The National Geographic Traveler: Australia

Front Cover
National Geographic Society, 1999 - Travel - 399 pages
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This wonderful book evokes all of Australia's many moods and dramatic vistas in engaging text by Roff Smith and stunning images by renowned photographer Sam Abell. Text and pictures explore the colorful history and distinctive cultures that make the land down under so irresistible and unforgettable. At once a young and vibrant nation of immigrants and a place inhabited for 60,000 years by Aboriginal tribes whose haunting art and ancient traditions are among the oldest on Earth, Australia boasts the world's biggest cattle ranch, some of its richest mineral deposits, and a wild, wondrous landscape of lush rain forest and forbidding desert, snowy mountains and tropical oceans bejeweled with the colorful corals of the Great Barrier Reef. Australia is truly a world unto itself. Join National Geographic for a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the exotic, extraordinary land its inhabitants affectionately call Oz.

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At this point in time I have read only Roff Martin Smith's first account of his bike trip from Sydney up to far north Queensland, the top end and the Northern Territory. My, my I am very impressed! He captured every aspect of this epic journey to a "T". He got it right and doing this successfully is indeed an accomplishment. With joy in my heart I look forward to his follow-up accounts.
Few are aware the two cultures, Australian and American, in many unseen ways, are complete opposites. Somehow the popular myth still remains which says they are similar. Nothing could be further from reality. Australian culture - especially that which is and remains unspoken and therefore taken for granted by Aussies, can be highly confusing to an American. Our codes differ vastly and the process of decoding takes years. Smith nailed it effortlessly.
Having lived in Australia for 23 years myself, reading this account from a fellow East Coast American put a smile on my face. He gets it. He really gets it!
I urge all to take a trip and heed Roff's warnings regarding travel to, in and through the outback. He knows what he is talking about. On the other side, one gets an authentic feel for the mysterious outback by reading his accurate account. Good on ya mate!

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About the author (1999)

Originally a New England Yankee, Roff Smith has lived most of his adult life in Australia. He began work as a journalist for the "Sydney Morning Herald" and later as a feature writer for Melbourne's "Sunday Age." He joined "Time Magazine" in 1993, and as an award-winning senior writer he covered stories around Australia and as far afield as New Guinea, French Polynesia, and Antarctica.

In 1996, Roff set off alone into the Australian Outback on a 10,000-mile bicycle trek. The story of his journey appeared as a three-part series in National Geographic, and is described in more detail in "Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia," published in 2000 by National Geographic Adventure Press. In 1999, his book "Australia: Journey Through a Timeless Land" was published by National Geographic. Roff now lives in South Australia, where he freelances for a number of international magazines and publications.

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