FAQS FOR GREAT OCEAN ROAD TOUR
What time do you recommend we commence our Great Ocean Road tour?
We recommend starting between 7.30am-8.00am for our day tours. For Sunset tours, where you get to see the 12 Apostles at Sunset, the starting time will vary with the season. Please check with us first.
How long does the one-day Great Ocean Road tour take?
Our one-day tour down the Great Ocean Road takes approximately 11 - 11.5 hours in total.
How much distance do we travel in the day?
The Great Ocean Road tour is over 650 kilometres long.
Can our Great Ocean Road tour be customised?
Yes, of course. Being a completely private tour we can adjust the itinerary to suit you, spending longer at places you most want to see and skipping any you don’t.
Our recommended itinerary is just that, a recommendation covering the most popular places, but it can be adjusted to suit you so long as the overall tour length does not exceed 11.5 hours for driver safety reasons.
What additional costs are involved in the GOR tour?
We do not include lunch in the tour so that you may be free to make your own choice from the many cafes and restaurants available to you in our preferred lunch stop of Apollo Bay. You will have choices ranging from Asian, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Australian, etc as well as fresh seafood choices direct from the Bay.
Optional scenic helicopter flights over the 12 Apostles are available but the cost of these is also not included in the tour.
Do you run your Great Ocean Road tours every day?
Yes we operate 7 days a week so you can book your tour on whichever day suits you.
FAQS FOR PENGUINS PARADE TOUR
What time do the penguins come in at night?
The penguins start coming in at sunset each night but most wait until the sun has fully set before they come ashore. In winter this can be as early as 5.30pm, in peak summer it can be as late as 9.30pm. The visitor centre opens at 5pm each night and closes to the public about 1.5 hours after the first penguins start coming in.
How many penguins come ashore each night?
The number of penguins coming ashore each night varies greatly. It can range from a few hundred to several thousand depending on the season, weather, how long each penguin has been out hunting at sea and how successful they have been. During the mating and breeding season more penguins tend to come in than say during the winter season. Each penguin will come ashore when it feels it has enough food in its belly to feed its mate and/or chick/s.
Do the penguins all come in together at the same place and the same time?
The penguins come ashore in small groups called “Rafts” at various locations along the beachfront at varying intervals of time. Sometimes a couple of minutes apart, sometimes 10 minutes apart. A small “raft” may have a half a dozen penguins, a large “raft” may have 20 or 30. They keep coming in well into the evening?
Can you guarantee I will see penguins?
Yes, every night some penguins always come ashore. You will be visiting the largest Little (Fairy) Penguin colony in the world with around 40,000 breeding penguins, so you are sure to see some. They have been coming ashore to the colony every night for decades.
What type of penguins will I see?
The colony at Philip Island is exclusively made up of Little (or Fairy) Penguins, the smallest type of penguins in the world. They are on average around 30cm or 12 inches tall.
How do I get the best views of the penguins?
There are 3 main ways to view the penguins. The general admission area is an open seating area with no reserved seating so it’s first come, best seats. The front seats closest to the beach naturally fill up first. The second area is the Penguins Plus viewing area which is much smaller. Still not allocated seating but it much smaller, only 300 people and a lot of penguins parade past this area so you will see many up close. (There is an additional cost for the Penguins Plus area). Finally there is an Underground Viewing Area which is beneath the Penguins Plus area and allows you to watch the penguins parade past very closely through viewing windows that are at ground level for the penguins but eye level for us humans. (This is limited to just 70 people and has additional costs.)
Can I upgrade to a better viewing area AFTER we arrive at the Penguin Parade if I decide I want to?
Yes you can upgrade to the Penguins Plus Viewing Area or the Underground Viewing Area but only if they have tickets available and so long as you have already purchased a General Admission ticket (which you do receive as part of booking your tour with us). However during peak season the Penguin Parade does fully book out so you might be disappointed. We recommend if you think that you might want to access the Penguins Plus viewing area or Underground Area that you add that this extra when you book your tour with Melbourne Touring Company, otherwise we cannot guarantee you can get an upgrade.
Is there any way to get a better view of the penguins without paying the extra cost?
At Melbourne Touring Company we have long experience with taking people to see the penguins and we know a couple of tricks that not everyone knows to ensure you do get a great view of the penguins up close.
How long do we stay at the penguin parade?
Our tours tend to stay at the penguins for around an hour or so which gives you plenty of time to see them.
How long is the whole tour to the Penguins?
From pickup at your hotel or other nominated location to return to the same destination, the entire trip is usually around 11 hours in summer but can be shorter in winter as we time everything according to sunset. If you are pressed for time you can book an Express Penguins tour which is shorter and does not include a stop at the wildlife sanctuary or the Nobbies, so it saves time.
What is the weather like at the Penguin Parade?
During summer the temperature down at the Penguin Parade can be quite warm, even hot, but generally it tends to be cool to cold down there. There can be quite cool winds that blow off the ocean. (Remember it’s direct to the Antartic down there.) So always wise to wear warm clothing and a jacket or coat. In winter we strongly recommend bringing hats, scarves and gloves particularly in winter.
What else should I bring to the Penguin Parade?
Please wear comfortable walking shoes. It is a long walk down to the beach from the visitors centre. Water bottle and a small backpack with whatever you need to stay warm, dry and comfortable.
Can I buy food and drink at the Penguin Parade?
Yes the visitors centre has a well-equipped café/snack bar as well as a restaurant which offers sit down meals, however due to the limited time of our tour we recommend you don’t order meals at the restaurant as you could miss out on seeing the penguin parade by waiting for your meal.
Can I buy souvenirs of the Penguin Parade?
Yes there is a large shop at the visitors centre which sells a wide variety of penguin related souvenirs.
How long is the drive back to Melbourne after the Penguin Parade?
It generally takes about 2 hours to get back to the centre of Melbourne after the Penguin Parade depending on traffic and weather conditions.
FAQS FOR ALL TOURS
Is my tour a private tour?
Yes, all MTC tours are strictly private. Only you, your family and/or friends will be on the tour. No other public passengers will be on your tour.
Can we stop for breakfast/coffee?
Absolutely! Generally, our first stop is for coffee and/or breakfast or a snack if you’ve already had breakfast.
Can we bring our own food on tour and eat in the vehicle?
Yes, definitely. The vehicle is yours for the day and you are welcome to eat whatever you wish on the bus according to your own dietary needs, cultural or religious requirements, etc
Can I bring luggage on a private one-day tour?
If you need to bring your luggage with you because the hotel cannot store it or you will be heading straight to the airport after the tour, we are happy to accommodate you depending on the total number of people joining you on the tour, the size and amount of luggage and which size vehicle you are travelling in.
What should we bring with us on the tour?
Please wear comfortable footwear and weather appropriate clothing. (Light in summer, heavy in winter). It can get windy down the coast so a jacket is always a good idea.
We recommend sun glasses, sun screen and a hat in the warmer weather, as well as a water bottle and phone/camera to get some great shots.
And always pack your most adventurous spirit!
Do you have a toilet on board the bus?
Our vehicles are not equipped with toilets but that is not a problem as there are regular toilet stops often no more than 30-45 minutes apart.
What size vehicles does MTC offer for tours?
We have a 7-seater Mercedes Valenta*
We also have a 10 seat and a 24 seat mini bus available depending on the size of the tour.
For large groups we also have a 45 seat coach available.
*The Mercedes is deemed a luxury vehicle and carries a $250 loading on top of your regular booking fee.
Can you pick me up from my hotel, AirBnb or other accommodation?
Yes! We offer complimentary door-to-door service and will gladly pick you up at any location throughout the central Melbourne city or inner suburbs. Please confirm your pick-up details at time of booking.