We did the Great Ocean Road tour on September 18. It is a long day but you are rewarded with amazing scenery along the way. We didn't have the best weather but the trip was fantastic. The stops are fairly short and you will be kept on a fairly tight schedule. The 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge are not to be missed. We did Phillips Island on September 19 and paid for the Penguin Private tour. At Moonlit Sanctuary, pay a little extra to get food for the kangaroos and to cuddle the koalas. I would have preferred skipping the Churchill Farm portion in exchange for more time at the Nobbies and the Penguin Parade. I grew up on a farm so it was not that exciting for me. Since we were doing the private penguin tour, we had to eat dinner at the Nobbies, which left us no time to look around. Also, we were very rushed at the Penguins and did not have time to look in the gift shop. As part of the Penguin Private, we were taken over to the Penguin Plus area. I would say that this is where you get more bang for your buck. Most of the penguins come up this way and there were way more seen here than where we sat front row on the beach. It is another long day. We had the best tour guide/driver, Steve so if you manage to have him, you are in luck! We did all three of the attractions in one day, the Aquarium, Eureka Skydeck and the Old Melbourne Gaol. The Aquarium was just renovated and they have done a great job. The Skydeck is very cool and the view is worth the trip. The Old Melbourne Gaol is very interesting and the Watchhouse Experience was fun. We packed a lot into 3 days but it was worth every penny.
The Great Ocean Road Tour was nice, albeit a bit rush. Lunch was provided at a nice light house. The Australian BBQ lunch consisted of pasta salad, garden greens, BBQ sausages and a few pieces of wholemeal bread. So pls do not expect too much : Bring some cash along to buy some ice cream, coffee or nice pastry at the cafe at the lighthouse to give yourself a nice treat. I agree with other comments about the seats of the van. I was seated right at the back, and the seat sunk right in the middle and it does get pretty uncomfortable after a while. Do bring a jacket or an extra tshirt along as a cushion.
For the Philip Island tour, the moonlit sanctuary was nice, but not fantastic. Lunch was served at the moonlit sanctuary cafe...there were only vege, ham and cheese sandwiches. Again, bring some money to buy more food if you need more than sandwiches for lunch, it's a long day. I did the tour on Good Friday and there were so many tourist. Our guide Jenna managed to get us there earlier so we can have a nice dinner, get our hot drinks and get a good seat on the platform. Do bring along warm clothes, it's going to be freaking cold, best is if you can have something to cover your head and face while you wait. The wind is very very strong. Do spend some time walking with the little penguins along the platform. We managed to see a cute pair mating just outside their burrow. Hot drinks and biscuits were served in the mini bus in the carpark when we completed the penguin parade tour.
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