Pam & John travelled to Australia and enjoyed a tailor-made and self-drive holiday. Here's what they had to say:
We booked with Australian Sky due to previous experience with the company. Jenn was very accommodating with our continuing changes to the itinerary but at the same time we never felt like we had to book immediately to secure the last two seats on the plane like some companies do.
Our first stop was Melbourne, we booked the night prior to our arrival to be able to get in our room as soon as we arrived at 6.30am. (this was a suggestion from Australian Sky last time we went to Australia) We only had limited time in Melbourne due to trips booked, so our first port of call was the tourist office. We explained that we only had a full day and wanted to see some of the beautiful buildings. They suggested we took the free tram that does a loop round, excellent choice as it also has commentary about Melbourne. We visited the Market, which was very busy with some amazing smells and sights. The library was free to get in, a beautiful building plus various exhibitions on. We finished at the Old Melbourne Gaol, but we perhaps didn’t appreciate this as by this time we were feeling a little tired.
Our hotel was in the Crowns complex with a pool which was a welcome treat. The Crowne complex is large with many eating choices just a short walk away.
We booked three days of trips, the first being the Great Ocean Road. The weather was a little overcast for this day but it didn’t spoil the wonderful views along the way. We were very lucky seeing several Koalas close up in the wild, one was very cute and surprisingly alert. We also got to see several Kangaroos in the grounds of an Ecolodge. Be prepared for the crowds at the apostles, we thought it was busy and commented to the driver is it always this busy, he said no its normally worse. It’s a long day but you can’t come this far and not see it.
Our second trip was for the Penguin parade. We didn’t get picked up until late afternoon so we had a few free hours to walk through the parks in Melbourne. The parade is unique and nature at its best. The only downside is the humans that ignore the instructions that photography is not allowed, luckily there are some wardens that ensure this is adhered to.
Our final trip was a wine tour with Amaroo tours. They cater for small groups. We feared it maybe a little pompous for us but on meeting Ross he immediately put our fears to rest and the first cellar door the chap was from up north in the UK and he made us feel very relaxed. Ross even arranged a little extra stop so my last wine was a merlot, my favourite. This was one of our favourite days.
We then flew to Brisbane for a few nights in OReillys rain forest. The road up to OReillys is single track in some places and would not recommend doing this in the dark. It took us an hour to get up the track. We upgraded to a villa which although a little extravagant was worth every penny. You had washing facilities, hot tub, lounge, kitchen and all the home comforts. It’s also close to the infinity pool so not too far to walk. We absolutely loved this place but I think we got so much out of it as we were prepared to pay for the activities. We would recommend taking up the 24-hour package for about 60 dollars each you can do as many activities as you want in a 24-hour period, if you plan it right you can fit in a lot. We did the animal encounter, birds of prey, zip lining, glow worms, nature walk and talk, and the early morning bird encounter. We also fitted in a couple of morning and afternoon teas and cake plus Happy hour.
The final part of our trip was to a small place called Pottsville where our friends have emigrated to. We’d booked a house through Airbnb for this part purely due to wanting to be close to our friends. Pottsville is a small seaside village. We spent a day by the creek swimming, paddle boarding and generally relaxing. One of our best evenings out was to the Pottsville Bowling club, they had a courtesy bus and since then we have found out this is a normal thing around Australia. You book the bus they pick you up and take you back. What a fantastic idea.
So to summarise:
- We loved Melbourne, so many places to visit and eat. I think we preferred it to Sydney as it seems to offer so much.
- Ocean Road – fantastic views but a long day driving.
- Penguin parade – cutest thing in the world.
- Wine Trip – If you are going to do one, then choose a small group tour, much more fun and they can adapt the tour to your taste.
- OReillys is fantastic if you like nature, but make sure you embrace what it has to offer
Overall, we enjoyed this trip to Australia more than last time. I think we went with a better attitude about just going with the flow. Australian sky made it all work for us and we had no issues, thank you.
We would like to thank Pam & John for sharing their story with us and hope to welcome you on another holiday soon..
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