FROMMER'S AUSTRALIA 18th ed. by Atkinson, Crittal, Glewellyn, and Mylne is an 820-page guidebook printed on glossy paper, with a color photo or color map on almost every other page. There are 16 chapters, including Sydney (Chapter 4), New South Wales (Ch.5), Brisbane (Ch.6), Queensland & Great Barrier Reef (Ch.7), The Red Centre (Ch.8), Top End (Ch.9), Perth (Ch.10), Adelaide (Ch.11), Melbourne (Ch.12), Victoria (Ch.13), Canberra (Ch.14), and Tasmania (Ch.15). This book is ideal for people who live in Australia, as it discloses a wealth of attractions of only modest interest, as well as the occasional attraction of great interest. Aside from the Great Barrier Reef, and the unusual array of native animals, the book does not disclose any features of Australia that are likely to attract a visitor to travel all the way from the U.S., Japan, or Europe, for a vacation trip. FROMMER'S AUSTRALIA mentions an Australian landscape photographer, Ken Duncan. I visited Mr.Duncan's web site, where my goal was to see if Australia was really as lacking in dramatic scenery, that is, as lacking as the guidebook would have me believe. Mr.Duncan's web site revealed that Australia has the following dramatic scenery: KING GEORGE FALLS and MITCHELL FALLS in Western Australia, and MILLAA FALLS in Queensland, and that's about all. Mr.Duncan's other photos showed smaller waterfalls, mossy trees, and beaches (things that could not entice a traveler to schlep 1,000 miles to see). My conclusion, is that the authors should have done a better job at salesmanship -- the available photographs mostly show ordinary things, like bland city scenes or people walking. Perhaps, the next edition should include photos of the above 3 waterfalls. After reading through the FROMMER'S guidebook two or three times, my impression was that Australia really and truly does not include a wealth of interesting features in the landscape (aside from The Great Barrier Reef), but my subsequent independent homework (see below) revealed that Australia does have a number of dramatic tourist attractions that were excluded from the FROMMER'S book.
Regarding the photographs, we see KATHERINE GORGE and other rivers (pages 7, 182, 190, 457, 461, 462, and 715), an elevated rain forest canopy trail (page 16), and animals. There are many photographs of animals. These include cassawary (page 324), wallaby (page 72), wombat (pages 147 & 757), kangaroo (pages 8 & 218), camels (pages 393 & 404), fairy penguin (p.53), koala (p.9), tasmanian devil (p.739), ringtail (p.145), quokka (p.472), echidna (p.606), and platypus (pages 52 & 673). It can reasonably be concluded, therefore, that one of the primary reasons to visit Australia is to see the unique native animals.
We read about BECASSE (a restaurant serving pork neck, nettles, and Wagyu beef) (page 118), surf board rental outlets near Sydney (page 161), LONE PINE KOALA SANCTUARY in Brisbane, where you can cuddle a koala (page 250), THE GREAT BARRIER REEF in Queensland (p. 272-293), where you can see colorful coral and colorful fish and colorful nudibranchs, by diving or from glass-bottom boats. We learn that the best places to view the coral include LADY MUSGRAVE ISLAND, NORMAN REEF, and RIBBON REEF. Other attractions include TJAPUKAI ABORIGINAL CULTURAL PARK at Cairns (page 292-293), where tourists can join in a "tap stick dance," LIZARD ISLAND (p.306), where you can swim among huge potato cod and giant clams (p.306), the GOLD COAST (pages 370-385) where one finds glitzy skyscrapers, amusement parks, and opulant resorts such as PALAZZO VERSACE, as well as wildlife sanctuaries. Additional attractions in Australia include the CAMEL RIDE at Alice Springs (p. 404-405), galleries to buy Aboriginal art at Alice Springs (p.406-407), and ULURU-KATA TJUTA NATIONAL PARK, location of Ayers Rock (pages 418-425). Please note that Ayers Rock is one of the most publicized tourist attractions in Australia. However, in my opinion, if Ayers Rock were to be re-located, and carefully placed in the Utah (in the United States of America), nobody would ever take notice of it. If Ayers Rock was in Utah, it would not be noticed, because of the wealth of dramatic natural stone formations found in Utah, most of which, are infinitely more dramatic than Ayers Rock. Perhaps, if Ayers Rock was re-located to the middle of Nebraska, which is a flat desolate place (like the landscape around Ayers Rock in Australia), then perhaps a few people might visit it on weekends.
Further attractions in Australia include a crocodile museum and aviation museum in Darwin (pages 439-441), WARRADJAN ABORIGINAL CULTURAL CENTER located in a building shaped like a turtle (page 455), JIM-JIM FALLS (a huge double waterfall) (p. 457), photogenic NITMILUK NATIONAL PARK and KATHERINE GORGE (pages 462-463), a museum devoted to barbed wire (page 611), COOBER PEDY (an underground city) (pages 619-621). The book goes on and on and on, mostly disclosing zoos, art galleries, beaches, restaurants, boat cruises, more zoos, more art galleries, more restaurants, more beaches, and still more aboriginal art. In my opinion, the authors should have put more emphasis, by way of text and photos, on the handful of dramatic features found in the landscape. But in its present form, the guidebook is more like the Yellow pages of a phone book, and less like an enticing guidebook for tourists.
A few minutes of homework reveals that Australia has many more attractions for tourists, that is, attractions not disclosed by the Frommer's guidebook. These include DESERT PINNACLES in NAMBUNG NATIONAL PARK, located near Perth. A large photo of DESERT PINNACLES is featured on the cover of a competing guidebook, FODOR'S AUSTRALIA. But FROMMER'S has no photo of this. Australia also has the very amazing feature, called WAVE ROCK, located in HYDEN, Western Australia. Australia also has UNDARA LAVA TUBES, located in Queensland. Australia also has ORGAN PIPES NATIONAL PARK, located in Victoria (the organ pipes are the same thing as what is found in DEVIL'S POSTPILE, a tourist attraction located in California). Furthermore, Australia also has STROMATOLITES, located in Shark Bay (the stromatolites is an array of "pillows" looking like black stone. Stromatolites are rock-like structures built by microbes (single-celled cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae). Until about 500 million years ago, stromatolites were the only macroscopic evidence of life on the planet. The microbes that built the stromatolites were an essential building block for the evolution of more complex life forms.). To reiterate, my overall impression is that the authors were not particularly interested in enticing travelers to visit Australia.