Book review | Road Trips Australia: Backroads and Byways - Caravan World Australia

Book review | Road Trips Australia: Backroads and Byways

Written by: John Ford

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If you're looking for some travel inspiration — look no further. John Ford checks out Road Trips Australia: Backroads and Byways by Don Fuchs. 

We like a good travel yarn here at Caravan World and this recently released coffee table book from German-born photographer and writer, Don Fuchs, has plenty of well researched destinations. Like many overseas-born Australians, Fuchs brings a fresh view of Australia, its people and beautiful landscapes. His travels over the past three decades led him to ideal locations across all states which he has distilled into the 25 journeys of Road Trips Australia: Backroads and Byways.

Fuchs learned his craft working on European travel magazines and specialised mountaineering publications before calling Australia home. His work has been published worldwide including regular assignments with Australian Geographic and R.M Williams Outback. Road Trips Australia: Backroads and Byways follows 10 previous books with themes as diverse as The Ghan, Australian Islands and an off-track trekking guide.

If I have learned anything from my travels, it’s that is that the best experiences come from taking the time to explore. And as thousands of caravanners learned during the past few years, Australia has a gigantic network of roads and highways that make it unique and the ideal country for adventures. We have it all. And this book links the best of our natural wonders with many out of the way towns and quaint villages on drives of discovery. 

Through the book, Fuchs goes into enough detail to whet the appetite for travel to new places without giving away too much. When I read a guidebook, I often look for places I have been to see if the writer uncovers something I don’t know about an area, and Fuchs has plenty of new tales throughout the book that only come from deep research. When he outlines a travel plan for the south coast of NSW, my backyard, he has clearly done the hard yards to uncover more than the glossy tourist brochures suggest. He put his boots on for a walk up Gulaga Mountain and returned with moody images that tell the story beautifully. 

In Eden, NSW, he looks past the obvious and opens our eyes to geological marvels of which even most locals, including me, aren’t aware. The book describes a special geological site found near Eden Wharf in an outcrop that volcanologists from all over the world come to see — strange circular features in a pyroclastic flow from millions of years ago formed from gas bubbles filled with minerals. 

The trips range from outback quests like the Binns Track in the Northern Territory where a 4WD is needed, to more accessible drives around central NSW. A short summary at the beginning of each section recommends a start and finish location and the distance and the time you will need to do the trip justice. This quote from the NSW Border Ranges drive is typical. “Sealed roads except the crossing of the Border Ranges National Park. Some minor back roads are very narrow and windy as well as rough with many potholes.” So, while the description isn’t specific to towing a van, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect and how to have a good time getting there. 

The book covers all states and I think it will be a valuable reference to make the most of your travels. Anyone planning a lap of the country would benefit from the suggested detours because “sometimes the unknown and fascinating is just around the corner.”

Anything that inspires us to get travelling with the van in tow is alright by me and the 290 pages of Road Trips Australia: Backroads and Byways travel planner is such an inspiration. RRP: $44.99. Available from most good book sellers or via Woodlane Press

So if you want to visit the best of this big and beutiful land — whether that's unique country towns, hot springs, breathtaking scenic views or the remotest parts of Australia — this is an excellent guide to get you started. 

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