TROPICAL NORTH QLD
Tips for booking an accessible holiday • If booking through a travel agent, make sure they have a good understanding of your needs by providing clear information regarding your accessibility requirements. For example, tell them if you require a step-free shower and explain the assistance you’ll need if flying to your destination.
From the rainforest to the reef, Tropical North Queensland has a diverse range of accessible activities. SKYRAIL: Riding high in a gondola (suitable for most manual wheelchairs) for the 7.5-kilometre ride from the Smithfield Terminal to Kuranda Village on the Skyrail, allows visitors time to enjoy views to the coast while appreciating the World Heritage rainforest below. Free ranger-led talks are offered along the accessible boardwalk through the rainforest.
The spiritual heart of Australia is a must-see. Although Uluru is the headline act, the West MacDonnell Ranges are not to be missed. ULURU: With wheelchair-accessible paths and viewing platforms, everyone can get close to Indigenous rock paintings and spiritual sites. For motor-loving enthusiasts, a trike ride is a fast paced and comfortable way to tour Uluru with a guide. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular here, so pack a picnic and watch the show with tourists from all over the world. ALICE SPRINGS: Alice Springs has a range of accessible attractions to explore – including the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service – where visitors can learn about the challenges of providing schooling and medical services to people in the outback. Alice Springs Desert Park is a 10-minute drive from town and showcases three desert habitats and a variety of birdlife, plants and wildlife. Wheelchair accessible seating is available for the popular free-flight bird show. THE WEST MACDONNELL RANGES: This beautiful mountain range is easily accessible from Alice. The deep orange ochre colours of the peaks, the red soil, and the contrast of the blue sky makes for stunning scenery on the accessible walks at Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Big Hole and Ormiston Gorge. 52 / For families who travel
KURANDA SCENIC RAILWAY: The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a slower way to travel to Kuranda, but has a wheelchair-accessible carriage suitable for all wheelchairs and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rainforest. The train stops along the way so guests can appreciate views of the famous Barron Gorge.
Tasmania’s wealth of natural beauty draws visitors who want to explore a pristine wilderness. TAHUNE AIRWALK & CABLE HANG GLIDING: Here visitors can walk above the forest canopy or cable hang glide across the Huon River. The 600-metre accessible walkway ends at a spectacular cantilevered platform, 50 metres above where the waters of the Huon and Picton Rivers meet. For adrenaline-seekers, a 250-metre ride on the Cable Eagle Hang Glider will take you 50 metres above the Huon River before allowing you to glide back to where you started at a cracking pace of 40 kilometres per hour. Visitors need to be able to transfer from their wheelchair to the supportive harnessed seating.
GREEN ISLAND: Green Island is only a 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns. On the island you can swim at the lifeguardpatrolled beach, wander around via accessible pathways, or hop in a helicopter to see the Great Barrier Reef from the air. Speaking with Quicksilver (boat transfer to Green Island) regarding your mobility needs is recommended. Depending on tide levels there may be a few steps at the end of the gangway on to the jetty. PALM COVE BEACH: This beach wheelchair available to use for free from the lifeguard tower on The Esplanade.
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IMAGES: JULIE JONES.
TASMAZIA: Although most of us aim to not get lost on holidays, the wonderfully whimsical Tasmazia is the perfect place to do so. With a total of eight mazes (most accessible) and the model Village of Lower Crackpot, adults and children can happily lose themselves in the fantasy world.
• Ask plenty of questions when booking a hotel and don’t be afraid to ask for a photo of a room or bathroom if you are unsure it will be suitable. Many hotels will provide a shower chair, but if you need specific equipment, travel with your own. • Speak with an airline’s special handling department before flying. Provide details of any equipment you’ll be travelling with and have your wheelchair’s dimensions handy (needed for manual chairs). The staff will need to know what type of battery your power chair has if you are taking one on the flight. • Choose a destination with a good range of accessible activities to ensure the whole family can enjoy the trip. • Get a quote for travel insurance prior to booking and paying for your trip to make sure any existing medical conditions will be covered.
Discounts & concessions • It’s worthwhile applying for the Australian Companion Card (if applicable) as it offers free carer entry to many shows, tourist attractions and theme parks. • The Qantas Carer Concession Card (must apply and purchase the card) offers discounts to passengers who need a companion to travel with. This includes discounts on domestic flights. • The MLAK key (can be purchased at a Master Locksmith on presentation of your accessible parking permit) provides access to locked accessible public bathrooms and Liberty Swings (wheelchair swing). • Most domestic airlines allow passengers with a disability to travel with the regular baggage allowance plus one piece of mobility equipment. • And lastly, make sure you pack a positive attitude. Travel does have its challenges, but a successful holiday creates memories which last a lifetime. www.familytravel.com.au / 53
A bumper magazine filled with inspiration for a year of family adventures around Australia.