Pondering the possibility of booking a tour for eastern Australia with one of these groups, does anyone have any experience with either? If so, what have you found?
Lt regulars on here are locals or frequent visitors who organise their own trips with the help of the forum members. We don’t often see tour companies mentioned and I don’t recall seeing either of them posted about before.
Is there a particular reason you’re considering tours rather than a DIY trip? I know some people really enjoy touring (I’m not one of them!). Most of the itineraries that I’ve seen are far too rushed and try to fit waaaaay too much in. Some people think they need to have a tour because they don’t know must about Australia but organising your own trip is quite straightforward. Deciding where you want to go within your budget and time constraints isnthe difficult part.
If you want to post the links to the tours you’re considering, we can give you our opinion on whether it’s a good itinerary or not.
Thanks, your response is really helpful.
We live in the US and have booked a 14-day cruise that departs/returns Sydney. Since we are flying to that side of the planet, we thought we would extend to do some exploring. We can easily add 2-3 weeks to either end of the trip, depending on what happens to the budget of course.
You say it's rather straight-forward to plan, would you mind sharing some tips?
Our initial thought was to fly to Cairns and make our way south to Sydney. We are open to suggestions about what to do, how long to stay along the way.
Thanks so much
To start, the most important question is: when?
Our advice will be different, depending on time of year. In such a big country (roughly the same size as mainland USA), the weather varies greatly from north to south.
First get your ETAs, they cost $20 each.
With 2 weeks you can see up to 3 places; with 3 weeks 4 or 5 places. It is usually best to fly between them. If you can drive, hiring a car and driving a loop can work out well. Cars are not needed and are a nuisance in the bigger cities.
Time of year you’re coming matters, a lot. It’s a vast country with different climatic zones. When is your cruise? Have you already booked flights into and out of Sydney or have you still to organise your flights?
My approach is to get a short list of places I’m interested in. Work out how many days I need in each to cover the things I absolutely want to do.
I sort it into a logical order so I’m not zigzagging back and forward.
I get a daily planner and plot out the number of nights I’ll spend in each place. I’ll then plot out the travel time and see whether I have enough time left or need to add more time.
I use googleflights and rome2rio to work out flight schedules and travel logistics. I research accomodation on here and with booking.com. Once my itinerary is nailed down, I
1. Get my visa approved
2. Book an open jaw international ticket using the multi city option
3. Book internal flights (by booking direct with the airlines)
4. Book my accomodation (mostly direct).
5. Book any tickets or day tours I want about 2-3 months out. (tickets for Sydney Opera House I book when they are released)
Full service airlines are QANTAS and Virgin Australia. Low cost carriers are JetStar and Tiger.
Local visitor information centres are a fantastic resource. When I’m going to places outside the big cities, they are a wonderful source of local information. I’ve often emailed them and always had a great response.
We are also planning a trip to Australia and New Zealand, leaning toward a Holland American cruise for 14 days and adding GBR and rainforest to the front end of the trip. The cruise departs early November 2019; the GBR/Cairns/rainforest would begin in late October.
Many posts suggest a land tour is better for both countries. It becomes confusing. We are seasoned travelers as are our friends who will be accompanying us.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I love cruising but it’s not a great way to see Australia. Things are too far apart and many of the best bit are not within reach of a Port for a day trip. If you’re just looking to cruise somewhere different, fair enough. If you’re hoping to see Australia, then reconsider and explore on land. It’s very easy to DIY.