Looking for something more to read on the long flight home from Sydney, I picked up Bill Bryson's Down Under (2001, apparently published in the US under the title In A Sunburned Country). Good choice. The only Bill Bryson book I had read before this was A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is a good overview of the history of science and technology. While that book had some humorous moments, I wasn't prepared for the laugh-out-loud flavor of Bryson's travel writing.
Bryson has seen a lot more of Australia than I could in just two short weeks, and he artfully mixes history, descriptions of nature and geology, a bit of politics, and encounters with everyday Australians in every corner of this huge, sparsely populated, and amazingly good natured and scenic country. While I would love to go back to Australia and see more of it, Bryson's book is a good way to extend the vacation right now. I'll have to check out some of his other travel writing too.