If you're from Australia then the great barrier reef is better for spotting Nessie.
If Loch Ness is a must do, then I would go by train to Inverness and stay overnight. Check out Jacobite Cruises - they do a short bus trip to Loch Ness and then a boat cruise. If you don't mind the cost, do the combined cruise and castle option as that way you get to see the ruins of Urquhart Castle as well as the loch (though you do get to view the castle from the boat if you opt for just the cruise). Either that or join Rabbies Tours - they do a two day trip to Loch Ness which includes a cruise on Loch Ness but you get to see lots of other things too and there is a guide to tell you all about what you are seeing. There is an overnight stop in Inverness. They do do a one day tour to Loch Ness too but as others have said, it is a long way to go in one day and so inevitably you would spend quite alot of time on the bus. Their tours are all in small coaches which seat a maximum of 16 which gives a good opportunity to meet other travellers as well as the guide. If you prefer being part of a much bigger group then check out Grayline tours from Edinburgh - they do a one day trip in a full size coach. Loch Ness is impressive because it is the biggest loch in terms of water volume but there are many lochs closer to Edinburgh like Loch Lomond and Loch Katrin which are just as beautiful and on which you can do boat cruises.
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If you want to see the 'real' Loch Ness here's a new way to do it.
Sail from Inverness down through Loch Ness, Loch Lochy and Loch Linnhe over a week in a luxury yacht. You can go ashore where you like and walk or whatever, and help to sail the boat all the way to Dunstaffnage, which is near Oban.
All your meals and ensuite cabins too.
It sounds a bit more attractive than sitting in a bus all day to get an hour looking at a loch
Just to add a bit of balance I hope here... Urquhart Castle on the west banks of Loch Ness (near Drumnadrochit) is a beautiful day out. Fantastic views of the famous loch, marvellous old castle ruins to wander round for the afternoon, and a great multimedia show included with your ticket to explain the history.
If you do it on your own (which is nicer) you get the train to Inverness through some scenic countryside and then a local bus that drops you at the castle. There's a Nessie exhibition a couple of stops away if I remember correctly if you're into that. Enjoy.
I might need to eat my words. There's a news story about Apple maps apparently showing a large creature in the loch. I can't post a link, but Google is your friend
I think we should maybe mention to any long-suffering visitors than winding people up with tall stories about the Nessie monster is a favourite pastime. We can also organise hunting trips across the moors to catch a haggis or two if anyone's interested ;-)
I'm a little shocked by the amount of sarcasm generated by this topic. Anyway, to each his own. Despite naysayers, we have planned a 4-night stay at Inverness and intend to enjoy the guided excursions to the surrounding area including Jacobite cruises on Loch Ness to as far as Eilean Donan Castle and Isle of Skye. After that, we will continue on to Thurso and the Orkney Islands.
David. You will see that many people on this thread have suggested using Inverness as a base for visiting Loch Ness.
People are being dissuaded from spending a long day travelling from the central belt to stare at some water when there are plenty of closer alternatives.
We are not "naysayers" David. We are Tripadvisors.
Tripadvisor is all about people who are familiar with certain locations offering advice about these locations to those who are not familiar.
I visited Singapore six years ago and asked for advice about it in the relevant forum. I took the advice on board. Should you wish to ignore the advice being offered then that is fair enough but enjoy your trip anyway. You probably will, even if you don't know what you are missing. ;o)Edited: 5:52 am, May 05, 2014