New café extension under way at Geelong Botanic Gardens

June 26, 2024 BY

Mayor Trent Sullivan with General Manager of WYM Kira Hunn. Photo: SUPPLIED

CONSTRUCTION has begun on an upgrade to the café in the Tea House building at the Geelong Botanic Gardens, aiming to offer customers a more enjoyable dining experience with a new covered verandah.

Funded by the federal government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program, the extension received planning approval from Heritage Victoria.

The Geelong Botanic Gardens and Eastern Park are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register due to their state significance.

Before plans were submitted, an X-ray survey of the ground was conducted to ensure the new structure would not disturb the tree root systems.

The café, known as WYM (Where You Meet), is located centrally in the gardens, providing a pleasant spot for friends and family to gather over coffee and lunch.

Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan encouraged residents to visit the gardens and the café. “The Geelong Botanic Gardens is one of the region’s most beautiful green spaces and I encourage everyone to explore the trails and enjoy a visit to the café,” he said.

“Eastern Park and the Botanic Gardens have significant historical importance for the state of Victoria.”

“The new café verandah will provide covered outdoor seating for customers, making WYM an even more enjoyable place to meet and relax in the gardens.”

Local firm TRAK Constructions is carrying out the project.

The Geelong Botanic Gardens, spanning 3.6 hectares, feature a mix of mature 19th-century tree plantings, rare exotic species, and newer additions. As Australia’s fourth-oldest botanic garden, it houses some of the finest tree specimens in Victoria, many listed on the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Register of Significant Trees.

Cr Eddy Kontelj, chair of the Active Spaces portfolio, highlighted the gardens’ evolution and their broad appeal.

“The gardens have evolved and developed over time and offer something for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

“Free guided tours from The Friends of Geelong Botanic Gardens are available to take you through the gardens’ rich history, including original heritage buildings and significant tree collections.”

“It serves as a vital green space for the community, offering a peaceful environment to explore and learn about botanical history and conservation.”

The Geelong Botanic Gardens is open daily from 8am to 5pm (8am to 7pm during Daylight Savings hours) with free entry.

The WYM café will maintain regular hours throughout the construction.