Whether you’re sinking into a camp chair by the river, have your feet in the sand at the beach or are keeping cool in the aircon, losing yourself in a good book is one of the best ways to spend a hot summer’s day.


This year, our summer reading list is made up of books that are sure to encourage you to get outdoors more. From Nick Hunt’s venture into some of Europe’s wildest landscapes to Claire Dunn’s search for nature in the middle of Melbourne, these stories prove that adventure is possible in even the unlikeliest of locations. 

If you’re planning on living more adventurously this year then these books are sure to provide plenty of inspiration for the year ahead. 

1. Where We Swim

By Ingrid Horrocks 

Exploring one of Australia’s favourite summer activities, Ingrid Horrock’s Where We Swim is the perfect book to pick up after an ocean dip. Combining memoir and nature writing, Horrocks uses the act of swimming to consider both her own life and the greater ecological crisis that the world’s currently facing.

We join Horrocks as she dips into swimming pools in America, polluted rivers across New Zealand and the Amazon, and wild oceans around England and Western Australia. By exploring her own relationship to these bodies of water, Horrock’s writing forces us to also consider our own.

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2. On Every Saturday

By David Crook 

If you’re set on running your first 5km this year then David Crook’s celebration of Parkrun might be the book for you. On Every Saturday explores one of the world’s most accessible outdoor challenges. Held every Saturday in over 435 locations around Australia, the free community event gives anyone the chance to have a go at running or walking a timed 5km.

By talking to a mix of volunteers, participants, and organisers, self-confessed mid-life crisis runner David Crook provides a fascinating look into the last ten years of Parkrun in Australia and the dedicated community behind it.

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3. Journey to Eternity: And More Stories of (Mis)Adventure On Rock and in the Mountains

Edited by Wendy Bruere 

Climbers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will enjoy this compelling anthology of personal climbing stories. Championing women and genderqueer folk in rock-climbing and mountaineering, Journey to Eternity is a celebration of diversity in the climbing space. 

From one climber’s story of a mid-multi pitch proposal to another’s powerful confrontation of her upbringing’s cultural constraints, the anthology provides an insight into 13 different deeply personal experiences of joy, determination, struggle, and enlightenment in the outdoors. 

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4. Rewilding the Urban Soul

By Claire Dunn 

In Rewilding the Urban Soul, Claire Dunn explores the modern dilemma of being a nature lover in the city. Having spent a significant portion of her life living off-grid in the bush, Dunn found herself back in the city and struggling with the stresses of modern life.

In an attempt to find a balance between living in the city and connecting with nature, Claire swims in the Yarra River, forages for wild food in suburbia, and searches for the existence of nature in an urban setting, all while ultimately proving that you might not have to choose one or the other. 

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5. Outlandish: Walking Europe’s Unlikely Landscapes

By Nick Hunt

In Outlandish, Nick Hunt ventures into some of Europe’s most surprising landscapes. From a desert in Spain and an Arctic tundra in Scotland, to a primaeval forest in Poland and a grassland in Hungary, the travel writer introduces us to the wild spaces that don’t quite fit into the Europe that we know.

While these outlandish environments might not have been on your bucket list before, Hunt’s interactions with wild horses, shamans, and Slavic forest gods are guaranteed to convince you that they should be.

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6. Adventure Revolution: The Life-Changing Power of Choosing Challenge

By Belinda Kirk 

In Adventure Revolution, Kirk explores the benefit of bringing more adventure into our daily lives. And with 25 years of experience as a professional explorer, it’s safe to say that Kirk knows something about the subject. 

Having witnessed the power of an adventure transform people all over the world, Kirk draws from both her own first-hand experiences and a wealth of scientific findings, to show us just how powerful and life-changing the benefits of adventure can be.

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Feature photo thanks to Toa Heftiba