I feel like there is a slight divide in opinion within the travel community when it comes to going on tours. Some, for instance, argue that they are a waste of money, overpriced and inflexible, whilst others swear by them, base entire trips around them and don’t want the hassles and responsibilities, which come when planning your own itinerary and could rely heavily on public transport and even potentially buying or renting a car.
Having experienced a number of guided tours and excursions across Australia, as well as planning my own successful road trips, my opinion generally falls somewhere in the middle of all this. I occasionally enjoyed spending a little extra cash on a tour so I could relax and enjoy the ride, but I also loved the creative freedom that came with doing it myself.
The tours and excursions I went on ranged from two to five nights in length. Although generally on the pricey side of a backpacker budget, I found there to be a considerable number of benefits in doing them;
- I got to connect with a great bunch of like-minded people, formed lasting friendships and gained future travel buddies.
- I was able to access places which would have proven a great deal more difficult to get to if I was going without a tour group.
- Food, transport, equipment, park entry fees and accommodation were often included, which really took the pressure off, allowing me to sit back and enjoy myself and my surroundings.
- The tour guides were brimming with knowledge and insight and I definitely came away from the experiences a great deal more savvy.
- Itinerary’s were already planned, which saved time researching and stressing about every little detail.
- In some cases, I used tours as a means of getting from A to B, essentially killing two birds with one stone.
So without further ado, here are my top 10 favourite tours from my two year trip:
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Adventure
Length: 2 days, 1 night | Roundtrip from Adelaide, SA
This tour was quite intense, due to the impressive amount of ground we covered within such a short space of time. We visited all the iconic landmarks and I found it to be the perfect introduction to the island; so much so, I returned five months later to do my regional farm work there. For more info about Kangaroo Island, check out my articles; 23 Things You’ll Love About Kangaroo Island | South Australia and 5 Australian Islands Worth Getting on a Boat For.
Length: 6 days, 5 nights | Adelaide – Alice Springs
This was the longest tour I did during my time in Australia and spanned over six days. Again, it was intense and required a lot of driving time, but this was a trip I wouldn’t have felt comfortable attempting under any other circumstances. Along the way, we hiked in gorges and canyons, slept underground, drove out into the desert and discovered some well known landmarks.
Grampians and Great Ocean Road
Length: 2 nights, 3 days | Adelaide – Melbourne
We used this tour as a means of getting From Adelaide to Melbourne and it was filled to the brim with natural beauty, taking my breath away at every turn. We trekked one of my all time favourite hikes to The Pinnacle in the Grampians and visited all the must-see spots along the Great Ocean Road, including the Bay of Martyrs, London Bridge, Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles.
Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari
Length: 75 minutes | Roundtrip from Christmas Cove Marina, Penneshaw
Though short, I saw more marine life crammed into those 75 minutes than I did over the entire three and a half months I spent on the island! Details of my amazing experience can be read here.
Gordon River Cruise
Gordon River Cruises
Length: 1 day | Roundtrip from Strahan, TAS
Not even the miserable weather put a dampener on this tour. It was incredibly educational, our guides were fun and light-hearted and the buffet was delicious. Experience the likes of Hells Gates, salmon and ocean trout fish farming, the tranquil Gordon River itself and the eerie remains of a penal settlement on Sarah Island.
Whale Shark Diving
Three Islands Whale Shark Dive
Length: 1 day | Roundtrip from Exmouth, WA
One of the most amazing experiences of my life. The guides were professional and respectful of the wildlife and environment, yet wonderfully silly and casual. I also witnessed more wildlife than I ever anticipated – including emus and dingoes before even reaching the boat; and the food was healthy and fresh. For more info, head on over to my blog post; A Guide to Diving with Whale Sharks in Western Australia.
Red Cat Adventures
Length: 1 day | Roundtrip from Airlie Beach, QLD
Another fantastic tour company and a day jam-packed with incredible sights and wildlife. We even took part in an impromptu boat race on the way home! See; 5 Australian Islands Worth Getting on a Boat For, for more details.
Quad-Biking and Horse Riding
Cradle Country Adventures
Length: 1 day | Depart from Cradle Mountain and Kimberley, TAS
I dedicated an entire blog post to this incredible experience; read all about it here; Quad-Biking & Horse Riding with Cradle Country Adventures.
Night-time Animal Spotting and Devil Feeding
Cradle Mountain Hotel and Devils@Cradle
Length: 1 night | Roundtrip from Cradle Mountain Hotel, TAS
You can read about my experience over on Cradle Mountain Hotel’s blog.
Hiking the Three Capes Track
Three Capes Track
Length: 4 days, 3 nights | Roundtrip from Port Arthur, TAS
This 46km multi-day hike was a highlight of mine during my time in Tasmania. Read my detailed article; Hiking the Three Capes Track.
Are you planning a trip to Australia? Check out my blog post 12 Steps Towards a Successful Working Holiday in Australia for more useful tips!