The Weekend Australian - Travel - - ONE PERFECT DAY -


Down Un­der in the Top End Tim Bow­den (Allen & Un­win, $29.95) TIM Bow­den, the for­mer ABC television pre­sen­ter (re­mem­ber Backchat ?), comes across as the sort of bloke who will hap­pily stop for a yarn with al­most any­one, and have a rip­ping good time into the bar­gain. We first met this lik­able newly fledged grey no­mad in the 1990s when he set out with wife Ros from Syd­ney for West­ern Aus­tralia in his four-wheel-drive (Pene­lope), camp­ing trailer (The Manor) in tow. Two more books — Broome and Tas­ma­nia— fol­lowed. This time he’s check­ing out the Top End and its char­ac­ters, but the style’s the same: chatty, breezy, easy to read, up­beat, with a smile never far away. He’s a bit of a stick­ler for de­tail, though: be pre­pared for full de­scrip­tions of what’s cook­ing or be­ing eaten. Food is clearly a vi­tal part of the jour­ney. Bow­den in­sists camp­ing is not about de­pri­va­tion, it’s about in­dul­gence. His re­sponse when fac­ing the dis­as­ter of a jammed lock on the LandCruiser is priceless: ‘‘ Now here’s an in­ter­est­ing de­vel­op­ment,’’ he tells ev­er­pa­tient Ros (her re­sponse isn’t given, un­for­tu­nately). The per­fect trav­el­ling com­pan­ion, this book will in­spire many of re­tire­ment age to fol­low suit. Barry Oliver

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