I did the "cockatoo dreaming" trip which is 3 days and 2 nights. I want to start off by saying that the destinations that you go to are breath taking and it is a must do in Australia. However, there are many tour companies that run this same/very similar tour and if I were to do it over, I would go with a different company for several reasons. The whole trip was bungled by a series of mistakes that could have been avoided.
First, the trip started off badly when the guide pulled the door off the luggage trailer. We were half and hour late being picked up and spent nearly another hour going back to the Wayoutback company and switching to a new trailer. This put us rather off schedule, which was not helped that the guide missed a few turns along the route. A few hours later and we were finally in sight of Uluru which is where things got even more screwed up. There were only 2 native english speakers on this trip, which is not surprising because most passengers are backpackers from all over the world. The tour guide should have a good grasp on this and make his instructions very clear and make sure everyone understands him so that the tour flows smoothly. Instead, our guide told us that we could take our time in the cultural center and then we would continue on to the rock from there. He said he would meet us at the exit of the center and we had to leave the rock by 5:30 to see the sunset over Uluru. Some of the patrons (including myself) thought that meant that we would be walking to the rock from the cultural center which is what a few people did. Turns out, that we were supposed to meet the guide at the exit, get back on the bus, and drive to the rock. I only figured this out because the guide got there as I was exiting the center. The few people who finished before me did not see the guide and continued on to Uluru thinking that they had until 5:30. When the rest of the group got back on the bus to drive to Uluru, we figured out that those people were missing and have to wait and waste another hour sitting on the bus while the guide called the office to try to get ahold of the people who left and have them come back. After that catastrophe, we had only 15 minutes to see Uluru up close before we had to go to the place where you watch the sunset... 15 MINUTES where we should have had a couple hours.
The next day went sufficiently better and my only annoyance on the third day was that the guide once again missed a turn and tried to turn the bus with trailer in tow around on a 2 lane road. He managed to drive off the road in this attempt and got stuck in the sand on the side of the road. Everyone had to get off the bus and a group of us had to push the bus out of the sand. I was not impressed.
My final grievance ran solid throughout the trip. The amount of food that was provided was not sufficient for the size of our group. "Breakfast" was bread and butter/jam or cereal with milk. There was not even sugar for the coffee. On the second morning, we were out of jam and butter so we only had plain bread or cereal. Lunch consisted of sandwiches. There were plenty of tomatoes, lettuce and cheese, but not nearly enough meat. We had two packs of meat for each lunch that was supposed to feed 23 people. One sparsely filled sandwich for lunch is not sufficient fuel for the amount of hiking that you do on this trip. Dinner was good each night but there was still not enough food for everyone. There were never left overs and people were still hungry after dinner.
All this being said, I know our guide was pretty new but I don't think he was ready to be set out on a trip by himself. He was a very friendly guy and knew plenty about the plants and culture of the area but he was not yet experienced enough to run a successful trip. He had a lot of trouble with the bus (driving it, backing up with a trailer, and finding the right paths) all of this I think could have been avoided with more training. I won't blame my disappointment solely on him though, the lack of food was a huge detriment to this trip, but I think the right guide can make or break a tour like this. Speaking from my experience alone, I would definitely try to go see these sights, but I would pick a different company.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
July 25, 2013
Hi Nick D
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Sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your time with us. As you can see from the many positive reviews I am surprised to hear this did not meet your expectations. I am presuming you went on our budget product Cockatoo Dreaming? This is definitely designed for the budget conscious customer who are generally working holiday makers. For $355 for three days I am sure you can agree that this is an extremely budget price tag.
Even with a budget price tag, we pride ourselves on providing a good value for money touring option for those that cannot or do not want to travel on our most popular classic Safaris run in the 4WD vehicles - the Goanna, Wallaby or Kangaroo Safaris.
If you would like to email me your date of travel - firstname.lastname@example.org I will be happy to investigate your departure and check on feedback of that of other travellers on this departure so we can address any training issues with our guide and ensure our passengers are getting enough food.
In regards to the being bogged in the sand, this does happen from time to time and honestly the majority of our customers enjoy this experience! The Red Centre is remote and large highways with big turning circles are not in great supply! Sorry to hear that it was not for you.
Have a good weekend,
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.