Oct. 16 Virtual Exploration: Tony Wheeler’s Islands of Australia

Join our “Virtual Exploration” on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (US and Canada).

Note: This program is a presentation of the Oceania Chapter of the Travelers’ Century Club. As a concession, our regular starting time of 2 p.m. EDT has been adjusted out by two hours.

This month’s TCC “Virtual Exploration” program will explores a section of Australia not many of us are familiar with. Australia not just an island continent, but a continent of islands. With over 8,000, it has more than the entire Caribbean. Join seasoned traveler Tony Wheeler on a journey around the Australian coast and beyond to discover the stunning natural features, unique wildlife and checkered histories of Australia’s remarkable (and remarkably diverse) islets, cays, atolls and archipelagos. Find out why the Whitsundays should have been called the Whitmondays, encounter Australia’s only known pirate, witness mutiny and murder on the Bounty and Batavia, meet giant lizards and friendly quokkas, and discover rich Indigenous cultures. Whether you’re an intrepid explorer, a simple sun-seeker or an armchair tourist, Islands of Australia will have you itching to visit.

Serious travelers are already familiar with the “Lonely Planet Story,” spread across the last pages of our indispensable travel guide in the years before the growth of the Internet. After traveling the hippie trail through Asia, Tony and Maureen Wheeler arrived in Melbourne in 1972. On a kitchen table they assembled the first draft of a book called Across Asia on the Cheap In 1973 this was published, and a small company was established that would eventually grow into the Lonely Planet empire. BBC Worldwide bought 75 percent of their share of the company in 2007 and their remaining 25 percent in February 2011. Departing Lonely Planet over 10 years ago hasn’t brought a halt to Tony Wheeler’s enthusiasm for travel or his travel writing ventures. Travels around some of the world’s “dark countries” – Colombia, Congo DRC, Haiti, Israel and Palestine, Nauru, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe – led to Dark Lands from Lonely Planet in 2013. Other Lonely Planet books he’s recently contributed to include Epic Drives of the World in 2017. Tony made his own epic drive that year, behind the wheel of one of eight elderly MGB sports cars, four months’ journey from Bangkok to London, following the Silk Road across 19 countries including four of the five ex-Soviet “stans.” The worldwide pandemic has certainly slowed things down, although Tony was in Yemen when COVID-19 lowered the boom on so many travel plans.

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Questions? Contact St Louis TCC Coordinator Charles Merkel at tccstl@yahoo.com, 1-314-644-7797.

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