Australia travel guide - Rusty Compass

A travel guide to Australia with independent reviews and recommendations. No sponsored content, no advertorial.

Australia travel guide

Australia Introduction

| 22 Sep 2023
Last updated 22 Sep 2023

Rusty Compass is home - in Australia.

After three decades of non-stop international exploration, Rusty Compass has landed home in Australia. A global pandemic, and a major medical scare in 2020 were the initial triggers for the move. But now we've decided to put some proper time in on home turf.

For the past few years we've been exploring and we're in the early stages of our Rusty Compass Australia independent, cultural travel guides.

We now have an extensive and growing list of things to do in Sydney - check it out here.  We also have a bunch of travel videos from across Australia with lots more in the pipeline in 2023.

I've been planning to do Rusty Compass in Australia for years. I've longed believed there is an opening for the Rusty Compass style and community. In 2023, I'm more convinced of that than ever.

Australia is a spectacular place. Nature has been kind. Nature's gifts were well cared for by First Nations Peoples for 60,000 years. White man's record over the past 235 years, has been mediocre for more than two centuries.

Australia doesn't really position itself as a nation of compelling stories. Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, The Barrier Reef, Uluru and other natural marvels dominate Australia's tourism marketing. But Australia is also a nation of huge stories. Like everywhere, they're good and not so good, but the more you get to know it, the more fascinating Australia becomes.

A new government in 2022 is reversing the worst excesses of a decade of climate denial and crimes against Australia's rich and diverse natural habitat. It's a long and tough road. The forces driving eco-devastation are the best funded and most powerful in the country. It takes a brave government and brave people to stand up to them. American friends will note Murdoch toxicity is active here too - though perhaps. Despite is pervasiveness, Murdoch toxicity is somewhat checked by our democratic system. The power is very real though.

One of the biggest Australian stories of the moment is the Indigenous Voice to Parliament constitutional change that will go to a national referendum later in 2023. You'll see and hear about it as you travel.

Australia's historical stories are compelling - from the extraordinary ancient Indigenous civilisation, to the brutality and dispossession of the founding of the British prison colony, to the transformation to a prosperous, diverse, liberal democracy. Many wounds remain unhealed and many of the officially propagated vices of the colonial arrival have proven hard to expunge. The stories are as big as the land.

I've spent two years thinking about Australia all over again - immersing myself in history as well as the many quirks of the modern nation. I've also spent a lot of time thinking about my own time and upbringing here in Sydney's West.

My decades abroad give me the privilege of viewing Australia as an outsider. That's something that will come in very handy as I expand Rusty Compass across the country. I hope to bring a unique view to this travel guide, as a somewhat estranged native returning home.

If Australia's stories interest you, check our Sydney walking tours here.

This guide is evolving in stages with an initial primary focus on Sydney.

Check out our independent travel guide to Sydney here.


Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
Support Rusty Compass
Rusty Compass is an independent travel guide. We’re focused on providing you with quality, unbiased, travel information. That means we don't receive payments in exchange for listings and mostly pay our own way. We’d like tourism to be a positive economic, environmental and cultural force and we believe travellers deserve disclosure from publishers. Spread the word about Rusty Compass, and if you're in Saigon, pop in to The Old Compass Cafe and say hi. It’s our home right downtown on Pasteur St. You can also check out our unique tours of Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney at Make a financial contribution using the link below. Even small amounts make a difference. Thanks and travel well!