Melbourne Shore Excursion: Healesville Sanctuary and Puffing Billy Steam Train - Reviews

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Rebecca

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2018

This was a great excursion all round. A small group, but that was okay. This being my first encounter with the wildlife of Australia especially when I first saw my first kangaroo what I thought was a kangaroo was actually a wallabee. I took a lot of picture of the wallabee. Our tour guide, Steve left the group to go explore the sanctuary on our own giving us direction where to go and what to look ,while he goes to prepare our barbecue lunch. While we walking we encounter the koalas in cage doing their own thing - sleeping, sitting on a branch, - great photo opportunities. Lunch consisted of sausage and bun and salad was good. We were then told to go see the Spirits in the Sky Bird Show, this was a great show, as we saw many species of birds that are here in Australia. Wow the birds showed off what each bird were known for. The show was very entertaining. Next it was the World of Platypus show. Another interesting show and I learned a lot of facts about the platypus. When we were done with the Healesville Sanctuary, we were driven to where the Puffing Billy Steam Train ride was. This was a fun ride and the scenery was great as we rode the train. I would recommend this excursion for those visiting Australia.

Damien F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2017

This was a fantastic day made all the more enjoyable by our guide Steve. Healesville Sanctuary was enjoyable and the BBQ lunch cooked by Steve a great experience. The train ride was fun and Steve then took us to feed Cockatoos which was a fun photo opportunity.

pteach

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

This was a fantastic excursion. Our Bunyip tours guide was great!!. The Puffing Billy train was a lot of fun. Healesvile was amazing with lots of koalas and kangaroos. Our barbecue lunch was delicious.

Mary

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

One of the highlights of our vacation

ING

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2015

Steve Andrew is a first class tour guide. He went out of his way to ensure that we saw as much as possible.
Puffing Billy Steam Train is fun and the scenery is beautiful.
But nothing can compare with the Sanctuary . Fantastic.
We have already commented that the only thing we were disappointed with is that you advised us to wait for our guide at 0830. So we were down at the port waiting from 0815 and he only arrived at 0930. That was after we spent almost $20 on phone calls (we have an overseas phone line) trying to locate someone in your company to determine what was happening. We almost gave up and went on another tour.

Karen H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2015

Lovely day in the Dandenongs. Puffing Billy train was a fun trip. Healesville had a great variety of animals

Rmain4 United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

Great tour and fabulous animal sanctuary! Not to be missed if you want to see all of Australia's wonderful wildlife in a pristine park with natural settings. Viator did a wonderful job making all of our tours great and worry free.

mjwvizcaya

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2018

Great guide. Nice man. The only thing he needs is a little stool for older folks to step out of van.

Bob K

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2017

The Healesville Sanctuary was fantastic, however, the train ride on Puffing Billy was so short and covered nothing interesting to see. Our driver/guide had limited knowledge of anything beyond the specific things included on the excursion and spent most of the driving portion being silent.

JUDITH C

4 star rating: Recommended
June 2016

We had a good time on this trip. If you ride on the train be sure to get on the right side. Our guide told us to ride on that side and he was correct. The Sanctuary was very nice and the only disappointment was the lunch because some wires got crossed and we didn't get the BBQ. He got us back to town early so we also got a tour of the city which was a nice plus. He had WIFI in the vehicle and I do wish that I had known ahead of time because I would have brought my IPAD.

Neal G

4 star rating: Recommended
March 2016

Steve was a great tour guide. Great tour half the price of the ship

C John D

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2016

Our guide was great, the sanctuary gave us an up close and personal look at

kangaroos.

Yolanda W USA

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2014

Long drive to sanctuary but enjoyed that very much. Claire gave us a great tour around since she had worked there before. Steam train was nice as well.

jim h

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2014

had problem with communications as where the pickup point was located. Tour and guide were great and we would do it again. Jim and Karen

Victor C

3 star rating: Worth doing
February 2018

We had to call the company when we could not find the meeting place after leaving the ship. It was in front of the Hobson's Cafe not the entrance to the pier. Would have been nice to know in advance. Nice size group of 8. Steve was our guide and was interesting and did a good job. Puffing Billy was fun. The Healsville Sanctuary was a nice zoo but it would have been better if we had a little more guidance. Lunch was sausages and onions on the grill along with some salads. After lunch we had about 2.5 hours to wander the grounds. The down side of the trip was the failure of the air conditioning on the small van about 45 mins into the tour. Steve did his best at trying to fix it then trying to get us a replacement. In the end we ended up with a very hot ride back to town. We had time for a short tour of Melbourn but it had to be cut short due to the heat.

Melissa T

3 star rating: Worth doing
December 2017

The sanctuary was large and nice, with opportunity to feed a parrot and see a wombat up close. Best part was BBQ by our tour guide, Garth - yummy! The train was a non-event as it was very short and just seemed to go through people's back yards. It is open air, but does not go very fast to provide any cooling breezes. We got a bit of a tour through Melbourne too, which was nice.

Cheryl M

3 star rating: Worth doing
November 2017

Our guide was 1 hour late picking us up but made up for it with an unscheduled stop at a bird place. Although we had "special reserved seating" we were all facing the wrong side of the train so missed many of the best views. Also, they failed to accommodate my special meal request.

leoyau71

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
March 2016

The attractions were simply OK. The train ride was very brief and the Sanctuary while good was overrated. The tour was poorly organized from the start with half the group not knowing where to meet the bus resulting in a 30 minute delayed start. It was difficult to hear the guide who provided very little information about Melbourne. To make things worse, he had problems navigating late afternoon traffic and we were late in arriving at the port.

Bill H

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
March 2014

There were only four of us on this tour. Being new there was a little confusion as to pick up and drop off times. I was somewhat stressed that we get back to the ship before sailing time. Healesville is a 90 minute drive from the dock and the steam train about 45 minutes from there. Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly and he did barbecue a lunch for us. The Featherdale sanctuary near Sydney was a much better experience for me than Healesville. The train ride was brief, historical, scenic but not terribly memorable.

Leslee B

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
March 2016

The Healesville Sanctuary and the Puffing Billy Steam Train ride were great.
What was not great was the company setting this all up and providing transportation!!!
They are not visible at the ship dock!!!! My sister stayed on the phone with them for over 30min trying to connect with the driver. They seem very disorganized!!! No sign. They said - we are looking for you. How do they even know who we are????? And then the driver barely got us back in time before ship sailinglike 10min. He kept letting off passengers instead of taking us to our ship and then dropping them off. Not impressed!!!

petersue

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
March 2016

A long, long day with a boring driver not a guide. Puffing billy is a waste of time. And the Sanctuary is a paltry excuse for a zoo.

Esther F

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
March 2014

Very disappointing. The sanctuary is a regular zoo.
The guide was very irresponsible left the group to watch a show and it took us more then 20 min to find her.
I wouldn't recommend this part of the trip.
We really enjoyed the train.

Note from Viator: Thank you for your review, and we appreciate your feedback. We have contacted our local supplier regarding your review to ensure this Melbourne Shore Excursion will provide the best possible experience.

Ruth G E

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
March 2014

This was probably the worst excursion we have taken. Claire, our driver, was irritated that she had been waiting an hour at the ship when we all appeared exactly when our vouchers said to meet. The 12 passenger BASIC van was not comfortable for 11 of us. It was a very uncomfortable ride as the van had no springs/shocks. Several of us were stiff and sore the next day. The van radio was on and Claire talked to the windshield so it was very difficult to hear in the back. She did not have a microphone. When someone asked her to turn down the radio so we could hear her she said, " but, I'm not talking now." and the radio stayed on all day. Healesville was fine although we wandered around as a group trying to find Claire at a BBQ spot where she was cooking. Lunch was basic - good sausages, loaf of bread, 2 small salads and, "if you want something to drink, walk back to the cafe." It would have been nice to know that as we passed the cafe. Time was short so we picked up the Puffing Billy Steam Train at the half way point, missing the famous trestle. Maybe less time at Healesville? The best thing I can say about Claire and this excursion was that she got us back to the ship before it sailed. There has got to have been a better vehicle with a microphone system and a guide that engaged with her people.

Note from Viator: Thank you for your review and we appreciate your feedback. We're sorry to hear that the tour didn't go as expected, and we have contacted our local supplier to remedy the issues raised in your review.

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