A month of images in the Land Down Under
One month in Australia is hardly enough to scratch the surface of this vast and varied continent. But I knew this going into it, and focused my time on Melbourne, the southern coast (the Great Ocean Road and Kangaroo Island) and the Outback. I was hoping to fall in with a cool group of people soon after arrival and jump into a campervan on the open road. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen quick enough for my liking so I ended up booking 4 back to back tours with Groovy Grape for a reasonable all inclusive price. This is a pretty good find on a backpacker budget. 3 meals per day, transportation and accommodation all in one, and the more tours you book, the bigger discount you get. I ended up doing the Sparkling Chardonnay Package for about $1500 AUD which included the 3 day Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park, 1 day Barossa Wine Tasting tour, 2 day Kangaroo Island Wildlife Safari and a 7 day Desert Patrol into the Outback and Uluru. As is usual with these kind of tours, your group and your guide can make or break the experience. I’d say I was fairly lucky to have mostly good backpackers and pretty good guides as well. I would have liked the first guide on the 3 day Ocean Road to have been a bit more involved with the group, but you can’t have everything all the time. Because of the huge size of Australia, expect to have some days with a LOT of driving if you book some of these tours that cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. I’d say with each of these tours there was a pretty good balance of travel vs activity, with only a couple days of long (i.e. 5 hours or more) driving times. Overall I was quite pleased with the Groovy Grape experience, and would definitely recommend their tours for the budget or time restricted traveler.