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Reviewed July 8, 2011

I had looked for Australian tour for months,and I chose Melbourne Australia tours..because it has flexible time for tour and also cheaper price.I could take private (family ) tour to the destination which I want..because if you go with the tour from your country,you only see the building inside Melbourne but not to the suburb.
Colins was very friendly,I sent email many times to ask him about the hotel,tour,and itinerary..and he always reply me .
Last week I with my family were picked up by Colins to 4 days tours,and at first day to Mt Buller..and we were so happy.My kids loved him so much,because he could play and told them many funny stories.We had been arranged to many places..as Bendigo,Ballarat,Great Ocean road,port campbell,mornington peninsula, and he showed us many lovely places and advised us to go to the nice places such peninsula hot spa,penguin parade which at first we thought we wanted to cancel it because of the weather outside,but he told us we should go to that places.
Overall we had really enjoyed our tours..especially Colins was so nice every day and we could feel that we were as a one family..my little kid till drop her tears when we must go home in the last day..cause of our beautiful time with him for 4 days..we hope,we can meet him again...

3  Thank chrysantha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lecoolest01, Owner at Melbourne Australia Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded August 22, 2011

Dear Susan, Thanks for the great review, I did have a great time and I am going to personally miss you and your family. They were great kids, and I know your little girl was so sad to see me go as you had to go back home to Indonesia, I will come and visit you all to take that invite from your husband. It will be awesome to see your country. I was almost crying when I had to say Goodbye I am glad that I did oversee that tour myself. I have got your kids now to call me Uncle as i know is a honourable title for kids of your region to call their elders that are not family members, I hope to see them for the rest of my life and grow up into great adults of the future.
Thanks

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Reviewed June 2, 2011

After comparing lots of tours this was by far the cheapest and went to all the places we wanted. Colin, who runs the business was very quick at replying to my emails and questions around our day trip.

We found the tour to be so much fun. There was an informal and personal atmosphere which you don't get on a lot of tours. Being a family run business you can tell that Colin loves his job and the Country he lives in.

My boyfriend and I remain in contact with Colin who is a lovely man and hope to return one day to try another of his trips!!

I would highly recommend for a relaxed, fun day out to see one of the best parts of Oz. This was one of the best days of our Oz trip!!!

Date of experience: November 2010
8  Thank hcoe21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2011

We decided last minute to go to Melbourne for a couple days and wanted to book a tour to see the Great Ocean Road and more specifically the little penguins on Phillip Island. We searched around and came across Melbourne Australia Tours which was priced at ~$30 AU less than any other company! We were pleasantly surprised and proceeded to book the tours. When I got through the booking, I realized that it never had me choose my tour dates?! I wanted to make sure there was availability prior to my booking my last minute airfare so I contacted Colin May (the tour owner) to check. He was very cordial and super friendly although he didn't give me an answer on which days his tours were going out since he had dinner plans that he had to get to but promised to get back to me soon since I needed to book my flights if the tour was a go.

He was fairly good about getting back to me within 24 hours via email although his emails are oftentimes text message-like and didn't always answer all of my questions. It's always frustrating when you're trying to confirm things and ask several questions and the response you get only addresses one of your questions. This email cycle is then repeated for several days before I could get him to confirm and by that time my flight prices went up!

A couple days prior to my flight, I received an email from him asking if I could change one of my tour dates! I told him that I booked my flight based on the dates that he told me and wouldn't be able to change it - so I wasn't able to go on one of the tours! Luckily I got in to another tour with Bunyip ($20 AU more, but they were so professional and totally worth it-loved it), so was able to see everything that I wanted.

I ended up just doing the Phillip Island tour with Melbourne Australia Tours - he had said he'd come pick us up at 8:30am and when I confirmed it, he told me that the new pickup time was 10am!! Purely the email communication alone was enough to make me nervous about going on tour with them - they were constantly changing. I could never pinpoint things down. I don't know if it's just the nature of a small family business or if this is the Australian way! When I checked other tours, they all started at 10am as well, so at least that made me feel better.

On the day of the tour, 10am rolls around and he wasn't there to pick us up! There was another Bunyip tour bus that was going to Phillip Island at our hotel and we were soooo close to just jumping on tour with them!! We had the front desk contact Colin and he said that he was on his way but about 30min out. It would've been nice if he had called us to let us know that he was running late!

The tour itself was okay - you really get what you paid for. Our first stop was the mall because he wanted to get coffee. He said we weren't missing much by stopping there. Next stop was Maru, a wildlife park. This is the smallest out of all the wildlife parks I went to in Australia (Taronga, Featherdale, & Koala Park) and thus we went through it pretty quickly. Colin is very flexible with his itinerary and thus we stayed there much longer than originally planned since the other people were having a good time.

Because he was so flexible, we missed our designated lunch spot since we also had to drop one of the people off for her boat cruise. We headed off to Cowes Jetty to drop them off and had lunch at an impromptu cafe which was yummy. Then we had the choice of either staying in the area or going to the Heritage Farm as planned. We were there with an older couple so Colin deflected the decision to them since they were "older" and he had this whole thing about respecting your elders and doing what they want. It was fine with us to explore the area, but just to forewarn you that he doesn't necessarily stick to the itinerary and may deflect decisions to the majority in the group (or the elders since we were evenly split). He allowed us to wander but didn't dictate a meeting time or place when we were done so we ended up wandering around looking for him and then waiting around for everyone else to be done.

He's a chatty one, covering topics that are may be considered taboo in some cultures including money, religion, and politics. Maybe just super friendly - I guess you have to be if you're a tour operator.

Next was a quick stop to the Nobbs and then finally to the Penguin Parade - which was amazing!! This is ultimately what we wanted to see and we got it! If you can put up with text message-like emails, changes to tour dates & times, and flexible itinerary (I personally could have used an anti-ulcer medication), you get to see a wonderful natural phenomenon at a reasonable price (if you sign up to be a member you get $10 off your tour)!

Date of experience: April 2011
12  Thank eskie00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lecoolest01, Owner at Melbourne Australia Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded June 18, 2012

Thanks for your feedback, I have read your review and found it quite sad I have read that we never went to Churchill island but we have a receipt from a payment that we went to Churchill island. I keep evidence of all tours just in case. I also read that we did want one person did that they but our driver had a talk and we did what everyone wanted to do that day, plus more.. Also we had a couple on the bus that gave us 5 star ratings.

Now why we so cheap. We dont advertise brochures our website gets 1 million hits a month, we dont pay commissions to anyone for the chance of making a booking and we have business partners if we cant put you on our bus we will put you on there buses and customers are getting up to 35 aud discounts on tours.

Thank you for your feedback again we learnt things and things we will strongly have to disagree with you.
Kind regards in the future.

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Reviewed May 18, 2011

My family and I was able to join two of the tour offerings of Melbourne Australia Day Tours for The Great Ocean Road Tour and the Phillip Island Tour. Both tours were nice. The itineraries are perfect. We get to go to some places that not so many tourist are visiting so we got the boomerang playing ground by ourselves!

We come and go to different places/stops at our own phase. No rush. The tour guide Colin [--] is nice and friendly. He gave us a lot tips about Melbourne and how we can do the city tour "FOR FREE". Love the giant serving of food inclusive in the package. And the best part is, the tours are really affordable, perfect for budget travelers like us. We would definitely join other tours from them again.

Date of experience: April 2011
4  Thank Mcar022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2011

I've traveled around the world and been on a million tours, so I know a good or bad tour when I see one. During a recent visit to Australia, I had the pleasure of taking 4 different tours. They were all priced differently, but in the end the most expensive one was the best tour, and the least expensive one was the worst tour. I guess it works just like the airlines. You pay a lot for First Class and you pay less for Coach/Economy. After my experience with Melbourne Australia Day Tours, I think I would describe it as a small, independent, "budding" company that is okay, but definitely has a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully my thoughts and opinions below will educate other travelers when deciding which tour company to go with, and also help the tour companies know what they can improve upon. I've been in the retail/service industry for over 10 years, so I consider myself an expert when it comes to customer service.

While I was staying in Sydney, I thought about the possibility of taking a quick trip to Melbourne to see some sights that were recommended by a relative of mine. More specifically, the Great Ocean Road, and the penguins on Phillip Island. Both of these attractions are pretty far from the city of Melbourne, so they definitely require some form of transportation. I'm use to driving on the "other" side of the road, so a tour seemed like the best way to go. I did a Google search and there were a TON of results that came up. So how do you figure out which company to go with? If you compare all the different tour companies, you will find that most of them have almost identical itineraries. So for me, cost and reputation are going to be the biggest factors. I couldn't find any reviews for Melbourne Australia Day Tours, so I kind of took a gamble by signing up for a tour with them.

If you take a gamble on a company that you've never heard of, their webpage plays such a crucial role. This company's webpage doesn't look as professional as some of the other ones, but it is decent. It has photos of what you'll be doing on the tours, and also has a description of the activities. My travel companion and I had questions about the tour, and I was happy that the owner was very quick in replying to e-mails, as this was a last minute side-trip we were planning. There were a few frustrating times when I would receive a response via e-mail only to find that it did not address the questions I had asked. I don't take any points off for this because I think you can run into language barriers whenever you travel to other parts of the world. After a lot of e-mails, we finally got confirmation on both a Great Ocean Road & Phillip Island tour; we were excited! We quickly booked our flights to Melbourne around the tour dates so that we would arrive right before the first tour and leave after the second tour.

A few days later we received an e-mail stating that the company was unable to operate the Great Ocean Road tour and asked if we could switch it to another date. Unfortunately we had booked our flights around the confirmed tour dates so there was nothing we could do. Here is one instance that separates a well-established company from a small start-up company. I believe that for smaller companies, it may not make sense to operate tours if you only have a few customers, so they will just flat-out cancel or try to reschedule tours. Whereas with more well-established tour companies, they are going to be more reliable. They are going to have backup drivers and backup buses, so you don't need to worry about being let down or disappointed. I think this is very important because travelling the world is expensive. No matter how valid a tour company's reason is for cancelling a tour, they have to realize that it is ultimately bad customer service. People spend thousands of dollars to travel and need to take time off work to travel. A tour could be someone's once-in-a-lifetime chance to see something phenomenal. We were lucky that another tour company (Go West!) was not fully booked and we were able to sign up last minute to still see the Great Ocean Road. It was a little more expensive, but in the end it was worth it because it was definitely more professional and you could tell that the company just seemed more experienced.

So it was the morning of the Phillip Island tour and we're at our hotel waiting to be picked up. As we're waiting, we see other tour companies come to the hotel to pick up other hotel guests for their Phillips Island tours. This was not very encouraging for a tour that we took a gamble on. Honestly, I thought that since the company already cancelled our Great Ocean Road tour, they might just be a no-show for our Phillip Island tour as well. When a Go West! tour bus pulled up to our hotel to pick people up for their Phillip Island tour, I was sooooo tempted to just hop on to that bus and give them our business since we had such a great time with them the day before on the Great Ocean Road. To me, this was just another disappointing customer service aspect. If I was running a tour company, I would have the phone number of all the customer's hotels written down so that if I was ever running late, I could call the hotel up and tell them to relay that to the customers waiting. A simple phone call of reassurance to the customer is always welcome. I finally went inside the hotel and asked the concierge to call the tour company. That is when I found out they were running late and would be at our hotel in 30 minutes. At least we knew they hadn't cancelled on us! At first I thought that this would take away from the time of the tour activities, but in the end I realized that those Phillip Island tours really don't require all day. There really aren't that many activities and the distance to travel is nothing in comparison to the Great Ocean Road.

Our tour guide for the day was Colin who is actually the director of the company. I found him to be a friendly and very personable tour guide. He noticed that we were of Asian decent and immediately greeted us in Chinese. Typically when this happens, I find it to be fun, humorous, and maybe even a little cute. However, if you do this for EIGHT HOURS STRAIGHT yelling it from the driver's seat to the very back row of a van over other customers, it is VERY annoying. I was praying for it to stop but I didn't know what to do. I guess I could of told him to stop but I think I have no right to tell other people what they can and can not say....everyone is entitled to their freedom of speech, just like this review. I basically just tried to sleep or pretend to sleep when we were travelling on the van so that maybe he would stop. I can't even imagine what the other passengers were thinking (none of which were Asian by the way). I am not lying when I say that I had to take my headache medicine. So I guess my recommendation here is: Trying to speak someone else's language is fun and all, but please only do it during the hello and goodbye part. Please stick to English or your native tongue.

The tour itself was okay. We hit up all the highlights and Colin was very flexible when it came down to what we wanted to do. Since we had a small group, he would often times give us options and we could choose what we wanted to do. With larger groups, I can see how this would not be possible as they typically are more rigid on sticking to an agenda. I can see this being either a positive or a negative. Flexibility is always nice to have, but it would suck if for example I wanted to see one thing, and then the majority of other customers wanted to see another thing and a majority vote wins. I personally am more of a fan of following itineraries. That way everything is fair and you're seeing exactly what you're promised when you sign up for the tour.

Often times when I've gone on tours, there is usually a driver that drives the bus around all day, and a tour guide who holds the microphone and tells you all the history, etc. I found when I went on the Go West! tour the day before, it was awesome. They always gave us a short history lesson on our next stop. They always talk about where you're going next, what you'll see there, and how long it will take to get there. I love that kind of information; it allows me to better appreciate what I signed up to see on the tour. I felt like with the Phillip Island tour with Melbourne Australia Day Tours, I only got the driver....no tour guide included. When we asked questions about Australia, Colin would happily answer them. But it was different than the Go West! tour in that they didn't have those short history lessons and stories all planned out ahead of time; it was just our responsibility to ask about everything or else just read them off the signs that are posted at the attractions. I don't really take points off for this because I think it is justified by the lower cost of their tours. Basically you're paying less and getting what you pay for....the transportation to and from Phillip Island.

As far as the main event: Penguin Parade on Phillip Island....it was AWESOME! This was definitely one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I think this on its own is almost enough to justify a trip to Melbourne. All in all, when I thought about it, I got transportation to see the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island at the cheapest possible rate I could find for a tour. So I can't complain too much. In that regard, the tour was a success. However, when I compare this tour to the Go West! tour I had the day before, it is seriously going from Coach/Economy to First Class. So I guess if you are a student or on a tight budget, I would recommend this tour company. But if you want what I considered to be a better experience, I would recommend Go West! tours. It's not that much more and I think it's well worth it for the majority of people.

Date of experience: April 2011
10  Thank Cyberstealth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lecoolest01, Owner at Melbourne Australia Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded August 22, 2011

Thanks for your feedback, being the owner of the company I have investigated and our emails show us that you wrote to our company that you cancel the tour as your family wanted to go shopping, if we couldn't not run the tour we have 4 business partners we would of put you on one of their buses at the same low price we do it at. Also as for us being late we do have advisory on our terms and conditions that we might be late due to unforeseen reasons, as traffic or being held up by other customers running late or whatever life happens. I have spoken to the customers on the bus about the driver pulling over for a coffee, I got feed back from one of the customer that wrote a 5 star review about us and she was happy we did do that as her and her partner were woken by phone calls that night and didn't get much sleep as where they are from Moroccan there was a bomb blast and she and her partner had family worry about them and also she wanted to go to the toilet. Regarding the driver speaking mandarin to you, for 8 hours I don't get cause you saying he was paying all the attention on the elders which we should respect people, but speaking mandarin all day to you, I don't get which is it all day attention to you or all day attention to the elders, then what about the other girl that was on the bus, she was quite happy with him too, as Colin help her out? Please explain. Also as for Colin one of the directors he and his wife did have a miscarriage that week and I was surprised he drove at all. As you see Colin has drove other clients and gave him 5 star ratings one gave him 10 out of 10.
Thanks for your feedback and we did learn some things from it and some things we greatly disagree with you. Also when we do talk about religion and politics we do mention this cause its a part of the tour as our country was founded on religion and politics whether or not we like religion or politics, its just apart of Australian History. For example when we drive down to the great ocean road we go pass Prime Minister Julia Gillard local electoral area where she is a m.p. for in western suburbs of Melbourne Suburbs. She is also the first woman prime minister of Australia
We are a family business that respects all religions and peoples freedom of choice.

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