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Grampians or Philip Island ?

tennessee
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109 posts
Grampians or Philip Island ?
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My wife and I will be arriving in Melbourne on Thur., May 9 from Christchurch at approximately 3:00pm. We will spend an additional 2 full days before flying to Ayers Rock. I am still working on our Melbourne itinerary and need suggestions. We want to do a full day tour of GOR on one of the days. On the other day, we are undecided about whether to to a Grampians tour or Philip Island tour to see the penguin parade. Our plans are to use a tour company such as Go West or ?

Your suggestions as to what to do will be greatly appreciated.

Ballarat, Australia
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7,411 posts
107 reviews
58 helpful votes
1. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?
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The GOR tours are pretty exhausting - around 14 hours, of which approximately 10 of these are spent on the bus. Phillip Island tours are "better" in that there's less time on the bus (maybe 5 or 6 hours) and more time on the ground, but they always get back to Melbourne late because of the penguins. May is pretty good - penguins arrive around 1730 so the tours get back to Melbourne around 2030. The Grampians is 3 hours from Melbourne plus half an hour to get to Mackenzie Falls, so maybe 8 hours on the bus. To do two of these tours back-to-back would kill me.

I suggest that you do a 2 day tour to the GOR and the Grampians because they are both west of Melbourne (Phillip Island is south-east). You'll save at least 6 hours of bus travel by avoiding backtracking, and you will get to spend the night out of the city so may have the chance to hear kookaburras. The following tours I found with the help of mr. google. All spend the night in Halls Gap which means you'll have a close encounter with the hundreds of kangaroos that graze there in the evenings and early mornings.

And if you have booked non-cancellable accommodation in Melbourne, I still think it's worth forfeiting the price of accommodation and doing an overnight tour.

https://melbourneaustraliatours.com.au/public-tours/2-day-great-ocean-road-and-grampians-tour/

https://sightseeingtoursaustralia.com.au/tours/2-day-great-ocean-road-grampians-tour/

https://wildlifetours.com.au/tours/melbourne/great-ocean-road/2-day-great-ocean-road-and-grampians-tour/

https://greatoceanroadmelbournetours.com.au/tours/2-day-great-ocean-road-grampians-tour/

tennessee
Level Contributor
109 posts
2. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?
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Great suggestion :)

I will look at the links you provided. Honestly, we were not too excited about two round trip tours leaving and then returning to Melbourne. I may post again if I have further questions about one tour that will encompass both.

Thanks

tennessee
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109 posts
3. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?
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I checked each of the sites offering a 2 day tour. The tours offered by each of these companies begin on Thursday or Saturday. With our current schedule, we arrive in Melbourne on Thursday at 3:30 pm and that is too late for the Thursday tour. The Saturday tour won't work since we leave on Sunday.

Any idea why the tour is not offered that begins on Friday?

Thanks

Melbourne, Australia
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2 reviews
2 helpful votes
4. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?
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They are probably all the same tour sold by different companies. There is much less demand for multi day tours which is why they aren't offered every day. And if it's a small company they can't overlap with daily departures. Most people seem to prefer the flexibility of day tours and keeping their Melbourne accommodation, not having to check out/check back in or pay for an unused night. As Loki said they are tiring but loads of people do these tours back to back all the time. You could do a GOR tour followed by a penguin express tour that leaves later and just sees the penguins. The Grampians is a stunning place but's another very long day tour, like the GOR.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?
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Also on the 2 day tour in May you will be getting to Halls Gap in the dark and only sightseeing on day 2 for a few hours before heading back to Melbourne. It's still two big days with a lot of travelling.

California
Destination Expert
for New Zealand
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15,675 posts
71 reviews
33 helpful votes
6. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?
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Honestly, I think it will be more of a "vacation" if you choose sights within or closer to Melbourne. Yarra Valley might be an option.

7. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?

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tennessee
Level Contributor
109 posts
8. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like we need to do some more thinking about this.

Ballarat, Australia
Level Contributor
7,411 posts
107 reviews
58 helpful votes
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These aren't the only operators doing tours, they are just the first 4 I found. Suggest you google some more, or maybe send emails to these companies and they may know someone who departs on a Friday.

London, United...
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14,390 posts
405 reviews
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10. Re: Grampians or Philip Island ?
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Personally, if I only had three days in Melbourne, I wouldn't want to be doing two long road trips out of the city leaving only one day to explore the city itself. Stick to Melbourne and see the rest another time.

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