A recent report showed travel site TripAdvisor is now so big that its reviews can shift the tourism economies of entire countries.
Some 115 comments are added to listings for restaurants, attractions and accommodation every minute. It makes nearly $US1 billion in revenue annually and boasts more than 60 million members.
That can be a great thing. A University College Dublin study showed hotel managers were reacting to feedback and lifting their game across the board.
But with almost universal access to comment online, reviews alone these days aren’t enough to guide anyone looking for advice. Learning how to filter reviews appropriately is an equally important skill.
TripAdvisor has five levels of stars for reviewers to choose from, ranging from “Excellent” to “Terrible”. As a general rule, it’s best just to go with the numbers – if a hotel has 1471 “excellent” ratings, don’t invite any self-doubt by reading the 23 “terrible” reviews.
Although, the bad reviews can also be entertaining, if you’re looking for a laugh. Just because we can, we’ve collected reviews from some of the most disappointed visitors to Australia’s most treasured landmarks and attractions, because it’s just so goddamn difficult to please everybody.
(Please note, there’s no intention here to disparage any reviewer or any tourist attraction. We’ve also shortened a couple of the more lengthy takedowns for brevity.)
One of the world’s most famous rocks, Uluru is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of central Australia. It pulls about half a million tourists a year, most of whom come to see it “change colour” at dusk and dawn.
“waste of time if the climb is closed”
Went to Ayers Rock with friends by car, and it was slightly cloudy. Got up so early to see the sunrise, which wasn’t really a sunrise since it was a bit overcast. The free tour at 8AM from the car park is so boring, the guide just keeps talking and talking about what the rock meant for Aboriginees. No disrespect to aboriginees, but the rock was there loooong before they ever settled Australia, so I don’t care about what it meant in their dream land, I’d rather hear about geological facts surrounding the rock (why and how did it form?).
It was a bit cloudy, no rain anywhere, and they closed the climb to the top. So ridiculous. Unless you can climb up, it’s a waste of time.
“What planet are you people on?”
I’ve read these reviews and really can’t believe my eyes. Either this is the worlds biggest conspiracies or maybe I’m the alien. The heat at this place in March (when I was there)is oppressive… And I mean 100 degrees in the shade heat. But honestly you barely notice the heat because the plagues of flys that will attack you are of biblical proportions from sundown to sunset. You absolutely cannot walk outside without a head net. And the price of everything is insane… Not to mention the 7 hours of air transit from Sydney (3+ each way). For at best mediocre Accomodations and food. All this to see a Rock…with classically overhyped tours and dinners etc. Please bring some sanity to this and a buy a couple of postcards clue them to the wall of a convenient sauna and import a thousand flys at home and save a couple grand.
“A big red rock”
Totally over hyped by the Aussies. Big deal – watching the sun rise and set on a big red rock. Not worth the expensive and long treck to the outback. If you want to see spectacular red rocks, go to Sedona or the Garden of the Gods or Bryce Canyon. Now those are something to behold – even without champagne. And there is more than one of them AND there are no annoying flies AND not over hyped.
– wandaMPa, PA
“Wouldn’t go back… very commercialized!”
Maybe I wasn’t there at the right time, but I was not surprised by the rock changing color because it was getting dark. Thousands of people lined up, all paid 50 bucks entrance fee. I liked Kings Canyon and the Mac Donnell Ranges a lot so would go back for that but not for this stupid rock.
– AndrevW, Den Bosch, The Netherlands
Sydney Opera House
It’s, well, the Sydney Opera House.
“It’s been left behind”
Old building not easily accessed. Better ways to see the harbour. I suspect not many tourists venture inside either.
– Mastertusk, Sydney, Australia
“Silly damned egg carton”
Damned waste of money from it’s inception. Too far from the city proper and more often than not, the shows are elitist rubbish. Poor parking
– Mark J, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
“Nothing special, looks better on TV.”
When we arrived at the opera house it was very disappointing. Of course, the architecture is nice, but the roof itself was almost yellow and not white as known from the television. Since we were in Sydney anyway, it was not a big deal to visit the opera house. But I would not go there only because of the opera house.
It’s a pretty awful 1960’s style concrete building. It’s really nothing special at all. Save yourself the effort and view it from the bridge or harbour – the further away you are the less awful it looks.
– wanderer2012, Bangor, United Kingdom
Australian War Memorial
Opened in 1941, and regarded as one of the most significant memorials of its type in the world, the War Memorial is known best for being the resting place of the Unknown Soldier and as host of up to 40,000 people for the annual Anzac Day Dawn Service.
We were enjoying the tour until some an old guy told us just because we were American it didn’t mean we should be there. We dismissed him as being nuts until we learned his company … did the security for the place. It left us wondering what the issue is with Americans was there. and really made us wish we had went to NZ.
– Hw S
“Slow, understaffed, and food quality lacking”
There were not nearly eanough staff. Yes, it was the LW, but they knew that in advance. The place was not full, but they could not cope and it took 30 mins and 3 reminders to get my coffee. Carrot cake was very nice though.
“The war museum was like a Disney theme park (not good).”
The war museum represented stimulus overkill, with its attempt to ‘Disney-fy’ exhibits with battle-like panoramas, sights, and sounds. It didn’t take long before I developed a splitting headache and wanted to leave.
– Michael G
The largest natural harbour in the world is considered one of the most beautiful destinations to fly into, boasting the twin attractions of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
“Few people, poor scenery”
Old buildings, without delicious food and good scenery, only a bunch of ships and a few sea gulls. But we went there in the daytime, maybe different in the night.
– Edward Z, Shanghai, China
“Needs a good clean”
What has happened around the harbour? It needs a good clean.Paving very dirty and looking tired.Hopefully works will be commissioned soon to spruce up the place.
– hbgser, Geelong, Australia
“Over Rated and Horrifyingly Expensive”
Take the Opera house away and there is not much to see in Sydney. An impressive bridge which is not worth going all that way to look at though. Prices are ridiculous. A boring old school place with residences that look as if they were built in 1950. We will never go back. Better to buy the DVD and travel elsewhere.
– Fengibprs, Cape Town Central, South Africa
Thought the entire harbour area was a bit of a let down. Was very used to seeing the bridge and opera house photoshopped up to the nines, but when you see it in real life, it’s just a large, boring bridge, and a slightly sad-looking off-white small opera house.
– Matthew E, Oxford, United Kingdom
Great Ocean Road
The Australian National Heritage listed 243km stretch between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford is considered one of the country’s best drives.
“If you live in Dorset don’t bother”
Not that great if you are travelling from Adelaide to Melbourne and it is cold grey and overcast. To be honest if you grew up by the coast in Dorset you can give it a miss. Best bit was leaving it all behind and the windy road out.
“Nothing great about the great ocean road.”
After driving around NZ we found there was nothing great about the great ocean road. The only highlight was we spotted two koala bears in the wilderness but apart from that boring…
“I guess you need something…”
…to coax tourists to this part of Australia. Before the Algarve opened up, before the French invaded Cornwall, before the Vikings settled in Scotland and the Brits subjugated the Barbary Pirates in Oman, this was probably a real head-turner. Not now. Other places have the edge. WAAAAAY too many people. That said, it’ll be magic in low season I suspect. Sea spray and empty beaches! No coaches. No selfies. No indolent stallholders….
Why anyone who’s not into motorsport would care to review Mt Panorama is anyone’s guess, but we’re glad Griffyn did. His beef about the speed limit on Australia’s most iconic racetrack is also a common theme at TripAdvisor.
“For fans only”
I understand I’m not the target audience, but if you’re not a motorsports fan, then slowly driving around a small hill is probably not going to be terribly exciting for you, either. The police presence, waiting to smack a $700+ fine on you for hitting anything much more than 60kph, is also something of a buzzkill.
The penal settlement was one of Tasmania’s biggest tourist attractions well before the notorious mass shooting in 1996 which saw lone gunman Martin Bryant take 35 lives. Despite its painful history, it’s a spectacular preservation site.
Firstly, a lot of the building are indeed just ruins. You can walk into a few historic houses, but the main attraction was closed for renovation. Though from what I can see, it didn’t have any internal walls anyway.
The Point Puer tour wasn’t worth the extra cash. It is meant to be a tour of a Boys Prison, however none of the buildings are there or remained. You just walk around outside and they stop at some dirt and tell you a story about the Boys Prison. Then you continue to walk and they stop at more dirt, this time handing you some pictures. Then you continue walking outside, and you stop at a pile of bricks and they tell you more stories. No JAIL at all, ANYWHERE.
– MaryLilly88, Melbourne, Australia
Disappointed major jail attraction closed for renovations. Expensive food and entry fees. Go on the cruise only great thing about the place. The site is large, muddy and full of possum poo. The ghost tour is ridiculous. Tour guide moved fast through the dark fast very dangerous, stories were pathetic and no ghosts to be seen.
– NightOwl1980_12, Melbourne
“Not The same”
personal after visiting many years ago it was not the same after the Martin Bryant attacks. I found the site lacked the vibrancy it used to have .
– Mike F, Longford, Australia
Old Melbourne Gaol
Victoria’s oldest surviving penal establishment attracts approximately 140,000 visitors per year, mainly due to housing the skull of Ned Kelly – until it was stolen in 1978.
“An uncomfortable experience”
Not quite sure what I expected,but not all the death masks, gallows and focus on capital punishment. Wish I had not visited.
– janetb51256, Newcastle, United Kingdom
We had the worst experience ever at the “Old Melbourne Gaol” as we wanted to do a tour and ended up in some stupid, weirs role play where faked correction officer constantly yelled at visiting people, we told them that we are not interested in some crazy role play but they would not stop and lock people up in the cell. I can’t believe this is even legal! Haven’t they heard of the Stanford-prison experiment?
– psymaggs, vienna
“Only if you are interested in ‘old’ Australia history.”
Only if you are seriously interested in Australia history, otherwise you will be sorely disappointed. I would say: the Australians have succeeded in making a big deal out of small facts in their short history. If you skip it, you would not miss much (unless you are seriously interested in Melbourne and Australia history).
One of the world’s iconic sports stadiums, holding several attendance records including a jam-packed 121,696 to see Collingwood play Carlton for the 1970 VFL premiership.
“Not the greatest place to watch cricket”
While this stadium might be fine for watching a football match it is far too uncomfortable for a day watching cricket. There is no leg room and every time someone wants to go to the bar, cafe or toilet everyone has to get up and move into the aisle. We were there to watch the Boxing Day test and by 2pm they had run out of pies and you could not get a decent cup of tea there.
– Bill T, Nassington, United Kingdom
I was not impressed with this venue I found it rather boring but if you were into sports in a big way it would more than likely suit you. I did not visit by choice
– Marilyn A, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Members enclosure is very good, but THE G is a silly name.
– Cathy W
One of the most recognisable stretches of sand in the world.
“Too much sand”
After coming here we all ended up with sand all over us and soaked to the bone after going into the sea. The kids all got sunburnt as well, three days later and their skin still hasn’t stopped peeling. Awful quality, we will not be going back here!!
– home b,
“Just not worth it!”
As an Australian myself,give me the Celtic mystery of Cornish beaches or the bohemian charm of Brighton any day over Bondi. I find UK beaches less touristy,and therefore more wild and untamed (it’s no wonder one of them beat all Australian beaches on the trip advisor awards). It’s expensive and it’s dull.
– Sam M, Wagga Wagga, Australia
Millionaire Tassie punter David Walsh deliberately set out to challenge with his museum of death and sex. He succeeded, brilliantly. MONA boasts a whopping 194 “Terrible” reviews from angry, confused tourists who definitely know what they like. (There’s approaching 200 “Excellent” reviews.)
“Pseudo Intellectuals only!”
Don’t waste your time, everyone that says to go probably haven’t been. The building is fantastic and the boat is cool but the the art collection is terrible! I get art, I even get modern art but this collection is designed to make pseudo intellectuals think they’re are even smarter! Don’t go but say you did!
– Matthew M
Complete and utter pish. Lovely building and setting, the contents, I guess I’m just a Philistine but if a video of a woman eating an onion and some rope on a wall are you’re bag, then hand over your $25 and enjoy.
– Garth H
The most depressingly pretentious place I have ever been to. The outside of the building holds much promise but what is inside is attrocious! If it sets out to shock, I am most shocked by the shocking bad taste and vulgarity on many levels. There was no aesthetic merit to 95% of the work, the remaining 5% is very ordinary. The lighting is dark and dismal and the sounds accompanying the display are truly music to slit your wrists by.
– Leon W, Sydney, Australia
“MONA what a waste of time”
It would appear that “ART” is far different now a days! What a load of crap. I would like to know what drugs these so called artists were on when they created these works of ??? The sandstone natural wall was the only example of anything worth looking at.
– Brenda G, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
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