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4 minutes ago, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

Hhmmm...maybe Get Your Guide or Tours by Locals or Trip Advisor has taken over the individual guides that (apparently) used to be offered!  


We often get private tours, mostly alone, but sometimes with others, such as Roll Call members.

 

But we "find them" using TripAdvisor.

If we find something 'interesting', we might email the vendor and ask if they can do private tours.  If it's something like a big bus tour, then we don't bother, but we might look for another vendor with similar tour.


We then email back and forth to get a feel for their responsiveness, etc., and we've thus far always been very pleased.


GC

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1 minute ago, GeezerCouple said:


We often get private tours, mostly alone, but sometimes with others, such as Roll Call members.

 

But we "find them" using TripAdvisor.

If we find something 'interesting', we might email the vendor and ask if they can do private tours.  If it's something like a big bus tour, then we don't bother, but we might look for another vendor with similar tour.

 

I am finding that the local tourist boards in Australia are amazingly helpful and a great source of tour companies. I do double-check using TripAdvisor though. 

 

Frances

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I can't recommend, as I haven't yet toured with this company. A suggestion is to try shoretripsandtours dot com (excellent reviews) for NZ. We've booked a couple of tours with them for Jan. They operate their own vans for many of the tours and partner up with different companies for others.  You 'register' your own cruise/s and your specific itineraries pop up. If they are the actual operator, it will say at the bottom of the itinerary tab.  Their website is set up similar to shoretrips, a completely different company, and I don't know if they operate any of the tours themselves or if they're entirely third-party providers. I like the ease of the shoretripsandtours website as you can have multiple cruises booked and switch from one to the other with all of the ports appearing on the correct dates.

 

I've also written to a couple of the i-site visitor centres and their staff have been helpful.

Edited by Adventures ahead

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On 10/23/2019 at 2:50 AM, RamblinRisa said:

Hello, 

As you can see, long time lurker, but avid reader!

I came across your question while looking for unusual sights or restaurant recommendation in Sydney.  My husband and I are currently vacationing in Australia and just spent a week in Melbourne so I thought I’d share some special things we did.  
The Shrine of Remembrance is beautiful and moving.  As we are an Air Force Family (going back several generations) we always try to find a spot where we came acknowledge the sacrifice of previous generations. Melbourne’s Shrine did that for us, and more...and there is no charge.  Also, it is co-located with the Royal Botanical Gardens, also free, and a wonderful place to poke around.

 

We are huge fan of I amFree Tours...and they mean it.  They mention they’d appreciate a tip of your choosing at the end of the tour should you so choose.  We always tip because the tours are always outstanding...from Riga to Tallinn to Melbourne and now Sydney.  In Melbourne They meet at the steps in front of the State Library of Victoria. (Library not part of tour but I urge you to go in, it is beautiful...and free!) I believe there are three tours a day. Don’t let the size of tour scare you, they always have two guides and split the groups.  They provide audio equipment and we found there was no problem hearing or keeping up.  The pace was perfect.

 

Now that I’ve saved you a ton of money, splurge with a private tour to Phillip Island and the Penguin Parade with Posh Penguin Tours, I don’t know that I can paste website but they’re easy to find.  Now you may gulp at the price (I did) BUT if you are able to have a few folks join you it works out well.  James was our guide, and he was fantastic.  Thoughtful and easy going.  He tailored the program a bit at our request but all the stops we made which had an admission we’re included in his price, with the exception of the upgrade for the Penguin Parade.  We splurged on the Guided Ranger Tour and it was great, especially when you realize where the general admission stands are!  We were also able to stand along the boardwalk and watch the tiny (12 inches tall and weighing in at a mighty 2 pounds!) penguins waddle along to their burrows. Be advised, James’ tour last 12 hours but we stopped for lunch and dinner and we saw Koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils and Wallaby’s not to mention some fantastic scenery.  We had our photo taken with a Koala as well, something I so wanted to do!  The van was new, spotless and very comfortable.  He had bottled water for us and blankets should we need them for penguin parade.  Sounds like an ad for them but I wish we’d had this info.  We were winging it, which adds stress, but it sure turned out well.

Safe Travels!

Laura
 

I contacted posh penguin and they are all booked! Any other company that you might know? That was a must on my to do list.

Thanks 

Gail 

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Hi Gail,

I wish I could help you with another recommendation for the Penguin Parade but I did not speak with any other companies.  Whoever you’re able to book with I’d recommend purchasing your upgraded tickets online, they sell out quickly.  
We have been in Sydney the past week poking around and it’s been a wonderful time.

Wishing you success with the Penguin Parade and hope to hear you had terrific trip!

 

Laura

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16 minutes ago, RamblinRisa said:

Hi Gail,

I wish I could help you with another recommendation for the Penguin Parade but I did not speak with any other companies.  Whoever you’re able to book with I’d recommend purchasing your upgraded tickets online, they sell out quickly.  
We have been in Sydney the past week poking around and it’s been a wonderful time.

Wishing you success with the Penguin Parade and hope to hear you had terrific trip!

 

Laura

Hi Laura,

I think that I found someone! I love Melbourne tours. And I told them penguins plus. Waiting for details,  but i reserved the day. 

Thanks for your help. 

Gail 

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On 10/12/2019 at 7:30 AM, Ombud said:

The tour company is:

Exploring New Zealand Limited

44 Island Terrace

Port Chalmers 9023 New Zealand

Ph: 03 5521105 Cell: 0274126335 tour@exploring.net.nz www.exploring.net.nz

 

And yes, I'll report back. Andrew has been very responsive.  He did state I could pay in A$ or NZ$ but it still had to be 40. 

 

Did you take Andrew's tour?  We booked the train tour in Dunedin but are still considering this tour instead.  The cancellation fee if booked online has prevented us so far from booking with Exploring New Zealand.

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2 hours ago, jsiegel said:

 

Did you take Andrew's tour?  We booked the train tour in Dunedin but are still considering this tour instead.  The cancellation fee if booked online has prevented us so far from booking with Exploring New Zealand.

I did! And glad I did. He was fantastic.  I paid in A$ directly to him bc I still had some left over from Melbourne. Stops were enough and the option to stay in town was nice (I didn't). There's also the option of adding on a 2nd tour for another NZ$20 which is a nature / coast drive. (I didn't, maybe should've). There are also a number of options in the terminal and you can pay for all of them there. 

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Does anyone have any experience with renting cars with APEX Car Rentals in New Zealand: e.g. - condition of vehicles, reliability of vehicles, customer service etc...... 

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Apex is a fine rental car service.  The vehicles are modern and are in good locations around NZ.  Havent rented through them for a while so can't comment on the customer service but when I did use them I was always very happy.

 

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In Burnie , we used Robyn from play around in tassie... she is fabulous!! She shows you a gun day in Tasmania with lots of variety  jammed into it. You have a very small group and see more than most other tours !!  Just fabulous!!!

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I agree with the above answer.  We enjoyed Robyn's tour in Burnie and would highly recommend her.  In Akaroa, we used ESTours - www.estours.co.nz.  In Wellington we did a DIY day and it was easy to get around with lots to see.  In Dunedin we used Shore Trips and Tours - www.shoretripsandtours.com.

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