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WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

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Aberdeen, Scotland
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WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

Wayoutback Tours advertisement sounds fantastic, the off-roading, nights sleeping in the outback and being able to see Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. They state that they cater for all needs, including dietary requirements. Unfortunatly, they didn't cater for my dietary requirements of no fatty, greasy, oily, or nut foods. Lunches consisted of fruit, salad and fatty meats, dinner fatty chicken and all the snack bars contained nuts, which meant that I spent the best part of three days hungry. During the trip, the guide informed me, when she realised I was unable to eat most things, that she had not seen the dietary list before undertaking the grocery shop and therefore didn't know about my dietary needs. In addition to this, the off roading part of the trip never took place and no explanation was given for this.

On return to the UK, I wrote a letter to Wayoutback tours explaining my disappointment with their tours and the reasons why. They tried to use every sales tact in the book to try and pass all responsibility onto me and even went so far as to lie, telling me what the guide had and hadn't said. I'm afraid I was there and know what was said, as do the other people that were on that trip.

Wayoutback could not even applolgise for my poor experience let alone offer a small refund for the inconvenience caused. There are cheaper tour companies out there who, from friend's experiences, offer a far better experience. Do yourself a favour and go else where (and save yourself $300)

Manchester
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1. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

Hi, I was just about to book their 3 day tour from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock when I saw your post. Do you know who your friends travelled with as I'm on a budget and trying to save money where I can. All the tours seem to be such a huge rip off and you don't get much for your money. My daughter already said that Australia is massively expensive and even said don't bother with Ayers Rock, it ain't all that. I want to see it but it's looking like costing £750 for two of us to camp out! Many thanks.

Sydney, Australia
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748 posts
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2. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

Don't take this as legal advice, but if you are concerned about what has happened to you, you may like to consider contacting the Consumer Affairs division of the Northern Territory Department of Justice:

www.nt.gov.au/justice/consaffairs/index.shtml

It is actually illegal under NT law (and other states and territories) to mislead people about the characteristics of goods and services.

austlii.edu.au/au/…s47.html

austlii.edu.au/au/…s48.html

What they did to you may be considered to be misleading and deceptive conduct.

WayOutback Tours' website tries to give a disclaimer for changes in trips and itineraries, but there's nothing about food.

Complaints to government bodies like this are usually free and they are usually quite helpful. You may need to provide your complaint letter to Wayoutback Tours to the department. They can't force the other party to do anything, but sometimes companies are a bit more willing to help you if they know you are taking the complaint seriously, even if all you want is an apology.

Cork, Ireland
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137 posts
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3. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

Annette I think it is 18 dollars a night to camp. What other expenses are you factoring in?

Adelaide, Australia
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4. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

AnnetteCurtin, we recently returned from Uluru where we visited for 3 nights with our 2 children and i would say that it is definately worth a visit....if you have the time and you are into natural beauty...you only need a couple of nights there to experience, what is in my opinion, a very beautiful, spiritual place.

However, it is out in the middle of no where and took us a good 1/2 day of travel on the way there and 7 hours on the way home due to flight schedules etc...so it depends on how much time you have i suppose. It is the outback and im not sure you will find any other experience like it, anywhere else in the world...

As for the expense...yep...it will cost ya....but you are in a remote location...no different to being on an Island somewhere....it costs you an arm and leg....but thats an issue you are fully aware of if you read TA and is up to you to decide where your money is best spent. Having visited London I would not think you'd be too shocked at the expense....we found Europe to be very expensive...but you know...its Europe...you sort of dont mind cos thats life, if you want to see these places you pay up, not too much choice really, but i would say if you camp and perhaps consider hiring a car instead of doing organised tours you would save a lot, its easy to get around..

i know i wouldnt personally want to be there in summer as you would be extremely limited in activities, if you are like me and dont like 40 plus degree temps

hope you have a good trip :)

Dora Explora, im sorry it wasnt a good experience for you....i hate it when you dont get what you paid for...especially when you pay soooo much for it! Hope you were able to put it behind you a bit and at least enjoy the beauty of Uluru :(

Edited: 23 July 2010, 23:56
San Francisco...
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5. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

Contrary to your experience, mine was wonderful. The meals were catered to every dietary restriction and were creative and healthy (kangaroo meat + pasta the first night, chicken stir fry the 2nd night. yummy sandwiches during the day). The vehicle IS a four wheel drive and we actually were on a dirt road for about an hour and a half on our return trip. Our guide Paul knew so much about the areas and the stories he chose were personal favorites and therefore had more sentimental value. We slept under the stars in swags and it was a wonderful outback experience. It was a bit pricey and my group got lucky as there were only eight of us so we got a smaller car instead of the big bus. But it really was a wonderful trip and the experience is what you make it. I hope you all don't get scared away because of one person's bad experience because I couldn't have asked for a better one.

Alice Springs...
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6. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

I as well did a 3 day/2 night tour and had a fantastic time! Due to the number of people in my group we were on a smaller 4WD and did go off-roading. All dietary needs were met, including a vegitarian's on the trip.

WayOutBack Tours make a real effort to get you AWAY from every other tour. Basically you are all going to the same places at the same times, however WayOutBack made sure that when we camped we are at least a good 15 minute drive away from the rest (therefore no sound or light pollution from the other campers!) Our guide was knowledgable and was respectful in regards to the aboriginal people (VERY IMPORTANT!) Yes, you do pay a bit more, but like everything in life, you get what you pay for.

Sleeping under the stars was fantastic! Never seen so many in my life! Due to the higer cost, there were no "party people" on my tour. We all wanted to experience what the Outback had to offer, not get wasted on goon!

I did my tour in Australian winter and recommend bringing lots of warm clothes, a hat, gloves and tissues for a running nose :) If you like to hike and see what this part of the world has to offer then I highly recommend WayOutBack.

7. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

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Removed on: 25 June 2011, 14:51
8. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff has removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum guidelines with regards to off-topic chat. Please limit conversations to subject matter directly related to the host forum. For example: when in the London forum, please stick to topics that relate to travel within the London Metropolitan Area.

Off-Topic Chatter is a forum for discussions gone afield from the topic of travel. Please note that the Off-Topic Chatter forum is un-moderated -- the Forum Posting Guidelines are not enforced, with the exception of pornographic images or text, hate speech, unauthorized re-prints of copyrighted text, and messages that promote or encourage illegal activities. Each user is expected to take responsibility for his or her own conduct.

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We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 25 June 2011, 14:51
Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

Hi all,

This discussion was closed because it remained inactive for over 6 months, however, we have received requests from the community to re-open this it for further discourse.

Thanks to all for participating!

Best regards,

TA_Louise

Mt Barker
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10. Re: WayOutBack Tours, what a rip off.

As the Operations Manager for Wayoutback, and the person responsible for the catering, logistics, guide employment/training & tour assessment I would like to take the opportunity to contribute Wayoutback’s perspective in response to this review by dora_an_explorer.

We would thank Trip Advisor for seeing reason in re-opening comment. Ultimately the readers can believe what they choose but ultimately community discussion must permit and allow fair and balanced comment from both sides.

Firstly, dora_an_explorer states “… the tour guide admitted that she hadn't even seen the list of dietary requirements until after she had grocery shopped for the trip”.

1) We are a medium size and very busy company where our tour guides are dedicated “guiding” professionals, trained in delivering a wonderful product which is Central Australia

2) Trained in dealing with all matters accident & unexpected which can & do occur in such remote locations.

3) The Guides are not and never have been pre tour supermarket shoppers. This is the responsibility of our “behind the scenes” Operational staff.

4) All Food Catering on every tour is selected based upon the information supplied to us at booking ( phone or internet) by the client. In this case the booking request was by email and the client indicated specific dietary requirements which were well & truly catered for.

5) Our guide consulted constantly with the client in regards to what she could or could not eat.

6) How the Guide could admit and be criticised for acting or purchasing product for which she has never done is perplexing.

Secondly :-

1) dora_an_explorer advised us of her Dietary Requirements.

2) The client did not disclose that she actually had a Medical Condition - Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which is a different issue entirely and should be considered independently to any Dietary Condition.

3) As a professional Medical person, the client was negligent in not answering that aspect of the booking application.

4) We did not have to take any special measures based on her Dietary Requests of 'no fatty, oily, greasy or nut foods' as what she mentioned was more than catered for by the menu prepared for that tour.

5) Our menu contained non-fat Meats, Rice, Pasta, 6 different Vegetables, 7 different Salad types, 5 Fruit Groups, Mueslis, Grain Breads, Vegetarian dressings. All that fell within the “allowables” of the diet request and surely enough not to “spend three days hungry”.

6) Constantly, our guide was arranging food product in consultation with the client. Meals were cooked independently to aid her situation.

7) The client indicated that the fresh vegetables made her feel unwell and as such our guide offered on three(3) separate occasions to visit the local supermarkets ( Yulara & Kings Canyon) to obtain food items that she could consume. When told “don’t worry about it” – what does one do ??

8) None of our food/meals are pre cooked or prepared. It is made on site with the assistance of the traveling group. The menu and food groups selected for tour has been compiled by a dietician in consideration of the activity type we conduct.

9) We openly encourage people to discuss their food preferences. Alice Springs is a large town however may not cater the full cross section of food requests. Where this has been realized we often request clients to bring such items with them and upon supply of their purchase receipt we will duly reimburse them for their expense. Can you be any fairer ?

Thirdly, she states that the Guide was “… miserable, lazy and all she spoke about was how fab camels were…”.

1) Wayoutback does not enjoy one of the best reputations in Central Australia by hiring miserable, lazy Guides.

2) Camels played a significant role in the creation of towns and industry in the desert/arid lands of Australia. They are very much a dominant subject matter today and discussion does lead often to the intervention of the Camel.

3) The female guide at the time of this tour was still acquiring her craft but consistently brought in great results, something lazy Guides don’t.

4) This tour (dora_an_explorer the only exception) was no exception !! The documentation ( tour reports completed by all other travelers) are readily available to substantiate our claim.

5) No mention is made of the compassion & empathy displayed by our guide to assist the client, only to be rejected by the client.

Fourthly, dora_an_explorer mentions that we promised off-road driving and that didn’t happen either.

1) What she failed to mention is that there had been heavy rains (well documented & recorded) in Central Australia at the time of her tour and the Ernest Giles Road ( along with all other unsealed arterial dirt roads) was declared closed.

2) The decision to close the road is not ours to make, it is made by the Northern Territory Government authorities and attracts severe penalties/fines and potential loss of Tour licencing if contravened.

3) The fact it was closed was made clear to all the members of that tour.

Finally, dora_an_explorer states that we ( for what ever reason) just tried to handball her complaint.

1) We have an extensive file on this client, the tour and comments from her fellow travelers. It details all contributions on the matter and this is freely available to anyone who would be interested in its content.

2) We ceased corresponding with the client as there was no further explanation sought nor any request made by the client and for no other reason.

In hindsight, there are things that could have been done better to certainly make sure that the clients food needs were met adequately or to confirm that what we offered was satisfactory to her. The reality is however that we are not mind readers and can only deal with the facts put in front of us.

We can only act in good faith based upon the disclosed information supplied by our clients. If the client chooses not to answer a question we can only deal with it on its presented content.

It would be ridiculous to state that we don’t make mistakes or matters of oversite don’t occur. In this case however( with all requests, emails, client comments etc on file) we believe without hesitation that everything possible & reasonable was offered to assist and comply with the client requests.

As a result of this experience we have taken additional reservation & administration measures to avoid any such similar situation. We have changed our on-line booking process to enforce compulsory answers to aspects surrounding Medical Conditions etc. We have changed our Terms and Conditions to make it compulsory to declare any Medical Conditions at the time of booking. We have also communicated with all staff, informing them that they need to ask questions and be vigilant with anything out of the ordinary such as Diet or Medical issues so this sort of situation is not repeated.

We try extremely hard to make our experiences the best in Central Australia however when you carry over 10,000 people a year, there will always be the odd issue or complaint. It is dis-heartening, however we would remind readers that there is more than one side to any story.

Please also consider the following

1) It should be noted that a tour rating of 4 out of 5 by the client is at the top end of her plaudits – refer to her previous experiences as noted on Trip Advisor for confirmation. It should be noted that there is not a lot of good said about others – who is or what is wrong ??

2) Everything that could be offered, was offered to the client. Our guide went beyond her responsibilities to assist the client

3) Failing to declare any medical issue when choosing to travel in remote or exotic locations such as the Centre of Australia, when one ( by profession) should know better is a serious claim of ones own personal ir-responsibility. To expect any organization to conduct itself beyond what we did is a “cop out” in not accepting the responsibility of self care.

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