For this trip to Australia there are a few books I recommend to help you learn a bout the country as well as what it's like to live and travel there.
Bill Bryson made a few trips to Australia and has a very humorous take on what he experienced. In In a Sunburned Country he takes us from Sydney to Melbourne, into the outback and up the Gold Coast. He is a very funny and well researched author. This is a must read for the Australia bound traveler.
As for Guidebooks, I have always been a fan of Lonely Planet, so it is no surprise that the most recent Lonely Planet Australia is going to be joining me on this trek. While everyone has their own favorite guidebook for their own personal reasons, Lonely Planet just seemed to suit my needs.
Now I'm not trying to make anyone paranoid about every living thing, but if you are going to die from an animal, it is probably going to be in Australia. For example, 6 of the top ten most deadly snakes come from there. Then consider the Conical sea shell that, when picked up, it sticks out its dagger like defense to sting and potentially kill you. How sweet.
And be sure to know your seasons, because when the box jelly fish are drifting towards the beaches you want to be out of the water. These are just a few reasons that the book Dangerous Creatures of Australia is a good, if not important read. And if this book is too advanced with its multisyllabic verbage, try a version that is a little more your style: Australia's Dangerous Creatures For Dummies. Hopefully I have now scared you into buying one of these books.
One more suggestion to remind you where you are going is to get an Australia Wall Map. Hang it proud, and take a look at where you'll be headed. It is also a great pick-me-up. Whenever you're feeling a bit blue, just look for the craziest named city you find. Australia city names include: Boing Boing, Burrumbuttock, Chinkapook, Eggs and Bacon Bay, Mount Buggery, Tittybong, Chinaman's Knob, and the always fun Ozenkadnook. That last one means "very fat kangaroo". Yes, it makes for hours of fun as the list does go on. Enjoy!
Our new slogan: From Chinkapook to Cock Wash, and from Doo Town to Tittybong
Finally, we have A Concise History of Australia. As the name implies, it is quite concise indeed. Learn about the countries founding as well as the islands original purpose. I find having a book like this under your cap will help you understand the place your visiting. while you're there.