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Summary

Featuring a special introduction written for the audiobook edition and read by the author

Australia has more things that can kill you than anywhere else. Nevertheless, Bill Bryson journeyed to the country and promptly fell in love with it. The people are cheerful, their cities are clean, the beer is cold, and the sun nearly always shines.

©2000 Bill Bryson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious

Bill Bryson is witty, entertaining and thought-provoking and this book is all of those. It's easy to read, makes you laugh out loud and gets the grey matter working. I am from Down Under and it was fun hearing about Australia from a foreigner's perspective. I would thoroughly recommend it.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • S
  • 18-05-16

Awful accent - buy the author-narrated version

What would have made Down Under better?

Either an Australian narrator, or the American not attempt a dreadful accent

What did you like best about this story?

Bryson's writing is superb

What didn’t you like about William Roberts’s performance?

His 'Australian' accent

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The story is great, the performance is dreadful

Any additional comments?

Buy the version ('In a sunburned country') that's narrated by Bryson himself instead!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/055350259X/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent - makes you want to go down under

Just finsihed down under and thoroughly enjoyed Bryson's travelogue with random facts and bemusing anecdotes. The narrator is fantastic.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect roadtrip activity

We listened to this during our own roadtrip around Australia, which made it a really great listening experience as places we had just been to (or were headed to) were described to us in a light-handed yet informative manner.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Dafydd
  • ammanford, United Kingdom
  • 02-06-10

Great book, Shoot the narrator.

Very enjoyable script, but the attempts at accents, Yorkshire and pivotally Australian of which the narrator clearly has no knowledge leaves you leaping for the fast forward button.

He truly is excruciating, an excellent book ruined

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb

Another great book from Bryson, and William Roberts is by far the best narrator.
Download it now won't be disappointed!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Becki
  • United Kingdom
  • 04-07-12

Bryson at his best

I've never been to Oz but I want to go now! This is Bryson at his best, great observation, brilliantly descriptive and as funny as ever.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Go down under with Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson’s style of writing is quiet and understated. He draws you in so that you find yourself travelling with him and enjoying his insights into the lives of others from a mid Atlantic perspective. He includes a lot of factual information about the country and his understanding of the Australian psyche. I especially enjoyed his interpretation of the game of cricket and the story of house building in Melbourne. So if you do not want to go to all the trouble of having to travel to Australia yourself then sit back and let Bill Bryson take you there instead.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roderic
  • Victoria Park, Australia
  • 02-10-15

Delightful and informative as always

This Bryson travelogue was quite different for me since, being Australian, I could compare his acute observations with my own experience of many years.

Bryson's considerations are interesting though necessarily limited and I entertained with great affection William Roberts's numerous and resonant mispronunciations of Australian towns.

I love Bryson's humour and his humanity, noting both the sometimes ghastly foibles of behaviour and our deep sins as a culture.

I will now listen to any Bryson works that I may somehow have missed.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A travel book you'll enjoy even if you've been.

Best praise for a travel book is I lived in or visited many of the places in this book and its wonderfully evocative of the country and its people. Nothing extraordinary really happens, but Australia comes across here as most extraordinary. Really well narrated. Sorry it had to end.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan
  • 18-02-10

A safe bet!

I was first introduced to Bill Bryson, and first read Down Under during a 2 year holiday in the UK (I am Australian). It has been a long time since then and I thought this would be a great book to revisit and to cut my teeth on Audible as a new subscriber. The book was a great laugh and Bill portrays Australians and Australia in a way that makes me want to go there! :)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pete frier
  • 02-07-12

great read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

As all Bill Bryson books I have read so far this is full of interesting facts that show the countries good and bad points in detail.

What did you like best about this story?

His time spent on the Barrier Reef

What about William Roberts’s performance did you like?

His diction and clearity of voice

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Just pure interest

Any additional comments?

Looking forward to listening to his other books having read most already

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • lloyd
  • 15-10-11

alonzo

Very funny,entertaining , please Bill stay with an American accent, your Australian could cause a diplomatic incident, loved the book

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Steffan
  • 17-02-11

Got it Right Mate

This is an extremely insightful, very funny journey through a magnificent continent. Bryson captures the essence of the Australian landscape and the characters that make it a singularly extraordinary place to travel and live. I acknowledge his outstanding penmanship and appreciate his honest humour and natural affinity for all that is quirky. Well read and captivating. Well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ian
  • 30-01-13

Bryson Books Need Bryson Narration

I love Bill Bryson's writing, really I do. His books, audiobooks included, are some of my favourite and most revisited. And Down Under is a great book that is wholly ruined by the narrator, a whiny, pinch-voiced man who manages to take Bryson's wit and give it an air of smugness, sometimes bordering on spite. I don't know if I just despised the narrator because he was awful or because he was so utterly unsuitable to read Bryson. It doesn't help that he attempts accents and can't do them, making both English and Australian voices grating and high-pitched.
Honestly, the narrator ruins the book, but if you want this or several of Bryson's other, earlier, books, then this is the standard you get. I loathe abridged books but at least they're read by the man himself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • H.B. Teicher
  • 17-02-14

Bryson and Roberts - a match made in Heaven

If you could sum up Down Under in three words, what would they be?

Sublime. Wonderful. Superb.

What did you like best about this story?

Thew combination of Bryson's wit and Robert's talent.

Have you listened to any of William Roberts’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes!!! This is perhaps the best - his Australian accent is superb!!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes - again and again!

Any additional comments?

Bryson and Roberts in combination are perfect! As sad as I am to have read the last of the Bryson/Roberts works, I am so pleased I can hear them again and again when I need reminding that the world is a grand and wonderful place!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Reuben
  • 09-03-13

A first Bill Bryson for me

The story itself held little appeal to me however the viewpoint of Australia from another culture sold me. Bryson does well to make a rather boring story into a mostly entertaining listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 31-01-13

Great

What was one of the most memorable moments of Down Under?

Is it so through and so well written

Have you listened to any of William Roberts’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

He is good. I mean realy GOOD !!!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, no extreme reaction but fun all the way and yes my tear was flowing by laughter.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Garry
  • 30-12-12

Making history easier for all

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I listened to this after being recommended to me, it told me more about Australia than I learned in school back n England. I think this should be oven to every migrant. Or at least a migrant book Like it as it would be less dry than official books.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Down Under?

Plenty, but especially Eureka stockade

Have you listened to any of William Roberts’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Notes from a small island which is a perfect companion

Any additional comments?

Very enjoyable, listen to this to give you some detail of the history of OZ but also about he people and places and then make that book you first step to more on Australia

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kerri
  • 21-09-12

Surprise! It's Australia

Would you consider the audio edition of Down Under to be better than the print version?

I spend as much time as I can reading or knitting. The audio version of the book allows me to do both.

Which character – as performed by William Roberts – was your favorite?

Although only a very small part, the ranger from the Alpine National Park and his observation of how lucky he is, was my favourite.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I could have sat and listened all at one I would have. I love the observations, anecdotes and historic references the author uses to tie it all together.

Any additional comments?

It is a great book. Bryson loves lists, there are lots of lists. He likes characters, Australia is full of them. He has a great sense of humour, Australians love to laugh (although sometimes at the expense of others). His observations of the behaviour, language and ritual made me (an Australian) nod and agree. There is so much information and Bryson visits a lot of places but his pattern of travel often makes no sense. You can't get from Adelaide to the Mornington Peninsula without going through Melbourne. And he missed Geelong!