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Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

Chicago, IL
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Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

I'm heading to Australia for the first time in January and the Great Ocean Road is on my must-see list. I've been doing a bunch of research on the various tour groups that offer a one-day tour (which is what I want), but I'm still trying to figure out which is the best value and/or best experience. They all seem to make the same basic stops and tend to be in the $90-$135 range. I may be by myself on this part of the trip, or my friend my join me (TBD). I don't know if that makes a difference, but I love meeting new people!

I'm most excited about the actual water parts...the views, the chance to walk along the beach and take photos, etc. I would LOVE to see koalas, but I'm also planning on doing one of the Phillip Island Tours and I've heard some of those have a portion where you can get a photo with a koala (that may be my next post...unless anyone wants to chime in with those tour recommendations too!)

Basically, I'm hoping someone can shed some light on which tour company might be the best experience, or which I should stay away from. There's not a huge range in price, but I'd rather save the $40+ if I can! Any insight would be appreciated :)

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

~Katie

Escape Discovery Adventures
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United Kingdom
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1. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

If you want to go to both Phillip Island and Great Ocean Road, Autopia tour has a essential pass for $210 including Eureka Skydeck entry (with Edge Experience) as well. They also just won the Backpacker Award 2013 being the Best Tour for Great Ocean Road.

Chicago, IL
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2. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

Wow, that's a great deal for both tours based on what I've seen. I'll look into that...thank you!

Chicago, IL
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3. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

Vic, I just checked into the Autopia tour that includes both the GOR and Phillip Island. I'd rather not do an overnight, as I only have a limited number of nights to explore Melbourne. I would prefer to do two separate tours...and probably not consecutive days.

Are there any specific parts of either tour that I should consider a must-have (i.e. stop in Bells Beach, wildlife conservatory), or stops that might be unnecessary? I want to toe the line between seeing as much as possible, but also not feeling rushed.

Gungahlin, Australia
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for Canberra
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4. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

There was a discussion about Bells beach just the other day. tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g255100-i278-k7…

The iconic scenery of the cliffs and stacks is around Port Campbell. There are a number of lookouts, the Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, etc. visitmelbourne.com/Regions/Great-Ocean-Road/… I believe some tours offer the option at additional cost of a helicopter flight. It's a great way to see the coastline, though the lookouts provide great views too if you don't want to do a scenic flight.

Chicago, IL
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5. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

Thank you for those links. The companies I'm now deciding between include Autopia, ATWAD, Bunyip and Otway. If anyone has any positive/negative feedback about these particular groups, I'd love to hear it!

Adelaide, Australia
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6. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

www.atwad.com.au offer small group tours, and have good comments on TA.

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

we chose ATWAD when we did the GOR a few years ago.......very happy with the tour company.

at some of our stops, we were the only tour group there.... so no crowds.

we had enough time at our stops...did not feel rushed.

would go with them again.

J L
Newcastle upon...
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8. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

My wife and I also booked with ATWAD too and this was just over a month ago when we did the GOR day trip with them. Very good service, knowledgeable driver and a small group. We thought the price we paid was quite reasonable due to the number of stops you make and inclusion of lunch in Apollo Bay.

Gungahlin, Australia
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for Canberra
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9. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

I thought I posted on this? Oh well. The other day I found three of those websites, Autopia, Bunyip and Otway. (The other one ATWAD is often mentioned favourably here.) Are Bunyip and Otway the same, some of the wording is strangely identical and they are in the same building? I was only looking quickly, I didn't notice what buses they use. That would be a factor for me in that as someone not normally attracted to organised bus tours I would prefer a small group. Don't know how you feel about it, or how you shortlisted those.

Edited: 23 December 2013, 02:03
Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Great Ocean Road...which tour company to use?!?

I was also searching the answer of the same question and I have found a surprising fact.

Most of the posts in TA suggests for ATWAD, then autopia but as per TA reviews Escape Discovery Adventures clearly is the best one.