There is nothing like summer in Australia. From finding your balance on a surfboard to roaming the halls of an art gallery to coming face-to-face with lions (and tigers, and bears… oh my). With so many accessible activities now available (and more available each year), it’s time to pop on some sun cream, grab a hat, and enjoy all that Australia has to offer.
Sun and Sand
Spending the day at the beach is a BIG part of Australian culture and considering Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, we’re not surprised! However, Australia’s beaches haven’t always been accessible for everyone (and some of them still aren’t). In recent years, there has been a push to make more and more of our beautiful beaches accessible to all Australians.
Accessible beaches offer easier access by providing ramps, wheelchair beach mats and accessible change rooms or showers. If you would like to head to the beach this summer, check out the Accessible Beaches Directory to find an accessible beach near you.
If you’re keen to try surfing, the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia has locations across the country (and even in New Zealand!), you can contact their team to sign up for a class or check out their upcoming events.
A Little Bit of Culture
Museums, art galleries, theatres and other arts venues can be a great way to escape the summer heat. Australia has a plethora of museums, art galleries and other art venues to choose from with many of them having been designed as inclusive spaces, accessible to anyone.
If you’re in the mood for some art, here are a range of accessible museums and art galleries by state*:
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory
* Please note that there may be other accessible museum and art spaces not listed above.
A Wild Life (with wildlife)
Zoos can be a great place to go for people of all ages and accessibility, especially as most zoos have been designed wide pathways perfect for wheelchair access. Many zoos across Australia offer wheelchair and motorised scooter hire (although most people are likely to have their own), free entry for carers, access for Assistance Dogs (some zoos require a 72-hour notice period for Assistance Dogs as certain precautions may need to be taken and some areas may be restricted for safety depending on the individual zoo policy), and accessible facilities. Some zoos, like Adelaide Zoo provides play programs designed for children with physical, sensory, cognitive, and intellectual disabilities.
Before heading to the zoo, be sure to check out accessibility on their website.
Make a Splash
Love the water? Why not try something a little different? The Scuba Gym (Sydney based) provides Scuba Therapy for people with Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Quadriplegia, Paraplegia, Autism, Down Syndrome, Motor Neuron Disease and more.
Scuba therapy can be fun while also assisting to increase strength, flexibility, confidence, and focus. Scuba Therapy may even be reasonable and necessary under the NDIS. If this is something you’re interested in, you can discuss it with your LAC or Support Coordinator.
For those who don’t live in the Sydney region or if you’re not too keen on scuba therapy, but love to be in the water, there are hydrotherapy options available across Australia or just a good old fashion dip in the local swimming pool. Check out the website of your local swimming pool for inclusive swimming programs and other accessibility related information.
The Great Outdoors
Australia is home to some of the world’s best national parks, and better yet… most of the are accessible. Many of the Australia’s national parks have wheelchair accessible trails and some even offer TrailRiders for free hire. TrailRiders are designed to give people with mobility restrictions access to trails and pathways that are not accessible for wheelchairs, including walks with stairs.
Get to know some of Australia’s top accessible parks by selecting your state below.
Australia has so much to offer, and what we’ve listed only just scratches the surface! It’s important to remember that whether you’re soaking up the sunshine by the beach or in the national parks or enjoying a break from the heat by heading inside to the galleries and museums, always be prepared. Packing things like a water bottle to stay hydrated, sunscreen, a hat, and any personal items that you may need during your summer day out to help to ensure that you have the best time while staying safe during the summer heat.
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