Volunteer guides - Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha

The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens volunteer guides are a group of volunteers from varied backgrounds with interests in Brisbane's botany, horticulture and history.

A formal qualification in horticulture or botany is not needed to become a volunteer guide, but good social and communication skills are important.


The first intake of volunteer guides was in 1988 following the success of guiding at World Expo '88. Some of the original guides are still actively guiding in both the City Botanic Gardens and Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. There have been intakes of new guides every two years since 1988. There are now close to 90 volunteer guides with active roles in both gardens. The volunteer guides are celebrating 30 years of volunteering at Brisbane City Council.


Council trains volunteer guides with the knowledge and skills needed to help make the visitor experience to the gardens enjoyable.

Training requires a commitment of one day per week for a duration of nine weeks.

Topics include:

  • historical background to Brisbane's City Botanic Gardens
  • an overview of Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha and the Mt Coot-tha precinct
  • an overview of Sherwood Arboretum
  • general introductory walks
  • communication and interpretation workshop
  • basic botany - 'Fascinating facts about flowers'
  • introductory botany - 'Classification and Latin is a language'
  • storytelling
  • planning a guided walk
  • mini-bus tour and walking tour of the Hide 'n' Seek Children's Trail
  • introduction to the Queensland Conservation Seedbank and Mt Coot-tha Library
  • code of conduct
  • roster management
  • assisting with events
  • hosting special booked walks
  • training for weekend rosters.

Role and commitment

Free guided walks program

Guides must participate in the free guided walks program.

Walks are at 11am and 1pm, Monday to Saturday at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha and at the City Botanic Gardens.

Rostered hours

Guides commence at 10am and finish at 2pm. Two or more guides are rostered each day and host guided walks to small groups of up to 10 visitors.


Meetings are held on the first Monday of the month from 9.30am to midday. The meetings are usually held at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, but sometimes at a different venue. The agenda may include a guest speaker, training and general business. It also provides an opportunity to meet other volunteer guides.

Regular professional development and excursions are also organised for the guiding team.

Booked walks

Guides also host groups who book special walks in the Botanic Gardens. These can be in the form of large walking groups and coach tours.

Special projects

Council encourages guides to develop special interest walks and to be involved in special projects promoting the gardens.

More information

For more information:

You can also find out about volunteering in Brisbane's natural areas and environment centres.

Last updated: 10 November 2020
Topics: mt coot-tha