Do you research your next holiday destination? Read everything you can put your hands on? Plan out the whole trip? Or are you the type of traveler that just takes off and discovers things as you go? Holidays are fun but sometimes the research is also exciting. One of the best ways of getting the feel of a destination is reading about it in books and then discovering the places mentioned in the books when you reach the place. 

You don’t always want a travel guide so here is beginning of a list of books that are not only good holiday/travel reads but also give you a bit of insight into a destination.

Caravan holidays

Down Under by Bill Bryson

Best read when travelling around Australia

Bill Bryson has an international reputation for his eccentric, off-kilter travel narratives, in which he delves deep into the history and national character of a country, through interacting with its people. Down Under,  Bryson travels throughout Australia by car and train, and seeks to unlock the secrets of Australian history and national identity. His modern-day journey allows him to relate the tales of the 19th-century explorers who opened up this vast land for Western colonizers. Bryson’s ironic and whimsical sense of humor is given great scope by the Australian sense of self-deprecation, and Bryson’s endless curiosity about the history, nature and society of Australia is contagious.

If you can get the audio version of this it is well worthwhile. Bill reading his own book is great listening.


Breath by Tim Winton

Best read when travelling to Western Australia.

Tim Winton is so wonderfully Australian. His books are largely set in Western Australia and all of them are beautifully written. Sometimes a little confronting but always descriptive of the country and the people.

Breath is a coming of age story set on the coast of Western Australia, where two thril lseeking and barely adolescent boys fall into the enigmatic thrall of veteran big-wave surfer Sando. Together they form an odd but elite trio.

Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood

Best read when travelling to Melbourne

Set in 1920s Melbourne and with plenty of trips into country Victoria this series is a wonderful way of getting a sense of a location. Many of the places referred to are still standing in Melbourne, Castlemaine of Ballarat (the beauty of old towns!)


Jack Irish series by Peter Temple

Best read when travelling to Melbourne. 

For a sense of Melbourne, you can’t go past the Jack Irish series. Jack does venture into regional Victoria, especially those towns where there is a horse track. So if you a fan of crime, horse racing and travel this is a great series. They are also great to listen to too.

Caravan holidays

Arkie’s pilgrimage to next big thing by Lisa Walker

Best read when travelling to Northern NSW and QLD

I’ll be honest, this isn’t brilliant but it is what every traveler wants to do in Australia and that is, visit the Big Things! Arkie travels from Northern NSW to the Sunshine Coast visiting big things in an attempt to “find herself”. It’s fun.


Is that bike diesel mate? By Paul Carter

The full title is acutally Is that bike diesel mate? One man, one bike and the first lap around australia on used cooking oil.

The title alone gives you a fair idea that this book is going to be an enjoyable read and is best read when exploring the whole of Australia!

All these books are available through Gold Coast Libraries and downloadable as ebooks or eaudiobooks which means you can borrow items but not stress about returning them in time while you are on your next adventure.

Travelling to NSW
Travelling to NT
Travelling to TAS
Travelling to VIC
Travelling to QLD
Travelling to WA

Authors to read if you are travelling around NSW

  •  Kate Grenville
  • Liz Bryski
  •  Sulari Gentil

Authors to read if you are travelling around NT

  •  Nevile Shute
  • Eleanor Hogan
  • Jeannie Gunn

Authors to read if you are travelling around TAS

  • Richard Flanagan
  • Poppy Gee
  • Favel Parrett

Authors to read if you are travelling around VIC

  • Peter Temple
  •  Helen Garner
  •  Shane Maloney

Authors to read if you are travelling around QLD

  • Nick Earls
  • Matthew Condon
  • Trent Dalton
  • Helene Young

Authors to read if you are travelling around WA

  • Craig Silvey
  • Tim Winton
  • Louis de Bernieres