ANY smart traveller on a road trip will have a couple of handy guides in the glovebox for quick reference.
While stumbling on a real gem of a place can be a wonderful experience, most people like to make the most of the towns they visit because they may never pass that way again. You'd kick yourself, for example, if you missed the best little pub this side of the black stump.
That's where Lee Mylne's Great Australian Pubs steps in, covering watering holes in every capital city plus regional areas of each state and territory. Within the 252 pages are the award-winning travel writer's tips for the nation's 100 most interesting pubs.
Mylne has managed to get the walls to talk (or at least many of the locals) - telling of larrikins, barflies, ghosts and publicans who have frequented these hubs of the community.
While some hotels have changed with the times, others remain caught in a time warp. Some sit on the best prime real estate of their community; others you'll need a GPS to find.
But collectively, they paint a picture of our nation's history from the bricks and mortar of early white settlement through the rigours of outback life to today's chic and sophisticated city lifestyle.
Of course, every self-respecting pub crawler, backpacker and round-Australia traveller has quenched their thirst in the usual suspects such as The Breakfast Creek Hotel in Brisbane, Fortune of War at The Rocks in Sydney and Young and Jackson in Melbourne, which all appear here.
But there are many surprises as well.
I soon realised that while I've had a drink in a few pubs in my time, I've still barely scratched the surface of establishments worth pulling up a barstool for and settling in for a drink and a chat.
As a guide to the most up-to-date information in book form on the best places to stop for a drink, meal, or bed, you can't go wrong.
Each pub comes with a fact box on everything from top drops and accommodation rates to nearby attractions and kitchen opening hours.