Last month I went to Australia with my husband. Tough I wished to travel on our own but as it was our first time to Australia, we booked a tour with SOTC India. There are many websites which organise such tours, but my parents trust SOTC the most, so SOTC was our only preference.
A trip to Australia can cost you anywhere from INR 1 lakh to 2.5 lakh per person depending on the travel agency you book with, number of days and the hotel standard you choose.
What all is included in the tour package:
My mother was really concerned about the food as we are vegetarians and vegetarian food can sometimes be little difficult to get in foreign countries, so we opted for a tour which included each meal. The breakfast was complimentary by the hotel but all the other meals were provided to us by SOTC (except of 1-2 days). All the other things like air tickets, interstate transport (via flights), local transport, hotels and event tickets were included in our tour package. Also, we were given a tour manager for around 40 of us who was responsible of organising everything in Australia. So basically all we had to do was just follow his instructions and enjoy our tour!
Tour Duration and Itinerary:
We opted for a 10 nights 11 days tour to Australia, but there were many people in our group who opted for 18 night tour which included Australia as well as New Zealand.Our Itinerary included 2 night stay in Melbourne, 3 nights in Gold Coast (including 1 night stay in Sea World Resort), 2 nights in Cairns followed by 3 nights stay in Sydney.
From Delhi we had a one stop flight to Melbourne, our first destination which took around 5.5 hours from Delhi to Singapore and further around 8.5 hours from Singapore to Melbourne.
Trip to Melbourne!
We were suppose to start our tour from 5th of June so in order to reach Melbourne on 5th we took a flight from Delhi on 4th and reached Melbourne at around 6am the next morning (including the time gap between India and Australia). There we met our tour manager at the airport who collected all the members of the group and took us to our hotel in Melbourne which was ‘Mantra Bellcity’ Usually hotels allow check in after 12 but we were provided an early check in by SOTC and so we immediately got our rooms.
The first day itinerary included Melbourne city tour and Melbourne cricket ground guided tour. After resting for 2-3 hours we were taken to Melbourne cricket ground where we were supposed to be served our first lunch. The restaurant looked amazing but as we were vegetarians we didn’t have much hope. We were served with Samosa and Pakoras as starters which we assumed to be our lunch, but later we were served with a full North Indian menu and a desert too. Lunch was preceded by a guided tour of the cricket ground in which we were taken to the ground, the changing rooms and all the other important places. After an hour we were given some time for pictures and then we moved forward for our city tour.
We were given around half hour at every stop for pictures, which we felt was less but we had our bus for a limited time and our dinner was already booked, so nobody had any option. Yes everything was done in very little time but as it was our first day, we all were full of energy.
The second day of the tour was a long one. We were going to Great Ocean Road to see 12 apostles. It was a 4 hour journey from our hotel and we had to leave early. The weather in Melbourne was cooler than we expected and we didn’t have much to cover ourselves. It also rained in the morning which made the weather even cooler. We were served lunch at 12:30 in the afternoon, which contained some weird kind of pizza in the name of vegetarian food. After lunch we headed to our point i.e. 12 apostles. I can’t even explain how beautiful the journey was. It was a 1.5 hour journey which was along the giant ocean. The view from the bus window was amazing.
On reaching the main spot we were given 1 hour to rome around and take pictures. The place was cold as heck. There was very less sunshine and cold wind was making us even more shivery. My dress seemed to be a bad option, but I was still loving it. We took number of pictures and enjoyed the scenic view. The place was truly romantic, something that seemed to be meant for couples.
We reached our hotel around 7 in the evening, we had a long day but as this was our last day in Melbourne we were suppose to pack. After having dinner we immediately slept. It wasn’t too long as our wake up call was set at 3 am in the morning. We were leaving Melbourne by a 7 am flight.
Melbourne was an amazing experience and we were looking forward to our next destination which was Brisbane!
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