Today, the tour guiding students set out on a site tour of the Melbourne Town Hall. They were met by a very experienced guide, Ken, who took them on a 1 hour tour. The students had to observe the guide in terms of creating rapport, information flow, group cohesion techniques, tailoring information to a specific audience and many other tricks of the trade.
3 weeks in and already 3 site visits for the budding tour guide students!
In week 1, the students were shown tips on how to lead pax through the city using a combination of public transportation and walking, what major attractions there are, which delivery spots are better than others and why, and tips about group cohesion and leading multi-cultural groups. As a multi-lingual guide, it is easy to impart that knowledge.
In week 2, the students started a quiz through the Flagstaff Gardens to increase their product knowledge, followed by a visit to the Historical Society of Victoria. They are a great source of information for tour guides in Victoria!
In week 3, the students went on a guided tour of our Yarra river (originally known as Birrarung). The Koorie Heritage Trust guide was observed in terms of his use of props, story telling, creating rapport, product knowledge etc. Rob was a fantastic source of knowledge and we look forward to another tour with them in Semester 2. The students also visited the Travellers Bridge to evaluate this self-guided site.
The Tour guiding students, stage I, went on a site visit to the Victorian arts centre to observe a site guide’s techniques and gain product knowledge. They toured the 3 different halls spread out over 10 levels whilst listening to facts and figures as well as some funny stories that took place there.
The Arts centre houses an amazing amount of contemporary and indigenous art:
The glass bead wall in the Amcor Lounge.
Jeffrey Smart’s “container train in landscape ” painting in the George Fairfax studio.
Papunya Tula arts tapistry.
The Tour guiding students visited Bunyip Tours to speak to Gerry, their Operations Manager, about the management of driver guides. Driver guides are tour guides who obtain a.o. a light rigid license to guide tourists whilst driving.
Students learned about the legal requirements an operator has to abide by ( seatbelts, first aid kit, hammer to break glass, signage and BFM – Basic fatigue management, etc) and daily routines to follow in terms of bus readiness ( check oil, reflectors, etc) and completing a logbook. They discussed the forms that are in place for accidents and defects.
Bunyip runs 4 different operations each focusing on their niche tours. Driver guides are trained by shadowing another guide and meeting with staff on a regular basis. They have 12 buses covering 10 different tours.
Being a tour guide is so much fun, yet very demanding. To get to know your town inside out is easier said than done. It requires lots of research, eye for detail and bucket loads of enthusiasm.
It is easy to get to know the well-established tourism attractions in town but how do you get to know the ‘nooks and crannies’ that make up the real Melbourne? What does our city stand for and how to relay that message within a 4 hour city tour?
Here is what the stage I tour guiding students have discovered the last 2 weeks:
- 333 Collins Street, the Old Commercial Bank of Australia is a pearl! Here at the bank’s impressive domed entrance built during the land crash of the early 1890s. They saw the scratches on the tellers’ benches where the gold was handed over… Those were the times!
- The Immigration Museum garden with its 7000 names of “new Europeans” as the newly arrived Europeans were called who arrived during the 10 pound policy.
- Degraves Street beautiful art by Sydney-born artist Yvette Vexta. Modern Melbourne is a mixture of food, coffee, quirky shops, fashion and arts.
- Young and Jackson’s Pub to get the full story of Chloe, painted in the 1870s by the French painter Lefebvre. Can you imagine the outrage it caused in Victorian Melbourne??? How did she die?
- The story behind the Rialto : It shows a time when Marvellous Melbourne was the richest city in the world based on income per person… It has a hydraulic lift and some remnants of the U turn shaped cobbled-stoned road in and out of the building to deliver wheat and wool for the docks. Incredible to think that this elaborate facade hid a storage place!
- You have to be able to give your client’s advice on where to eat and drink… find them a non touristy and quirky location such as ‘State of Grace’… Just find the correct book to pull out of the wall to enter…
- You have to know the different aspects of each attraction to suit a large variety of clients: the commercial side (fob style Seiko watch) at Melbourne central and the more historical Shot Tower Museum within the shot tower.
So you see, being a guide is anything but boring!
The tour guides had a busy week visiting the Stamford Plaza on Little Collins Street to discuss how they deal with arriving and departing tour groups incl. OH&S issues. Students were shown the various facilities and some rooms. Thank you to all the staff involved!
They also joined the Aboriginal Heritage Walk of the Royal Botanical Gardens where Ben shared his wealth of knowledge regarding various uses of plants and seasons and the importance of sustainability. But not before the welcome to land through a tanderrum ( smoking ceremony using Cherry Ballart (Ballee), Red River Gum (Biel) and Silver Wattle (Muyan)).
Students were able to gain invaluable product knowledge and see the importance of structuring tour commentaries through the use of introduction of a common theme, delivering in big chunks, using interpretation and props, just to name a few tools. Another successful outing.
Visit to Tullamarine Airport
Departing from the newly refurbished and automated Skybus terminal, the budding tour guides visited Tullamarine airport to understand the process of meeting and greeting pax and organising group departures.
Qantas groups was extremely helpful in explaining the process for groups and so was the Qantas staff regarding checking in FITs through automated check-in kiosks.
Students also met with visitor information staff to discuss their services on offer.
They looked at all the differences for checking in pax domestically at different airlines as well as internationally, the various airport facilities, waiting bays for various forms of transport, etc.
Another informative outing.
This term, the diploma students wrote their own tourism apps for St Kilda, focusing on a theme of their choice including vegan and vegetarian restaurants, sports, history, animals, sustainability, photography, arts, desserts and coffee places of St Kilda. The students could use a variety of different platforms.
Students’ apps had offline maps, links to the respective stakeholders and other service providers such as transport and weather, clear instructions as to how to use the app and OH&S instructions, route maps, a feedback form and survey page.
We were able to present some of these apps to the Tourism Team from Port Phillip Council, St Kilda. Their response was very positive in terms of inclusions and profession layout.
Very happy with the outcomes !
The last few weeks, the tourguiding students presented their own themed walks of Melbourne. These included:
- Lanes and Arcades
- Gothic architecture & transportation
- The Yarra river and the bridges & ghost tours of Melbourne
- Arts in Melbourne & St Kilda
- The Royal Botanical Gardens
- Chinatown & theatres of Melbourne
- High Tea traditions & iconic buildings of Melbourne
- CBD & Docklands artworks
- Sustainability of St Kilda & Carlton Gardens
The students had to research 3 attractions in depth, write a tourplan and deliver the information in a 30-40 time frame. Their tour management skills and presentation skills were evaluated as was the content. It was amazing to see the transformation within 6 months… Very pleased with the outcome!
Tourguiding students are either Cert III students (some going on to do their Diploma) or diploma students taking this unit as an elective. Looking forward to the new term!
This week, the Tourism Diploma students set out on a field trip to the Carlton gardens to analyse the effectiveness of the ‘Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens Walk’ (MV app).
After a “womenjika” (welcome to the land of the Kulin nation as the tour takes place on the land of the traditional owners), they discovered that the gardens were modelled on the gardens in Versailles. T he 1 hour tour revealed many interesting facts about the gardens and the Royal Exhibition Hall:
- Design competition won by Melbourne architects Reed & Barnes & built by Mitchell (the father of the famous soprano Dame Nellie Melba)
- Completed in 1880, it hosted Melbourne’s first International & World exhibitions with 30 nations exhibiting displays of arts, science, trade, commerce, and industry: the 5 key theme.
- Known as the GREAT HALL
- 1901: Australia’s first Federal Parliament , before it moved to Canberra in 1927. The first time Australia had its own Federal flag.
- 1919: site of a hospital during the Influenza/Spanish Flue in Melbourne
- Many other uses: RAAF training college, ballroom, aquarium, war memorial museum, etc.
- 2004: Australia’s first building on World Heritage listing.
The app gives some good OH&S information and explains the workings between the audio, written transcript and the map. Another good tour to analyse whilst writing their own tourism app.