It was as if I had privately discovered life on another planet, or a parallel universe where life was at once recognizably similar but entirely different. I can't tell you how exciting it was. Insofar as I had accumulated my expectations of Australia at all in the intervening years, I had thought of it as a kind of alternative southern California, a place of constant sunshine and the cheerful vapidity of a beach lifestyle, but with a slightly British bent - a sort of Baywatch with cricket...' Of course, what greeted Bill Bryson was something rather different. Australia is a country that exists on a vast scale. It is the world's sixth largest country and its largest island. It is the only island that is also a continent and the only continent that is also a country. It is the driest, flattest, hottest, most desiccated, infertile and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents and still it teems with life - a large proportion of it quite deadly. In fact, Australia has more things that can kill you in a very nasty way than anywhere else.
Bill Bryson's travels in a sunburned country: Australia will never look the same again.
"Bryson makes you laugh out loud...Down Under is filled with quirky stories'," Sunday Express "Bryson makes you laugh out loud...Down Under is filled with quirky stories'," Sunday Express "The thing that Bryson most loves about Australia - its "effortlessly dry, direct way of viewing the world" - is, in fact, his own. They're a perfect fit" The New York Times Book Review "Bryson is the perfect travelling companion... when it comes to travel's peculiars the man still has no peers" The Times "Bill Bryson is a very talented writer and an enormously funny and perceptive one. He is an artist who needs a big canvas. Australia has provided this. He's painted a masterpiece in travel literature" Globe Mail Toronto
Bill Bryson's bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent and Notes from a Small Island, which in a national poll was voted the book that best represents Britain. Another travel book, A Walk in the Woods, has become a major film starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. His new number one Sunday Times bestseller is The Road to Little Dribbling. His acclaimed book on the history of science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Royal Society's Aventis Prize as well as the Descartes Prize, the European Union's highest literary award, and is the biggest selling popular science book of the 21st century. Bryson has also written books on language, on Shakespeare, on history, and on his own childhood in the hilarious memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Bill Bryson was born in the American Mid-West, and now lives in the UK. A former Chancellor of Durham University, he was President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England for five years, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.