Multi day recreational tours



Is there any of you guys who have done cycle tours?
I would like to hear of your experiences. By tours I mean recreational not racing. Seeing the country on one's bike but still testing one's abilities especially in the mountains.
I've done a couple of two-week tours in Queensland. I'm planning one in Victoria later this year.
I did a 9 day 1000km tour about two years back. Eastern Freestate (South Africa), mostly rolling hills but at least 2 days of mountain areas in Golden Gate area.
It is really a lot of fun, we were 5 guys and a support crew of 2 (which helped a lot).
I have not done the "solo" touring thing (panniers and the like).
Would like to do that one of these days.