Suggested Reading List
A Commonwealth of Thieves, The Improbable Birth of Australia
Author: Thomas Keneally
Description: With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, the miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillips, the ambitious (and bland) captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales. You may be familiar with Keneally as the author of the acclaimed work (made into an equally-renowned film) "Schindler's List".
A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia
Author: Steve Wilson
Description: A comprehensive account of the 800 species of Australian reptiles, grouped by family. Each entry includes a distribution map, notes on habitat, range and conservation status. Covering crocodiles, sea turtles, freshwater turtles, geckos, flat-footed lizards, skinks, dragons, goannas, blind snakes, pythons, file snakes, colubrid snakes, terrestrial elapids, sea snakes, and, sea kraits.
A Concise History of New Zealand
Author: Philippa Mein Smith
Description: This well-written pocket history in the series by Cambridge University Press covers the history and development of New Zealand from its origins and early development to the 21st century. With illustrations, glossary, chronology and bibliography.
A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
Author: Julian Fitter
Description: Comprehensive and compact, this Princeton Pocket Guide by longtime resident Julian Fitter and Don Merton at New Zealand's Department of Conservation features 600 color photographs. With range maps, descriptions and excellent introductory chapters on conservation efforts and key national parks for bird watching
A Personal Kiwi-Yankee Dictionary
Author: Louis Leland
Description: Take this book with you on your trip to help you untangle the sometimes perplexing and colorful local idioms.
A Traveler’s History of New Zealand and the South Pacific
Author: John Chambers
Description: A concise, generous overview of the region, organized chronologically, and including line drawings and maps. While a great deal of the book focuses on New Zealand, there is also ample coverage of the South Pacific.
Author: Wally Caruana
Description: This well illustrated survey of Aboriginal art, ancient and modern, focuses on the spiritual and geographic sources of art and ritual traditions in Australia. It covers the range of art from all parts of the continent, including a chapter on the Wandjina rock art of the Kimberley region. The concise text is augmented by 187 well produced black-and-white and color illustrations.
Author: Stephen Muecke
Description: A lively illustrated overview of the culture and history of the Aborigines. The authors explore how the Aborigines came to be in Australia, their rituals and Dreamings, and the importance of kin in their social structures. With a chapter on the atrocious treatment at the hands of white settlers and the pervasive racial prejudice that remained enshrined in the Australian constitution until 1967. The final section deals with the massive indigenous cultural renaissance over the past four decades, and discusses how Aboriginal art - whether Central Desert acrylic art, batik, contemporary urban painting, sculpture or traditional bark painting - has become a flagship for Australian culture.
Description: This large folded map of Australia, at a scale of 1:3,500,000, includes national parks, reserves and roads, all clearly marked. Two Sides. 34x40 inches.
Australia, A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: Robert Ross
Description: Arranged geographically, this collection of mostly local writers is an excellent overview of the cultures, geography and mindset of Australia. It includes stories by Patrick White, Peter Carey and other luminaries, as well as transcriptions of several aboriginal myths.
Australia, An Ecotraveler's Guide
Author: Hannah Robinson
Description: A handbook and guide to wildlife, habitats and travel in Australia with 400 color photographs and excellent descriptive information on birds, mammals and other creatures. Organized geographically, each section includes suggested places to visit, national parks and reserves, maps and sidebars on habitats, flora and fauna.
Australia: The East, Travellers’ Wildlife Guides
Author: Les Beletsky
Description: A wonderfully comprehensive guide to the plant and animal life of eastern Australia. This colorful book features illustrations of 650 commonly encountered fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds and special sections on the Great Barrier Reef and eastern Australian and Tasmanian wildlife parks and reserves.
Author: Pocket Naturalist
Description: A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered Australian birds.
Author: James Kavanaugh • Raymond Leung (Illustrator)
Description: This illustrated fold-out guide features almost 150 species of Australian animals. Laminated for durability; pocket-size for quick reference in the field.
Bradt Australian Wildlife
Author: Stella Martin
Description: A guide not just to kangaroo and koala, this compact, illustrated survey, featuring 250 color photographs, takes in habitats, parks and conservation, marsupials, birds and bats.
Captain James Cook
Author: Richard Hough
Description: A vividly written narrative of the life and three great voyages of Captain Cook. This fine book includes a gripping account of his discoveries throughout the Pacific and his demise in the Sandwich Islands.
Author: Tim Flannery
Description: An ode to the kangaroo in all their splendid diversity and oddity. Revisiting his early love of kangaroo fossils, Flannery weaves engaging tales of his adventures on the trails of marsupials past and present with his travels and encounters with eccentric scientists and Aborigines.
Author: HEMA Maps
Description: With a map of Christchurch and surroundings from Saltwater Creek to Akaroa, detailed street map of Christchurch itself and regional map on the reverse at a scale of 1:350,000. With scenic drives, National Parks, Camping Grounds and travel information. Two Sides. 20X29.5 inches.
Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All
Author: Christina Thompson
Description: In this endearing, offbeat memoir, Christina Thompson effortlessly alternates tales of mostly disastrous early encounters with the Maori (she's an anthropologist) and the story of the love of her life, Seven, the Maori she married. Her title is taken from what "Darwin said that Cook said the Maori's said at that interesting moment when Europeans first appeared." What probably actually transpired on that fateful day in 1769 at the Bay of Isles was more complex.
Cronin's Key Guide to Australian Mammals
Author: Leonard Cronin
Description: An indispensable guide to Australia's fascinating monotremes, marsupials, and placental mammals. This book, the third in the Cronin's Key Guide series, is packed with information about the behavior, development, food, and habitat of Australia's remarkable mammals.
Cultural Atlas of Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific
Author: Richard Nile & Christian Clerk
Description: This handsome volume weaves together history, geography, archaeology, and the arts, covering the Australasian region from prehistory up to the founding of the modern nations. Features hundreds of illustrations.
Culture Smart! Australia
Author: Barry Penney
Description: A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture with a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.
Daisy Bates in the Desert: A Woman's Life Among the Aborigines
Author: Julia Blackburn
Description: In this wonderfully original biography, tBlackburn recreates the life of Daisy Bates (1861-1951), who abandoned her comfortable surroundings in 1913 to live for 30 years in the wilderness. It opens memorably "There was once a woman who lived in the desert" -- setting an appropriate tone for a book which artfully combines biography, fiction and history. Blackburn consulted the archives and interviewed contemporaries to create this absorbing portrait of a fascinating character.
Dirt Music, A Novel
Author: Tim Winton
Description: Among Australia's finest writers, Tim Winton fashions powerful and elegant tales set within the arid outback of Western Australia. An alcoholic mother and a down-on-his luck poacher are the protagonists of this recent novel, where landscape and nature play just as much a role as the characters themselves.
Author: Samuel Butler
Description: Butler's satirical account of a journey across the mountains to an upside-down country at the end of the world (Erewhon is an anagram of Nowhere), where sick people are thrown in jail and murderers are taken to the hospital. Erewhon is also a place in New Zealand where Butler, not coincidentally, ran a sheep ranch for several years in the 1860s. Upper Rangitata, in the foothills of Canterbury, retains its wild beauty (featured in the movie Lord of the Rings). Butler not only exposes the hypocrisy of Victorian society, church and education but also does a fine job of evoking the landscape of the region. First published privately by Butler in 1872.
Eyewitness Guide New Zealand
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: This superb illustrated guide to New Zealand from the Eyewitness series features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.
Eyewitness Guide Sydney
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: This superb guide to Sydney features color photography, dozens of excellent neighborhood maps and a district-by-district synopsis of the city's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.
Eyewitness Guides Australia
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: A compact guide to sites, attractions and places throughout Australia featuring excellent maps and hundreds of full color photographs and site diagrams. With select recommendations on where to eat and stay.
Fairness and Freedom, A History of Two Open Societies, New Zealand and the United States
Author: David Hackett Fischer
Description: Fischer compares the political similarities of two societies, the United States and New Zealand, why they have taken different forms, and asks the question: is it possible to be both fair and free? An expansion of Fischer's previous work on liberty and freedom, and the first book to be published on the history of fairness.
Field Guide to the Birds of Australia
Author: Ken Simpson • Nicholas Day
Description: A handbook and field guide to Australia's birds with 2,000 vivid color illustrations, each accompanied by a brief description and revised range map. This more compact seventh edition features 16 new or revised color plates, new maps and condensed information.
Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia
Author: Peter Menkhorst • Frank Knight (Illustrator)
Description: A comprehensive guide to 376 species of kangaroos, koalas, bandicoots, wombats, deer, seals, whales and other mammals of Australia featuring full color illustrations by Frank Knight. Third edition
Fishwatcher’s Field Guide: Great Barrier Reef
Author: Idaz Greenberg
Description: A double-sided, laminated card covering the reef fish of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the tropical Pacific.
Fodor's Exploring Australia
Author: Michael Ivory
Description: This excellent up-to-date guide will take you Down Under with ease and style. Includes maps, illustrations and unusual information on features of cultural, historical and natural interest.
Great Southern Landings: An Anthology of Antipodean Travel
Author: Jan Bassett
Description: This eclectic and quirky anthology collects nearly 100 excerpts from various writers who have left their impressions of actual visits to the Antipodes in books and journals, while others, travelling only in their minds, left accounts of imaginary voyages to distant utopias. The contributors include Jonathan Swift, Jules Verne, Joseph Conrad, Kenneth Clark, Charles Darwin, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Herbert Hoover, Anthony Eden, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, Bruce Chatwin, Jan Morris, Harold Larwood, Germaine Greer, and Peter Conrad. A helpful introduction is given to each extract and author.
Author: Adrian Hyland
Description: The second Emily Tempest investigation set in the Outback. Emily has taken a job as a police officer in northern Australia where, against the wishes of her supervisor, she investigates the death of a scientist she believes was murdered because of his controversial theories.
Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
Author: Barrie Heather, Hugh Robertson & Derek Onley
Description: A compact edition of the classic field guide to the birds of New Zealand, featuring 74 color plates. Brief descriptions, range maps and illustrations are integrated on facing pages for easy reference.
Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance
Author: Lloyd Jones
Description: From rural New Zealand at the end of World War I to the present day, two separate love stories resonate across three generations, as two very different couples are brought together by their obsession with the seductive power of the tango. By the author of the critically acclaimed Mr. Pip, this earlier novel was first published in New Zealand in 2002.
In A Sunburned Country
Author: Bill Bryson
Description: Bill Bryson revels in Australia's eccentric characters, dangerous flora and fauna, and other oddities. As has become his custom, he effortlessly imparts much fact-filled history in this wildly funny book. Included at the end is a short bibliography. This book is published as "Down Under" in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
Making Peoples, A History of the New Zealanders from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century
Author: James Belich
Description: An extremely readable and scholarly history that traces the development of New Zealand -- and the Maori -- from pre-contact to the late 19th century. With its wide, yet detailed focus, this book gives the reader a glimpse into the social forces that have formed the Maori, including the tremendous impact of colonization. It concludes with a discussion of the Pakeha, the 19th century settlers who helped shape what has become modern day New Zealand. Belich, a professor of history at the University of Aukland, continues the story in a second volume (NZL59).
Author: H.G. Robley
Description: A new unabridged edition of the classic, illustrated sourcebook on Maori tattooing (moko), first published in 1896 and featuring black-and-white photographs and drawings by the author. Robley (1840-1930), who recognized that the traditional art of tattooing was endangered (along with the Maori themselves), pays scrupulous attention to the intricate patterns, design and cultural meaning of traditional Maori tattoos. Robley, a talented artist who had served in the British army in New Zealand, lived among Ngati Tapu at Matapihi from 1864 to 1866.
Author: Adrian Hyland
Description: The Ned Kelly Award-winning first Emily Tempest investigation set in the Australia. Emily, a half-white, half-Aboriginal woman returns to her hometown in the Outback only to find that the tribe's elderly leader has been murdered. Emily soon finds herself embroiled in investigations, both into the crime and into her own ambivalent feelings toward her heritage.
Author: Sally Morgan
Description: Sally Morgan artfully evokes aboriginal culture and its complicated history in colonial Australia in this deeply moving memoir of three generations. Particularly moving is Morgan's account of discovering her Aborigine heritage as a teenager in Perth.
New Zealand Adventure Map
Author: National Geographic
Description: This handy, double-sided map (1:1,100,000), printed on water- and tear-resistant paper, includes inset maps of the Sub-Antarctic islands and an index. Published in conjunction with Reise Know-How and the World Mapping Project, this is one of a growing series of National Geographic Adventure Maps. One Side. 39x27 inches.
New Zealand Through Time, An Illustrated Journey Through 83 Million Years of Natural History
Author: Ronald Cometti
Description: Step back in time in this illustrated miscellany, featuring dozens of full-color paintings of giant moa, mixosaurus, and other splendid extinct creatures.
New Zealand Wildlife
Author: Julian Fitter
Description: Julian Fitter's splendid introduction to the nature and wildlife of New Zealand features succinct chapters on geography and geology, history, habitats and wildlife, along with hundreds of color photographs. Fitter (Wildlife of the Galapagos) and Tui de Roy, who contributed many of the photographs, also collaborated on Albatross, Their World, Their Ways.
New Zealand: A Natural History
Author: Tui De Roy & Mark Jones
Description: The authors, both naturalists and photographers, present the wildlife, habitats and splendor of their adopted homeland in this pictorial celebration.
Once Were Warriors
Author: Alan Duff
Description: You may have seen the movie. This is the controversial best-selling novel set in what would appear to be Auckland. It follows the fate of Beth, a tough young woman with a son to protect, and is an insightful, gut-wrenching look at social problems of the Maori in contemporary New Zealand.
Presenting New Zealand, An Illustrated History
Author: Philip Temple
Description: Organized from North to South , not Stone Age to now, this oversized paperback, featuring large, full-color archival illustrations on every page, is a profile of the island nation, its history, people and nature
Reefscape, Reflections on the Great Barrier Reef
Author: Rosaleen Love
Description: An ecology and history of the Great Barrier Reef, including its human inhabitants (who run the gamut from pirates to naturalists). Rosaleen Love employs science, anthropology and purple prose in this meditative account.
Slipping Into Paradise, Why I Live in New Zealand
Author: Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Description: In this far-ranging book, a travelogue of sorts, Masson (who left the rarified atmosphere of Berkeley for Auckland in 2000) combines his travels and tales with history, riffs on the kiwis, nature and society. This is the same author who has written a series of wildly successful books on the emotional lives on animals, including The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, which is about treatment of farm animals.
Author: Bruce Chatwin
Description: Rory Stewart provides the introduction to this 25th anniversary edition of Bruce Chatwin's celebrated travelogue, which is as much about its gifted author - and the meaning of travel - as about the Aboriginal people and their ways of life. Chatwin transforms a journey through the Outback into an exhilarating, semi-fictional meditation on our place in the world.
Author: Chris Duff
Description: In this book, subtitled "A Solo Sea Kayaking Journey Around New Zealand's South Island," seasoned kyacker Chris Duff challenges the waters of the Pacific while ruminating on the beauty of New Zealand's coast and people.
Author: Katherine Mansfield
Description: This collection includes three marvelous, long pieces which together constitute the beginnings of an unfinished novel based on Mansfield's childhood in Wellington, New Zealand in the 1890s.
The Bone People
Author: Keri Hulme
Description: Set in modern-day South Island, this lyrical novel brings together three troubled individuals who represent New Zealand’s varied Maori and European traditions. (Winner of the Booker Prize)
The Bone is Pointed
Author: Arthur Upfield
Description: This entry in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series of mysteries finds the half-Aborigine detective in the place he knows best, the Australian outback, where he is investigating the disappearance of a local scoundrel. Upfield, known for his clever plots and evocative descriptions of the landscapes and peoples of Australia, wrote dozens of mysteries between 1929 and 1966.
The Fatal Shore
Author: Robert Hughes
Description: A celebrated social history, both scholarly and entertaining. Hughes traces the fate of those who were transported to the penal colonies of Australia between 1787 and 1868 in this engaging popular account, drawn from the experiences of the colonists themselves. A precursor to the gulags and prison camps of the 20th century, the British penal colonies in Australia are an oft-forgotten experiment in 19th century social reform and colonization. While the colonies were concentrated mainly in small coastal sections of New South Wales and Tasmania, the book helps elucidate how this first chapter in their history was the most vital factor in defining the early Australian character.
The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
Author: Barrie Heather
Description: A revised, compact edition of the classic field guide to the birds of New Zealand featuring 74 color plates by Derek Onley. Brief descriptions, range maps and illustrations are integrated on facing pages for easy reference in the field. It combines the two sections (field guide and details) of the 1997 edition.
The Happy Isles of Oceania
Author: Paul Theroux
Description: Here's Theroux at his wickedly funny and open-minded best. The peripatetic author flies off to Australia and New Zealand with a kayak and ends up exploring much of Melanesia and Polynesia, including Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas.
The Nutmeg of Consolation
Author: Patrick O'Brian
Description: Further adventures (the 14th installment) of Captain Aubrey & Co., shipwrecked in the Dutch East Indies, and finding their way to the penal colony at Botany Bay in the early 19th Century. The passage on Botany Bay is one of the most evocative (and frightening) descriptions we know of the first European settlement in Australia. If you haven't yet been introduced to O'Brian's vivid portraits of Nelson's British Navy, here's your chance to dip into this fine series (stories from which formed the basis for the recent movie Master and Commander).
The Road from Coorain
Author: Jill Ker Conway
Description: A literate, absorbing memoir of girlhood on a sheep ranch in New South Wales and coming of age in post-war Sydney. Conway, who left Australia and eventually became president of Smith College, paints a vivid picture of isolation and beauty -- and of the challenges of a bright, ambitious woman growing up Australian.
The Secret River
Author: Kate Grenville
Description: Sweeping, gorgeously written and psychologically astute, The Secret River takes in all the bravado, trickery and conflict that attended the settlement of New South Wales. Grenville draws on the history of her own family in Australia for the elements of the blockbuster plot, in which a Thames boatsman, banished to the penal colony in 1806, must carve out a life for himself.
The Snorkeller's Guide to the Coral Reef, From the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean
Author: Paddy Ryan
Description: An illustrated overview of coral reefs, coral-reef fishes, invertebrates and plants of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, this compact book is an excellent resource for anyone thinking of exploring the underwater world. Beginners will appreciate the chapters on learning to snorkel, reef etiquette, photography hints and first aid. With 200 color photographs.
The Turning, New Stories
Author: Tim Winton
Description: These 17 overlapping stories, steeped in everyday life on western Australia, follow the fates of a handful of characters in a small coastal town outside Perth. Winton, short-listed twice so far for the Booker Prize, has published a string of memorable novels, children's books and stories, all richly set in the working class milieu of the sparsely populated coastal desert.
Travellers’ Tales Australia: True Stories of Life Down Under
Author: Larry Habegger & Amy G. Carlson
Description: An excellent introduction to the people, culture and traditions of Australia as seen through the eyes of mostly contemporary writers, including Pico Iyer, Paul Theroux, Bruce Chatwin, and D.H. Lawrence. Organized thematically, it includes articles and excerpts on the Great Barrier Reef, the outback, the Nullarbor Plateau and Bondi Beach.
Treasures of the Great Barrier Reef
Description: 60-minute Nova documentary captures the diversity and abundance of the fish and invertebrates of the coral reef in dazzling color.
True History of the Kelly Gang
Author: Peter Carey
Description: A powerful, daring novel, steeped in the colonial history of late 19th-century Australia. Outlaw, folk hero, thief and patriot, the Irish immigrant Ned Kelly and his clan figure large in the Australian mindset. Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel (his second after "Oscar & Lucinda") takes the form of a series of rough, captivating letters by the barely literate gang leader to his young daughter. Kelly was hanged in Melbourne in 1880, where his mother was also imprisoned.
Tutira, The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station
Author: Herbert Guthrie-Smith
Description: First published in 1921, this loving acount of the ecology of New Zealand focuses on Guthrie-Smith's 40,000-sheep shearing station on the shores of Lake Tutira. He covers the geologic setting, ecology and and impact of sheep on the region. With line drawings, maps and a few period photographs.
Author: Witi Ihimaera
Description: A magical, mythical novella about a young Maori girl and her relationship with a whale, that ultimately saves her village. Based loosely on Ihimaera’s youth in a Maori village.
Description: A dazzling overview of Australia, its geology, evolution, culture and wildlife, originally presented in IMAX theatres. The Edge, filmed on the doorstep of Australia's largest city, is about an ancient wilderness ... a labyrinth of lost worlds and magical places - beautiful and treacherous waterfalls, canyons and underground rivers, carved by streams that lead back into a world as it was ninety million years ago. In a remote ravine, 40 ancient trees survive unchanged from the age of the dinosaurs. Rappel into this world of exotic creatures and unique plant life with our modern bushwhackers.
Author: Neville Peat
Description: This comprehensive (and hard to find) overview of the natural history of New Zealand's Fiordland features maps, lively essays and 200 color photographs. It takes you from high mountains to forests and fjords, lakes and rivers.
Xenophobe's Guide to the Kiwis
Author: Christine Cole Catley
Description: Frank, irreverent and funny, this entertaining pocket guide might just increase cultural awareness!