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A member of our customer services team recounts her journey around Australia by Bus.
Australia is an ultimate backpacker destination, due to the varying landscapes, rich history and different life style, however it sure is big! When booking our trip to Australia (The ex and I) we had no idea where to start in this vast land! Luckily we had a super travel agent who suggested a Contiki Bus tour. We did two tours back to back, the first starting in Darwin and going all the way down to Ayres Rock and then flew to Cairns and picked up the next bus that took us to Sydney.
First up, its expensive; however, your accommodation is completely sorted and you get a meal quite a few nights, so if there is a cash flow issue, you know a hot meal is coming! Before you leave they give you an adorable little pack that outlines the trip and also gives lots of tips and advice on what to take e.c.t. I thought this was a nice touch, as a first-time traveller, I was a bit lost on what I’d need to take.
We met the bus in Darwin, and met the other travellers. Everyone was so lovely and open to making new friends, so I left the experience with some friends for life! The tour guide was an absolute character with knowledge and anecdotes galore. (He won wheel of fortune and made it the most convincing lie truth ever)
We saw all the expected sites such as Alice Springs, the devil’s marbles, Uluru (and fooluru, the rock that looks like Uluru but isn’t), Kakadu National park (bigger than Israel!) and all around the Northern Territory.
My favourite part of the first tour was camping out under the stars at Kings Creek Station in swags! I’ll admit I was scared there might be rats and creepy crawlies, but there wasn’t (phew!) I have never seen the stars like this before, there was no light pollution, so every star was at its sparkly best, I could even see the Milky Way!
My least favourite part was the day we travelled down the Stuart Highway and they had the film Australia on with Nicole Kidman. Longest. Film. Ever. However, they made up for this by following up with Crocodile Dundee and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.
The second part of the tour was definitely a more cosmopolitan tour than the first, no sleeping on the ground here. The tour guide Jess was an absolute delight, she again had loads of knowledge and let us know about the golden rule of adding ‘O’ to the end of anything. (Veggo burger anyone?) We went scuba diving which was amazing, the views were spectacular, however I am in no rush to get back down there!
The highlights of the second trip was of course the barrier reef, a day’s sailing on the Whitsunday’s (honestly the sand was perfect) as well as a stay in peaceful Noosa and a night out in Surfers Paradise.
My favourite part of this tour has to be the Farm stay, proper cooked dinner and karaoke with friends is a winner! The family that own the farm were so lovely and welcoming it was a shame we couldn’t have stayed another night. Also, the sail on the Whitsunday’s was perfect, they had all-inclusive food and drinks (wine and beer also!) and played perfect tunes all day!
My least favourite part was staying at surf camp in Noosa. I couldn’t lift the surfboard so I gave that a miss! Also, some of our tour mates mistook our chalet for theirs. Madness ensued after everyone had been having drinks. I thought we were being robbed, they were giggling, it was a lot of embarrassed faces around the breakfast table! (But a laugh nonetheless)
I would recommend a bus tour to anyone who is maybe travelling alone, or it’s their first time travelling, 25 days on a bus forces you to make friends and make the most of your time in Australia (homesick). You do get some driving days, which isn’t ideal, but the jam-packed days make up for it! Travelling as a couple, it was nice that we still had time to be together alone if we wanted, but there was always a circle of friends we could hang out with.Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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