Summer is well and truly here, which means warm weather and more time spent outdoors. While a few summer activities can be tricky for those using a wheelchair, there are more wheelchair-friendly attractions and places to visit every year. We’ve had a look into it and found some of the best things to see and do this summer for those using a wheelchair.
To The Beach
Beaches aren’t traditionally wheelchair-friendly, but several have significantly improved their accessibility, and even provided beach wheelchairs for hire.
- Half Moon Bay
Located in the suburb of Black Rock, Half Moon Bay is a lovely stretch of sand and popular with locals and tourists. For those using wheelchairs, they have appropriate parking and bathrooms, showers and change rooms. Booking is essential for the beach wheelchairs, which are available during patrolled hours – 12pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday.
- Hampton Beach
Melbourne’s Bayside is home to Hampton Beach, a protected spot with a safe place to swim directly in front of the Life Saving Club. Beach matting has been laid to make the beach more accessible for wheelchair users. As with Half Moon Bay, beach wheelchairs are available for hire when the beach is patrolled (Saturday and Sunday, 12pm to 4:30pm), though booking is essential. There is also an accessible change room, bathroom and shower.
- Carrum Beach
Located in Carrum, Carrum Beach is patrolled by the Carrum Surf Life Saving Club, who has a beach wheelchair available for public use. Get in touch with the Carrum SLSC for more information.
With more than 4 million hectares of bushland under Parks Victoria management, there’s plenty out there for people of all abilities to enjoy. Here’s a few we’ve chosen to highlight.
- Victoria’s first all-accessible canoe launcher
Forever more, Mildura can lay claim to having the first all-accessible floating pontoon and canoe launcher, located at Kings Billabong. The new facility involves a static jetty with a secure ramp that makes use of handrails and supportive rollers to easily guide people in and out of the water. Parking is available next to the canoe launcher, and passengers can be dropped off or canoes unloaded within a few metres of the platform.
- Brimbank Park Playscape
A special area at Brimbank Park has been designed to inspire creative play for children of all abilities, including those using a wheelchair. The Playscape has been designed with Brimbank’s Aboriginal and European history in mind, with paths and animal sculptures to explore, as well as signage in Braille and Auslan. All-accessible playground equipment includes swings, sand pits, murals and a maze.
Designer and wheelchair user Ryan Smith has put the work in to discover Park Victoria’s best all-abilities attractions. He has put together a series of really helpful videos that take viewers to all the places managed by Parks Victoria that offer tracks and paths suitable for wheelchair users. We don’t usually think of bushland and reserves as places that offer much in the way of all-abilities facilities, so you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many natural wonderlands Ryan has unearthed for wheelchair users to discover.
- Some useful links:
If you want to make the most of the warm weather this summer, then take a look at some of the links below; some really useful information.
• All Terrain Wheelchairs. TrailRider all-terrain wheelchairs give wheelchair users access to some of Victoria’s most amazing bushland. Check out this link to see where they’re available and how to book.
• Assistance dogs. All Parks Victoria parks and reserves allow the entry of assistance dogs (even those that are usually dog prohibited). Check out this page for more information and the entry requirements.
More Accessibility Means
More Summer Fun
We think of summer and we think of outdoor fun, whether that’s at the beach or at a picturesque national park. Traditionally, these places haven’t been inviting to wheelchair users, but things are definitely changing for the better. More attractions are being transformed into all-abilities wonderlands, with activities like canoeing now a realistic option.
With upgrades happening all the time, the trick is staying informed. Use the above links to keep up with all the latest places offering all-abilities access, and make the most of your summer.