Five Days of Excellent Touring with Great Private Tours and Elijah
My wife and I spent six nights in Melbourne and three days on the Great Ocean Road in February. I researched and talked with many tour operators when I planned our month-long visit to Australia, including at least five tour operators in the Melbourne area. My interactions with Steve, the owner of Great Private Tours in Melbourne, were extensive and valuable. He provided excellent insights and suggestions that improved our visit to the Melbourne area. His offerings were very reasonable and included excellent tour vehicles and amenities. It was a wonderful experience dealing with him. I highly recommend him.
We ended up spending six days with Great Private Tours in one of their Mercedes Viano vans. The first two days included the Full-day Melbourne Tour and the Phillips Island Penguin Parade. Both were led by Elijah McLeod. The third tour went to the Mornington Peninsula with Steve, the owner. Mornington is a beautiful area and really shouldn’t be missed if you have the time while in Melbourne. We then spent the last three days on a tour of the Great Ocean Road with Elijah again. The quality of these tours was excellent and included little extras like (a) varying maps and really high quality publications relevant to our destination for the day; (b) Wi-Fi hotspots in the car so we never lacked Internet access when needed; (c) bottles of water; (d) a small refrigerator in the car; etc..
While Steve was the man I most interacted with while planning the trip, Elijah was the man who had to implement the plans. There’s little to add about Elijah beyond he is simply the very best guide we’re had in our years of touring. He’s the kindest man I’ve ever met. He greeted everyone we passed. He always asked and remembered the names of everyone we dealt with at shops, restaurants, hotels, wineries, etc. He offered to take pictures of folks who were struggling to include themselves in photos. My wife doesn’t walk distances or go up steps well, so he always found ways to get her to where we were going with as little walking and steps as possible and was always at her side to help her. He always asked if we needed water, a restroom break, a better temperature in the car, a charge for our phones, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a blanket, etc. He drove safely. He came up with wonderful new ideas for places to see and things to do as he learned about our interests. For example, on the second day of our Great Ocean Road trip, he arranged for us to visit the Narrapumelap Home, a Victorian-era French Gothic Revival country mansion in Wickliffe built by John Wyselaskie in 1873, and meet its new owner and restorer, Kevin McIntyre, for a personal tour of the magnificent house and grounds. Elijah grew up with Kevin and his family in this area. I can guarantee this is a stop not on anyone else’s tour.
I highly recommend Great Private Tours and Elijah to anyone thinking of private tours in Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road.