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Maps and Books

 There is an almost infinite list of publications out and about today.  All publishers have become aware of the travelling public at last.  In the age of technology anyone can access information on every corner of Australia.  My favourite travel planners are the Readers Digest Book of the Road and BP’s Explore Australia (the complete Touring Companion) for getting to where you leave the black top.  Off the tarred surface thing can and do change rapidly and I still swear by the following:  

Explore Wild Australia with the Bush Tucker Man by Les Hiddins.  Is probably the best of the lot for northern Australia travel because he's been there and lived there for years.  He has a deep love of the country which comes out in his writings.  He covers just about everything including the bush tucker he is famous for.  It is well set out, brilliantly photographed and contains Hiddins' advice as only he gives it short and straight to the point. Great for inspiration.

 Gregory’s 4WD Escapes and 4WD Escapes 1 & 2 by Jan Snelling and Jon Tait.  These books are brilliantly presented and have all the required detail for travelers wanting to go to travel any  of the great outback tracks Australia offers. They may not be currently in print but they sometimes pop up in second hand book stores and at swap meets.

Explore Australia by Four-Wheel Drive by Peter and Kim Wherrett is also exceptionally well presented with advice for travelers and like the Gregory’s has all the details you required unless you are going somewhere truly out of the way. Up there with Les Hiddins for inspiration.

Cape York An Adventurers Guide by Ron and Viv Moon is the complete guide to the Cape and other outback destinations.  It is pretty obvious Ron and Viv love the Cape it comes through in their writing.  This book will take you from Cairns to the Cape and back and if you follow their path you will see nearly all the Cape has to offer.

Lonely Planet – Outback Australia by Denis O’Byrne, Ron and Viv Moon, Hugh Finlay and Jeff Williams is the ultimate guide to the towns and activities in outback Australia.  Those who have been out there write the book and I highly recommend it.

Proper Maps from the Melbourne Map Centre are not normally required unless you are going to get right off the beaten track and I mean right off and believe me on the Cape most of the places are right off the beaten track.  These places may be scenic but for seasoned 4 wheel drivers only and then in company with other vehicles that are well prepared with all communications gear on offer.

Overlander and 4X4 Australia Magazines don’t have the scope or space to do justice to planning a trip of this nature and in all practicality they concentrate on the end of the trip and the goodies at the end.  In they main offer good and practical advice on technique and provide an insight into a vast array of spares and accessories.  Remember these are commercial publications with commercial outlooks which are not the same as your outlook or interests.  The driving techniques offered in these publications are sometimes flawed and readers should bear this in mind as the only way to get proper training is to seek professional instructors. I enjoy them and having a collection of just about all of them I still enjoy the writers, opinions and most of all pictures of some place I've never been which is now added to the list.  These magazines provide the inspiration that great trips are based on.

There are other magazines for special interest groups for example those fanatics from the Land Rover brigade.  There is one other magazine, and now that I've grown up I think  "The covers of this book are too far apart." You will know the one, it is radically different in the approach to 4x4 driving, advice given, concentration on a particular brand of 4x4 no matter how old, pictures of either wheels spinning tearing up the country or a fair distance off the ground, all in all, really good ammunition for the greenies. 

Try Boiling Billy Publications at boilingbilly.com.au. Their guides are well researched, easy to read and not all that dear.  They make a lot of sense and are geared to keen 4x4 drivers and dreamers.  There's one in my glove box.

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