G'Day Swiss 11 -
Since 1960sman forgot to welcome you to My Swiss Alps, I'm please to say -
Welcome to My Swiss Alps!-
<<"It'll be a very long flight from Melbourne to Zurich and therefore would be quite jet lagged. Where should I spend the first night recouping on arrival? Would it better to spend in Zurich or in Lucerne? ">>
We usually recommend Luzern (German spelling) because it is a more manageable size, with better scenery.
<<" Would it be better a book a flight from Geneva or from Zurich to fly to Athens for the next leg of my trip?">>
In general, Zürich has more flights. Otherwise, it is up to you , from a perspective of convenience. Both airports have excellent rail links.
<"since the information provided on each link is so overwhelming.">>
<<"I find it's easier to travel with these tours for they are reasonably priced, include accommodation and take away the burden to plan on my own.">>
Indeed. However, many of us find the planning to be as much fun as the traveling. I'm one. I have traveled over many regions of the world, and have never paid someone to take me around to see selected sights (except once in Japan, to Nara). And, since I do a lot of photography, I find it helpful to avoid the time constraints of keeping up with the tour guide. It does seem overwhelming at first, but the tools available for Switzerland provide a lot of support.
However, guided tours are a valuable way to bypass the work, and get the enjoyment. Especially on the first "Get acquainted" visit. Viator has a good reputation.
<<"since one of them is on a van and the other in a train?">>
Don't miss the trains. They are a wonderful part of the experience.
The forum moderators will surely add comments.
Australia has well over 100 times the area of Switzerland , with about 3 times the population, so the information density for travel is much higher, more complex, more intense, and more overwhelming.
The population density in the arable regions requires a dense public transport network, too. Good for you, once you learn to use it.