First of all let me say the office staff at Boutique Tours are wonderful, polite and helpful. THey were a pleasure to deal with.
We booked their 'Wildlife tour' for 27 December 2013, paying $500 for two people. My husband and I were the only Australians in the group so had a better idea than the foreign tourists what to expect, and found the guide's (Ray) information excellent and soundly scientifically based. (This is not always the case as we found recently in Iceland, so we really did appreciate that.)
As far as seeing the 'big 5' we saw all but the emus, and being Aussies, we knew the random nature of wildlife spotting and were not disappointed - the wombats at the end of the day more than made up for not seeing the emus. You can't schedule wildlife unless you're at a zoo.
However, the disappointments were:
The site claimed on this tour we would visit
"No zoos or nature parks - just thousands of acres of pristine bushland in the Southern Highlands, 90 minutes from Sydney". This is completely untrue. We drove along highways and through farmland, and the wildlife spotting took place entirely on a farm owned by the guide's father-in-law. So not only had it been extensively cleared, there were deer, sheep and cattle everywhere. No pristine bush at all.
The 'afternoon tea' included no tea (or coffee) - just bottled water, kiddie juice boxes and lamingtons. Considering the length of the trip and cost, this was not really suitable.
The 'hearty country-style dinner' was a single (quite nice) course, with no dessert, or even coffee allowed for in time or in the cost. Considering the length of the trip and cost, I thought this was much less than expected.
The pub was busy (because of the holiday season) so we waited nearly an hour for the meal. Our guide, having eaten then disappeared and didn't let anyone but the people at his table know where he was going or what we were supposed to do, but then looked angry when we finally worked out we were supposed to go look for him and found him by the bus. He seemed extremely put out by the delay over which we had no control and which we didn't cause, and his demeanour for the rest of the evening was somewhat hostile, at least to me. The spotlighting drive was, apart from the wombats, a complete waste of time in a very uncomfortable ride, as those of us at the back could see nothing, and he only stopped a couple of times to let us see what the others were enjoying. All I got from this couple of hours was a bad back.
A female guest's request for a toilet break seem to make his mood worse, though it should have been something that was planned for (a 3.5 hour drive after dinner? You bet the toilets will be needed!) A request by me to turn down the terrible radio 'music' he inflicted on us on the drive home was met with no response except for him to change stations (at the same volume) and he conspicuously ignored me at the end while fawning over my husband - I have no idea what his issue was.
We didn't arrive back at the hotel until 11.30, and this late return meant cancelling our plans for next day.
So all in all, what I thought would be a fairly comfortable way to see wildlife in the real bush, was anything but, and sadly, the overall memory of this tour was not of the wildlife but of the guide's bad mood and the skimped amenities. Even though the guide would probably not be there next time, and the pub was exceptionally busy because of the time of year (so why didn't Boutique book ahead?), I would still hesitate to recommend this tour because the experience was far less than I was expecting. If you just want to see Aussie animals outside a zoo, this is fine, and if you want to see the Aussie bush and farmland, as well as the Southern Highlands, then you'll enjoy it too. But it's far from the experience Boutique's site led me to believe I would be having.