Australia: the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney with Kathy Didier14 days Nature & Wildlife
Let us handle the details
Expert Tour Director
Sightseeing with local guides
Personalized flight options
Tour pace: On this guided tour, you’ll walk for about 1 hour daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads and gravel paths, with few hills.
Overnight Flight 2 nights
Day 1: Travel day
Cross the International Date Line in flight and “lose” a day.
Day 2: Travel day
Your flight continues to Australia.
Melbourne 3 nights Hotel info
Day 3: Arrival in Melbourne
Included meals: Dinner
Welcome to Melbourne! At an included welcome dinner, meet your fellow travelers.
Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Melbourne
Included meals: Breakfast
Take a guided tour of the city’s beautiful 19th-century architecture, historic landmarks and sprawling parks.
• Explore Carlton Gardens, home of the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum
• Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Shrine of Remembrance
• Pass the Yarra River and the Sports and Arts Precinct—site of the Australian Open—and stroll through Queen Victoria Market
Enjoy a free afternoon in Melbourne or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Phillip Island Penguin Parade $139pp* Details
Every night, the tiny penguins of Phillip Island waddle ashore in an adorable parade. On this excursion, you'll journey to Summerland Beach to see the penguins come home after a long day of fishing. They're returning to feed their babies, and you'll watch as the penguins arrive for dinner on the beach. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $149)
Day 5: Free day in Melbourne
Included meals: Breakfast
Enjoy a full free day in Melbourne or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Yarra Valley Winery via Steamtrain $165pp* Details
Embark on a journey to the Dandenong Ranges rainforest. Upon arrival, you’ll have the opportunity to feed some of the wild birds native to the area, including colorful parrots and cockatoos. Next, board the authentic “Puffing Billy” steam-powered train en route to Menzies Creek. Along the way, admire the mountain’s eucalyptus forest and fern gullies. After the scenic train ride, you’ll travel to a regional vineyard to enjoy an included lunch and wine tasting, followed by a visit to another local winery.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $175)
Alice Springs 1 night Hotel info
Day 6: Flight to Alice Springs
Included meals: Breakfast
Fly to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to learn about many institutions that date back to the country’s colonial days.
• Stop at Anzac Hill and take in sweeping views of the town and countryside
• Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service, School of Air and the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station
Uluru 1 night Hotel info
Day 7: Sunset at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Included meals: Breakfast
Enjoy a free morning in Alice Springs or add an excursion.
Then, journey through the desert to Uluru to begin your exploration of the park with a guided tour.
• View Kata Tjuta, the weathered rock domes also known as the Olgas
• Watch the sunset over Uluru
Optional Excursion - Sunrise Ballooning $239pp* Details
Sail through the morning sky high above Alice Springs on this breathtaking excursion. Watch as kangaroos and wallabies greet another day in the Outback. Your balloon ride lasts 30 minutes, and upon landing, you'll enjoy breakfast accompanied by champagne. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $249)
Cairns 3 nights Hotel info
Day 8: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Return to Uluru, the monolith that’s been worshiped by Aboriginal tribes for 22,000 years. Then, fly to Cairns, a coastal city in the state of Queensland.
Day 9: The Great Barrier Reef
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Enjoy a full day at the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.
• Head to Cairns Marina to board a boat out into the Coral Sea
• View the coral’s colors from the underwater observatory, glass-bottom boat or semi-submarine—or hop in the water with a snorkel
Day 10: Free day in Cairns
Included meals: Breakfast
Spend a full free day in Cairns or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Kuranda Village Aboriginal Park & Rainforest $159pp* Details
At the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, meet your guide who will accompany you through the park. Along the way, you’ll learn how to make and play a didgeridoo, how to throw a spear and watch performances that celebrate the culture of the rainforest’s indigenous people. Next, you’ll take a scenic ride on the historic Kuranda Train before a leisurely lunch break. Take some free time to explore the Kuranda Village—discover treasures at the markets, visit an Aboriginal art gallery or hop on a river cruise. Before the end of your trip, take a ride on the Skyrail cable car, soaring high over the canopy of the forest. The cable car will stop along the way, giving you the chance to walk along a boardwalk through the rainforest floor.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $169)
Sydney 3 nights Hotel info
Day 11: Arrival in Sydney
Included meals: Breakfast
Fly to Sydney this morning, then enjoy a free day in the city or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise $129pp* Details
Take a dinner cruise through Sydney Harbour, basking in views of the city’s famous bridge, opera house and twinkling cityscape at night. The MV Sydney 2000, one of Sydney's most prestigious cruise ships, features multiple decks and live entertainment. Your dinner will be served on the Sky Deck, offering 360-degree views of the city.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $139)
Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Sydney
Included meals: Breakfast
Take a guided tour of one of the world’s most pleasant cities.
• Pass Darling Harbour and the Royal Botanic Gardens
• Stop at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair to take in views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
• See the Rocks neighborhood, National Opal Collection, Bondi Beach and Gap in Watsons Bay
• Step inside the UNESCO-listed Sydney Opera House with a guide
Day 13: Free day in Sydney
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Enjoy a free day in Sydney or add an excursion.
Then, say farewell to your group at dinner tonight.
Optional Excursion - Featherdale Wildlife Park & Koala Visit $85pp* Details
Make your way to the Featherdale Wildlife Park, a sanctuary dedicated to the protection and conservation of Australia’s native species. Here, you’ll learn about the park’s commitment to environmental education and the fascinating animals that call the country home, including kangaroos, crocodiles, and an impressive variety of birds. Then, gather with your group to sip tea as you encounter the protected koalas up close and hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies. If time permits, you’ll continue through Sydney Olympic Park on your way back to your hotel.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)
Day 14: Departure
Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Passport & visa requirements
- In order to enter Australia, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
- We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
- U.S. and Canadian passport holders must purchase an individual visa from the Australian government’s Electronic Travel Authority website eta.immi.gov.au prior to departure.
- If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
- You will walk for about 1 hour daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads and gravel paths, with few hills.
- Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
- You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats.
- If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information
- Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Melbourne and depart from Sydney. A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
- Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
- Flights from Melbourne to Alice Springs, Ayers Rock to Cairns and Cairns to Sydney as well as a boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef are included in the tour price.
- All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
- Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
- Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
- One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
- Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & packing tips
- We recommend lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
- A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
- The Australian sun is very hot. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Bug repellent is also useful, as there can be flies in the Outback certain times of year.
- You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
- There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Australia.
- At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
- Take particular care of sun exposure and drink plenty of liquids. If you choose to go swimming, be careful of powerful surf. Make sure to obey signs and lifeguards’ orders, and always swim between the marked flags.
- Travelers prone to seasickness may want to take special precautions for the boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef. * There are inherent risks associated with water activities, particularly for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Discuss your planned activities with your doctor or healthcare provider for the best advice on participation.
- If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
- If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to My Account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
- Australian menus emphasize high-quality steaks and lamb chops, though meat pies are also popular. Regional specialties include shellfish (such as Sydney rock oysters and crabs) and smoked sausages brought to South Australia by German settlers. The national beverage is beer, and a visit to an Aussie pub is a popular pastime, but the country’s wines are also superb.
Electricity & air conditioning
- Australia operates on the standard 220-240 volts and uses Types I plugs with three large, flat pins set on an angle.
- We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
- The majority of the hotels on this tour will have air conditioning.
- Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
- Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
- There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
- Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
- You’ll travel through Australian Central Standard Time (14.5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and Australian Eastern Standard Time (15 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time).
- When it’s noon in New York, it’s 3:30am in Cairns and 4am in Melbourne.
- You will use the Australian dollar.
- Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
- We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
- You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
- Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
- International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
- At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
- We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
- If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide.
- Tips can only be paid in cash.
Purchasing excursions on tour
- Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
- Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
- Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
- Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.
See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.
Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.
Excellent tour of east and central Australia
The itinerary, excursions,hotels, meals were excellent (and we went on all the excursions). The tour director Matt Charlton was the heart and soul of the trip, and made it all come alive through his knowledge and his spirit. The two most special parts were having Tina, an aborigine elder, as our driver for Uluru, and the visit to the Great Barrier Reef. My wife rented an underwater camera and proved to herself that she had not forgotten how to snorkel, while taking the best photos of the trip. The locations of the hotels was excellent for our needs, and close to restaurants we needed to patronize since half of the meals were not provided, but for A little extra effort as well as money they added to the total experience. I would gladly recommend "Australia--the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney" and Matt Charlton as tour director to anyone. We had been disappointed that there was no pretrial or post trip option for Tasmania but we found Susie de Carteret's "Tasmanian Odyssey" where she set up a drive-yourself tour of just what we wanted, which wss better for our purposes than OAT's Tasmania pretrip and recommend it for people who want Tasmania, although it required driving Brit-style.
Hi Richard! We’re so glad you had a wonderful time in Australia! It’s great to know that your Tour Director added value and enjoyment to your trip. We will be sure to let him know. We’re also glad to hear which moments of the trip stood out to you, such as visiting the Great Barrier Reef. There are certainly a wide range of iconic activities to experience throughout Australia! Thank you for recommending this tour, Richard. We hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | March 22, 2017
Amazing Adventure in Australia
Wonderful trip! Our tour guide, Matt,was phenomenal -- friendly, knowledgeable, enthusiastic , organized -- the best !!! Beautiful country and friendly people. Sydney Opera house is so awesome -- we were able to see a performance there in our free time. Truly a magnificent journey -- highly recommend it.
Hi Anne! Thank you for the lovely feedback on your Tour Director. We will be sure to share it with them. We’re so glad you were able to enjoy all that Australia has to offer, including a show at the iconic Sydney Opera House. Thank you for recommending this tour. We can’t wait to see where you’ll go next!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | March 13, 2017
Trip worth taking!!
What made the trip one to remember was our tour director, Luke. He was very personable, organized and knowledgeable. From the time he met us at the airport in Melbourne until he said goodbye to us in Sydney he was a positive force. The weather was perfect (except for our sunset viewing of Ayers Rock when it was cloudy, but the champagne helped!) and being in Australia to celebrate the New Year "early" was a treat.
Hi Margie! We’re thrilled to learn that your Tour Director was a highlight for you. We are truly lucky to have such a fantastic team, and we will be sure to pass along your kind feedback. It’s great to know that, for the most part, you experienced perfect weather (and when you didn’t, you had some champagne to make up for it)! Thank you for taking the time to review your trip. Let us know when you’re ready to travel again!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | February 01, 2017
Celebrating 25 years with my hubby made this trip that much more special. The excursions are well worth adding to the trip. Couldn't pick one favorite place because each stop had it's own beautiful unique experience. Having the ability to swim in The Great Barrier Reef made us want to stay longer. Jason (TD) did an outstanding job. Very organized and we listened to every suggestion he made. He never steered us wrong. Hot jam donuts at Victoria market were addicting.
Hi Kathleen! Congratulations to you and your husband on twenty-five years! Visiting Australia is such a wonderful way to celebrate. We’re glad you two enjoyed the various excursions and sites along the way. It’s also great to know that your Tour Director did an outstanding job and provided great suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to review your tour. We look forward to welcoming you on your next tour in 2018!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | January 30, 2017
Bucket List Trip October 2016
We did the 4 stop Tour.. Melbourne, Alice Springs / Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier in Cairns, ending in Sydney.. I also liked the "non-stop" flight from the US (Dallas) to Australia and then back.. All internal Australia flights were also great.. smooth.. And all the Bus tours were also great.. The whole tour was excellent... Hotels were great.. Food was great... and the Tour Director, Slad'g was AWESOME !!! She goes above and beyond to insure your having a good time.. her knowledge of the area's visited on the tour was superb..
Hi Robert! We’re delighted to hear that you feel the whole tour was excellent. We appreciate your wonderful feedback on the itinerary and logistics, and we’re so glad your Tour Director was a great resource for you throughout your tour. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | October 21, 2016
The Best Tour Director!
We took the Australia trip (did not know the trip went on to New Zealand!) this past April 2016. Dan R was our tour director - an outstanding tour leader! He is knowledgeable about what we saw and did, very organized, and so personable! The Outback was especially memorable! We enjoyed the cities of Melbourne and Sydney, and we had a good day on the Great Barrier Reef. Amazing! We did not take all the add on side trips, but the ones we took were very good. The hotel accommodations were excellent, the flights were good, the coach rides were also very good. The tour includes a great breakfast everyday - so nice. Only two dinners were included. This was our first planned tour and we can't wait to do another.
Hi Barbara! Thank you for your review. We’re so happy you enjoyed your time on tour. It sounds like every aspect of your experience went off without a hitch, and we’re glad to hear it! We look forward to welcoming you on your next tour.
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | May 20, 2016
Much more than I expected!
This trip was so amazing! It was an educational, jam-packed fun-filled experience. Our tour guide Vic went above and beyond what I expected in a tour guide. He educated us about all things Australian. He was funny and extremely organized. Everyone on our tour got along perfectly and I have made some new friends. This was our 30 year anniversary and it was perfect!
Hi Norma! Congratulations on your anniversary! We’re honored that you would celebrate with a Go Ahead tour. We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed your time in Australia and that you made some new friends in your group. We’re also pleased to learn that your Tour Director went above and beyond for you. Thank you for your wonderful review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again soon!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | April 21, 2016
Best trip ever!
This trip was awesome. The itinerary captured the perfect balance of city, nature, beach, desert. Tour guide was amazing, group was so fun. I can't wait to go back some day!
Trip of a Lifetime
Sladjana, our tour guide, was exceptional! She worked tirelessly for each member of the group to add on tours, recommend restaurants, and make sure everyone had a great time. She watched after everyone and made sure no one was left behind. She went beyond the call of duty by providing treats for us along the way. This really was the trip of a lifetime!
Hi Debra! We are so glad you enjoyed your Tour Director. It sounds like she went above and beyond in showing care and concern for your group. We’re thrilled to hear you describe your tour as the 'trip of a lifetime.' Thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on another tour soon!
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | February 29, 2016
best tour director
Mick was a great director. He was fun and very helpful to all of the travelers needs. I would like to have had one more day in Sydney. One free day there to do a show at the Opera House would have been the cherry on the sunday.
"Sludge" was Superb ! !
Our Tour Director asked to be called "Sludge" - but we all concluded she should be called superb! We were treated to her extensive knowledge, sense of fun and sensitivity to varied tastes and expectations throughout. In a country of contrasts we saw urban and outback delights - always well beyond reasonable expectations. When a group on the Wine Tasting option disclosed they did not like wine at all, a stop at a fabulous chocolate outlet was added to the day. She shared her trick for avoiding sea-sickness on the boat to the Great Barrier Reef and made sure we all had a good time going there, being there and coming back from this unique locale. At the Sydney Opera House we had a wonderful tour, topped off by her instruction to visit the fabulously beautiful ladies room (not part of the standard tour, and very worthy addition). There were so many special moments like that, due to her in-depth knowledge, that the entire tour was enriched well beyond the advance itinerary.
This was my first tour with GoAhead tours but it will not be my last. This tour was AMAZING!! Our Tour Director Simon was so knowledgable, helpful, and fun! There were 23 people on our tour and Simon was able to answer every question we had in great detail. We had just enough free time and the optionals were all worth the extra money. I highly recommend the Penguin Parade and balloon ride in the outback, they were the highlights of our trip. The Great Barrier Reef was my favorite day- an enjoyable scenic boat ride out to the reef and many options including snorkeling, glass bottom boat ride, helicopter ride, and scuba once you get to the reef. Each hotel was in a great location and had very nice rooms and breakfasts. Most of our hotels either had free wifi or free wifi for about 30 minutes a day. I have zero complaints. Suggestions to future travelers on this tour: If you get motion sickness take medicine before heading out to the great barrier reef, pack comfortable shoes (its an active tour), and be sure to pack some extra money for the day for optional things such as camel riding!
Excellent tour itinerary and best tour director
Going into this tour I was skeptical about Melbourne. It wasn't at the top of my list but what a little gem she turned out to be. We were centrally located and within walking distance to many attractions. The cities trolley system could take you just about anywhere and if you look for the red city circle line it's free. Alice springs was fabulous. The visit to the telegraph station and royal flying doctors service was incredible. But the school of the air was a real impressive setup. We visited a camel farm and for a small fee were able to ride the camel. It was super fun and completely optional At Ayers Rock and the Olga's we toured the magnificence of these colossal stone mounds. Our drive, certified to lead tours of the aboriginal culture was a wealth of information. It was unfortunate that the winds were too high for our hot air balloon ride to take off but we did see a spectacular sunrise. Cairns was a small disappointment as it rained on our trip to the GBR. Many folks got sick on the boat and although the staff were top notch in keeping the scene under control, it was difficult for many. The snorkeling was great but I'd like to suggest that you take the introductory dive opportunity. It cost 130.00 and included lesson and a dive with a certified instructor. It was worth the extra money The day trip to Kuranda was really fun. Wandering through and above the rainforest is a must see experience. If you are lucky, you may get a gondola with a glass bottom. The view is awesome. Sydney at darling harbor was the best you would expect it to be. Very warm and accommodating.
I am always looking for my next adventure. This was the best one I have had so far and I have been all over the world! Thanks. It was on my bucket list!
A MUST Destination for your Bucket List
Loved the tour but was very dissatisfied with the Go Ahead Tours customer service representatives which is why I can only make a conditional recommendation for this tour. First the good news: we had a superior tour director named Luke. He was able to handle a very large group (42 mostly Seniors) with utmost professionalism and courtesy. The tour itself, as Dr. Seuss would say, ” Oh, The Places You'll Go! “. Must see/do - Parade of the precious Little Penguins on Phillip Island, dining on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant in Melbourne (make a reservation before you go!), riding a camel in the Outback, taking in awesome Ayers Rock (Uluru) and The Olgas (Kata Tjuta), snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef (immersed in this wonderland of coral of all shapes and sizes was my favorite experience), strolling around the beautiful Sydney Darling Harbour, touching a Koala in the Featherdale Wildlife Park and taking a guided tour of the Opera House (if you get Steven as a guide, you will be very, very lucky – he is a wonderful orator). Now the bad news: If you are a traveler that will accept the Go Ahead package without question, then Go Ahead will be fine for you. If you want a little more service, forget it. Things I extremely dislike about the Go Ahead customer service experience: 1) Once you book, the service goes downhill. You call with a question and you rarely get the same person. Many times you get put on hold or go to voicemail. 2) The customer service representatives were of very little help securing the airline seats we wanted and ensuring our frequent flyer #’s were on the reservation. Yes, Go Ahead’s rules and regulations say it is up to the customer to do this – and the customer service representatives will remind you every time you speak to them – but it is an inconvenience which adds more stress to the experience. In fact, after the tour was completely paid for (about two months before the trip), we still couldn’t reserve our seats because the airline told us Go Ahead had not ticketed us yet. More phone calls, more stress until our seats were confirmed. 3) The customer service representatives were of little help in finding out if we could book a helicopter tour over Ayers Rock. If it is not one of their approved optional tours, forget about getting any service. The Australia: The Great Barrier Reef to Sydney tour has been offered for years and you would think a customer service representative would know if there was time to take an Ayers Rock helicopter ride. One said there probably wouldn’t be but when I pressed them and make a reservation with a helicopter company on my own, one of the customer service representatives finally got a hold of Luke and confirmed we could take a sunrise helicopter ride over The Rock. Again, more emails, more stress and a week to resolve!!! 4) My companion was flying out of Newark and snow was threatening the day we would leave for Australia. Newark closes at the drop of a snowflake. She wanted to leave a day early and stay overnight in LA. She called Go Ahead and was given a total runaround – Go Ahead told her to call the airline, the airline told her they couldn‘t change her reservation and gave her the EF/Go Ahead booking agent’s number, the booking agent told her to call Go Ahead. A complete circle! At this point, my friend went ballistic and the agent put her in contact with a Go Ahead agent that finally got her flight change (and it was the right decision, because my friend got to LA the day before the trip and, true to form, Newark cancelled her original flight the next day). 5) Go Ahead books too many people in a tour. By the end of the second week, about a third of the Seniors decided not to go on the Blue Mountains optional excursion. Thirty people in the cramped Sydney tour bus was so much nicer than 42. I have gone on tours which were a great value, you had one point of contact for customer service, you could reserve your airline seat months in advance and the agent was knowledgeable enough to answer questions or get back to you right away and also was able to book other tours not in the package. If Go Ahead could do this – and on your FIRST trip, not after you book “X” number of trips – I could recommend them.
Beyond my expectations!
I really expected snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, walking about the majestic Ayers Rock, and seeing the beautiful Opera House to be fantastic, and they were! The rest of the tour surprisingly exceeded my expectations! The Olgas were just as huge and majestic as Ayers Rock. The beauty of the outback was amazing. The very remote Alice Springs was interestingly comforting. Sydney, despite being a huge city, was a wonderful surprise with it's clean, safe, easy streets to walk, it's well kept parks to roam within, and it's Darling Harbour that is delightfully inviting. Our tour director, Luke, did a fantastic job of keeping us well organized, and giving us interesting information on each site. One of our bus drivers, Darren, that we had for 3 days was amazing with his singing, and with his humor. The hotels were wonderful! We signed up for most of the optional tours and enjoyed each of them. Once again, Go Ahead Tours has taken us on an exciting adventure!
Best Tour Director and Tour
Luke was excellent! Not only was he knowledgeable but he was even tempered and extremely positive. He took care of all of our needs and made everyone feel valued. This trip was also a wonderful way to see Australia. We saw it's total diversity from east, north, south and the Outback in between.
Great Tour to Australia
Our tour director, Simon, was so organized and helpful on this 14 day trip. There were plenty of outside things to do as well as planned excursions. Although expensive, Australia was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. We did pay $17 once for a hamburger, fries and a coke. You can plan around that with creativity. The hotels were great as well as transportation. Since we left from DFW we had a direct fllight to Brisbane, then another short flight to Cairnes. What a relief as, last year, on a different tour company, it took us four flights to get home from Hanoi. Not fun at all. You will love the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback and the city tours as well, such as the Opera House. Not to be missed is the Featherdale Wildlife park. I was so dellighted to see the blue Fairy penguins in the park. We were not allowed to take photos of them in the wild but it was still amazing to see these little creatures coming out of the ocean at dusk and to see them travel to their burrows. All in all it was a wonderful trip that I will be able to use in teaching World Geography classes.
Group too big
This was a once in a lifetime 20th anniversary tour for us. When I was looking for a group to go with, one of the things that I did not want was to have a very large group. I specifically asked via e-mail what the cap was on this trip and I was assured, again, in writing via e-mail that the cap was 20 people. When you are getting off and on a bus, the more people there is, the longer it takes. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed everyone that was on the tour, but we did have 41 people. That is over double the cap number!! I was very disappointed that this customer representative of Go Ahead would misrepresent something like that just to make a sale. But as for the trip itself, it was wonderful. For me the Outback and the Great Barrier Reef were the highlights. The cities were nice, but once you have been in one city, you have been in all cities. Our tour guide Sladjana was absolutely amazing!! She always went above and beyond the call of duty, even lending us her camera when we lost ours on one of our flights. Con and Gerry in the Outback were great. The wine tasting could have been done more towards the beginning of the tour, just because it tended to loosen people up and was a great ice-breaker. More time could have been spent at the Markets, but overall this was a good experience. I would definitely recommend Australia as a destination, but just remember that even if you have it in writing, it doesn't mean that it is a fact :(
Dear Jennifer, We understand that smaller groups make for better, more immersive travel experiences. That's why we introduced ‘Right Size Advantage’ in 2014. This policy means we cap our tours well below the industry standard of 45 travelers. Our Right Size Advantage defines each tour's ideal size and means you'll enjoy groups of 14 to 35 travelers, never more. Whether you’re embarking on a safari in the Serengeti or seeing the iconic landmarks of Rome, each adventure has its own Right Size. Thank you for sharing this valuable feedback with us, which influenced our decision to make this change. We hope to welcome you on tour again.
Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | April 15, 2013
Great Trip-Great Value
A wonderful way for the first time traveller to experience Australia. We covered a large amount of the country and had great encounters with all types of wildlife, other cultures and lovely scenery. I definitely recommend this trip!