A LIT­TLE FLIGHT READ­ING

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

A Walk in Old Ho­bart Charles Woo­ley and Michael Tat­low (Walk Guides Aus­tralia, $15) THE ti­tle page pho­to­graph gives an idea of what fun th­ese two may be. Charles Woo­ley and Michael Tat­low wrote this book to ‘‘ over­come a cry­ing need for a re­li­able and en­ter­tain­ing guide’’. Their aim is to get peo­ple out on the streets of Ho­bart and be­yond: AWalk­inOld Launce­s­ton will be out soon.

They cover head­stones and her­itage mu­se­ums, parks, pubs and peo­ple (with tales of mer­chants, gov­er­nors and a can­ni­bal con­vict), all ar­ranged in a num­bered stop-by-stop walk enu­mer­ated on a clear fold­out map inside the back cover. Small, light, anec­do­tal, with colour pho­to­graphs, the book in­vites you out on to the streets, where the en­thu­si­as­tic au­thors say they ‘‘ have walked the wa­ter­front and the point count­less times for the sheer plea­sure and fas­ci­na­tion of the place’’. www.walkguidesaus­tralia.com. Ju­dith Elen

GOOD-VALUE GUIDE

The Travel Book Lisa Allen with Fiona Car­ruthers (Ran­dom House Aus­tralia, $24.95) ‘‘ A MUST for the wannabe pro trav­eller,’’ screams the pub­lic­ity for this book by jour­nal­ists Lisa Allen (in cap­i­tals) with Fiona Car­ruthers (lower-case and smaller type). I pre­pare for the worst.

This sort of un­re­al­is­tic hype is un­fair on a book, and this one is not that bad. It’s crammed with use­ful hol­i­day tips, though many in­evitably fall into the bleed­ing ob­vi­ous de­part­ment. On cheap in­ter­net deals: shop around. On pack­ing: travel light. On ho­tel rooms: book at the last minute for best rates. On per­sonal se­cu­rity: don’t carry a lot of cash.

Most of the web­sites are ba­sic, too. There’s a run­down on the top 10 des­ti­na­tions for Aus­tralian trav­ellers. (More pub­lic­ity hype: ‘‘ You’ll be sur­prised.’’ I wasn’t.) The in­for­ma­tion here is fairly ba­sic, too.

The strength of TheTrav­elBook is putting to­gether all th­ese tips, ob­vi­ous or not. The only way to ac­cess them, though, is to wade through all 242 pages. The weak­ness is the rev­e­la­tory tone. On the other hand, if it ends up sav­ing you money or helps you score that exclusive ho­tel room, it could be the best $24.95 you’ve spent. Barry Oliver Brolga Coun­try: Trav­els in Wild Aus­tralia Mitch Rear­don (Allen & Un­win, $39.95) WITH Christ­mas a scary 11 and a bit weeks away, it’s not too early to look for lovely gift books. And bird­watch­ers, surely, are al­ways happy re­cip­i­ents of beau­ti­fully pho­tographed tributes to all things feath­ered.

Mitch Rear­don is a top wildlife snap­per and he has cho­sen the elu­sive, leggy brolga as the topic of a well-priced and gor­geously pre­sented vol­ume. One of the rea­sons he opted for the mys­te­ri­ous brolga as the fo­cus of his trav­els, he says, is be­cause of the 15 crane species en­demic to Aus­tralia it was the one re­ferred to as ‘‘ the na­tive com­pan­ion’’ in colo­nial times and ‘‘ said to ac­com­pany Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple on their wan­der­ings’’. The male birds per­form stylised dances, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing courtship rit­u­als, and Rear­don wit­nesses many per­mu­ta­tions of th­ese joy­ous dis­plays as he trav­els in Vic­to­ria, through the Grampians and across out­back Queens­land, up to the Cook­town re­gion.

Wet­lands, rain­forests and desert habi­tats are also caught by Rear­don’s ac­com­plished eye, and other birdlife comes into the frame, in­clud­ing pied cor­morants perched on bare branches by Clancy’s La­goon in the Ma­reeba wet­lands. They look for all the world like Christ­mas tree dec­o­ra­tions. Alexandra James

LIFE CHANGE

Chas­ing Bo­hemia Car­men Michael (Scribe, $32.95) PRETTY soon there will be no sin­gle women left in Aus­tralia. Whether young and frisky or of a cer­tain age and fraz­zled, more women than you could poke a French­man at have taken off for new pas­tures and the prom­ise of for­eign ro­mance.

Not many blokes seem to be fol­low­ing course; one re­cent ex­cep­tion is Bryce Cor­bett with his up­com­ing life-changer ATownLikeParis . Cor­bett falls for a Lido show­girl; Car­men Michael for samba mu­si­cian Fabio, ‘‘ a gypsy of Rio’’.

Michael’s ac­count of ‘‘ a year of liv­ing reck­lessly in Rio de Janeiro’’, where the so­cial classes are ‘‘ the poor, the very poor, the sort of poor and the rich’’, is a cut above the typ­i­cal trans­plant genre. She is en­gag­ingly self-dep­re­cat­ing and there are lively mo­ments aplenty; her de­scrip­tions of the char­ac­ters she meets (es­pe­cially her high-so­ci­ety men­tor, Gus­tavo) are well-re­alised and of­ten highly amus­ing. Michael writes with pace and panache; how long’s that flight from Syd­ney to Rio? Susan Kuro­sawa

PIC­TURE BOOK

WALK­ING GUIDE

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