on February 4, 2004
Here is the situation. Go to the book store and there are 100 to 200 books on Australia. I have about five or six of them. This book leaves me a bit cold.
Here is the good part. It is a large and comprehensive guide to Australia. The book takes a formula approach. In each place it has a map with a list of places to stay, things of interest, history, etc. It follows the same formula place to place. Lots of information but not many photos, a bit dull. Also it is impossible to stay current since restaurants and hotels change.
There are other books with just as much detail or 80% as much detail but have excellent visuals and better cultural ties. I like the DK Eyewitness Travel books because they have lots of detail but color photos that leap from the pages. And Australia is a place of great natural beauty and personally I want to see photos in the guide. A photo is worth 1000 words of descriptions.
So I found the book a bit ho hum maybe too many details and almost no photos.
Cannot recommend. Three stars neutral.
Jack in Toronto
on June 26, 2003
This is another guide written in the same sort of format as Lets Go and Lonely Planet. It is a lot thicker than the Lets Go version and believe me, weight and space are important when lugging the thing around a whole continent. Let's Go also has a fair bit more information than Rough Guide in fewer pages. I also don't like the paper the pages are made of in this book as it's not a nice texture, is very thin and the pages stick together when the book's been inside a hot backpack and just don't feel nice turning the pages when it's a bit humid. Rough Guide is also rather opinionated on everything from each hostel to local information booth staff friendliness. I must say I do agree with some comments but a lot I never had the same experiences. That's the thing about travelling one person can have a great experience with a tourism operator and the next not so good. It depends who else is on the tour, in the room, which staff member you get and so on. If this was a constantly updated website that encourages feedback and changed the information regularly than I would see a place for it but not in a guide book. If you follow the author's opinion you'll miss out on some great experiences and even the places he recommends you may still have a bad time at. That's just the way tourism is. I'd recommend Lets Go over this for backpacking around Australia.
on August 30, 2012
I have been using Rough Guides for several years and this one has not disappointed me. It is relevant in every way and gives enough details about the various attractions without overwhelming the reader with too much extraneous information. I particularly appreciate the final section ("Contexts"), which covers the history, culture, etc. of the destination. Like all publications, this one contains a few inaccurate details but the publishers are very gracious about feedback and give a reward in the form of a discount toward a future purchase.