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Mileg
#1 Posted : Friday, November 02, 2018 2:17:08 PM

Posts: 91

Hello everyone.

I have a question, on both "the Spotlight & the Grand A&N tours" day 2 description says:

** You’ll see a lot of Melbourne on a sightseeing tour of the city – a guided walking tour discovers the real city (and its amazing coffee) along its distinctive laneways. **

Could anyone kindly tell me, if the Art alleys are part of the walking tour? What's cover under this walking tour? I'm trying to put together my xtra's and take advantage of any free time to cover as much as possible.

These are a list of things I have looked:

- The South Melbourne Market
- Cathedral Palace
- Royal Arcade
- Eureka Tower @ night
- Botanical Park
- Lygon St.
- Art in the Alleys
- National Gallery of Victoria
- St.Paul Cathedral
- Brington Beach & the Bath houses
- Yarra wine tour
- Dinner tram
- Fitzroy gardens with Captain Cooks cottage
- Possible a sport event.

I'm doing 2 pre-tour nights. Any advise would be much appreciated.
Thanks







MCD
#2 Posted : Friday, November 02, 2018 5:14:53 PM

Posts: 151

I just returned from the A&NZ tour. The tour on the morning of day 2 included some of the art alleys, the Royal Arcade and another arcade, and Victoria Market. That afternoon, some people chose to walk in the botanical garden, but because it was raining, I opted to spend a couple of hours in the Shrine of Remembrance, which is essentially a museum that honors the people of Victoria who served in war and peacekeeping. It was very well done. There is a guided tour included in the entrance fee.

The Eureka Tower is right next door to the Langham, so it will be easy to do that on your own.

Like you, I spent two nights in Melbourne prior to the tour. The day of the welcome reception and dinner, I had done a "free walking tour" (one where you tip the guide whatever you feel like at the end) that, unfortunately, also included the arcades, so there was a lot of duplication; however, the art alleys that we saw on that tour were different and, I think, more interesting than the ones on the Tauck tour.

On the completely free day before the tour started, I took a full day tour to the Great Ocean Road. They picked me up and dropped me off at the Langham. I booked that tour on Viator before I left home.

Whatever you choose to do with your free time, I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip.
dhgordo
#3 Posted : Friday, November 02, 2018 6:14:19 PM

Posts: 2

How was The Great Ocean Road Tour?
CatLover8
#4 Posted : Friday, November 02, 2018 6:59:13 PM

Posts: 110

We did this tour in March 2018 and did Great Ocean Rd ahead of time. It was fabulous - highly recommend! There were 4 of us and we went with The Private Tour Guide.
MCD
#5 Posted : Friday, November 02, 2018 8:11:36 PM

Posts: 151

I enjoyed the Great Ocean Road tour. It's a long day, but you do see sights that you won't see on the Tauck tour. I had looked into the private tour guide, but it was quite expensive for one person (over $900, as I recall). I booked through Viator but the tour operator was AAT Kings, which turns out to be the company that Tauck used for its coaches.
cvc
#6 Posted : Friday, November 02, 2018 8:44:25 PM

Posts: 18

We did this tour in September/October 2017. We also did the Great Ocean Road Tour and would highly recommend it. We went through Go West Tours - it was a small group tour so less expensive than the private ones. I think there were around 12 to 15 of us on the tour. They also picked us up/dropped us off at our hotel. I agree with the others who have commented - it is a long day, but we felt it was well worth our time.
joycesw
#7 Posted : Saturday, November 03, 2018 1:42:45 PM

Posts: 526

You might want to check out the free City Circle Tram that will give you an oversight of the city. Also, don’t forget about the Melbourne Gaol,scene of the incarceration and hanging of the infamous bushman, Ned Kelly! We were luck enough to catch a re-enactment/ performance held right in the gaol. I believe they have some funky night tours as well. While I did use the term “funky”, this site does represent a pretty serious and not so glorious part of Australian history.
Mileg
#8 Posted : Monday, November 05, 2018 2:59:58 PM

Posts: 91

Hi MCD.
To start, thank you and everyone else for the info.
Now, it was my understanding that Tauck would take the group to visit the Shrine of Remembrance; is this not the case... Do I need to include this visit & the Botanical Garden to my "to do independently " list?
I have schedule the Free Walking tour around the center , The art alleys , the Arcades, Eureka Tower and The South Melbourne Market that is a most, also a visit the Brighton Beach-Bath boxes and the Wine Tour + the Dinner Tram all in my calendar.
So, if anyone could confirm if the visits are included or not.. I would truly appreciate it. I can see the Botanical not being included since is a big park & everyone has their own preference... but the Shrine, I would think it is...

Thanks everyone.





MCD
#9 Posted : Monday, November 05, 2018 3:28:40 PM

Posts: 151

Hi, Mileg. The Shrine of Remembrance was not included on Tauck's tour. The Shrine is across the street from the Botanical Gardens. The bus dropped us off near both of them and we were free to do what we wanted from then on. I walked back to the hotel after spending a couple of hours at the Shrine.
Mileg
#10 Posted : Monday, November 05, 2018 4:22:09 PM

Posts: 91

Great MCD. Thanks for the info.
So, I will have to re-arrange my schedule. Yes, Botanical & Shrine are near the hotel so it is pretty convenience.
Thanks.
British
#11 Posted : Monday, November 05, 2018 5:16:03 PM

Posts: 3,018

The Shrine was part of the tour when we took it, as was the dinner on the tram, but the tours change, sometimes even during the season if there is a lot of negative feedback. When we took the Australia tour, the brochure said two free afternoons in Sydney. By the time we took the tour, it had become one full day free in Sydney, I believe that got changed due to feedback during that year. I would call Tauck a few weeks before you go, or wait for the Green book details in case your tour has been tweaked. When it came to the tram dinner, apparently lots of people did not think it was worthwhile we thought it was fine. In fact, before the tour started, one of the things we did was take the tram around the city. We talked to lots of locals on the ride and we really enjoyed it and got tips about sites from them.
Buck4
#12 Posted : Tuesday, December 04, 2018 6:11:34 PM

Posts: 2

I am wondering what the "Green Book" is all about... Does it tell you in more detail re contents of a particular tour being offered on a particular day? Or is it a general update on any changes made to that particular tour we have signed up for? I asked our travel agent that same question and she sent the Tauck Exotics 2019 green covered tour book with a gorilla on the front. Not sure that is the real green book? Thanks for any help...
Buck4
#13 Posted : Tuesday, December 04, 2018 6:13:16 PM

Posts: 2

I am wondering what the "Green Book" is all about... Does it tell you in more detail re contents of a particular tour being offered on a particular day? Or is it a general update on any changes made to that particular tour we have signed up for? I asked our travel agent that same question and she sent the Tauck Exotics 2019 green covered tour book with a gorilla on the front. Not sure that is the real green book? When is it sent out if different from the actual tour book? Thanks for any help...
British
#14 Posted : Tuesday, December 04, 2018 6:51:17 PM

Posts: 3,018

Buck4 wrote:
I am wondering what the "Green Book" is all about... Does it tell you in more detail re contents of a particular tour being offered on a particular day? Or is it a general update on any changes made to that particular tour we have signed up for? I asked our travel agent that same question and she sent the Tauck Exotics 2019 green covered tour book with a gorilla on the front. Not sure that is the real green book? When is it sent out if different from the actual tour book? Thanks for any help...


This is why I recommend booking with Tauck directly and not using a travel agent because yours clearly is not familiar with Tauck. When you make your final payment for a tour, you are sent a green booklet which is specific to your tour. It gives details of your flights, hotels, how you will be picked up from the airport, basics of the day to day itinerary etc etc etc. when you arrive at the beginning of the tour, there will be a letter from your tour director that will have some or all the days in more specific detail, What time and where to meet for the Welcome dinner, time of departures for each day ideas for site seeing before the tour begins, all manor of things. Each tour director does things slightly differently. If you have booked a tour, speak to your Agent and either get them, or you, call Tauck with any questions. The Travel agent has clearly just given you a green brochure, dreadful service!
BKMD
#15 Posted : Tuesday, December 04, 2018 7:27:03 PM

Posts: 248

There's no need to book directly with Tauck if you have a competent travel agent. I use one for all my escorted tours and get all the info I'm supposed to.
AlanS
#16 Posted : Tuesday, December 04, 2018 10:51:14 PM



Posts: 2,077

BKMD wrote:
There's no need to book directly with Tauck if you have a competent travel agent. I use one for all my escorted tours and get all the info I'm supposed to.


The opposite can be said- there is no need to book with a TA. What benefit is gained by using a TA? Use the TA for air arrangements if you want (or do it yourself or use Tauck), but what does a TA add to the tour booking other than a delay getting anything and everything from Tauck via mail and in many cases e-mail. When you use a TA, Tauck sends everything to the TA. There have been just too many people who did not get changes, on-tour excursion info, green books, etc. etc. in a timely manner and in some cases not at all. If you have a trusted, reliable, TA who works regularly with Tauck, that is fine, but why?

Speaking of the Green Book, I only wish Tauck would send a digital version so I can put it on my iPad and send the copies of the itinerary and contact info to family and friends via email.
BKMD
#17 Posted : Wednesday, December 05, 2018 8:42:55 AM

Posts: 248

AlanS wrote:
The opposite can be said- there is no need to book with a TA. What benefit is gained by using a TA?

I find several benefits. The TA I deal with has a handful of employees, so I talk to the same people all the time. They are knowledgeable and always keep me up to date with paperwork, etc. Also, there are some travel agents that split their commissions with their customers to encourage business. Tauck does not permit TAs to kick back anything on their trips, however, they can provide rebates on other services or amenities they provide, such as air. When they book with other tour companies, they discount the trip directly on the invoice.

They also answer questions and provide advice on travel, which is why they still exist. For example, I was planning to book a Tauck Alaska trip in 2019. I do not want one that includes a large ship cruise. Unfortunately, their last land-only trip was in 2018. So I spoke with the TA and got suggestions re other tour operators and booked with one of them.

If TAs are truly an anachronism and no longer necessary, they would have gone the way of the dinosaur. I, nor any family members, own, work for, or are affiliated with any travel agencies.
British
#18 Posted : Wednesday, December 05, 2018 8:55:34 AM

Posts: 3,018

So we have gone away from the original thread, but it is interesting. When you book through a travel agent, the contract is with them not Tauck. That could be a problem while you are on tour, especially when flights are involved. We don’t book flights through Tauck as much as we used to, preferring to book via AMEX amd getting five times the AMEX points
I know there can be discounts, but there have been too many reports here from people over the years who have had serious problems using a travel agent for Tauck services. Regarding discounts, up to a few years ago we could get up to $1000 off a Tauck vacation by using a voucher from American Express points, but they no longer participate. We used that quite a lot.
About twice daily by email and mail, we get offers from OAT offering thousands of dollars off their tours. We had an offer last year from Tauck, for a couple of dates on one particular tour.
PF606590
#19 Posted : Wednesday, December 05, 2018 10:44:47 AM

Posts: 53

We have used Tauck directly for 6 reservations, have never used a travel agent for these reservations. Everything worked smoothly with all our special requirements. I don't see any benefit in using a TA.
douglassue
#20 Posted : Thursday, December 06, 2018 1:19:57 AM



Posts: 117

We were delayed in Frankfurt and missed our connecting flight. The airlines rep gave us the run around and said we needed to pay $300 more, each, to go out on the next flight. We called Tauck, who argued with the airlines rep, got disgusted, cancelled the tickets, and re-booked us on the next flight out. We were thankful we had booked through Tauck.

The debate is pretty simple. You can save money going through TAs, or by booking yourself. But, when things go awry in the middle of a trip, late at night or some inconvenient time, Tauck, in our experience, seems to have your back.

Doug
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