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Oz Experience Bus - DON'T DO IT!!

A warning to anyone planning a trip down the east coast of Australia - Don't sign up with Oz Experience! Maybe it's good in other parts of Australia, but I feel like I got ripped off big time!
12 years ago, October 30th 2007 No: 1 Msg: #21742  
B Posts: 6
A warning to anyone planning to backpack along the east coast in Australia - If you're thinking of signing up with the Oz Experience bus company, owned by Adventure tours - THINK AGAIN! I'm kicking myself now for having signed up for the Oz Experience bus!!! A better alternative would be to take the greyhound. To be honest, I really hadn't done too much research before booking this few week trip down the east coast of Australia. I wanted to start in Cairns and make my way down to Byron bay, seeing some cool places along the way. This is how I got suckered from Backpackers' World Travel - I suppose they're just trying to make their commission by upselling as much as possible. I do feel like a sucker.

I had my first leg of the journey the other day when I got the bus from Cairns down to Townsville to go to Magnetic island. Oz experience makes a ton of unnecessary stops - we stopped at a crocodile and snake farm (which I had no desire to go see) for about an hour and a half. Of course, you can choose not to pay the entry fee and just wait, but that's really a waste of your time. All that, and the Greyhound is much much cheaper.

Not to mention, the bus itself was really quite uncomfortable - you would expect after paying more money that the bus would at least be a lot nicer. And, for most of the trip, our driver was blaring really bad music - some of the time she played really bad videos - I'm not kidding - including Hansen's Mmmm bop. Lord, help me! Luckily the electrical system died for a good portion of the journey and we finally got some peace and quiet. Like I said, I'm just kicking myself, and it's too late to get any money back.

The other major disadvantage is that this bus doesn't go every day, so it limits your flexibility - Can you say, sucker? I paid more money and have to work around their schedule. I might even have to end up taking Greyhound for portions of it. I'm really not sure where the added value is - They position themselves as offering an 'experience' and their drivers are really tour guides who give you some more insight into Australia. I'm crossing my fingers that it's gonna get better after this point - I've only taken one bus so far, and they do have bigger busses going south of here.... so maybe...

But if you're planning a trip - SAVE YOURSELF THE HEADACHE! Book with Greyhound or fly.
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12 years ago, November 10th 2007 No: 2 Msg: #22289  
Thanks for the heads up! We're planning on heading up the coast in a Jan and had considered OzExperience, but now we'll consider other options. Hope your trip gets better 😊 Reply to this

12 years ago, November 12th 2007 No: 3 Msg: #22380  
Yeah, I went last year and we considered it but quite a few people told us the same as you did. We bought a car instead and got completely ripped off anyway, but it was fun all the same. Reply to this

12 years ago, November 23rd 2007 No: 4 Msg: #22990  
B Posts: 6
I'm glad to hear responses from other travellers. The more I've talked to other people on the east coast of Australia, the more I've heard people express their dissatisfaction with Oz Experience. If only I had heard before I signed up for this!

Anyway, to follow up on my gripe about Oz Experience run by Adventure tours....

I see myself as a bit of a consumer advocate, and whenever I feel I've been ripped off by deceptive or just plain bad business practices, I let these companies know about it and I feel compelled to tell others about it. Since returning to Melbourne from my trip, I've been in contact with someone at Oz Experience, trying to get something back. At a minimum, I tried to get the difference in fares between the Cairns - Byron Bay and Cairns - Brisbane passes. They are completely unwilling to listen to me or give me any kind of compensation.

So, beyond charging way too much for an inferior product, Oz Experience is adding insult to injury by ignoring perfectly valid complaints.


12 years ago, December 30th 2007 No: 5 Msg: #24813  
N Posts: 2
Hey i just wanted to back up oz experience here.

I completely understand what you are saying, all of it being true.

I have just recently come home from a months trip down the east coast from Cairns to Sydney on the Oz Experience bus and had the time of my life.

i understand its probably not for everyone, and if you are someone who is set in your ways only wanting to see certain parts, know exactly what you want to do, see, before you even get there and the rest is irrelevant, then i agree taking a premiere or greyhound bus is probably the best option. However if you want to experience the east coast of australia, visit places you wouldnt have thought of seeing. For example, on the first leg of the journey they break up the long drive by taking you on a quick visit to see some aboriginal rocks that kill men. I have to admit to start with alot of people were like "what the hell are we doing?". But the way i saw it as we were taken on a trek through the rainforest to see these rocks......its not something i would have done or seen or even considered if i had rented out a car and travelled down the coast myself, but then again isnt that the whole idea of travelling, exploring places you have never been to before?

Travelling down the coast i would recommend you give yourself longer than a month if you want to stay at places and really get a feel for them. However i didnt stop at every stop the oz bus went to, just the main ones several i just stayed at one night the islands such as magnetic island, fraser island and the whitsundays are definitely worth staying longer and it is best to speak to the driver and book them whilst on the bus as you will usually get the best deal this way

The drivers are helpfull and able to book your accomodation for you at almost every stop, they are very informative and encourage you to get to know everyone else on the bus you are traveling with, which if you are a sociable person can make travelling alot more fun and give you a variety of characters and personalitys to mix with in the evenings.

So basically all im saying, travelling is what you make it. On the oz bus you are able to meet heaps of people all the way down the coast, i found it was easier to make friends with people on the oz bus than other people in the hostels in the short time i was staying at each of them. I was willing to embrace the laid back australian culture as part of my travelling. I may have only had a month to reach sydney, but i had planned al my stops online before departing on my trip, so i knew i would reach my destination on time with a few days spare to play with incase anything was to go wrong.

Seeing a croc farm, bare foot lawn bowls, wrestling goats at a cattle ranch i felt was all part of the experience.

All the drivers are friendly, will play music you want to hear and will stop at the nearest service station if you need the toilet which is always good if you got a bit carried away with stopping yourself from becoming dehydrated.



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12 years ago, January 15th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #25510  
This trip was so much fun~

I really enjoyed myself.
Usually I get a bit sick in long cars rides... but our tour guide kept us laughing and with good music, I for the most part felt great.
(I was also able to sit towards the front which helped.)

I sang out loud, jumped into the water, was the first to say "yay!" to any hiking... (although most of it was easy downgrade I still had a peaceful nice time in the back of the group, dodling and enjoying the scenery.)

I had yummy shark and homecooked fish. I only eat fish when I travel, because its hard to be a strict vegetarian and still stay nutritioned. These fish times were so YUMMY. I felt full and happy about the choice to eat fish.

Although I do not part take in getting drunk or smoking a hundred packs of smokes, I played pool, and won! And enjoyed laughing with people, singing outloud along to 80s buttrock.

I met some really great people. I enjoyed every moment.
I had some unique times, such as meeting a woman named Ani Choekyi. I felt the purest joy and love in my heart.

I never knew I liked war memorials, til I saw the one in Canberra. The history, artifacts, and the presentation of it sparked my mind, peeling away the sterotypes made about these places.
The parliment house was great to see and I took some photos to show my working democracy school back home.
I like learning about the guys with big eye brows.

These 3 days were immaculate.
Being just inches from (LIVE) kangaroo (finally saw ones that were not road kill before this trip,) I got amazing photo's to send back home.

I am tourig with other companies in a few days, but feeling completely blessed, for no matter what is to come I got to do almost everything I already wanted to do. Leaving the future blank and free to take whatever comes. (I didnt even know I had hopes to do certain things, but felt complete when I got dropped off in VIC.)

HUGE Thank you to our guide ,
and to all the other tourists I met. (I hope where ever you are you met your destinations as happy as myself!) And thank you Oz E. for putting together this great trip that could have been just a boring 8 hour drive from Sydney to Melbourne.
I am truly grateful.


12 years ago, January 31st 2008 No: 7 Msg: #26458  
B Posts: 32
"...some of the time she played really bad videos - I'm not kidding - including Hansen's Mmmm bop. Lord, help me! Luckily the electrical system died for a good portion of the journey.." - HAHAHA

Thanks alot for the heads-up. Greyhound it is for me! Reply to this

12 years ago, February 9th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #27108  
I'm planning a 2-3 week trip from Cairns to Brisbane in June and currently face the Oz Experience vs Greyhound dilemma...

I've heard Oz experience sort out all the hostel accomodation for you and get you a better rate than if you booked it yourself, but I've also read a lot of bad things about it too...

I like the idea of Greyhound because it's cheaper, but I'm a solo traveller so I'm a little bit worried about getting lonely and being safe by myself.

So basically, will I save enough money on hostels with Oz Experience to make the more expensive bus fare worth while, or should I brave Greyhound on my own?

Thoughts please...

Emma xxx Reply to this

12 years ago, February 11th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #27243  
B Posts: 6
No, you will not save that much money on hostels to make it worth the extra cash for Oz Ex. As I recall, the trip I booked from Cairns to Byron Bay was about $100 cheaper with Greyhound. You really won't save much with Oz experience. Also, there are a ton of travelers up and down the entire coast. I traveled solo as well. You will meet a ton of other travelers at all your stops. Just go to any hostel, or book yourself onto one of the many tours available and you'll meet lots of new friends. You absolutely don't need Oz Experience for that! Most of the other travelers I met were not on Oz Experience, but rather on Greyhound or they rented a car or van. In retrospect, had I not booked anything at all, I could've hitched a ride with this really nice Canadian guy I met who had rented a van and just posted ads in the hostels in Cairns. Even that would've been cheaper and a lot more fun!

Not sure where you're from, but compared to the Greyhounds in the US which can be a bit sketchy, the Greyhounds in Australia are very nice and comfortable, they show movies and have toilets on board. (And are lots more flexible than Oz Ex - see my comment above).

My advice would be to book as little as possible beforehand! You're going in June, which is the low season for most of your journey. Travel agents will try to get you to sign up and commit to everything - but you should try to be a flexible as you can. You never know who you're going to meet! I met lots of amazing people!

Also, Australia is incredibly safe and easy. Australia is designed to make it very easy to travel - everywhere you go there are tourist offices and other travelers who will give you ideas. I met so many travelers doing it solo, including lots of women. You will be fine!

Have a great time! You will love it!

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12 years ago, February 11th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #27259  
Cool, thanks for this. I'm now feeling brave enough to Greyhound it alone! x Reply to this

12 years ago, February 15th 2008 No: 11 Msg: #27559  
Guys, you must remember that OZ Experience are there to provide a service for the budget\backpacker market. KDK clearly had a bad experience, however for her one bad experience there are thousands of positive and enjoyable experiences. KDK didn't do her research, and despite what she says, nobody gets sucked into anything. You can't blame OZ Experience for not making the right decision.

I have never travelled with OZ Experience, nor do I have anything to do with them, however I am aware of there service from a tourism industry perspective and they offer a really good travel service. They make heaps of stops so that you can firstly experience as much of Australia as possible, and secondly due to the large driving distances involved in travelling anywhere in Australia, it breaks the trip up and prevents you from spending most of your time bored out of your brain or sleeping. They also provide a service where they assist you in getting accomodation. Maybe they don't save you money, but at least they will make the effort to help you out. I can assure you the Greyhound bus driver won't.

If you travel with Greyhound, do so in small (very small) stints, otherwise you will spend you time sleeping and having the countryside pass you blissfully by. Or do as KdK has suggested and fly. Virgin Airlines recently purchased new smaller jet aircraft, so they could fly into regional destinations at a reasonable price. You must however book ahead to get the best price, but then thats the same all over the world. Reply to this

12 years ago, February 26th 2008 No: 12 Msg: #28608  
N Posts: 2
I think KDK needs to , forget about bagging Oz Experience, and accept the fact that she made a wrong choice; it just wasn't for her; she didn't do her homework or any research. She blames Backpackers World, she made broad assessments of Oz Experience after what seems only 2-3 days.
1. She didn't check the timetables that tell you - 3-months ahead - how many buses are departing every week
2. She didn't read the brochure that tells you Oz stops at as many places as possible
3. She . Well what about the rest of the bus KDK? And how many crocodiles and snakes did you see walking down the street? You have no sense of adventure. Why you were even travelling at all is beyond me.
4. You don't like Hansen? Well again, guides have to cater for everyone, not just . You're about one 3-minute song
5. "I paid money and had to work around their schedule." Next time take a limo or a taxi. Greyhound runs to schedule as well so based on this towards Greyhound, as well. And every airline in the world.
6. You even tell people to fly! Which is beyond ridiculous because I doubt people will enjoy Australia from the aisle seat of economy class with no free drinks at 39,000 feet. "yes, I enjoyed the Australian Skies. They were so blue!"

Lets be clear: I am involved with Oz Experience. I talk to unhappy customers; I also talk to 90%!h(MISSING)appy customers. I'm not naive. I know that in any product you'll find good and bad things. you'll find things that you didn't see coming; things that maybe don't suit your taste; things that test you; things that you'll never forget because they were so awesome; people you'll never forget. Every person on Oz Experience has the right to complain to us; praise us; call us; write to us. Through customer feedback we get better.

of Oz Experience. One that I think most people on this forum see right through. We get it, ok? You didn't enjoy your trip. I'm sure as result you'll be a smarter traveller; I'm sure you'll be the worlds best travel researcher, but for now you're .

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12 years ago, February 27th 2008 No: 13 Msg: #28644  

12 years ago, March 3rd 2008 No: 14 Msg: #29037  
obviously oz was not for you but i have been an oz driver and it is the like you that we grit our teeth and put a smile on for. If you know where you want to go and don't care about what is in between then by all means catch a greyhound or a premier coach which may be more to a standard for you but if you actually want to have some fun and see our country as well as meet heaps of interesting people then oz is for you. DO SOME RESEARCH NEXT TIME before you start talking a great company down. i have had many many great fun times and every day is just another experience, AN OZ EXPERIENCE.
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12 years ago, March 3rd 2008 No: 15 Msg: #29050  
N Posts: 12
Hi, I have about 5 months to waste travelling, was looking at Oz Experience as I was planning to go from darwin to cairns the long way and have no problem stopping off any where and every where as I have no real plans yet. I was thinking that the bus would be better for me as I will be going on my own and it might be a better way to meet people, safer etc. Would people still suggest to avoid it? Would I save money if I did this trip with Greyhound or similar? Reply to this

12 years ago, March 13th 2008 No: 16 Msg: #29846  
B Posts: 3
Hi, I am planning a trip with 2 other girls and we saw that the recommended hostels are booked for the time which we plan to be on the OZ experience bus tour. Just wondering if we should wait to talk to the drivers along the way or if it is best to book well in advance! Thanks! Reply to this

12 years ago, March 13th 2008 No: 17 Msg: #29851  
N Posts: 18
hi 4kv4

I'm not sure where you are seeing all your hostels booked? Maybe if you are looking on the Oz Experience website under the Accommodation section the hostels have not updated their allocations so you can book via this service. Don't worry guides can book you in for the first night at the overnight stops. If you are staying on longer at any place it is good to contact the hostel concerned and book in. Shortly Oz Experience will have a new website and will integrate the Hostelworld accommodation booking system. Check out this thread for other questions and and answers on Oz Experience
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12 years ago, March 13th 2008 No: 18 Msg: #29852  
B Posts: 3
Thanks for the quick reply Oz Ex Crew!
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12 years ago, March 28th 2008 No: 19 Msg: #31031  
I travelled with Greyhound and thought it was fantastic. I knew a lot of ppl who travelled with Oz exp and everyone felt ripped off and wished they had chosen greyhound insead. This is fact and not merely one persons opinion. It seems that this thread has been taken over by ppl working for Oz exp who simply want to promote the company and turn around negative comments. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 28th 2008 No: 20 Msg: #31046  
B Posts: 3
We have chosen to do the wicked campers instead and travel up the east coast ourselves!! Any thoughts???
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