Frequently Asked Questions
How was the location selected?
Stakeholder consultation and other forms of research over the years have indicated that the majority of users to the Gardens enter at the lower entrance.Coach and tour operators have also confirmed that the lower entrance is the main stop.Not many people realise that Geranium Street entrance is available. This was once the entry to the amphitheatre but traffic and pedestrian management became an issue given it is a residential area. Heavy visitor and event traffic, day and night via Geranium Street is not desirable.A lot of ambulant disabled and the elderly people who visit that Gardens from coaches and cruise ships, stay on average less than 20 minutes. They do not venture much past Frangipanni Hill and rarely ever make the trek to the top of the hill due to heat and requiring respite.The location on Frangipani Hill will enable local people with mobility and / or disability adjustments such as frames and wheelchairs to access the visitor and events centre from the lower car park.
Did you consider building the new centre at the top of Frangipani Hill?
Yes, the top of Frangipani Hill was given significant consideration. Key issues raised with this site follow:Building at the top of the hill would mean a larger area of the Gardens would need to be cleared, to allow for the turning circle of coaches.Increased traffic through Geranium Street, was seen as less desirable due to this being a residential area. Accessibility was an important consideration for the new visitor and events centre. The base of Frangipani Hill was seen as desirable as it would allow for easier access for parents with prams, aged and people with disabilities and mobility issues.
Why is the base of Frangipani Hill the preferred site?
The building is designed to slope the roof, to not obstruct the views, and to have minimal impact on the ground below with footings rather than large concrete slabs.A new visitor car park for the Gardens is being constructed at the base of Bullocky Point, so that tourists and locals coming to broader area attractions can benefit from the investment. The car park will support events at the new Gardens centre with just a five minute walk through the lower gardens area.Frangipanni Hill is a great central meeting place for visitors to meet to start their tour, be it self-guided, with a walking tour or with the popular Segway tours. After their tour, visitors can stay a while in cool comfort to learn more about the place, the plants and the people who make the Gardens unique, with a dash of retail therapy at their fingertips.
How will you minimise the building obstructing views?
That has been taken into consideration in the design of the building.
The gardens cover 42 hectares. Why isn’t the building set far back into the gardens so that visitors get an uninterrupted view of north Australian and other tropical species?
The visitor and event centre needs to be central and well connected to parking, coach lay down, events infrastructure and natural settings such as the waterfall and Heritage Lawn (two popular ceremony spaces).There are a number of collections set back into the Gardens including the Rainforest and waterfall, Woodlands, the Africa / Madagascar exotic boab species that can be explored from the visitor centre.The more we activate the gardens and encourage local participation and visitation, the more our Gardens are valued and continued to be invested in with tax payer money. The visitor and events centre needs be central and accessible to be successfully activated and integrated into the 42 hectares of Gardens.
Why is the Visitor Centre moving from its prime location at the top of the Gardens?
The gardens have been in Darwin for over 130 years and have survived World War II and Cyclone Tracy. Buildings have come and gone over the years including the Holtze Cottage which was a popular restaurant. The current visitor centre, which was once a workshop is no longer fit-for-purpose. Some of the key issues include that it is aged, inaccessible for all and too small for coach loads of visitors to enjoy a break from the heat and learn more about George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens.Today the Gardens are also popular for exercise and can easily be combined with a visit to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets during the dry season. There is much more potential for the Gardens visitor and events centre to be part of our night time economy, located where it’s connected and accessible from the coast.