Midweek interview Judy Vanrenen, founder and co-owner, Botanica World Discoveries

Midweek interview Judy Vanrenen, founder and co-owner, Botanica World Discoveries
By admin


The challenge for the industry is… protecting people and places that have been otherwise untouched, while still offering travellers the opportunity to experience something new and unique.

The things I like about my job are… the interesting people I meet.

And the frustrations are… the road and air traffic congestion that sometimes prevent me from being able to do my job.

If I didn’t work in travel I would be… a lawyer.

Qantas or Virgin?  Qantas.

My proudest moment was… when I became a mother – it was also my most challenging.

The naughtiest thing I ever did was… jump a queue – others may beg to differ!

I try to relax by… working in my Victorian country garden which I only open to my Botanica guests.

The last time I feared for my life was… in a New York taxi!

If I can, I always try to… avoid peak hour travel.

I really wish I had… started Botanica when I was younger.

The best advice I’ve ever received was… do everything to your best ability and continue your personal and professional development.

I don’t understand why… airfares to Europe are the same price they were forty years ago?

My greatest weakness is… taking on too much.

And my greatest strength is… my enthusiasm and passion for new travel experiences that are unique.

If I was prime minister I would… insist on more green wedges around cities and protect rural landscapes for future generations to enjoy.

If I won $1 million on the lottery I would… give it to the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen foundation which runs programs in schools to show children how to grow vegetables and then cook and eat them fresh.

If I could be someone else for one day I would be… the winner of a show garden at Chelsea Flower Show in London.

I’ve always wanted to travel to… see the wild Rhododendron’s at the foothills of the Himalayas.

My favourite holiday was… cruising in the Hebridian Islands and arriving at beautiful gardens by zodiac.

Judy Vanrenen’s joint passion for gardens and travel led her to set up her own botanically-themed travel business, Botanica World Discoveries, in partnership with APT in 2000.  Botanica World Discoveries remains one of Australia’s leading experts in garden tours and cruises, offering itineraries that combine iconic attractions and the chance to experience some of the World’s most spectacular and interesting public and private gardens.   

Judy has 35 years tourism and business experience and has sat on regional tourism boards. She has also used her business skills and experience to assist small tourism businesses in Victoria as a mentor with the non profit organisation, The Small Business Mentoring Service, for which she was awarded The Centenary Medal for her contribution to small business in Victoria. 

Botanica as a niche tourism business is able to offer unique small ship cruises and tours that give travellers an extra dimension to their travels, often going behind the garden gate and away from mainstream attractions which are inaccessible to the general public. 

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