When I travelled Australia as a backpacker back in 2007-2008 I did quite a few different organised tours. Most where through tour companies for backpackers, but a few where a a bit more luxurious. In my experience I now remember the tours with the more “basic” groups better than the more posh ones. I think the reason for this is the shared mindset in the group, where people are after the experience and not ticking of places they’ve been. And it’s also a lot more social sitting around a camp fire eating dinner, than at separate tables in a restaurant-like set-up.
I read an article in the New York Times a few days ago called The Haimish Line where David Brooks talks about his trip to Africa. His family had the same experience I had, where the more basic camps had the better experience.
My advice if you go travelling is to think about what you want before you book tours. Is it a trip where you want peace and privacy, or do you want a more engaging experience?
And a tip for a really nice (but quite basic) tour through Australia’s wilderness, I’d recommend Heading Bush, from Adelaide to Alice Springs.