The Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. Pic: Rockhampton City Council
The Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. Pic: Rockhampton City Council

Redevelopment in the works for gardens and zoo

An open-air amphitheatre, nature-based playground, refurbished information centre and upgraded kiosk and amenities are all potential features of a redeveloped Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and Zoo.

Rockhampton Regional Council released a tender this month for a precinct concept design.

In the tender documents obtained by The Morning Bulletin, the project has been described as a “long term progressive redevelopment of the Botanic Gardens and Zoo”.

The tender seeks to appoint an industry specialist with a background in botanic gardens, zoo and heritage development and restoration to prepare a precinct-level concept design that includes a series of options with unique visitor experiences.

The vision is for the rejuvenation of the Green Jewel of Central Queensland and a premier regional botanical and zoological centre of excellence, as well as a recognised centre for preservation, research and education for flora and fauna.

The 34ha Botanic Gardens and Zoo is one of the major tourism attractions in the region with more than 300,000 visitors a year.

The heritage-listed gardens were gazetted in 1869 and last year celebrated a postponed 150 years.

The zoo has been operational since 1925 and now has more than 60 species of native and exotic animals.

The documents state the gardens and zoo are currently promoted and defined as two different entities which has created misalignment and lost opportunities.

The zoo, which is free entry, attracts more than 150,000 visitors, of which approximately half are non-locals.

This alone has an estimated impact of $27.8m for the region and the zoo supports 292 direct and indirect jobs in Rockhampton.

It is noted the zoo is “significantly constrained” with operational facilities and public amenities and non-compliance limiting plans of expansion.

The tender closes on February 10.

Map of the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and Zoo.
Map of the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and Zoo.

The documents narrow down the project into six precincts in the space.

FERNERY PRECINCT

Includes Hugo Lassen Fernery, including glasshouse and greenhouse, Spencer St house, cottage and staff shed.

HUB PRECINCT

Includes the information centre and shared zone.

Redevelopment of The Hub is focused on the refurbishment of the information centre and shared zone with a raised pedestrian area for the gardens and zoo.

COMMERCIAL PRECINCT

Includes outdoor dining and function areas, kiosk and amenities.

Plans include upgrades to the existing amenities, kiosk and outdoor dining and function area.

The Gardens Tearooms has a lease at the site until November 2023.

PLAYGROUND PRECINCT

Includes the playground, picnic and BBQ facilities.

Potential to upgrade the facilities with a nature themed playground.

LAGOON PRECINCT

Lagoon and several footpaths.

Opportunity to have an open-air amphitheatre for events.

ZOO PRECINCT

More than 60 species of native and exotic animals and multiple operational facilities.

Opportunity to create a landmark entrance facility, upgrade the operational facilities and increase the exhibition areas and animal experiences.



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