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NEW TO CONTIKI

15 Dec 2010 Anthony_UK said

Anthony_UK
Hi Guys,
I'm Anthony, 29, single male from England UK. I have always wanted to tour Australia despite tackling the long 22 hour flight from London.

I am new to Contiki and would like to have some advice. What are the best Aussie tours would you recommend? I am very much into city sight seeing but also like to have some adventure in as well.

What are the tours like e.g numbers, nationalities, single travellers, travel and accommodation. I had a look on the website and it looks very good. I am planning to go on travels around September time and want to start in Sydney. So any tips, advice would be more than appreciated, thanks for your time.
  • 30 Dec 2010 Explorer~1987 said

    Explorer~1987

    I live in Aus and it’s quite a friendly place so if you are traveling alone it won’t matter much cos u will always make friends wherever you go!

    I have never done the contiki tour of Aus but u have to see the Great Barrier Reef. It would be good to start at Cairns – It’s stunning so maybe stay a 2 – 3 days before the tour.. Then Maybe finish in Sydney and stay an extra few days.

    A few of my friends recently done the Beaches and Reefs tour and had a great time. You Also get to see a few large cities. Also if u get to Aus try to see the Northern Territory – It’s a place u can’t really describe however it’s beautiful.

  • 3 Jan 2011 Anthony_UK said

    Anthony_UK

    Cheers mate, I’m definately tempted by the sound of Beaches and Reefs tour. My brother is working in Sydney at the moment with his wife and baby, so I’m definately going to start in Cairns. Then work my way down the tour to Sydney and maybe stay an extra week in Sydney for souvenir shopping and sight seeing. Would be tempted to walk up the famous harbour bridge though must be an awesome sight on top. Any way thanks for your recommendation.

  • 17 Jan 2011 Maid Marian said

    Maid Marian

    Hi Anthony!
    I did the reverse Beaches and Reefs tour (starting in Cairns) in April 2009, which was my first contiki trip. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! I did toy with doing the full tour including the northern territories and Uluru, but decided that those weren’t my priority. I met people who had done them who had an amazing time up there, although they all got bitten pretty badly in the jungle!
    Our tour was almost full, with around 60 people on it. British accounted for the biggest nationality chunk, but there were also canadians, americans, german, portuguese… it really depends on the tour date as who’ll be on there. I’m from Nottingham originally but now live in Canada as I met my boyfriend on the contiki tour and moved in with him last summer! You just never know who you’ll meet!
    Most people (like 95%) of the tour were travelling alone, and great friendships were made! The accommodation was varied, but I liked all of it. At Port Stephens you stay in a lovely hotel with single beds (instead of the usual bunk beds), the Cairns hotel was like a tropical paradise to a brit like me who hadn’t seen real sun for ages! The surf camp at Arrawarra puts you in essentially shipping containers, but I was really pleasantly surprised! Each container had an ensuite with a shower! Best night’s sleep I had on the whole tour.
    Best tips I can give you: fly via Singapore Changi if you can: it has a roof-top swimming pool, free internet and lots to do, which helps pass a long layover and will help you adjust your body clock. Expect the jet lag to be brutal for the first few days so, if you can, get to Cairns 2 days before the tour starts, to let yourself adjust. Even 1 day is better than nothing. If you can afford it, do the early or late sunset walk up the sydney harbour bridge: although you can’t take cameras up, watching the sunset dip below the horizon whilst standing on top of the bridge will be something I remember forever. You should book this separately from the tour: those slots book up fast.
    Hope that helps! I can talk about my oz tour forever, so please feel free to ask questions! Cool<!--graemlin::cool:-->

  • 5 Feb 2011 sparkyuk said

    sparkyuk

    hello dude i did reef and rainforrist a year ago and i loved it and going to do it again in novmber but i am starting in sydney it is better to end in cairns i think anyway

  • 11 Feb 2011 charlie26 said

    charlie26

    hey, im doing the aussie explorer in october starting in darwin,we get to see some of the northern territory and the east coast so will see lots and im going by myself, which is a bit scary but ive herd contiki are good, the tour ends in sydney and im gonna stay with family for a week after the tour, i cant wait!

  • 12 Feb 2011 Leanne said

    Leanne

    Hi Anthony

    I have just come back from the Beaches and Reefs (starting in Cairns on the 7th January) and would highly recommend it. There were about 47 of us on the tour including those from the Aussie Explorer, Rainforest and Reefs and those starting or finishing in the Whitsundays. There were only about 4 brits including me and the others were made up of Americans, Canadians, Germans and some from South America and there were some people from Australia and New Zealand as well.
    The tour itself was great, so many places visited within the 2 weeks and amazing beaches. I didn’t do the Whitsunday Sailing option so spent 2 nights at Daydream Island which was lovely. I heard mixed reviews from the memebers of the group who done the sailing, some loved it others would have rather been at the resort for longer. There is a good mix of organised visits as well as optionals and can if you want get some time to yourself. I would recommend the barrier reef optional cruise from Cairns if you decide to do the tour and the sandboarding was great as well.
    The tour was well organised and contiki were great in that they had to re-organise the itinery slightly due to the floods in Queensland but it didn’t spoil the trip at all.
    I would say that you don’t spend any of the tour in Sydney really so is worth spending a few days there on your own so that you get a chance to see the city which I loved and to visit places like Bondi and climb the harbour bridge if that’s something you want to do.
    This was my first contiki and did it solo and would say that at least half the group were doing it solo as well. It was a fantastic trip and I had an amazing time. The flight is long from the UK but well worth it and I hate flying but would do it again.

  • 15 Feb 2011 Explorer1225002 said

    Default_avatar

    I would advise you to check online reviews of Contiki before you waste thousands on it. I have done the beeches and reefs tour with them and it was honestly the worst time of my life.
    Contiki as a company are very unorganised, remember a lot of people on these forums work for Contiki so they are not honest opinions.
    The standard of accomodation is shocking, they expect you to sleep in shipping containers at Coffs Harbour. Other accomodation was awful as well. Food that was provided was awful.
    Unless you fork out a lot more money for the overpriced excursions, you will be dumped at each stop with no advice on what to do. Nothing is included on the tours and staff are incompotent.
    Look out for honest opinions before you throw your money away.

  • 15 Feb 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    “Contiki as a company are very unorganised, remember a lot of people on these forums work for Contiki so they are not honest opinions.”

    Really? And how do you know that? I am a moderator, I do not work for Contiki and I am not told what I can and cannot write on the message boards. In 5 tours I have only met 2 people who did not like their tour. Sure, I met some who thought touring wasn’t for them in the future as it didn’t fit with their travel styles but that doesn’t mean it was a bad tour or a bad value.

  • 15 Feb 2011 Leanne said

    Leanne

    In response to your comments explorer 1225002’s, I do not work for Contiki and have put photos on this site of my trip and my comments are a truthful account of my personal experience with Contiki which was only last month. That is a pretty big assumption to make considering you are no wiser than me or anybody else as to who works for contiki.

    In relation to your point on Contiki being disorganised, my personal experience could not have been more different. Unfortunately due to the floods in Queensland part of the road on the journey down would not have been passable so Contiki organised for all of the group (approx 47) to fly (no extra cost) from Townsville to Brisbane where a new bus and driver met us and it was all very well organised as was the entire trip. I cannot nor would I talk for other peoples experiences with the company but I can only comment on my own experiences and did not hear any of the other people on my tour say anything but good things about the trip. In fact most people said that they did not want it to end.

    In regards to the accommodation, you failed to mention that the shipping container accommodation is when you stay at the surf camp so that standard of accommodation in my opinion should be expected. I found all the other accommodation to be of a good standard, obviously some nicer than others such as Daydream Island which was lovely. It’s not going to be 5 star accommodation for the price you pay. The same with food, it is not going to be 3 course dinners every night but I always found it edible and I am fussy.

    In regards to the activities, true a lot of things are optional but again it is up to the individual what you do and do not want to do and the details of the entire trip including what it and isn’t included in quite clear on the website before you even book the tour so shouldn’t come as a shock. I know of a least two people on my tour who have already booked another Contiki as have I.

    Anthony – there is a contiki facebook page you may want to check out. One of the guys on my trip has put a video on there so will give you an idea of what you see and do on the trip if the east coast of oz appeals to you.

  • 15 Feb 2011 sparkyuk said

    sparkyuk

    Contiki are so good and organised. I have been on 3 tours with them and I am going to do two more in November and it is hassle free. I looked up the cost of doing a self drive tour; doing my own activities and booking a hotel, but the cost is cheaper with Contiki as you get discount on the optional extras. Also, you meet nice new people and it is a laugh a minute. The hotels that Contiki are good and, if you want five-star hotels, the you shouldn’t use Contiki. Therefore, as I enjoy the tours and I will keeping going on them.

  • 15 Feb 2011 Explorer1225002 said

    Default_avatar

    There you go. Some of those have admitted to being mods. And they wouldn’t be allowed to badmouth Contiki would they. The fact that one of you states Daydream Island as “lovely” shows how low your standards are. It was a very basic 3 star if that. Not quite what the resort name resembles. And if that is the high point you can only imagine the rest.
    The optional extras are not cheaper with contiki as I did the dolphin watch on my own and not only was it half the price, i was on the same boat as the rest of my tour anyway. Just another example of Contiki ripping you off.
    Its not that touring wasn’t for me as i have toured with a lot of other more compotent companies. Contiki as a company is just below standard and a lot of the people on these forums seem to worship the ground they operate on as they seem to be brainwashed by them. They are sheep who cannot think for themselves.
    If you want to experience a country, plan your own way. Not only will you enjoy it more, it will save you thousands and you will meet people on your travels.

  • 15 Feb 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    “There you go. Some of those have admitted to being mods. And they wouldn’t be allowed to badmouth Contiki would they.”

    And what are you proving? Moderators are on any message board that exists, there is nothing inappropriate about it, don’t make it sound like their is just because you didn’t like your Contiki tour. There are no restrictions on what I say outside of the terms of service that apply to everyone, and I have never hidden the fact that I’m a moderator. And if you read my posts you will see that there are numerous times that I have told people that Contiki might not be for them, it is not for everybody. But the majority of people who do take a contiki tour do enjoy it, but everyone has to make their own decision based on what they want in a vacation and their own personalities.

    Yes, I have had some bad meals, some bad hotels and thought some of the optionals were crappy on a Contiki tour. But I’ve also had bad meals on my own, bad hotels that I’ve booked myself and done stupid expensive things on my own too! But since I’m not waiting for friends and family to travel with me I’m sometimes traveling by myself. I have made wonderful friends on my Contiki tours, had fantastic times and NEVER once regretted taking any of my Contiki tours.

    I’m sorry you didn’t like your tour, that does not mean that Contiki is a bad company (all of my tours have been well organized, maybe too organized at times), or ripping you off. They are a company that is looking to make a profit and needs to adjust prices to cover overhead costs of running a company, just like the company that makes your toilet paper. It also doesn’t mean you should make unfounded allegations of inappropriate actions by Contiki on their message board, it makes you look petty and discounts any legitimate complaints you make about your tour.

  • 15 Feb 2011 sparkyuk said

    sparkyuk

    indeed i had good times on my tours and u can not make everyone happy and most of the hotels r good to stay at and a lot of hotel will not let contiki use them as contiki can so rondy if u do not like it just do not use them ok

  • 15 Feb 2011 Anthony_UK said

    Anthony_UK

    Look guys I have come on here to ask about people’s experiences on their tours, at the end of the day everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Explorer 1225002 – I am sorry that your trip didn’t go as well as you expected it. Perhaps it wasn’t the one for you and I can completly understand that. I went touring around the USA with TrekAmerica for a few years and had a great time and met interesting new people. It was camping trips so very basic standard use of facilities. However this was mentioned in the brochure so you know what to expect when you arrive. But the tour leaders went out of their way to organise the trip well and they did a hell of a lot of driving around the country which we all were greatly appreciated for that.

    I don’t know what to expect with Contiki I am a well travelled person and very independant. Every tour has it’s ups and downs but I guess that is what you should prepare yourself for.

  • 15 Feb 2011 sparkyuk said

    sparkyuk

    indeed dude just go in with a open mind and u will have fun

  • 15 Feb 2011 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    I think you’ll probably find the accommodations better on a contiki tour then on a camping tour with Trek America. The tours tend to be pretty guided at times, but will give you freedom at times. When you get into a new city/town you’ll get a tour/orientation and then you’ll have free time, depending on where you are this could take a few minutes or it could take an hour.

  • 16 Feb 2011 Anthony_UK said

    Anthony_UK

    I had a loook at the choice of hotels on the contiki website as well. Doesn’t seem to be too bad either, It was the same with Trekamerica. The tour leader gives you all the info you need of the area on the day and then it was up to us with what to do in the free time. With Contiki a comfy hopefully not a completly crazy coach and with the hotels a nice comfy bed would suit me much better than with camping, and also catered meals, breakfasts easy peasey, then you can just enjoy the tour and go with the flow.

  • 16 Feb 2011 sparkyuk said

    sparkyuk

    yes indeed dude

  • 4 Mar 2011 Mae said

    Mae

    Hi Anthony!

    My name is Mae, 25 and from South Afric! I’m also looking into going on the Beaches and Reefs tour (Cairns to Sydney)… during summer time – so anytime from September onwards.

    Ok so brief history, i went solo on the Greek Island Hopping tour last year July – first time EVER going oversees, and was quite nervous but excited! Went to Egypt and then started my tour in Athens… it was literally a two week piece of heaven! Meeting new friends along the way and the experience was phenomenal. That includes hotels; organisation of everything; food…. hmmm awesome food – everything.

    The reason why I’m actually taking up a contiki tour in australia is to catch up with the friends I made afterwards in Sydney! Soooo, i’m gathering all my penny’s together (or cents in my currency)… and i’m going to book this tour!

    Let me know for which you dates are looking into!

  • 27 Jul 2011 Luke said

    Luke

    Hey Anthony, you should do the beaches and reefs with whitsunday sailing tour starting in Sydney on the 2nd of October 2011, should be awesome.

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