TRIPADVISOR REVIEWS

There are so many places to visit close to Melbourne, but the Dandenong Ranges are tricky to get to if you are using public transport. Jay has created an amazing day out in the Dandenongs that I’m sure everyone would love and be inspired by.

He is your personal guide and enthusiastic host. Full of knowledge about William Ricketts and what he was trying to achieve both as a conservationist and as a lifelong sharer of the aboriginal culture through his sculptures.

After a delicious lunch, an awe inspiring walk through the Dandenongs, learning about the forest and with some magic thrown in on our trip, the chance to watch the thrilling mating display of the lyrebird! (William Rickett’s totem).

This was a wonderful introduction to the Dandenongs and a privilege to share conversations about Melbourne and the natural environment.

Jay will also do bespoke tours if you contact him. You could not want for a better guide:)


— Margaret M, Scotland.
We had a wonderful day with Jay, which was the highlight of our Melbourne holiday. He guided us through the William Ricketts Sanctuary with knowledge and sensitivity, adding a whole new perspective to our understanding of the sculptures and their links with indigenous culture and spirituality. Jay was truly inspiring in the way he unfolded the stories and their background.
Lunch was thoughtfully prepared in a lovely location with friendly restaurant staff. Our afternoon visit to the Rhododendron Garden was a spectacular walk through spring flowers - again guided skilfully and knowledgeably by Jay. This was a perfect ending to our tour.
We highly recommend Jay and his Awaken Tours to anyone considering a trip to the Dandenong Ranges.
— Craig and Jade. Byron Bay, Australia.
Our last day before returning to the UK we took the trip with Jay. For me, I could not have imagined a better experience. Jay is a knowledgeable, passionate and spiritual person. This was not a visit where the guide just re-iterated what had been said many times before but was a sharing of knowledge and insight. When we parted I felt we were leaving a friend behind. Thank you Jay.
— Sue C, UK.
I really enjoyed this trip - the William Ricketts Sanctuary was a very cool experience, and our walk in the Ranges was a nice break from the city. Lunch was superb. What really makes this trip worth taking is Jay - he is gracious, open, and so willing to share anything he can about pretty much anything you asked. I learned a lot and really enjoyed myself.
— Erin, Georgia, USA.
We booked a tour for four with Jay at Awaken Tours. Normally, he only does tours for three people, but he made special accommodations for the four of us at no additional charge.

The walk through Sherwood Forest’s eucalyptus and tree fern forests was serene and spiritual. Later we stopped at an amazing restaurant that I unfortunately can’t remember the name of. The chef served tasty organic foods that were to die for—one of our best meals in Melbourne and that saying a lot given that Melbourne is the foodie center of Australia!

The highlight was William Ricketts Sanctuary. Jay shared the history and spirituality of the sanctuary and gave us a greater understanding of the plight of the Aboriginals.
— Audrey, Arizona, USA
My wife and I, visiting Australia from Canada, took the William Ricketts Sanctuary tour with Jay in July 2017. It was a fantastic day, full of magical moments. Jay is not only a
great guide but also an incredibly kind and generous person. The whole experience felt like discovering the treasure that is the William Ricketts Sanctuary with a close friend, what a treat ! The day’s program is perfectly well paced, and the lunch was wonderful.
At the end of day we told Jay that we enjoyed his company so much that we would like to take another tour with him, any tour, just for the pleasure of spending more time with him. We ended up going with Jay to the Dandenong Range a few days later, and it was again a very pleasant day. I highly recommend taking any tour that Jay offers, you will be spoiled and will never want to do large group tours. Meeting Jay was on of the highlights
of our 5 weeks trip across Australia. Thank you Jay.

— Louis, Vancouver, Canada.