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I can't express how wonderful the Oztrails Blue Mountains tour was. I had spoken to Geoff (manager) about my aunt & uncle visiting from overseas, he made extra effort to personally greet them at the pickup point at The Star. knowing they were out-of-towners ensured they (and all on tour) received the VIP treatment. Thank you for providing a wonderful experience for my family, they've taken home such beautiful memories of Sydney AND Australia. They're looking forward to returning soon :)
On the 5th November my husband and I went on the Blue Mountains day trip with Oztrails.
The first stop on the tour which was advertised as "morning tea" was clearly just a way of the driver taking the money for the tour, no actual tea was offered and no explanation of the surroundings was given so it felt like a waste of twenty minutes (especially given that we had paid in advance) which could have been done differently to make the most of our time.
When we got back on the bus the driver came into the back to tell us about the optional extra, he explained it several times before asking who would be interested and counting those who might be, this took far too long, especially as at this point he wasn't asking for definite numbers. On a positive note, he was extremely patient with the Italian group who didn't understand but perhaps he could have taken them to one side when we reached the attraction rather than wasting all of our time as he tried to explain it to them another two times.
When we reached Scenic World we went through the whole palaver again, with the driver explaining several more times about the rides and the cost, he then went in to find out how much visibility there was on the three rides and came back out saying he thought it might clear up enough to see. He had already told us that he visits the place four or five times a week and has lived in the area so we trusted him as an expert to pay the additional $35 each for these rides under the proviso that we would have half an hour to go back on whichever ones we wanted.
What followed was a complete shambles.
He told us all to wait on the bus while he bought the tickets, he then came back with the wristbands but rather than handing them out he took the five people who weren't doing the rides off the bus to explain where they could go instead while the rest of us sat waiting. He still didn't give the wristbands out when he got on the bus, instead he gave them out one by one explaining to each person individually how to peel off the cover of the sticky bit and wrap it round their wrist. All of this took over twenty (extremely frustrating) minutes.
When we finally got off the bus and the whole group had managed to assemble and the cable car had arrived the young lad manning the car said that the visibility was the worst he has ever seen and joked all the way down that we "should" be able to see this and that but "not today!" Clearly it had been that way all morning and I heard him ask his colleague if he thought they should give refunds or cancel it altogether when we got back up the top. Given this exchange our driver would have been more than aware of how bad it was and should not have advised us to pay the extra money for this.
We had been told to be back at the bus at 13:00, when we were given the "free half an hour" we had been promised it was 12:55. Three members of the group clearly decided they were going to do their own thing and didn't return at 13:00, it wasn't until 13:20 that the driver decided to go and look for them.
We had our lunch hour between 13:30 and 14:30, at 14:35 when the first of the four Italians arrived back saying the others would be "a few more minutes" the driver just vaguely nodded and carried on chatting rather than asking the Italian to hurry his friends up.
The next part of our "tour" was to go and pick up another person and their luggage. The luggage had to be tied to the bus as there was no space inside, this again took far too long.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on the bus driving. The weather was too bad to go to the national park or any lookouts, or see any wildlife, or go to the aboriginal site, or to see the waterfalls, or to even see the Three Sisters, so the only thing we did between 14:30 and 17:00 was spend twenty minutes at the Olympic park "to go to the toilet and get a coffee".
I m aware, the weather is out of their control, but the quality of the tour in adverse conditions is completely in their control. We paid £94 ($158) for the day trip to see the Blue Mountains. We did not see the Blue Mountains and the only vaguely interesting things we did we had to pay extra for (the cable car and lunch). Provisions should have been made for the bad weather, more realistic advice should have been given regarding the optional extra and an alternative activity should have been planned when it was clear the weather had stopped the original plan from being viable. Failing this the trip should have been cancelled altogether once it became clear, which was very early on, that we would be unable to do most of the activities. The entire day was extremely poorly organised and managed.
We were in Australia on our honeymoon, it was a once in a lifetime trip for us, we had travelled from the other side of the world to get there and each day was extremely precious to us. We will not get back the time we spent sitting on a coach, nor will we ever get to experience the Blue Mountains.
I emailed the company the evening of the trip with the above complaint and it is now one month later and I have not even recieved acknowledgement of my e-mail, let alone any form of apology. My local STA agency has confirmed that they will not be advising any of their customers to use this company again but we still feel extremely let down by this company.
So, you are in Sydney and want to explore the surrounding areas, Oztrails are just the BEST. The trips are extremely well organised with excellent guides who are knowledgable and great fun. This is a great way to discover those parts of Australia that you either would not have found, or it would have taken you ages. We had a great day in the Blue Mountains with guide Jeff, Ripper!
My partner and I took the Blue Mountains tour on October 3rd. Dave picked us up at the hotel and greeted us with a handshake and a smile. Spending the day with him, you realize that he really does enjoy his job and did a great job taking us to the sights and giving us tips on where to get the best pictures. I am very happy I chose Oztrails opposed to doing the trip on our own. We saw so many things that we would have missed otherwise and the commentary was superb. Thank you Dave!