“ Sightseeing Type: Tours „
Having been a Neighbours fan for years, one thing I was determined to do whilst visiting Melbourne was take the Neighbours tour to Ramsay Street.
The tour was easy to book online, or could be done in person at the Neighbours Tour office in the centre of Melbourne, and cost $50, which is approximately £30 at the moment.
The tour picks you up from central Melbourne, and drives you out to the suburbs, which is where Neighbours is filmed. We were picked up in the Neighbours bus, which is brightly decorated with Ramsay Street signs and a picture of Dr Karl! Whilst on the bus, our guide told us lots of Neighbours trivia and gossip, which was all very interesting, and there is a video player on the bus for watching classic episodes.
Depending on where the cast are currently filming you are sometimes able to see some of the sets, and we were able to go to Carpenters Mechanics, and Grease Monkeys.
From there, we drove on to the main event, Ramsay Street itself! We spent some time in the street (which is very small in real life) and were able to take pictures of the houses and pose with a Ramsay Street street sign! It was quite surreal seeing the street in reality and imagining the characters there!
The tour takes just over 3 hours in total, and the time goes very quickly as our guide was constantly pointing our places that have been used in filming, or telling us interesting facts about the show and gossip about the actors.
I felt the trip was a little expensive for what it was, however they run two full trips a day to the street, so people are clearly happy to pay $50, so thats why they charge that much. Whilst I thought it was a bit overpriced, I enjoyed the trip very much, and if you're a Neighbours fan and interested in seeing the familiar settings in person, then I would definitely recommend the trip.
I can't believe that the first thing that we saw as we walked around the corner from our hotel in Melbourne was the shop for the Official Neighbours Tour. I was gutted! I used to watch the show as a kid, but have long since stopped watching it. Unfortunately, my wife still loves the show and excitedly started leaping up and down asking me if we could go on the tour. As we had four days in Melbourne and the tour was only for 3 hours, I reluctantly agreed!
We booked on to the tour for the morning after and returned to the shop where we were picked up in the subtly painted (note the sarcasm) Neighbours Tour bus. Brilliantly, for me, it was full of over enthusiastic Neighbours fans with cameras at the ready to snap Ramsey Street and any other distantly Neighbours related item they could pass off.
Our first destination took us to the aforementioned Ramsey Street, which I'm sure many of you know, is in fact a residential cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Melbourne. As such, the guide advises you not to knock any of the doors and ask for Paul Robinson as you will be politely told he doesn't live there! The guide produced a Ramsey Street sign which we were all happily snapped with outside Mrs Mangle's house as I recall it! I found myself strangely starting to enjoy the experience as I recalled various dodgy storylines being "acted" out on the street that I was standing on.
The guide was, in all fairness, really good. He would happily throw out Neighbours trivia questions for the hardcore fans who fervently tried to shout out the answer first, whilst the more sceptical amongst us inwardly mocked them. We headed off to "Erinsborough High School" which again, is a real school with a different name, and we all leapt off for the next round of pictures!
Armed with a few nuggets of information on what the latest storylines held for a load of characters I didn't recognise, we headed back to the shop. As a "treat" the guide put on a DVD of all the pop videos that former Neighbours characters had released, think Kylie, Jason, and that awful one that Stefan Dennis released! It was all good cheesy fun!
We returned to the Neighbours shop where we were encouraged to buy any selection of Neighbours merchandise. I politely declined as I ushered my still enthusiastic and mildly hysterical wife out to the safety of the city!
I notice now that it cost about $50 to do the tour now but that includes meeting a "star." There was also the option for a Neighbours evening when we went, which offered "Dr Karl" and his band on selected nights!
No trip to Melbourne, Australia is complete without a visit to the Neighbours set. As you can tell from my previous review on Neighbours the show, this is one of my favourite shows from childhood and I grew up watching it and was actually very excited at the prospect of going to visit the street when I went backpacking in Australia a few years ago.
The fictional Ramsay Street is set in the fictional town of Erinsborough. In real life the show is filmed in a place called Pinoak Court which is in the suburb of Vermont South, 29 kilometres from Melbourne CBD.
An online search for a tour of Ramsay Street will take you to a variety of sites but look for the ones that say official Neighbours tour. If you are backpacking around Australia though all of the hostels you stay at will have information on the tour and you can often book your tickets through them. When I did the tour back in 2005 I think the tour bus actually did pick ups from a number of the hostels too because obviously it's generally young people that are staying in the hostels and it's young people who want to go on the tour.
Looking at the websites now it seems that a tour will cost you AUS $50 and will last for approximately 3 hours. AUS$50 equals approximately £25 which I guess is not too bad although I do remember it being a bit cheaper a few years ago, oh well, I guess that's inflation. There are also a number of different options available to you which are worth researching. For example you can go and actually meet some of the cast on Ramsay Street or you can go to a special evening in a pub where you meet a few of the cast and socialise with them. As my boyfriend at the time was already mortified that I was dragging him off to Ramsay Street and was hoping that no one ever found out that he did such a naff thing we decided to just go on the tour and not be as sad as to meet the cast or anything embarrassing like that!
I have to see that I was a bit disappointed with the tour itself but just the actual experience of being on the Ramsay Street that I had seen on my television for years was just about enough to take away my disappointment. There was really not much substance to the tour. We were picked up in a minibus with about 10 ish other people. We were promised refreshments half way round the tour. Well, this turned out to be a tub of Haribo type sweets that were passed around the bus from time to time. Now don't get me wrong, I'm never one to turn down gummy sweets but I was at least expecting a beer and some cake or something like that when refreshments were advertised.
We firstly drove past Erinsborough High, the school where all the children from the street attend. They often have quite a lot of scenes here and it's an integral part of the show so we were all interested to see it. It's an actual school so of course we could not go in. What we did do was get out of the bus. Then the tour guide took out a wooden sign from the back of the bus with the Erinsborough High logo on it, hung it over the barbed wire fence of the school and bingo, the filming location for the school where we could take photos etc.
Secondly we drove past a few streets where the guide pointed out places of interest such as where Kylie and Jason went for a date, things like that, not that interesting as they didn't bring back any memories for me.
Whilst driving around in the bus we were treated to some television clips of memorable Neighbours moments such as various weddings, funerals, goodbyes, etc. The guide also provided some trivia and asked us questions about yourselves etc.
The main part of the trip though was our stop at Ramsay Street itself and I have to say this was the only part I was really looking forward to or really enjoyed. We parked on the street and were allowed to get off the bus. The tour guide had a big pole with the Ramsay Street street sign on it that we could all take turns holding and having our photo taken by. We were given about half an hour if I remember correctly to walk around the street looking at all the houses etc. On first impressions the street was a lot longer than in looks on the show and also a bit more sloped that it looks on television too however it was very familiar and fun to see all the front of the houses. As it's a real residential street we were not allowed inside of course and we could not walk up to the front doors either. This was perfectly fair to me as if I lived there I think I would tire of the endless stream of tourists coming to my street but I guess there is some kind of cache of saying that you live on Ramsay street. If I can remember correctly I think only two people have moved away from the street since they have been filming there so it's obviously not that intrusive for the residents. Apparently I think don't film too often, getting all their outside shots at one time so to cause the least amount of disruption possible.
Once we had taken our photos outside Mrs Mangle's house and the Robinson house we all got back on the bus and were dropped off at our various pick up points having taken part in a bit of television history. If you're a Neighbours fan I would recommend this tour just for the pure fact that you get to see the street but it was a little lacking on the wow factor for me!!
Official Neighbours Tour
When I was in Melbourne I decided to go and see the Neighbours sets and areas they film at. When I was younger I loved the show and had got back into watching it in the time I was living in Australia.
We booked the tour in the YHA hostel and I was disappointed they did not pick us up here. Instead we had to walk about 25 minutes down to their offices to check in at the Neighbours reception. In the leaflet we were promised a free souvenir gift which we never received.
We jumped onto a really worn bus with a rather uncomfortable seat. The tour guide informed us they were getting a new bus. Unfortunately this was no advantage to us. Instead we had to sit in the smelly heap of junk they called a bus. On the way to our first destination old footage of the soap was shown via a dvd (which could be purchased), on screens scattered throughout the bus. Even with the very uncomfortable seats and rickety bus we got to our first destination which was Erinsborough High School.
Now Erinsborough High School is a working school, which has young foreign children attending. You are warned that it is a working school and not to any of the pupils. The school itself is much smaller than I expected. Only certain areas where familiar to me as they tend to film in the same spots. It isn't laid out, as you would imagine either. Luckily enough no-one was around and we got to take pictures of the area. An old sign which hooked onto the gate was lying around the back of the bus and before we got back on to the bus the tour guide got everyone to stand behind the sign one by one (if you wanted) and took your photograph at Erinsborough High School.
Back onto the bus then to watch more old footage with cast members telling you of their experiences. Then we were taken to the backlot of a lot of the sets. Here included Grease Monkeys, Carpenters Garage some shops and the bus stop. We were able to get out and investigate closed, taking any photographs we wanted. It was strange as nothing was inside these shops and they were extremely close together which you wouldn't really imagine.
The bus then takes you through an area, which has a trailer/caravan type van which the stars all get ready in. They get dressed and get makeup put on here. Next stop is the allotment, which is off to the side by itself. Right beside it is the main part, which has the Veteranary Clinic, Laisters, Charlie's and the General Store. Again these places are only shells with nothing inside. Also everything seems so crammed together. On the other side of these stores the pond, park and bridge is here.
Once all our photographs were taken it was back onto the bus where a folder was sent around giving you information on the soap. Things like where they lived on Ramsey Street and some of the cast's story lines as well as current news on the stars. It was rather interesting to read. The last stop was Ramsey Street. This is the familiar main circle of houses. Each house is very distinctive and you can tell its them straight away. If you didn't know the location you could drive past so easily without noticing the cull de sac. I have to say again the area was a lot smaller than on screen (this seemed to be the trend). A sign was pulled out of the bus which you could hold up (it was Ramsey Street put onto a pole). Some guests hogged this sign but eventually we got to have our photograph taken holding the sign. You see the actual street isn't called Ramsey Street I am not sure what it is called.
This tour didn't last overly long roughly 3 hours but that includes travelling between destinations. It costs $40 Australian dollars to do the tour each, which is expensive enough for what you get to do. One Australian dollar is equal to roughly 0.47 United Kingdom pounds. If you are a Neighbours fan it is worth spending the money. You were told you would receive a free souvenir gift, which I was disappointed we never received. If you wanted you had the choice to leave out the sets (Laisters, General Store, Charlies etc.) and meet a star instead from the show. Personally this did not appeal to me and I didn't want to meet a star and talk to them. I would have felt cheated if I hadn't of seen the sets. I am glad I done this tour as it was nice to see where they filmed however if you have never watched Neighbours before this tour would probably not interest you at all.
Also posted on Ciao under denisekelly40
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