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21 Best Books Set in Australia

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Inspire your travels to the Land Down Under with these books set in Australia.

Australia is a country known for its diverse natural landscapes. From the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef and stunning beaches to the rugged and sparsely populated Outback, Australia offers natural beauty at every turn.

It’s also known for its attractive and large cities like Sydney and Melbourne, and friendly people who will always offer a “G’day” with a smile.

If you want to be transported straight to the Land Down Under through the pages of a book, these are the best novels set in Australia that will take you there without leaving home.

Here are the best books set in Australia to pick up next:

The Opera House Australia
Brisbane Australia

Grab your favorite books on Australia here:

Best Books Set in Australia

the exiles

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

This historical fiction novel set in the nineteenth century gives a glimpse into Australia in its days as a British penal colony.

The story follows a young governess from London who is sent to Australia as punishment for becoming pregnant by her employer’s son. On the boat there, she befriends a young girl who has also been sentenced to Australia for stealing a silver spoon.

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Tracks 1

Tracks by Robyn Davidson

In this unforgettable memoir, Robyn Davidson recounts her solo journey across 1,700 miles of the Australian Outback.

Her personal pilgrimage takes her across the most remote and desolate part of the country, with just her dog and four unpredictable camels, on a remarkable journey.

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the light between oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

Tom is a World War I veteran who is a lighthouse keeper in Australia with his wife Isabel, who is desperate to have a baby.

Her prayers are answered when an infant washes up on shore in a rowboat, and the couple decides to keep the baby without notifying the authorities. However, their choice to raise the baby as their own ends up leading to tragic, unexpected consequences.

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the slap

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

This contemporary novel is told from the perspectives of eight individual characters who were present at a neighborhood barbecue when a man slaps his friend’s son in reprimand. The story examines the consequences of this one action and the inner workings of domestic life.

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The Secret River

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

This is a historical fiction novel set in the nineteenth century that follows a man who is sent to Australia in its early days as a British penal colony for punishment.

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cloudstreet

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

This classic Australian novel chronicles the lives of two working-class families, the Pickles, and the Lambs, who live together in a large house called Cloudstreet in Perth, Western Australia. The story follows the family over a period of twenty years, from 1943 to 1963.

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7. Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

This Booker Prize-winning novel tells the story of an unlikely romance between an English clergyman and an idealistic young woman in Sydney in the nineteenth century.

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8. Candy by Luke Davies

In a fictional novel loosely based on the author’s own life, an unnamed narrator has an intense and destructive relationship with a woman named Candy. This heartbreaking and darkly humorous novel explores themes of love, passion, and addiction in an impactful way.

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9. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Award-winning travel writer Bill Bryson shares his experiences traversing Australia in this descriptive, delightful travelogue of the Land Down Under.

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10. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

Based loosely on the true history of the Kelly Gang, this fictionalized novel offers a glimpse into the notorious Ned Kelly, a legendary bushranger and criminal from Australia.

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11. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Set in a fictional sheep station in the Australian Outback, this classic Australian novel tells the sweeping story of the Cleary family and spans from 1915 to 1969.

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12. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

This novel follows Ed, an underage cab driver without much of a future. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. Then he starts receiving mysterious messages in the mail and takes on a new role as the messenger.

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13. Stolen by Lucy Christopher

In this gripping fictional novel, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl is kidnapped from the Bangkok Airport and taken by her captor to the Australian Outback. Written as a series of letters to her captor after she escapes, this book blurs the line between love, dependency, and obsession.

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14. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

This romance novel follows a British woman and an Australian soldier whose lives briefly intersect during World War II. Years later, they reconnect in the Outback.

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15. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Although the television show adaptation changed the location to California, the original bestselling novel Big Little Lies is set in Sydney, Australia. Following three women each with their own secrets, this fast-paced thriller will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

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16. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Set in Brisbane in 1983, Boy Swallows Universe is about a boy living in the working-class slums surrounded by drugs and violence just trying to be a good person despite everything going on around him. This is a heartbreaking yet joyous novel about true love and unlikely friendships.

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17. The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham

After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. Her plan is to simply check in on her ailing mother and then leave, but she finds herself getting pulled back in.

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18. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

The novel tells the story of an Australian doctor haunted by memories of a love affair with his uncle’s wife and of his subsequent experiences as a Far East prisoner of war.

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19. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison

This romance novel follows acclaimed Australian genetics professor Don Tillman, who struggles to have serious relationships with women. With a friend’s help, he devises a questionnaire to assess the suitability of female partners in an attempt to find true love.

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20. The Dry by Jane Harper

If you are looking for a thriller set in Australia, be sure to pick this one up. In this atmospheric, page-turning tale, a detective returns to his small Australian hometown to investigate the murder of his best friend twenty years before and uncover the truth of what really happened.

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21. The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

This is another thriller set in Australia. Three sisters disappear from an Australian suburb one summer, leaving the entire town is perplexed by what happened to them.

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Best Books Set in Australia

These are some of the best books set in Australia.

Have you read any of these books set in Australia? Do you have any favorite books set in Australia that I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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