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The stunning Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne has for decades been one of the city's most popular attractions for locals and tourists alike, and the appeal of the city's most popular gardens is set to grow further with the addition of a new Taylor Dunn Battery Electric Utility Vehicle to support its faithful volunteers.

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne has recently enlisted Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) to help purchase a new Taylor Dunn Battery Electric utility vehicle, which will be used by the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne to provide an important service to garden-goers and amateur botanists.

The Taylor Dunn utility vehicle as standard is a two-seat open-cab utility vehicle with a versatile rear load tray which can be used to carry loads or converted to help support a wide range of applications.

Not only have the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne had their Taylor Dunn utility vehicle modified locally and covered in a unique livery, it has also been modified with a custom enclosed cab to protect occupants from the weather, and a bespoke canopy in the rear.

The Taylor Dunn volunteer pod serves as an information centre on wheels, able to be deployed anywhere on the Garden's grounds to display maps, interesting plants and information for visitors, including events happening at the Garden and where to find amenities and seasonal flora.

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Chief Executive David Harland said the new volunteer pod would help improve the experience for volunteers and visitors alike.

"We are thrilled to launch this new volunteer pod which, combined with the expertise of our friendly volunteers, will enhance the visitor experience at the Gardens and bring the community together around our stories, landscapes and history," Mr Harland said.

The purchase and canopy fitment were facilitated by TMHA area sales manager Grant Owen, who said the new utility vehicle was perfectly fit for purpose to help the gardens' volunteers interact with visitors.

"They used to have an old caravan which they'd tow around and put the caravan on the spots where they'd do the activation, and they'd sit there with their chair and tables and talk to visitors," Mr Owen said.

"Whereas this machine, two people will be able to jump in, drive to where it is, open the doors and there's little storage compartments for their tables and chairs - it's really nicely customised for what they want.

"As far as a tool goes, it's amazing - it's a big upgrade on what they had previously."

The Taylor Dunn Battery Electric Utility Vehicle also provides a low environmental impact for Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, being powered by a 36-volt electric drivetrain which produces no tailpipe emissions and allows for quiet, convenient transport all around the gardens.

The lightweight aluminium canopy features a pair of barn doors on each side, divided down the middle to provide left- or right-side opening displays to provide garden-goers with all the information they need about current activations and events.

Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne President Lynsey Poore was thrilled by the new Taylor Dunn from TMHA, with the organisation helping to provide funding for the purchase.

"The Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne were delighted to provide funding to support this new volunteer pod, which the Garden Ambassadors will run to inform our garden visitors of what is on in the Gardens, the special plants to visit at each season plus some displays of interesting plants for visitors to admire and seek out in our world class gardens," she said.

The Taylor Dunn offers a range of approximately 65km, can carry a load of over 900kg, is capable of towing over 2000kg and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

With gardens in inner Melbourne and the outer south-east in Cranbourne, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria plays a crucial role in the conservation of plants through a range of measures including biodiversity research, the study of habitats and programs to protect rare and threatened plants.

Melbourne Gardens includes the State Botanical Collection housed at the National Herbarium of Victoria, with visitor programs for all ages providing the broader public with education about the importance of plants to life.


Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne's Taylor Dunn Battery Electric utility vehicle.
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne had their Taylor Dunn utility vehicle modified locally and covered in a unique livery.
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne's Taylor Dunn Battery Electric utility vehicle.