Lonely Planet’s New Central Australia: Adelaide to Darwin Guide – “The mood here is on the up”

Lonely Planet’s latest edition Central Australia: Adelaide to Darwin Travel Guide, released today, says major projects, water in the Murray River and a new appreciation for wide-open spaces are “keeping locals smiling”, despite lingering GFC concerns.

“Central Australia is so geographically, socially and climatically diverse, it’s little wonder there are all kinds of things causing a ruckus around here at the moment,” the guidebook says. (p.234)

“But despite the ongoing national shame of indigenous welfare and the usual swag of regional political gripes,” the guide continues, “it’s fair to say that the mood here is on the up.” (p.234)

South Australia
The new edition says South Australia is “still feeling the flow-on effects from incredible flooding across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria catchments in 2010 and 2011. The mighty River Murray is flowing freely again after years of salination and habitat degradation. Riverland irrigators, lower-lakes farmers and environmentalists remain locked in ongoing battles with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, state and federal governments over water allocations within SA and upstream, but it seems Adelaide’s water supply is assured for the moment.” (p.234)

Reporting on the issue of Kangaroo Island fishing rights, the guide says, “The South Australian government has proposed a series of marine parks with ‘no-take’ fish sanctuary zones around the state’s coastline – including four around Kangaroo Island – aimed at preserving fish stocks and, in KI’s case, its iconic status as wildlife haven,” the guide explains. “Claiming a lack of consultation and a devastating impact on the island’s large net-fishing economy, the KI council (along with 1500 protestors on Kingscote wharf) are up in arms.” (p.235)

Elsewhere, this new edition finds the Adelaide Oval Redevelopment encouraging. “The idea was to reinvigorate the old dame, bringing AFL football to the venue and linking it more easily to the city via a River Torrens footbridge,” the guide says. ”Fortunately, the grassy ‘hill’ area and magnificent old heritage scoreboard have dodged the wrecking ball, and the excellent Don Bradman Museum will return. Pessimists say it just won’t be the same, but many locals think ‘different’ will also mean ‘better’.” (p.235)

Northern Territory
The new guidebook says while the GFC is “still biting into Top End tourism,” Darwin is “revelling in real boom-town mood. The city’s breezy, multicultural vibe has long been a hit with locals but add the new Waterfront Precinct to the mix and you’ve got a potent place to be. It seems the locals are having too much fun to worry about tourism.” (p. 234)

Pulling no punches in reporting on Outback indigenous issues, this new edition says, “Substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide and infant mortality rates in indigenous communities – particularly in the Northern Territory – remain significantly higher than in the non-indigenous Australian community.” (p.235)

Three authors have contributed to this sixth edition of Lonely Planet Central Australia: Adelaide to Darwin – the only guidebook on the market to combine South Australia and the Northern Territory for easy route-based travel information.

It contains the trademark honesty and opinion for which Lonely Planet is renowned.  Adelaide is praised for its “pumping pub, arts and live-music scene; and the city’s festival calendar has vanquished dull Saturday nights” (p.54), while “Mount Gambier’s big-ticket item is the luminous, 75m-deep lake” (p.102).  Darwin is “a surprisingly affluent, cosmopolitan, youthful and multicultural city” (p.151), while Alice Springs is “feeling a little sad, with quite a few empty shopfronts along Todd St.” (p.235)

Central Australia: Adelaide to Darwin is the first of three new Australian guidebooks that Lonely Planet is publishing in 2013.  Perth & West Coast Australia (7th edition) will be available in July, with Australia (17th edition) following in November.

Lonely Planet Central Australia: Adelaide to Darwin (6th Edition)
Released June 2013
RRP: AUD$37.99

– Review copies of the 6th Edition of Lonely Planet Central Australia: Adelaide to Darwin are now available.
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Lonely Planet is the world’s most successful travel publisher and is celebrating 40 years of amazing experiences in 2013.  Lonely Planet’s authors are independent, dedicated travellers. They visit the places they write about, each and every edition, and never accept freebies.  They take pride in getting all the details right, and telling it like it is.

Adam Bennett
Lonely Planet

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