Picking the right tour!

Jan 19th, 2006, 09:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 65
Picking the right tour!

Still planning for Oz in August. My wife and I are pretty independent, but we have decided on taking 4 organized tours.

I'm having trouble deciding on 3 of them.

The first I'm looking at is a day trip to Kakadu from Darwin. There are several visiting different parts of the park and doing cruises on different rivers, but all are mostly the same. Some of the companies I've seen are ATP, Aussie Adventures, and AAT King. Does anyone know of any others or can recommend which of these three are best?

Also, we want to do an Outer Barrier Reef Tour from Port Douglas, I've seen Quicksilver and one from APT, but it is difficult which is best and which reef platform is best to visit.

Same issue with a Daintree/Cape Tribulation tour.

Any guidance or insight would be most appreciated. Thanks!

DasFX is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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I used Billlycan Tours http://www.billycan.com.au/
for 4 days Kakadu, Katherine, Litchfield Park. Couldn't recommend them highly enough. Smallish group (17 for first day then 9).

The guide was excellent. Extraordinary breadth & depth of knowledge of the area and a deep love of that part of the country.

Don't know about Aussie Adventures, but I think ATP and Kings usually have huge coaches which would not be able to access some of the areas the smaller vehicles could reach.

Like you, I'm an independent traveller who does not usually take tours, but for something like this, it was invaluable.
Bokhara is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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I used Billy Tea Bush Safaris for a one day tour from Cairns to Daintree/Cape Tribulation. Like Billycan tours the number in the group was small and more friendly. The guide was experienced and like Bokhara said the smaller vehicles can access more areas such as the Bloomfield Track.


dmjapril is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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Quicksilver is a big boat that carries hundreds of people for snorkeling at one platform. If you would prefer a smaller group and a chance to snorkel at 3 different sites, I can highly recommend Wavelength out of Port Douglas. I have gone to the Outer Reef with them 5 times and it's always been a great trip. They take no more than 30 people at a time (and often it is less than that). They are great with inexperienced snorkeler, giving them lots of help and making them feel comfortable about snorkeling. Wavelength has been around a long time and is a well-regarded company. Check their website for more info.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2006, 10:04 AM
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Perhaps I was some what naive, but a month in Australia and doing it right costs big bucks! I've booked all my hotel and on average it looks like it will cost me 120$ CDN per night. Along with airfare and a few escorted tours here and there, I'm gathering a month in OZ will do me in to the tune of 14-15K CDN. Does this sound right?
DasFX is offline  
Jan 20th, 2006, 12:36 PM
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Well,Das, I guess it depends on your expectations & idea of "expensive", really. On your figs, it's around $233/day/person for all transport,accommodation & some tours for a month.

Other than in some parts of Asia, I would regard this as a pretty good deal.

From memory, you're going to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, along the GOR, then to Darwin, Kakadu & the GBR. That's taking in a lot of distance & including a couple of international "top 10" cities. Australia's not a "cheap" destination in the way that Asia and some parts of Europe is. International travellers here do, though, get a good break over the locals in terms of currency & airpass benefits, so it's cheaper for you than it would be for me to travel in my own country

You may be able to economise on the accommodation by using "wotif" or "lastminute" or one of the other accommodation sites to pick up some bargains. In Melbourne just now, for example, one of the Accor properties in Little Collins st. is going for AUD88.(CAD76)

Just dig in & enjoy it ... and remember, I'll be digging a lot deeper into my pockets when I come to visit you! And, I'll probably freeze as well (lol)

Bokhara is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 04:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I won't recommend a particular company as it's been a while since I was in Kakadu. I would say, though, that a day is not nearly enough. Most of the day will be spent just getting there and back. The companies you mention are the larger scale outfits. Much better to go with someone like Billy Can in a small group - and stay overnight if you can.

There are loads of small companies offering tours but it's hard to get past the big ones on Google - try "budget tours" or "backpacker tours".

fuzzylogic is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2006, 03:31 PM
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I agree, I don't think one day for kakadu is long enough, having been more than once, I wouldn't go for less than 3 days. If you only have a day trip to spare, you'd probably be better go to litchfield NP instead which is quite a bit closer to Darwin. I know wilderness adventures is another tour group (but haven't travelled with them). Probably depends on your age as well - AAT Kings attract older demographic in my experience.
lancefan is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 02:31 AM
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chiming in again to agree with Longhorn - if you only have a day, go to Lichfield NP. It's wonderful.

I too have been to Kakadu more than once - first time with a budget camping outfit - brilliant, absolutely brilliant if you don't mind tents, and worth it. Second time with Greyhound - they offer access to the spots you see mentioned here regulary - Yellow Waters, Ubirr, etc.

Litchfield - went on a 2 day one night trip with Cooeee Tours. It included an early morning visit to an unnamed Billabong - knocked spots off Yellow Water any day. No idea if they are still in business - but someone will do a similar trip, and much better than a day trip with the hordes to Kakadu.

fuzzylogic is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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Thanks for the advice about staying longer in Kakadu, but the simple answer is I can't, so therefore I'm looking for the best tour of it in a day. I think I may go with Aussie Adventures or Australian Pacific Tours. I know I will not experience all Kakadu has to offer, but at least I will see some of it. When trying to see a whole continent in a month, one has to move fast. Everyone is different, but for me personally, I'd rather see lots of highlights and cover lots of ground, than see a couple things really well. Just my preference, nothing else.

DasFX is offline  

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