The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

The Scent Trail: An Ol­fac­tory Odyssey Celia Lyt­tel­ton (Ran­dom House, $49.95) THE in­trigu­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween scent, me­mory and place is the un­der­ly­ing note in Lyt­tel­ton’s jour­ney through the his­tory, cre­ation and busi­ness of per­fume.

The au­thor ful­fils a long-held de­sire to visit a be­spoke per­fumer and af­ter an ab­sorb­ing se­lec­tion process she’s pro­vided with a list of in­gre­di­ents and em­barks on a world­wide jour­ney to trace the ori­gins of th­ese flow­ers, spices and more ex­otic el­e­ments.

The book is part travelogue, part his­tory and at times reads like an in­struc­tional text, yet it comes alive when Lyt­tel­ton’s de­scrip­tions of aro­mas trans­port the reader. We are whisked to tra­di­tional per­fumers’ work­shops, with their phial-filled an­tique cases, to the spice souks of Mar­rakech, Ot­toman houses in Turkey adorned with neck­laces of pep­pers and chillis, iris farms in Italy, and the mossy-floored cedar forests of Azrou.

There are oc­ca­sional quirky anec­dotes, in­clud­ing some un­ex­pected nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents in a well-known soft drink, and the ori­gin of the ex­pres­sion, life is a bed of roses. Sharon Fowler Ex­plore Aus­tralia’s Na­tional Parks (Ex­plore Aus­tralia Pub­lish­ing, $49.95) MY main com­plaint about this book is its bulk: for­get putting it in the glove­box, and I wouldn’t be tak­ing it on a hike. But, con­sid­er­ing Aus­tralia is blessed with hun­dreds of na­tional parks, I don’t see a so­lu­tion. Best to trans­fer any use­ful in­for­ma­tion to pa­per be­fore leav­ing home.

The pub­lisher is ob­vi­ously aware of the size prob­lem, since it has plucked just 100 of our na­tional parks for de­tailed ex­am­i­na­tion in the book’s 402 pages (there are lo­ca­tor maps for an­other 145). De­tailed prob­a­bly isn’t the right word: gor­geous Kakadu in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory is given only five pages of text (plus map) while ri­val Litch­field gets a mere two.

Quib­bles apart, if you’re keen on visit­ing the na­tion’s na­tional parks, this is a good in­vest­ment. Small fact files and must-see, must-do pan­els will get you in the great out­doors mood, whether your taste runs to scenic drives and pic­turesque walks or wa­ter sports and ab­seil­ing. Just don’t strain your­self pick­ing it up. Barry Oliver


Indo Surf and Lingo Peter Neely (Indo Surf, $29) THE au­thor’s love of the waves and peo­ple of In­done­sia, es­pe­cially Bali, is be­yond doubt. He’s spent most of his life there. But his re­luc­tance to di­vulge the where­abouts of all but the most fa­mous breaks in In­done­sia is an ir­ri­tat­ing deference to the surf­ing writer’s code of keep­ing new breaks se­cret.

Many of the re­mote breaks he de­scribes in the book can be surfed with the help of boat char­ter com­pa­nies and surf camps, whose ad­ver­tise­ments just hap­pen to be sprin­kled through­out the pages of this book. ‘‘ Hope­fully this book will help many surfers dis­cover new breaks,’’ Neely writes in the short pas­sage about in­de­pen­dent ad­ven­tur­ing. Given his avoid­ance of di­vulging any in­for­ma­tion that isn’t al­ready well known among In­done­sian reg­u­lars, that’s a big ‘‘ hope­fully’’.

Neely pro­vides a use­ful guide to Bali, as well as a handy col­lec­tion of In­done­sian phrases, but that hardly jus­ti­fies the cover price. At best, Indo Surf is a be­gin­ner’s guide, one that would ad­mit­tedly light the fire of ad­ven­ture in an Indo vir­gin, but soon be dis­carded once they re­alise that the grapevine is as, if not more, in­for­ma­tive. www.in­do­surf.com.au. Fred Pawle



Spring­time for Ger­many Ben Don­ald (Lit­tle, Brown $32.95) DON’T men­tion the war might be good ad­vice, but Ben Don­ald can’t help him­self. Hitler’s in here too, though the au­thor con­cedes he can’t be blamed for all the world’s woes, dam­mit.

The Brits have never got on with the Ger­mans. Two world wars didn’t help but, worse, the Ger­mans nab pool loungers. Which is the joke run­ning through Spring­time­forGer­many . The brave Pom en­dures an eye-open­ing trip to the land of leder­ho­sen (made-to-mea­sure in the au­thor’s case) to find the real Ger­many, not the one of Bri­tish imag­i­na­tion, and re­gain his love of travel into the bar­gain.

De­spite more than a lit­tle help from travel ther­a­pist Manny, Don­ald fails to de­liver the laughs. The book might have his fel­low coun­try­men gig­gling but it should have stayed at home. Ref­er­ences to Al­ton Tow­ers, C & A and Lin­ford Christie don’t travel.

Still, there is nu­dity and it’s in­ter­est­ing, if curious, that Ok­to­ber­fest is held in Septem­ber. Barry Oliver


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