Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback” as Want to Read:
Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  14,426 ratings  ·  1,389 reviews

Robyn Davidson's opens the memoir of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company with the following words: “I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there's no going back."

Enduring sweltering
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 30th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1980)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tracks, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Karen Klink She worked like hell to learn about camels and be given the camels for free, and that's another part of the story. The one guy (actually two different…moreShe worked like hell to learn about camels and be given the camels for free, and that's another part of the story. The one guy (actually two different men at two different places) was literally dangerously nuts and caused her all kinds of grief.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,426 ratings  ·  1,389 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback
Jun 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
I was disappointed by this book. I felt that the author had a major chip on her shoulder that she never really got over. Her open contempt for anyone interested in her or her journey was not only tiring, but made for a strange read (being one of those interested in her journey). I felt tricked - like she'd invited me to read her story and then accused me of voyeurism. I was left with the feeling that this book was written out of obligation to some sponsor more than a desire to share her experien ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow 👏🏼' ...more
This is an amazing outdoor adventure/travelogue/girl power memoir.

Robyn Davidson decided to get some camels, train them, and then walk across the Australian Outback.


Yeah, she's a badass who walked 1,700 miles of the Outback, mostly by herself. She had a National Geographic photographer with her for a few days, and an Aboriginal guide a few other days, but most of the time it was just her, the camels and her dog. (view spoiler)
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it

“Tracks” is a phenomenal travelogue of a 2700 km voyage through the Australian desert; by Robyn Davidson and four camels. It’s the proof that a single (lunatic?) idea, a seemingly fuzzy project (a woman crossing the desert with camels) can be accomplished. As Davidson put it at the end of the trip, she learned two most important things: (1) we’re as powerful and strong as long as we want; (2) the hardest part on “my” enterprise is the first step, to take the first decision.

Evidently, it was
Lyndsey Page
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really thought that I would love this book. It has aspects that I love in a memoir including adventure and a female perspective. I quickly realized that Robyn Davidson has absolutely no problems with animal abuse. The treatment of the camels that she claims to love and spoil is disgusting. If camels are not easy to train or socialize, DON'T USE THEM! It's so sad that the camels had no choice in any of this and were taken from the wild only to be forced into a trek that I'm sure they had no des ...more
Robyn Davidson doesn't consider herself incredible or inspirational, although she completed a journey that few other people could have contemplated, let alone completed.

In 1977, from Alice Springs, which is smack bang in the middle of Australia, and is surrounded by deserts, she undertakes an (*almost) solo trek to the Western Australian coast, 1700 miles away, accompanied by her four camels. I say almost, because she is visited periodically by a photographer to capture images of her journey for
Jul 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: story, setting, 900s
Really liked it (four stars), but two things keep me from giving it the full four:
1. camel beatings
2. my own priggishness about the conservation of stars. [I.e. a book probably won't be a five star book until I am certain it has had an enormous effect on me and short-circuited and rewired something, conjured something, become necessary. A four star book is usually a slightly-less-important-but-still-brilliant book by a favorite author. Four stars still means basically flawless. Which means thre
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Australia is a big country.

A very big country.

And a lot of it is hostile, unforgiving desert. So to set out to travel across half of the country from the centre to the sea, with a dog and four camels is a monumental achievement for Robyn Davidson. Not only is this a tough journey in a physical sense, from the relentless heat, the whole menagerie of nasty & poisonous creatures that exist there, fending off unwelcome advances of men, whilst travelling with the camels, a belligerent species at the
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I think what Robyn accomplished is truly amazing. I think the tasks she took on - training her camels and travelling so far across inhospitable, though amazing, country is to be more than admired. I think the relationship she had with her camels was touching and lovely and the book was informative about them. I think the relationship she had with her dog was very much like one many of us have with our dogs and she talked about it well.

However, I didn't enjoy Robyn herself at all. I know what sh
The biggest question in my mind before, during, and after reading this book was, WHY? Why would she do this? (I equate it with people who climb Mt. Everest. Why?) We are plunked right down into the story with no explanation of why she undertook this journey. I think she learned a lot about herself and her capabilities along the way, but what would possess a woman to train some camels (she'd never even been exposed to a camel before) and head out into the hostile desert? I actually think there ar ...more
Joy D
Non-fiction about Robyn Davidson’s 1977-1978 trip across the Australian desert, accompanied by four camels and a dog. During this trip, she developed capabilities she did not know she possessed as she crossed over 1700 miles, mostly by walking and occasionally riding one of the camels. She started her trip in Alice Springs and ended at the Indian Ocean. Along the way, she interacts with various people, animals, and pests.

Filled with novelties such as:
- How to train your camel
- What it’s like to
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
At the age of twenty-five, the author got the wild idea that she wanted to travel solo with camels across the Australian Outback. She moved from Brisbane to Alice Springs where she spent two years learning how to handle camels, figuring out how to obtain camels of her own, and otherwise preparing herself for the trip.

In 1977, she was finally ready, and spent about eight months making her way from Glen Helen Tourist Camp in the Northern Territory to Hamelin Pool on the Indian Ocean.

This was not
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia, library
A fast, restorative read for depleting times. The author shows a mix of resilience and vulnerability; the desire to test her limits and the need to question the very macho society she lives in; and - which is the most interesting - the desire to get lost in the spiritual trance of the isolation and the awareness that she should not try to maintain this state among other people.
...I honestly could not remember, or put into context, etiquette. Did it matter, I would think to myself, if all the but
Dec 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I quit this book about half way through after a series of references to beating her camels senseless. She is devastated after having to shoot one of her sick camels, but shows no remorse whatsoever for beating them. I have worked with animals far larger than camels and I know from personal experience that there are better ways to control them. I couldn't keep reading this and I think some animal lovers may be uncomfortable reading this as well. ...more
Lee at ReadWriteWish
This book, although written in the 80s, gained new popularity when it was adapted into a movie starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver. I thought it sounded great -- an Aussie woman, trekking with only her camels and dog from Alice Springs to the Western Australian coast, via the harsh Aussie desert. And it probably would have been great, if not for Robyn Davidson.

Davidson is completely and utterly unlikeable. She’s contrary, selfish, judgmental, egotistical and opinionated. I spent most of the
The question I'm most commonly asked is 'why?' A more pertinent question might be, why is it that more people don't attempt to escape the limitations imposed upon them? If Tracks has a message at all, it is that one can be awake to the demand for obedience that seems natural simply because it's familiar.

After watching the film Tracks twice I immediately ordered the book and promptly read it. Something about the movie stirred a feeling a wasn't familiar with within, and that feeling continued wit
I am so at a loss for this book. I read it sandwiched between Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Mother of God by Paul Rosolie, both of which were fantastic and amazingly well written. Davidson, however, lacked the talent to write as well as the other two. The narrative style was too choppy for me, occasionally hard to follow, and random. It lacked flow the majority of the time, whereas there were other moments in which Davidson discussed her friendship with Aborigines or how the desert necessarily expa ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf-2021
Thoughts soon.
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
Tracks is a cult classic, recently republished, about a woman's solo walk across 1700 miles of the Australian outback. I learned a great deal about camels, Alice Springs Australia, the mentality of Australian men, Aborigines, and Robyn Davidson from this book. It is a book about life on the frontier, self reliance, being a woman in an ultra-macho culture, about tourism in the outback and the savage mistreatment of native peoples of the outback. One of the most interesting and to me edifying aspe ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Full review at

Originally published in 1982, Robyn Davidson’s travel memoir, Tracks: One Woman’s Journey of 1,700 Miles Across the Australian Outback, is a unique picture of life in the bush. To call it a travel memoir doesn’t do it justice. It’s really an adventure story, with camels, a dog, lots of sand hills, and a variety of indigenous people.

When Davidson took this journey, Aboriginal Land rights had just been legislated. The world was afraid of nuclear bombs and the Cold
Oct 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
More of 1.5 stars really. I wanted to like this book a lot more. This book lacked a lot for me. For starters, while I appreciate her need to keep a lot of her motivations and revelations private, it makes it difficult to relate to someone on this type of journey with so little to go on. What makes these books good is knowing why someone chose to do this type of journey, and how it changed that person. I didn't get either in this book, which made me not invested at all in the story. Also, she wro ...more
Dec 30, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2_nonfiction
I've never been to Australia and, based on this, I wouldn't want to. ...more
Connie G
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Robyn Davidson was a young woman who had a dream of traveling with camels through the bush of the northern and western areas of Australia. She arrived in Alice Springs with her dog and six dollars, hoping to find work and learn to train camels. After two years she still did not have the funds to start on her trek, so she signed a contract with "National Geographic" to allow a photographer to spend a few days with her several times during the trip.

Davidson was a hard working, tenacious woman who
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
In 1977 Davidson in her 20s took her dog Diggity, four camels and set off across the 1700 miles of the Australian outback. Davidson starts her story in Alice Springs learning about camels. She obtains four camels called Dookie, Zelly, Bub and Goliath.

She wrote the story for the National Geographic Society that had helped subsidize the trip and paid for the photographer. Because the National Geographic provided the money she had to meet a photographer at various locations on her trip for photogra
An inspiring journey of solitude and self-discovery, which I can relate to greatly. Because of her contempt for media and myth-making that had surrounded Davidson throughout her journey, she doesn't indulge into too many personal details. She often felt disgruntled at others as they invaded her privacy, and it shows through her writing even toward the reader. It seems that she is somewhat forced to open up this personal odyssey to prying eyes, and to conserve at least some secrets she discovered ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Perhaps I should have given this book one more star, because there were short passages of transcendent beauty when Davidson describes lovely, remote, and impossibly hostile stretches of Australian outback desert. The author trekked 1,700 miles with four camels and a dog, in a journey of self-exploration and transformation.

Davidson has a great story, with a breathtaking backdrop, but it suffers in her telling. Often she refers to friends as though the reader already knows them, and several times
Rosemary Atwell
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Davidson’s account of her solo trek from Alice Springs to Hamelin Pool in Western Australia is very much a book of its time (it was originally published in 1980, some two-and-a-half years after the event). Such a journey could not be undertaken today, and therein lies much of the book’s magic. There’s a high-minded but very real idealism concerning the possibility of political and social change that infuses the pages with a mix of passion, anger and determination. Although Davidson’s rants featu ...more
As a young woman Robyn Davidson moved to Alice Springs with a dream of picking up some camels and heading across the desert. Of course, it just was not that easy. Although she had 1700 miles to cross, first she had to catch a camel... and learn to look after it, and train it and keep it alive.

The story of preparing for the crossing is as interesting as the crossing itself. I remember when she was actually doing it and the great stir it caused. Reading this book is a shattering reminder of what
I had recently told friend that I would read a Bill Bryson travelog about Australia, and then I read this one instead. I am glad I did. I had watched the movie a year or two ago which was good and which had no time to tell a fuller, truer story. I was mesmerized by Davidson's honesty and fiercosity.
I too have stepped out of so-called civilized society and too have found its overwhelming burdens of stuff and status. When I p was sick and went to ICU, hospital, and then rehab center, I too found
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the time, I thought this woman was crazy!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Like a House on Fire
  • The Golden Age
  • Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life
  • Nine Days
  • Bewildered
  • The Family: The Shocking True Story of a Notorious Cult
  • Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World
  • The Girl Who Climbed Everest: Lessons Learned Facing Up to the World's Toughest Mmountains
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
  • The Wild Other: A Memoir
  • The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World
  • Couchsurfing im Iran: Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen
  • The Wife of Martin Guerre
  • They're a Weird Mob
  • Pustolovec zmote: patetični priročnik za razumevanje priletnega alfa samca
  • The Long Home
  • A Woman of Firsts: The Midwife Who Built a Hospital and Changed the World
  • Annapurna: A Woman's Place
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Robyn Davidson was born on a cattle property in Queensland, Australia. She went to Sydney in the late sixties, then spent time studying in Brisbane before moving to Alice Springs, where the events of this book begin. Since then, she has traveled extensively, living in London, New York, and India. In the early 1990s, she migrated with and wrote about nomads in northwestern India. She is now based i ...more

Related Articles

Anne Lamott, the beloved writer of memoirs including Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies, once said, “You own everything that happened to you....
65 likes · 22 comments
“It seems to me that the good lord in his infinate wisdom gave us three things to make life bearable- hope, jokes, and dogs. But the greatest of these was dogs.” 104 likes
“The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision.” 75 likes
More quotes…