In 2005, a car ran me down on the way to work. It was easily the best thing that ever happened to me. Healed up, I took a modest $20,000 insurance settlement and set off around the world to tick off my personal Bucket List. The Taj Mahal, the Inca Trail, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, the Ganges – I packed in 24 countries in 12 months of travel, recording my adventures along the way.. My blog became a column, my column became a TV show, and here I am, 112 countries later, someone who has seen and done more than anyone should ever be lucky enough to do. After focusing exclusively on Canada for a couple years, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to apply the same curiosity Down Under, embarking on a quest to personally investigate what unique experiences belong on everyone’s Great Australian Bucket List.
There’s a great responsibility when one crafts a national Bucket List. Experiences must be unique, stacking up against the world’s best. They should be accessible, and realistic (this is not a Bucket List for hanging out with celebrities, or being honoured with a street parade). Each experience should be memorable, and ultimately, make a great story you can share with friends, family, and in my case, readers and followers. Beyond a curated list of experiences, I write books with stories of my personal experience investigating each item’s worthiness – including the challenges, characters and mishaps along the way. There’s lots of history and trivia, humour and inspiration too.
I hope you will say: “I never knew that!” and also: “I want to do that!” The Great Australian Bucket List will stir conversation, lead to debates around the dinner table. “Why on earth did he include a stairwell in Perth? How could he leave out ________?”
It wouldn’t work if I hadn’t focused on bucket list experiences in so many other countries to see how Australia compares. Sure, you can bungy jump in New Zealand, but you can’t conquer the world’s highest abseil off a dam wall. You can climb trees anywhere, but not the the world’s highest tree climb in WA. Swimming with tuna fish, swooping through ancient rainforests, hiking the outback…rest assured, these experiences are unforgettable, and once-in-a-lifetime.
My book and this companion site will appeal to students and active boomers, empty nesters and committed road trippers. Australians, certainly, but also visitors, immigrants and foreigners fascinated with what Australia has to offer. Together with the ongoing blog and social media channels, The Great Australian Bucket List is a living work that will continue to grow and evolve, just like the country itself.
How to use this site
The book is the why. The website is the how.
Readers of my book will notice that each chapter points them to a unique website address for further information. Since guidebooks are out of date from the moment they’re printed, all the practical information, along with galleries, videos, maps and new stories, sit on this companion website. If you own the book, register with the code found at the front (“How to Use this Book”) and it will unlock all the experiences on the Great Australian Bucket List. For those that don’t own the book, you can still register and access most, but not all of the experiences (you can add the code later if you wish). If you don’t have the book and don’t want to register, you can still explore dozens of inspirational experiences from across the nation.
The Great Australian Bucket List explains why each of these items belong on the list, recounting my investigation with funny observations, fun facts, fascinating characters and inspirational photos. Order a copy online today, or pick one up at your local bookstore. It’s a perfect gift, for Australians, or anyone who wants to go on an entertaining journey to the best experiences Down Under.