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“Off The Beaten Track With Nigel :)”

Activity Tours Australia
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Small-Group Blue Mountains Day Trip from Sydney with River Cruise
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Small-Group Hunter Valley Wine and Cheese Tasting Tour from Sydney
Ranked #47 of 355 Tours in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Activity Tours is an all-Australian, family-owned company running affordable, small group day tours from Sydney to the spectacular Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley wine regions. You will see, do and learn a lot on your day trip thanks to our small groups and knowledgeable and friendly guides. Our award-winning tours are educational and action-packed, and not to be missed when visiting Australia! Our Blue Mountains tour takes you to the Three Sisters and many other unique spots “off the beaten track”. See Koalas, Kangaroos and other Australian wildlife. The day ends with a boat cruise back into Sydney Harbour where you will see the famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the water – the perfect way to end your jam-packed day! Our Hunter Valley wine-tasting tours take you to boutique wineries where you can taste the local produce and meet the people who make this region famous. Our tours are small in size and big on value. We look forward to seeing you on an Activity Tour!
Reviewed September 3, 2013 via mobile

It all depends on what kind of person you are & the ppl you are with... Walkers like me and my husband loved the whole outing to the Blue Mountains! The amusing Nigel brought us through the mountains, the 3 Sisters, the waterfalls and after dat a super cute and quaint cafe for lunch... Views were amazing, fantastic photos and none of the touristic nonsense this man brought us! A lil bit of nature, a lil bit of talk n a whole lot of oldies on a cassette tape. And if Nigel likes you.. He'll bring you somewhere breath-taking :) Thank you Nigel..

Thank Fza16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 1, 2013

Tour takers pay attention! This is a nearly PERFECT one day tour. If you only have a few days to take in all of the Sydney region, definitely put this tour on your must do list.

We are currently in Sydney for three days preparing to hop to Perth and catch a cruise to Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. We arrived early on Saturday and spent a great day seeing our short list of Sydney must do's: Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, The Rocks, the Opera House and Botanical Gardens -- hopefully I'll find time to review them all, but everything was great. Today is Monday and we will try and squeeze in much more of the Central Business District including Hyde Park and a little shopping.

On Sunday we took this tour -- and it was just about the perfect day. I spent many hours researching Blue Mountain tours on the internet and Tripadvisor before departing. You can spend a lot more but you cannot get anything close to this much for this price. Yes, THIS is the high value tour! And let me add, the entire transaction was so simple, from our on-line booking, to changing hotel pick-ups mid-stream, to the pick-up and trip itself.

We were the 2nd to last pick up of the morning (hooray for that -- although if you get on first you get a tour of downtown hotels, always a fun thing for a traveler!). There were two single seats left on the left side of our twenty passenger tour bus -- a perfectly sized vehicle with huge glass windows. This is such a nice way to tour instead of those big mega buses -- much more personal and friendly. Our guide, Steve, who I believe is one of six partners in the company, is a Super Star. From the outset, Steve was both a professional guide and consummate entertainer (on my Facebook page I referred to him as a "one man show"). Oh, yes, also an extremely competent driver. Frankly, I don't think there were any bad seats and Steve was one of the best tour guides we've had in our many journeys. He has his schtick (his "banter," "spiel," whatever you call it) and he't got it down -- light enough, sprinkled with interesting tidbits of historical info that you hope to pick up (yes, Steve, I particularly liked the "kangaroo" story and hopefully will remember to use it at work when next my boss asks where my report is....).

The only problem with this tour -- and it's rough to classify it as a problem -- is that you are really cramming three or four or five days of touring into 10 hours. We wish we could have stayed almost everywhere for a couple of hours more than we were able. But, now I know where I would go back to given the time, and that means -- to me -- that the tour was a great success.

Featherdale Animal Park. I could go on for days. In South Africa, it was the giraffes. In Australia, it will definitely be the "joey," or baby kangaroo, peeping in and out of it's mother's pouch as we fed them green munchies from an ice cream cone. This was, beyond doubt, one of the very cutest things I have ever ever seen with my own eyes. Disney aims to create these moments and here one was before. I could have spent days... Kookabaras, Koalas, wombats and birds of every shape, size and color. Featherdale is exactly what it is -- a homegrown zoo that maintains an amazingly up close and personal ability to interact with wildlife disappearing too quickly from our world.

Ah, speaking of which. SuperStar Guide Steve is a Greenie. Throughout our tour was threaded his personal passion for saving the planet: Solar panels, wildlife and ocean turbines (my college roommate and his wife invest in something similar in North America to something Steve invests in in Australia -- nice to know there are lots of folks out there doing their part). This could be more heavily billed as an ecoTour given Steve's penchant and passion. Since we had just spent some time at Circular Quay checking out the Sea Shepard, it added another layer to our view of Aussie society.

The drive up to the Blue Mountains was itself fascinating -- the interplay of the railroad and the highway, the small towns, the architecture -- a fascinating view of Sydney area culture through the big glass windows. I have to say -- great highways! Most of the ride was very smooth and well-paced (oh yes, you might want to avoid weekends if you can -- probably best to spend those in Sydney central and head for the tourist zones of the mountains on a weekday).

While I'm at it, I'll channel Steve: "Not really mountains but instead a bi-sected plateau (or was it di-sected?)." Anyway, long long ago this was all ocean (as you'll learn). We thought it felt a lot like a greener, slightly shallower Grand Canyon; not quite as awesome as that, but definitely leaning in that direction.

Wentworth Falls, Three Sisters, Scenic World and the rainforest floor -- all very interesting and lots of fun. Could have spent much more time contemplating the views, hiking the trails, walking the staircases and such. In fact, I could definitely see spending three or four days up in the region staying at B&Bs, dining out and exploring the well developed highway and park systems there. If you're spending a month or three in Australia, add that to your list.

Lunchtime was spent in Leura. Again, could have spent the entire afternoon. This is a desperately cute, tres upscale one block town that is evidently the center of all things cultural and trendy for the weekenders and 2nd homeowners in the region. We had a great lunch at Loaves & Dishes (billing themselves as Paris, New York, London and Leura -- how adorable -- I'm going to google them... ...and write a review!). We popped into the Christmas shop (as we are wont to do) and the fudge store (as we are famous for doing). We strolled one end to the other and still were back on the bus in an hour. Leura is a Destination, folks. Put it on your list!

Frankly we were pooped by the end of our hike across the rainforest floor at Scenic World. We appreciated and picked up multiples of their $1 AU reuseable bags for our future grocery trips at home (the biggest bargain I've seen so far in this somewhat expensive country). A little traffic dogged our return trip (Sunday, remember? Next time, Tuesday!), but Steve still go us a 5 minute tour of the Olympic Village and what appeared to us to be our own private river ferry on a 1/2 hour return trip to Sydney. Coming under Harbour Bridge and into Circular Quay was yet another amazing highlight of this wonderful day long adventure.

I want to add this: The bus leaves on time in Steve's world and I really really appreciate that. Without being overbearing, he was able to "hoard cats" all day long and keep us on schedule.

We booked this trip online for $99 AU (which currently is about $87 US). If you booked by phone you paid $10 more. I would have paid $50 more (no, Steve, you cannot charge my card...). If you've done cruise tours, this should have been a $225 tour and it still would have been worth it. Add $35 (bring cash!) per person for the Scenic World conveyances, $15-20pp for lunch in Leura and then a hefty tip for SuperStar Steve (who totally deserves it).

Book it. Thanks, Activity Tours Australia, and thanks, Steve, for not only not letting us down, but for making one of our three days on the ground in Australia worth every moment.

4  Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

We had a great time on the Blue Mountain Tours all because of our fantastic tour guide Mark (Marc?). He treated everyone so well and really adjusted the tour to the groups needs and desires. He was very knowledgeable and had such a great personality.

Our favorite part was the animal park, Mark got us there very early which was terrific because right when we were leaving a half dozen other buses pulled up including buses filled with school children. We avoided the crowds and got terrific photos. I wish we had about 15-30 minutes more there because it was so enjoyable.

Thank tony c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

Although the places they take you to on the tour are very pretty and there are nice excursions to do along the way, it's a pity it gets spoilt by the driver who talks and talks about unnecessary stuff. We unluckily got Nigel who is very strong in his opinion on things in general and some of the visitors from other countries did not understand his attempt at humour whicg certainly could have been taken the wrong way. So the tour got one star for the things we did and saw but that was all undone by the comments. We were glad to see the end of the day !

1  Thank watcherlish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ActivityManager, Owner at Activity Tours Australia, responded to this reviewResponded August 18, 2013

We appreciate receiving different perspectives on the tour sights, guides, and commentary so that we can continue to improve our overall tour experience.

Nigel is very passionate about his tour guiding and loves to entertain and inform everyone throughout the day. He is a mine of information about the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains and also likes to share different aspects of Australian society, culture, geography, politics, and the economy with visitors to Australia, but he is taking your comments on board for his future tours.

Thank you again for you feedback.


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Reviewed August 10, 2013

The tour to Hunter Valley was a great plan. I only wish our driver, Nigel, didn't enjoy listening to himself talk. Information about areas we passed through was fine. Getting into his rather negative outlooks on the future of Australia's economy, his views on "evil corporations" or his tidbits of knowledge regarding the environment were a little overwhelming. Also, some of the little and not so little jabs he made of other cultures were what some may consider offensive. Most people sign up for an enjoyable wine adventure, he should keep that in mind or find another venue to vent his feelings. Aside from this negative point, the wineries chosen were wonderful and the company itself is well organized.

Thank Nichlo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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