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Answers about Australia


My husband and I along with our children, are looking to move back to Australia after 20 years overseas. We are looking at moving to Brisbane which we both are unfamiliar with even though my husband is an Aussie and did study around Bne for a while.

Iím looking for someone to have a video call with to go through some of the Brisbane suburbs to help us with identifying the target surburbs that suits our needs.

Would this be something that youíre able to help with? The profile of the ideal guide would be someone who has children that are either similar ages or older as we are looking at primaries and secondary schools.

Pls let me know if you are able to help

Irene 7/30/2021
John Donaldson (Private Guide) 7/31/2021:
Hi Irene
Although I am now essentially retired, I'll endeavour to help you as best I can. Will you be looking for private or government schools? Many of the really good private schools are closer in to the city but having said that, there are now a number of good co-ed schools popping up in newer suburbs. Everything will really depend on what area/ suburb you choose to live. Our children are adults and we have grandchildren but our children attended schools that were less than 6 kilometres from home. In my view any more than that and the travel just becomes too difficult.

John, could you tell me where you got your qualifications to become a tour guide and what was involved. Would love to start up something similar down here in Melbourne. Any feedback would be fantastic. I am a 54 year old bloke who is keen on a career change. Finished my travel agent course about a year ago, then covid came along and put an abrupt halt to proceedings. But I would love to keep pursuing a career in travel/tourism somehow. I look forward to hearing back from you, thank you, regards John Slavin.
John 4/19/2021
John Donaldson (Private Guide) 4/19/2021:
Hi John
Having the right personality is everything. Join every tourism organisation you can, including ATDW. It doesn't matter how good your website is, linking with ATDW is vital. Some people think the vehicle is important--- it is but not as much as you are. No signwriting on the vehicle! The vehicle should be spotless when you pick the clients up and so should you be but no uniform and no suit. Keep up to date on what's going on in Melbourne and the world and never stop learning more info about Melbourne and the region. Go to every networking event you can and meet other operators doing similar or totally different tours. Introduce yourself to every 5 star hotel Concierge--- if they like you they will call you and remember they all talk to one another. When clients are with you never talk sex, religion or politics even if they bring the subject up. I have never operated with advertised fixed itineraries. Never include lunch/coffee but you choose the venues that you know are good and you can get easy parking. The last thing your clients want is wasting time driving around looking for a park. With respect to qualifications, a guy I used to work with called me a 'know it all smart arse'
My mobile number is on my website. I have zero customers now so give me a call if you want some more info.

I'm planning to have my Xmas holiday for this year in Brisbane QN and I need a tour guide who is able to do the following for me;

- Taking me around Brisbane( visiting tourist attractions)
- Accommodation
- picking me from the airport

I'll bere there for 10 days and how much will it cost me for the above mentioned services.

Waiting to hear from you soon
Henry 5/20/2018
John Donaldson (Private Guide) 5/21/2018:
Hello Henry
A transfer from the airport to the city is Au$85 ( incl airport charges)
a half day tour of Brisbane is Au$350 for up to three persons.
a full day tour is Au$580 for up to three persons.
I am not a travel agent but I can make suggestions and give you the hyperlink to their website.

Discovering the beauty of the Blue Mountains is something I really long for. When it is best time to travel to this destination as to participate in the Yulefest? Are there hotels or guesthouses in this area and which other nearby locations can one visit?

Thank you,
Rossella 3/9/2011
Philip Holland - My Sydney Guide (Private Guide) 3/9/2011:
Hi, Rossella,

Thanks for your message - the best time to visit the Mountains is spring/summer/autumn, but Yulefest is celebrated in winter, ie June/July/August. It's also beautiful in winter, just a bit chilly!
A guide to accomodation deals is at and there is plenty to do up there. I would suggest a do not miss is Alo beautiful views, lunch in front of a roaring log fire, beautiful flora and fauna.
Let me know if you would like me to put together a tour for you. We could do the tour and I coule leave you to spend the night at one of the hotels up there which range from backpacker accommodation to 5-star hotels such as Lilianfels.

All the best,

Philip Holland
I don't know much about Australia but I do know that there is a lot to do and see! I want to get the best out of my trip so I am looking for some of the "must do" activities. Which cities and attractions should I plan to spend time in?
Danielle Lynch 1/31/2011
John Donaldson (Private Guide) 1/31/2011:
Hi Danielle
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. Don't attempt to se it all in one trip. The area around Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne plus the Barrier reef could be covered in a holiday of about 3 weeks. My suggestion is to start in Brisbane, then go north to Cairns to see the reef then fly to Melbourne for a few days and then on to Sydney for the balance of your time here and then fly home.Spend about 3 days in each area. If you haven't booked any accomodation yet, I can put you in touch with someone who can get you the best deals and the service is FREE.

Private Guide in Sydney
Andrew (Private Guide in Sydney) 1/31/2011:
I like active tourists and could guide you during 4 days in Sydney and my parter could guide you in Melbourne for another 4 days.

Private Guide in Sydney
Sam (Private Guide in Sydney) 1/31/2011:
Hi there,

Well yes there is a lot to see and do here, from beaches, lakes and mountains to theaters, galleries museum not to mention amazing food and of course wine.

I can give you a personalised itinerary to suit your interests however best to contact me directly via the Kangarrific Tours website. If you could let me know how long you want to spend here, and the sorts of activities that interest you (walks, diving, theater, markets, mountains, beaches, clubs, being pampered, thrill seeking, relaxing, meeting locals, sports etc...) Australia is an amazing place to visit with plenty to do no matter what your interests are. I'm sure you'd have a wonderful time here.

Kind regards,
Kangarrific Tours

Philip Holland - My Sydney Guide (Private Guide) 1/31/2011:
Hi, Danielle,
Thanks for your message. Your trip to Australia will have to be based around how long you have to spend here. It's a huge country and many people make the mistake of trying to cover as much of the country as possible and not getting to enjoy anywhere for long enough!
Australia covers the whole range of climates from the tropics to the snow. Being based in Sydney this is my area of expertise and there is enough to do here to keep you occupied for a week at least. As well as the beautiful city area, there are the spectacular Blue Mountains, just two hours west of the city - "The Grand Canyon with trees". Two hours north of Sydney is the Hunter Valley, our local wine growing region, and two hours south is Jervis Bay, a national park with the whitest sand beaches in the world and teeming with wildlife.
In Sydney itself there is so much natural beauty, from the historical area of The Rocks, site of the first European settlement, the Sydney Opera House, wildlife parks, Sydney Harbour cruises. If there are any particular interests I can design my tour around them. If you would like me to cal you for a chat please let me know your phone number.
Best wishes, Philip Holland