Islands of Australia

Islands of Australia

Islands of Australia: Travels through Time

Australia is not just an island continent; it's a continent of over 8,000 islands"more than the entire Caribbean. We may know the history of some of our most popular islands, yet the fascinating stories of many more have yet to be told.

In this new photographic travel/history book, Islands of Australia: Travels through Time, travel guru Tony Wheeler takes readers on a journey around the Australian coast and beyond to discover the stunning natural features, unique wildlife and chequered histories of our remarkably diverse islets, cays, atolls and archipelagos.

Packed with fascinating stories and beautiful photographs, Islands of Australia takes you on a visual journey around the coast from eco-resorts, pristine beaches and dive sites to guano mines, prisons and subantarctic volcanoes. Readers discover why the Whitsundays should have been called the Whitmondays, encounter Australia's only known pirate, witness mutiny and murder on the Bounty and Batavia, meet giant lizards and friendly quokkas, and discover rich Indigenous cultures. Go behind the tourist brochures to discover our islands' fascinating, complex and sometimes dark histories.

Whether you're an intrepid explorer, a simple sun-seeker or an armchair tourist, Islands of Australia will have you itching to visit and discover more about our history and natural heritage.

Tony Wheeler, co-founder of travel publisher Lonely Planet, has been described by The New York Times as 'the trailblazing patron saint of the world's backpackers and adventure travellers'. Since the sale of Lonely Planet, Tony has been involved with Melbourne's Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas, London Business School's Wheeler Institute for Business & Development and the Planet Wheeler Foundation's developing world projects. Working on Lonely Planet's assorted Australia guides has taken Tony to many of the country's most interesting islands and this project has added a number more to his island checklist.

Islands of Australia: Travels through Time
NLA Publishing
Author: Tony Wheeler
ISBN: 9780642279477
RRP: $39.99

Interview with Tony Wheeler

Question: What inspired the creation of Islands of Australia?

Tony Wheeler: You'd have to ask the National Library of Australia! They came up with the idea and asked me to write it. I probably got the gig because I have done a fair bit of travel writing – 30 odd guides in one way or another for Lonely Planet – including LP's first Barrier Reef Islands book, which won a PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) award many years ago. So one batch of islands I'd already covered pretty well and quite a few others I'd been to over the years. This was not a 'go there and research it' book, like a travel guide, it was really a 'desk research' project, but I ended up going to quite a few more islands for my own interest.


Question: Can you tell us about your travels to one of the Islands, included in the book?

Tony Wheeler: Dirk Hartog off the coast of WA, what an island! It's got a long and fascinating 'Australian explorers' connection, getting there is not easy – a long drive north from Geraldton, the final stretch requiring 4WD. You can continue on a little way to Steep Point, the most westerly point in Australia so you can add that to Byron Bay, Wilsons Prom and Cape York (east, south and north). Then it's a barge trip across to the island and a wonderful place to stay – the Dirk Hartog Eco Lodge. The only problem is that getting around the island requires an awful lot of pushing through the bush on narrow 4WD tracks, as a result I returned a rather scratched 4WD to the rent-a-car company in Geraldton who were very unhappy about it, and this book has cost me far more than the National Library paid me for it.


Question: Why was it important to you to include popular as well as unknown islands, in Islands of Australia?

Tony Wheeler: The unknown is always more interesting than the known. You turn up at some place you don't know about (like Dirk Hartog) and it's 'wow, I didn't know about this.' But the popular places have to be there as well, you can't call it 'Islands of Australia' and then not include an island that everybody know about and wants to read about. You do have to try and find something new or unique to say about that island, however.


Question: What originally inspired your passion for travel and photography?

Tony Wheeler: Back in the '70s I travelled the 'Hippie Trail,' London, across Asia, all the way to K-K-K-Kathmandu. That trip led to the creation of Lonely Planet and I've never looked back.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

Islands of Australia: Travels through Time 
NLA Publishing
Author: Tony Wheeler
ISBN: 9780642279477
RRP: $39.99 




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