Best travel or guide books to buy for trip to Oz?

Aug 22nd, 2005, 04:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Best travel or guide books to buy for trip to Oz?


We're going on a 2 week honeymoon at the end of October and early November. We will be visiting Sydney, Cairns, and then Melbourne. We're trying to figure out which guide books will be the most useful to us for our trip. I've heard mixed reviews about the Fodor's, Frommers, Lonely Planet, and Eyewitness books. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
bruinbr is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 04:28 PM
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I love the Rough Guide series. LP is too backpacker, and Fodors and Frommers are for the older crowd IMO. The Rough Guides have a great mix of places for different budgets and I love their history and context sections.
We have the Rough Guide Sydney and I really like it. Also the NZ edition.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 09:53 PM
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>>Fodors and Frommers are for the older crowd IMO. <<

Hey! I resemble that remark!

Go to a bookstore or the library and spend some time looking through the guidebooks to help you decide. I checked out all the ones you mentioned, plus the Let's Go guide, and ended up buying the Frommer's guide for its specific information on a variety of areas.

We also bought an Eyewitness guide just for the pretty pictures.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:54 AM
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After you select a guidebook (I used Frommer's Australia on $90 a Day) take it to Kinko's or Staples and have is spiral bound with the plastic version. Then go through the book and remove the portions for the areas you will not be traveling to. Lightens the load. Add tabs at the beginning of the sections you are visiting and I always include a post-it note bookmark where the restaurant sections begin.

Barbara_in_CT is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 04:13 AM
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I've always found LP useful, and as an Australian company they should be at least reasonably authoritative on Australia.

I suppose I qualify as a member of the older crowd and I'm certainly no backpacker - at the same time I'm turned off by 5* hotels and prefer to travel independently.

LP certainly started out with a backpacker focus but has gone fairly middle-of-the-road in recent years.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 06:14 AM
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Sorry, I didn't mean to offend anyone! I did what LeeAnn suggests...went to the library and checked out every "brand" of guidebook. I much preferred Rough Guides to the others. You should do the same. Another suggestion is to look at guidebooks for where you live and see which "brand" focuses on the types of things you like in your own city/area.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:09 AM
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Hi bruinbr
Not sure if it's one to carry as its abit heavy but for a ref book at home we borrowed 'Explore Australia'
The complete touring companion, the one we used is printed by family library.
I have a note that the isbn number is 067090661-1
but I have a note of 1741170168 which may be a newer version.

It's a fabulous book and looks at Australia from and Australians point of view as it was lent to me by an Aussie friend who uses it at home.

In fact I found this link to the whole seriesof them.

Good Luck

Mucky is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 01:45 PM
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Thanks everyone for the great tips! Since it's our honeymoon we'd like to stay and do things in a moderate price range (not 5 star, but definately not budget/backpacker). I had read reviews that LP is too budget conscious, while frommer & fodor are a little too expensive. Eyewitness is pretty, but not a lot of info. We will head to the local bookstore to maek our final decision. Also, thanks Barbara for the good tip on photocopying only the things you need
bruinbr is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 07:09 PM
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Frommer's and Lonely Planet both have a good selection of accomodations and restaurants in all price ranges. LP even includes a few supermarket addresses if you're going to be self-catering. Let's Go is geared to students and budget travelers; I copied a number of supermarket addresses from this book.

Lee Ann

It's OK, Liz, I wasn't offended - just amused!
ElendilPickle is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 11:06 PM
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To state the obvious maybe, no guide book should be taken as holy writ. They all make mistakes and in many particulars they're out of date before they hit the streets - particularly with restaurants, which come and go with the wind and which can go from great to OK to lousy with a change of ownership or a new chef. I take them like I take anything I'm told, with a grain of salt and try to balance them with other sources. All the same, a series of enquiries on Fodors or anywhere else is no substitute for a guidebook.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Aug 25th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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Muck, regarding the travel guide "Explore Australia", is that the 2004 edition published by Hardie Grant? The ISBN number you gave matches that book. When i checked online i didn't see any mention of "family library". Also is this the type of guidebook that would matter if it is a 2004 edition? Is there a newer edition?
tomatogal is offline  
Aug 25th, 2005, 08:24 AM
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Hi tomatogal,
The isbn numbers I have are from the original book which we borrowed, this I believe was printed or published by family library. The other number is the more recent updated equivelent. I see there are even newer ones than 2004 available now, I guess the publishers can vary.

Sorry I wasn't too clear, but I am going from a scribble I put in my diary.I was going to buy the 2004 version after my mate went back to oz taking the older book I borrowed with him.
Unfortunately I didn't track it down until after we came back from our 2nd trip.

I don't think there would be much of a difference to be honest, but the link shows a 2006? version. Now that is forward thinking.

Hope this helps

Mucky is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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Here are votes for Rough Guides and Lonely Planet, although find time to read Bill Bryson's ``In A Sunburned Country'' before you go. Excellent read.
repete is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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Hey there soon to be 'Newlywed",

My wife and I really like Pilot Guide's Globe Trekker DVD series. There's some mention of backpacker (bp)stuff on the DVD but we're not bp's. In fact, what we love about the DVD's aside from the hosts and hostesses, is their totally 'non-commercial' points of view. We've found some really interesting activities that are quite simply unique to the country and city we're visiting. The DVD's appeal to us because they talk about (and experience) local transportation, local customs, local foods and are just plain fun to learn from. As for our travels, we can afford to spend the money for 5 star hotels (I own a small transportation engineering firm and we have clients all over the US) but we much prefer to spend our time finding the less expensive, more authentic experiences instead of the same old generic hotel experience. We bought the DVD's before our trips to Ireland, Scotland, Hong Kong, Beijing, Australia and the sights and sounds on those DVD's not only educated us before we left, they also had us sooo excited about what things we were going to see!! Another bonus of the DVD is that even 2 or three years later, we sit down and watch the DVD and we still get very 'misty-eyed' over our experience in that city/country. Australia DVD's include all of the cities you've mentioned. We bought two for OZ - one for the regions and cities of eastern OZ and western OZ and one solely for the city of Sydney.

As for the right books - well, we always get different books for each trip. We've never relied on just one book. We've also researched extensively on the internet as well. The DVD's, the myriad of internet sites, and several books will GUARANTEE you a fantastic trip to anywhere on the planet. (at least that's been our recipe)

Good luck on your marriage - I hope you plan your life together at least as much as you plan your wedding and honeymoon. We have 24 years under our belts and these travel adventures sure do help keep us excited about our next journey and always looking forward to the future together.

type to you later....

PS - Make sure you talk to your friends and your friends' friends that have already been there. They will have some advice for you - some of it good, some of it not so good but better to have more information than less.
I also heard that 'In a Sunburned Country' is supposed to be a good read before or AFTER your OZ trip.
Reallyblessed is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Just ignore Bryson's review of Canberra, is my advice - poorly researched and superficial.

I've had a lot of fun reading Bryson's books, but sometimes his tightness with money (certainly unnecessary for a multi-millionaire) robs his comments of usefulness. Particular examples were his reluctance to pay an admission fee at the Vanderbilt chateau in Asheville NC (so he didn't see it at all) and Colonial Williamsburg, VA (so he missed the included tours/educational experiences that to us were the highlight of our visit.

Peculiar behaviour for a travel writer, but he went some way towards redeeming himself with "A Walk in the Woods".

"In a Sunburned Country" is published in Australia as "Down Under". To my mind that should have been reversed. The former title, taken from a well-known (to Australians) poem by Dorothea McKellar, has a resonance here that it lacks in the rest of the world, whereas "Down Under" would ring a bell with most overseas readers.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 10:03 AM
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Highly recommended is also Lonely Planet: Watching Wildlife: Australia.

Used it to figure out what birds and wildlife we saw and what we should be looking for in different regions and habitats.
KensingtonGirl is offline  

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