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  • Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge
  • Panoramic views in Mt William National Park, Tasmania
  • Views from Rotary Lookout in Esperance, Western Australia
  • Olympic Stadium (Stadium Australia), Sydney
  • Wineglass Bay in Frecynet National Park, Tasmania
  • Weather front looming over Stirling Range, Western Australia
  • Twillight Cove near Esperance, Western Australia
  • Sunset in outback Western Australia
  • Eddystone Point Lighthouse at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania
Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Panoramic views in Mt William National Park, Tasmania

Panoramic views in Mt William National Park, Tasmania

Views from Rotary Lookout in Esperance, Western Australia

Views from Rotary Lookout in Esperance, Western Australia

Olympic Stadium (Stadium Australia), Sydney

Olympic Stadium (Stadium Australia), Sydney

Wineglass Bay in Frecynet National Park, Tasmania

Wineglass Bay in Frecynet National Park, Tasmania

Weather front looming over Stirling Range, Western Australia

Weather front looming over Stirling Range, Western Australia

Twillight Cove near Esperance, Western Australia

Twillight Cove near Esperance, Western Australia

Sunset in outback Western Australia

Sunset in outback Western Australia

Eddystone Point Lighthouse at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Eddystone Point Lighthouse at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Lonely Planet sold

Today's news contained one item that caught my attention. The Lonley Planet is being sold. No, not the actual book but the whole business. And since BBC Worldwide had bought it in 2007, the price has dropped 60%:

So, why do I mention this here? Well, Lonely Planet is closely connected to Australia. Even though you might not be aware of it because today there are Lonely Planet books available covering many countries and travel destinations, it all started in Melbourne in the 1970's as a travel guide to Australia.

But as about everyone I know who travelled Australia had a Lonely Planet, I thought it would be a good idea to give you my thoughts on the book.

Is it a good book for travellers? Yes, it definitely is. Can you do without it? Of course you can - and with internet pages like Amazing Australia becoming more popular, the de-facto information monopoly the Lonely Planet once held is a thing of the past.

No doubt, there is an awesome amount of information in these books and back in 2000 and 2004 I have used the Lonely Planet myself, but there are downsides as well. First of all no book can cover everything and a given that the size of a book has limits, the author(s) need to find a compromise between the amount of information provided for a certain attraction and the number of attractions they mention. The second aspect is the lack of photos and high quality maps. Printing these in colour would be costly and make the book less attractive.

The internet does not have both limitation and websites like Amazing Australia can provide a lot of background information, high quality photos and maps and there is no limit to the number of articles on websites.

But what I found most annoying was that the Lonely Planet fell victim to its own popularity. For most towns in Australia, the Lonely Planet has sections about where to eat, stay, etc., nicely sorted by price range or comfort / luxury. Unfortunately I have experienced it more than once that businesses mentioned in the Lonely Planet had increased their prices and especially with accomodation the quality had often suffered as well. Obviously the management thought why spend money on keeping things clean and tidy if people come anyhow thanks to the business being listed as "good value" in a popular travel guide?

If you had asked me in 2000 if I would recommend buying a Lonely Planet the answer would have been a clear "yes". If you asked me the same question today, the answer would be a bit more cautious. It will be handy to find places to stay or eat but you should expect to find actual prices to be around 10% above what is listed in the latest Lonely Planet. It is also a big help to determine what you want to see and plan your trip. But the world has changed and once I have an idea about the potential attractions, I would want more information than the Lonely Planet can provide and turn to the internet.

About meLiving Australia, living my dream

Photo of me

My name is Gernot. You most like have never come across this name before, because it is rare even in Germany where I am originally from.

I have been to Australia for the first time in 2000 and immediately fell in love with this this country. The pleasant climate in Sydney, the unique combination of urban life and nature this city offers but especially the beautiful, warm colours of the land.

In 2010 I finally made this long standing dream come true. I left Germany and migrated as permanent resident to Sydney.

Between this first visit and relocating to Australia permanently has passed almost a decade and of course I have been back in between a number of times, travelling this country I now call home.

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Lonely Planet AustraliaThe classic backpacker travel guide

Loney Planet: Country Guide Australia

This is the classic backpacker guide covering all of Australia. Generations of backpackers have relied on it.

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Well done Gernot, a very well presented site with a lot of great information!
Such a useful, insightful and concise website even for someone who lives in Australia for long time like I do. I like dangerous animal section, very handy for me to be careful of some spiders around. ...
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