinterland, Far North QLD!

Paronella Park Castle – Accommodation & Tours →

Lonely in Longreach (Eva Scott) BOOK

Lonely in Longreach

by Eva Scott

Widower Sam Costello has no time for love. When he’s not working on his farm, he’s trying to figure out how to connect with his teenage son Levi.

But Levi is about to finish high school, and he has big plans to move to Sydney for university with his best friend Maddie. If only he didn’t feel so guilty about abandoning his dad. Maddie has her own reasons for wanting to go to Sydney and she’s not going to let Levi’s dad ruin her future happiness. Mr Costello needs a girlfriend and, with her talent for matchmaking, Maddie is the girl to make it happen. By the time Mr C figures out what she’s done, surely he’ll be too in love to be angry.

Journalist Sarah Lewis has a good job, a nice boyfriend and a safe life in Sydney. Though sometimes she wonders if life has more to offer than nice and safe. When she starts working on an article about finding love in the outback she finds herself asking whether journalists should become this invested in their research. But there’s just something about Lonely in Longreach. Could it be that the man behind the dating profile is the key to the passion she has been looking for?

Pages: 384
On eBay: Paperback →


1988 (Andrew McGahan) BOOK

1988

by Andrew McGahan

Gordon, failed writer and bottleshop boy, feels his life is going nowhere and heads north with Wayne in search of their rightful place in the culture of a nation.

‘A lighthouse. A weather station, thousands of miles away. For six months. I drank steadily. With alcohol it all made sense.’

It’s the Bicentennial year and for Gordon failed writer and bottleshop boy it seems his life is going nowhere. It’s time to escape. From his overcrowded house, from Brisbane, from Expo 88, from everything. He stumbles into Wayne who has connections in Darwin and the promise of work. So the two of them head north toward swamps and crocodiles, in search of inspiration, and of their rightful place in the culture of Australia.

1988, McGahan’s second novel, is a prequel to his best-selling debut Praise.

Pages: 324
On eBay: Paperback & Audio CD →


Roadside Sisters (Wendy Harmer) BOOK

Roadside Sisters

by Wendy Harmer

Meredith, Nina and Annie, three very different friends, are reluctantly approaching middle age and facing the ups and downs of their lives. On a whim they take off on a road trip up the east coast of Australia.

A funny, heartwarming, hugely appealing novel about the enduring strength of women’s friendships. Nina, Meredith and Annie have decided to hit the road one more time. It’s twenty years since they toured together as members of the gospel choir Sanctified Soul. How far have they all come since then? Do they still have anything in common? Elegant Meredith, motherly Nina and the determinedly single Annie are as unlikely companions as you could find.

But like a matched set of 1950’s kitchen canisters of Flour, Sugar and Tea, they always seem to end up together. When a tropical wedding beckons in Byron Bay, 2000 kilometres from their homes in suburban Melbourne, they make the alcohol-fuelled decision to drive a monster mobile home up the coast for the trip of a lifetime. Squabbles and secrets, tears and laughter – not to mention the possibility of finding Mr Right along the way – this trip might tear them apart or it might just save their lives.

A funny and heartwarming story of female friendship, Elvis Presley, k.d.lang and a busted annexe, Roadside Sisters is the hugely appealing new novel from one of Australia’s favourite comediennes, Wendy Harmer.

Pages: 336
On eBay: Paperback →


Amber and Alice (Janette Paul) BOOK

Amber and Alice

by Janette Paul

Take a hilarious road trip into the Australian outback in this witty romantic comedy, with an enticing family mystery thrown in!

When Amber Jones wakes up in her sister Sage’s speeding car, with no idea how she got there (though the hangover is a clue), all she wants to do is go home. But Sage is convinced a road trip to Alice Springs will finally answer the burning question: who is Amber’s father? Because nine months before Amber’s birth, her late mother Goldie made the same trip . . .

Armed with just a name and Goldie’s diaries, Amber agrees to search for a man she’s never met in one of the world’s biggest deserts.

And that means spending two weeks in a convoy of four-wheel-driving tourists and camping in freezing desert nights. To make matters worse, her fellow travellers hate her and the handsome tour leader Tom thinks she’s an alcoholic.

But slowly the desert starts to reveal its secrets – and Amber must decide which horizon to follow . . .

Pages: 400
On eBay: Paperback →

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Where to Find Books While Travelling

Being an avid reader while travelling Australia can be a great way to while away a lazy afternoon in the shade or a cozy night in the van.

But… books are heavy and chunky. Carting a huge stack of books around the countryside just isn’t going to be an option when space and weight limitations are an issue.

While many have made the move to Kindles and digital books, there are still many of us who like to hold the book in our hands and feel the satisfaction of turning the pages.

I’ve never run out of reading material while travelling and you’ll be surprised at where you can find books on offer as you travel.

Book Stash, Caravan Cabinet
Emma’s book stash in a top cabinet in the caravan

Book Swaps

Keep your eyes peeled for Book Swaps, which can be found in Caravan Park offices, along roadsides and in small towns, among other places.

A Book Swap is basically a shelf full of books with a sign inviting you to take any book/s you like for free and in return add one or a few books back to the shelf for someone else to take.

I remember driving past a gorgeous over-sized letterbox-style nook in Byron Bay, which had a ‘Book Swap’ sign and a nice stack of books for the swapping.


Amenity & Laundry Blocks

Stacks of second hand books can often be found in campground amenity blocks and laundry rooms. People often leave the books they’ve finished reading there for someone else to help themselves to, I know I’ve certainly done it a few times myself.

I’ve picked up some interesting reads from amenity and laundry blocks throughout my visits to caravan parks and free & low cost camps alike.


Op Shops

Op Shops are a trove of second hand books and always worth a look when your reading stash is getting low. You can generally pick up books from 50c – $3. Sometimes they’ll even have ‘Fill a Bag for $5.’

Being able to drop your old books off to the Op Shops is always great for clearing out your own space.

Op Shop, Sapphire QLD
Op Shop, Sapphire QLD

Other Travellers

Another great way to swap books is with other travellers. They are usually just as grateful as you are to have a new book or two in circulation and to offload their own finished ones.

Once you’re finished with the books you received, pay it forward and pass them on to the next traveller you meet who’s a fellow bookworm.


Rural Library Memberships

Some Local Councils have Library Memberships available for travellers. I know Queensland Rural Libraries have a membership available which spans quite a few outback towns.

Joining the Rural Library in The Gemfields (Central QLD) was great for the kids. Then we were able to still use that membership card in other towns along the way. You just have to remember to return the books before you leave the region!


eBooks

Okay, so eBooks are pretty popular with travellers and for good reason. They don’t weight anything and are very portable. There are many Apps you can get for downloading and reading eBooks these days, including Amazon and Booktopia.


BorrowBox

Borrowbox is an App which allows you to borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks for free from local libraries. All you need is the free library membership and the App on your device (phone, tablet or kindle).

Once you’re set up, you’ll have access to an extensive online library of eBooks and eAudiobooks, which can be downloaded for a period of time for offline use.


Enjoy your travels around Australia as you live vicariously through these novels!

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