This summer is packed full of great, accessible events. Don’t miss out!

The summer period is a beautiful time of year to get out and enjoy the weather. While it isn’t always easy to find accessible venues, we’ve done the hard work for you! This summer, make sure you are ready to get out and enjoy the sun with our great advice below.

Summer fun inside and out

If you’re looking for some great accessible options this summer, there are places all over the country to enjoy everything Australia has to offer. Below, we have a list that will suit anybody.

  • Beaches and Parks – A huge part of the Aussie lifestyle, beaches and parks during the holidays are a huge day out! More locations become suitable every year. You can find great accessible beaches and accessible national parks and trail advice here.
  • Playgrounds – Always a fun outing for children, the number of accessible locations is growing quickly. Plus, many are installing wheelchair-friendly ‘Liberty Swings’ and other great fun. You can find a list of them right here.
  • Sporting and Cultural Venues – This time of year is always a great chance to get out and see museums, sports, and cultural events. No matter what event you look at, large venues now have great provision and support for patrons with access needs.
  • Major sporting codes are making in-roads for full diversity access across major venues and are worth checking out – especially the Big Bash League with constant games. There are heaps of accessible sporting options for those looking to play as well! Check out Disability Sports today!
  • There are some fantastic accessibility initiatives hosted by a huge range of museums, aquariums, and activity centers around the country. Options such as Sealife in Sydney or Melbourne, Museums Victoria, and Village Cinemas Sensory Events exist, with more available at Independence Australia.
  • Holiday Camps – Councils and groups across the country are providing more holiday camps and social events all the time. MyCareSpace.com.au provides a list of places across the country for sport, social, educational, and welfare activities. Check the list out here on the MyCareSpace website or get further help from your national

Music in the sun

During summer, Australia shows the rest of the world just how great our music scene is with some amazing venues and festivals with the world’s biggest artists. If you’re looking for options, make sure to check out some of these:

  • Ability Fest, launched by the Dylan Allcott Foundation, is aiming for another huge music and cultural event in 2023. Keep an eye out at their website and linked social media for upcoming details!
  • If you’re looking for something locked-in, check out Laneway Festival for all of the info related to their events across the country this year. With accessibility options and support available across most of their stages and venues, it’s a fantastic chance to see some local music talent on a huge scene. Contact them for more help and advice!

We hope you have a brilliant summer because there is nothing better than being active during these beautiful Aussie summers. We cannot wait to hear about it!

Accessibility Series – Let’s Go to the Snow!

Disabled Wintersport Australia makes holidaying with a disability easier than ever, as signing up to their services means that you can access concession pricing but also their equipment, pathways, programs and other benefits. Memberships last for the year, which you can find out more about here: https://www.disabledwintersport.com.au/membership/

 

Where to?

Here are a few of our picks based on accessibility and exciting activities to take part in.

Perisher Ski Resort

Perisher Ski Resort, also known as Perisher Blue, is the largest ski resort in the southern hemisphere. Located in the Snowy Mountains, this ski resort boasts fantastic ski fields and wonderful facilities for everyone to enjoy. Perisher Ski Resort partners with Disabled Wintersport Australia to help guests of all abilities have an experience of a lifetime in the mountains. 

 

Thredbo

In the heart of Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains, the award-winning Thredbo ski resort is one of Australia’s best. With a picturesque village and fantastic slopes, Thredbo packs in the outdoor adventure. Partnering with Disabled Wintersport Australia, Thredbo has a DWA Resort Services coordinator who is a point on contact for information relating to disability services, including hiring adaptive equipment.

 

Mt Hotham

A lesser known alpine village, Mt Hotham has breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding mountain ranges with just a 4.5 hours drive from the heart of Melbourne. Also know as the ‘powder capital’, this resort is the only in the Southern Hemisphere to be located on top of the mountain. Mt Hotham welcomes visitors of all abilities, and supports Disabled Wintersport Australia‘s resort services program.

 

For a full list of accessible ski resorts, check out the trip planning section of the Disabled Wintersport website.

 

What to do?

Skiing the Slopes

Skiing is on the bucket list for many, and having a disability doesn’t stop you from joining in on the fun. By reaching out to Disabled Wintersport before your visit, you can organise private lessons at the Snowsports school. They are able to provide adaptive equipment, as well as being taught by an experienced guide.

 

Shop Till You Drop

Who doesn’t love a good shopping trip? Within the villages at all of the ski resorts, there are plenty of retail outlets that you can visit. After all, some call it shopping, but we call it retail therapy.

 

Wine and Dine

There are excellent restaurants and café’s in all of the Alpine Villages. Whether it’s chowing down on a burger at Thredbo Burger Bar, snuggling up with a hot choccy at the First Run Café in Mt Hotham, or enjoying something sweet at Lil Orbits Doughnuts at the Perisher Skitube Terminal, you’re in for a treat when you dine out at the Snow.

 

Local Festivities

With everyone flocking to the snow, the local resorts know it’s a great time to put on the festivities. At Thredbo, you can enjoy the Kids Snow Festival on from the 1-17th July, with a huge line up of free activities for all to enjoy. If you’re interested in sitting back and relaxing, watch the professionals master the slops at the Perisher Cup from the 17th September. For those staying in Mt Hotham in September, the Victorian Backcountry Festival takes place, which is a welcoming and inclusive event that teaches audiences more about the slopes while enjoying ski activities.

 

Next month, we’ll be taking a look at what Sporting events are taking place and how people with disability can take part in them.

Easter Activities for People Living with Disability

Sydney 

Take advantage of the free public transport in Sydney over the next few days and explore the city! Here are a few places you can take your loved ones with disability over the Easter weekend.

 

Attraction

Description

Accessibility

Sydney Royal Easter Show

Head to the Sydney Showground at Sydney Olympic Park and spend a day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and you can not only see but also interact with beautiful farmyard animals, taste award-winning produce and experience a variety of exhibits.
Quieter days: Tuesday 12th April, Wednesday 13th April, Thursday 14th April and Tuesday 19th April.
Quieter Areas: Arts & Crafts Pavillion, The Paddock, Woolworths Fresh Food Dome, Showbag Pavilion (Mornings)

Accessible Parking, Accessible Toilets, Scooter, Wheelchair and Stroller Hire, Accessible Seating, Free entry to Companions

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is one of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks. An architectural masterpiece meets one of the best theatres in the state, a visit to this landmark is a must. The Sydney Opera House has a range of inclusive performances for people of all ages and abilities. Check out the shows and exhibits on this Easter.

  • Captioned performances
  • Auslan Interpreted performances
  • Accessible performance and sing and play sessions
  • Relaxed performances
  • Audio Described Performances
  • Assisted Listening Devices (FM Radio System)
  • Tactile tours

Universal Access Toilets, Accessible Seating, Auslan Performances, Relaxed Performances, Audio Described Performances, Tactile Tours.

Royal Botanical Gardens

With fantastic views of the harbour and Opera House, the Royal Botanical Garden is a great place to escape the bustle of city life and relax. With wide pathways throughout, it’s easy to explore some of Australia’s plant and animal life, including an exploration of coastal environments at the Inside the Tide immersive exhibit.

Wheelchair Accessible Entrances, Accessible Indoor and Outdoor Venues, Universal Access Toilets, Accessible Parking, Wheelchair Hire

Accessible Beaches

A trip to Sydney isn’t complete without visiting one of the most iconic beaches, Manly Beach. From Manly, you can do the coastal walk to Shelly Beach which has no stairs and wide walkways, making it wheelchair accessible.

Collaroy Beach is a surf beach that adjoins Narrabeen Beach forming a long stretch of coast. The beachfront area contains fun facilities for everyone, including people with mobility issues. Featuring Wheelchair Accessible picnic Areas, Ramp access to the beach and an accessible playground with sensory elements and liberty swing for wheelchair users.

Wheelchair Accessible, Beach Wheelchair Hire.

 

 

Wheelchair Accessible, Beach and Submersible Wheelchair, Accessible Toilet

 

 

Melbourne

Melbourne is bursting with fun and wonderful attractions for people of all abilities to enjoy. There are a number of sights to see, so here are a few of our suggestions for what to experience.

Attraction

Description

Accessibility

Kids Day Out – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Kids Day Out is a free event for families held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Good Friday, 15 April 2022.
Enjoy free entry and a range of activities for kids and families, including carnival rides, the popular Teddy Bear Hospital, a Mini Film Festival with Disney movies, Classic Cars, the Woolworths Fresh Food Fair and more.
The MCEC has parents rooms available, providing a private and quiet space.

Wheelchair Accessible, Assistance Animals Allowed, Braille signage, Accessible Parking, Accessible Toilets

National Gallery Victoria

Check out Australia’s oldest and most visited museum! The National Gallery Victoria offers a range of resources and events to make you visit as easy and enjoyable as possible, with audio described exhibits and tours, sensory maps and activity sheets for selected exhibits can be accessed through the website.

Wheelchair Accessible, Accessible Toilets, Auslan Tours, Audio Description, Relaxed Sessions

ACMI – Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Australia’s nation museum of screen culture, videogames and art, ACMI has interactive exhibits, like The Story of the Moving Image, exploring the history and future of moving image. ACMI also offer relaxed sessions, with sensory guides and dedicated quiet rooms, and audio described tours.

Wheelchair Accessible, Assistance Animals Allowed, Hearing Loops, Free Entry to Companions, Wheelchair Hire, Accessible Toilets

Phillip Island – Penguin Parade

Visit the iconic Philip Island to catch a glimpse of the Penguin Parade. The site has a number of accessibility measures in place to ensure this is an inclusive and enjoyable experience for all. Accessible-height counters and displays, ramp access and wide pathways leading to exclusive sensory and wheelchair access viewing areas.
You can also enjoy Phillip Island Nature Park from the comfort of your own home with virtual experiences available online.

Wheelchair Accessible, Buggy Service, Sensory-inclusive site, Noise-cancelling Headphones, Free Entry to Companions, Accessible parking

 

Other activities to look out for in your area…

  • Cinemas have Audio description and Closed Caption shows available, with some participating cinemas running sensory friendly screenings on certain days.
  • Museums and national galleries across the country also run relaxed sessions.

Heading out of the City?

Heading out of the city can be a great way to find quieter locations. Organisations like Autism Friendly Charter provide listings to accessible businesses and places near you, and many National Parks have accessible facilities. E.g. Parks Victoria provide information on parks with social scripts, accessible play areas, accessible canoe launchers and all abilities walks.

Make sure to search what may be available in your area…

Sensory-friendly Easter Egg Hunts

Here are some ideas and adaptations to make your Easter egg hunts at home accessible to all…

  • Colour-code your Easter eggs by ability or participant to make sure everyone is included
  • Swap chocolate eggs for sensory friendly toys or decorate some eggs at home to find
  • Hide eggs at eye-level or stick clues to the walls at eye-level
  • Use a familiar location for the hunt and create quiet spaces

Some Sensory friendly Easter Egg Hunts take place in the community.

Arts & Crafts

  • There are plenty of resources available online to take advantage of, like these Easter colouring pages.
  • You can find fake decorating eggs in shops and online that provide a less fragile surface. Use watercolours to decorate or create a more tactile decorating experience with foam stickers and jewels.

Baking

Some fun Easter recipes to give a try:  

We hope you have a great time this Easter, whether you’re out and about or relaxing at home.

References:

https://activerehab.net.au/at-home-easter-ideas-for-special-needs-families/

https://www.abilityhacker.com/eight-fun-easter-hacks-for-kids-with-a-variety-of-abilities/

https://havewheelchairwilltravel.net/accessible-sydney-beaches-activities-wheelchair-accessible-sydney/

Sightseeing For People of All Abilities to Enjoy

Get out and about and enjoy your new found freedom by visiting the big city. We’ve compiled a list of the best accessible sight seeing spots that everyone in the family can enjoy across Sydney and Melbourne’s iconic attractions.  

 

Sydney 

Living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world makes sightseeing a calendar highlight. Here are a few places you can take your loved ones with disability on your next free weekend.

 

Attraction

Description

Accessibility

Sydney Tower Eye

The Sydney Tower Eye has been a highlight of the Sydney skyline for the past 30 years and stands 250 meters above street level. Guests are treated have 360° views Sydney, making it a scenic experience to visit. The Sydney Tower Eye is fully wheelchair accessible and has extensive wheelchair facilities throughout the attraction, including lifts and shallow ramped walkways.

Wheelchair Accessible, Universal Access Toilets, Accessible Seating.

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is one of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks. An architectural masterpiece meets one of the best theatres in the state, a visit to this landmark is a must. The Sydney Opera House has a range of inclusive performances for people of all ages and abilities.

  • Captioned performances
  • Auslan Interpreted performances
  • Accessible performance and sing and play sessions
  • Relaxed performances
  • Audio Described Performances
  • Assisted Listening Devices (FM Radio System)
  • Tactile tours

Universal Access Toilets, Accessible Seating, Auslan Performances, Relaxed Performances, Audio Described Performances, Tactile Tours.

SEA Life Aquarium

Discover an amazing underwater world at SEA LIFE Aquarium in Sydney. This attraction is accessible in an effort to ensure every Australian can experience the wonder of what’s under the water. The aquarium offers free ‘Escape the Noise’ kits including noise-reducing ear plugs and noise-reducing ear muffs and ‘Xtra Eyes’ kits to support visitors that have visual impairments.

Wheelchair Accessible, Free Entry to Companions, Assistance Animals Allowed, Universal Access Toilets, Accessible Seating, Noise Reduction Kits, Visual Impairment Support Kits.

WILD LIFE Sydney

Pat a Koala and visit other furry friends at Wild Life Sydney Zoo. This wildlife park assists people with disability to make the most of their visit. The zoo offers free ‘Escape the Noise’ kits including noise-reducing ear plugs and noise-reducing ear muffs and ‘Xtra Eyes’ kits to support visitors that have visual impairments.

Wheelchair Accessible, Free Entry to Companions, Assistance Animals Allowed, Universal Access Toilets, Noise Reduction Kits, Visual Impairment Support Kits, Accessible Seating.

Manly Beach

A trip to Sydney isn’t complete without visiting one of the most iconic beaches, Manly Beach. From Manly, you can do the coastal walk to Shelly Beach which has no stairs and wide walkways, making it wheelchair accessible. If you’re looking to have some fun down on the sand, beach wheelchairs are free to borrow from the Manly Surf Pavilion. There is also ramp access from the Surf Club.

Wheelchair Accessible, Beach Wheelchair Hire.

SCG

Celebrate your favourite team with a visit to the Sydney Cricket Ground. The SCG is wheelchair accessible, with universal access for all areas. If you’re looking to learn a bit more about the iconic sports ground, there are SCG tours that can be tailored to meet the needs of people with disability.  

Wheelchair Accessible, Universal Access Toilets, Accessible Seating, Tailored Guided Tours.

Blue Mountains

Visit the scenic Blue Mountains, home of the 3 sisters, on an accessible tour. Hosted by Australia In Style, their Wheelchair Tour is created especially for people who prefer minimal walking or are wheelchair users. Tour the site and see spectacular views with your local guide that lets you set the pace of the tour.

Minimal Walking / Wheelchair Tour.

Melbourne

Melbourne is bursting with fun and wonderful attractions for people of all abilities to enjoy. There are a number of sights to see, so here are a few of our suggestions for what to experience.

 

Attraction

Description

Accessibility

Hot Air Balloon Over Melbourne

What better way to see the city than from 2500ft up? Global Ballooning operates Australia’s first disability-friendly hot-air balloon, with flights carrying people of all abilities over the city. The basket has specially designed seating and seatbelts, and a door that allows access without climbing over the basket edge.

Wheelchair Accessible.

Eureka Skydeck

This landmark is not for the faint hearted! The Eureka Skydeck is not only the southern hemisphere’s highest viewing platform, but it also boasts one of the most beautiful views in all of Australia. The best part is the Eureka Skydeck is that it is an accessible experience, welcoming people with physical disabilities and mental health conditions. Their website features a range of Access Keys, which showcases their accessibility depending on the type of tour you choose. This includes a sensory guide in each of the areas.

Wheelchair Accessible, Universal Access Toilets, Sensory Guide, Access Keys.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Titling itself the sports capital of the world, visiting the Melbourne Cricket Ground is a must. Wheelchair seating is available in all stands, and the G Train Mobility Shuttle Service is a free and accessible transport option for those looking to catch public transport to the grounds for a major event. Pickups are from Richmond Station, Jolimont Station, and also from the accessible parking area. There are a number of universal access toilets and facilities throughout the stadium.

Wheelchair Accessible, Shuttle Services, Universal Access Toilets.

Phillip Island

Visit the iconic Philip Island to catch a glimpse of the Penguin Parade. There is ramp access, complimentary buggy service if required, interpretative displays at wheelchair eye height and accessible amenities. Assistance animals are welcomed, and those who feel the cold or have difficulty with temperature regulation can make a booking for the Skybox, an enclosed elevated viewing tower between the two stands of the Penguin Parade.

Wheelchair Accessible, Buggy Service, Assistance Animals Allowed, Temperature Regulation Facilities.

ScienceWorks Museum

Scienceworks is your go-to Melbourne destination for curious minds of all ages. This museum is great for families of loved ones with autism, as it caters to the needs of those on the spectrum. Enjoy the attractions such as the Lightning Room and Planetarium by guiding yourself with the Sensory Map provided on the website. The map highlights low sensory and high sensory areas, making your day at the museum a fun time for all.

Wheelchair Accessible, Universal Access Toilets, Sensory Maps.

 

Make the most of your freedom and visit some amazing sights in your own backyard. Show us your highlights by tagging us on social media or hashtag #LiveBig in your post. 

 

References:

https://www.australia.com/en/places/sydney-and-surrounds/best-accessible-attractions.html

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/accessible-melbourne-top-10-highlights-for-travellers-with-special-needs

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