The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

Vic Wid­man’s Clas­sic Out­back Tracks Vic Wid­man (Boil­ing Billy Pub­li­ca­tions, $39.95) YOUget a lot of book for your bucks here. Tour op­er­a­tor Vic Wid­man has more than 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence trav­el­ling across our na­tion’s re­motest reaches and this is his ‘‘com­plete guide to tack­ling and en­joy­ing out­back Aus­tralia’s best four-wheel-drive tracks’’. There are good route maps and well-or­gan­ised ta­bles of camp­site fa­cil­i­ties plus plenty of bril­liantly coloured pho­tog­ra­phy to set the scene.

It’s all swags and red sand on the Hay River Track and wild­flow­ers and camels on the Can­ning Stock Route. I’ve read the chapter on plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion and made notes. All that’s left to be done is to choose a tent, buy a 4WDand an aux­il­iary bat­tery, and sally forth. Where to start? The Gun­bar­rel High­way sounds just the thing, prefer­ably with Wid­man rid­ing shot­gun. South­east Asia on a Shoe­string China Williams and con­trib­u­tors (Lonely Planet, $46.99) THIS is the 16th edi­tion of the Lonely Planet clas­sic, which still pays homage to Tony and Maureen Wheeler’s 1973 ground­breaker, Across Asia on the Cheap. Just as Lonely Planet has grown from a kitchen-ta­ble en­ter­prise to a global colos­sus, Asia has hit ev­ery trav­eller’s radar, and while there are back­packer digs, ba­sic bars and no-frills cafes cov­ered here, there’s as much em­pha­sis on good value as low cost (although you may not want to sleep in bunk-filled dor­mi­to­ries over pubs owned by ex­pat Aus­tralians). Four­teen con­trib­u­tors are named and the re­search seems fresh and thor­ough across a wide ge­o­graphic span, from newly emerg­ing Burma and Ti­mor Leste to stal­warts such as Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land.

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