It’s the end of summer, but judging by the last few weeks, it seems like we might still have a few more weeks of beautiful weather to go before we’re all bundling up and staying indoors. Melbourne and rural Victoria are also known for their beautiful autumn scenery and colours as the leaves change colours and fall for their winter season, so now is a prime time to see our beautiful home state. Here we catalogue some of our favourite travel locations for families with special needs.
1. The Grampians
The Grampians are a nature reserve in North West Victoria, near the town of Stawell. They are known for their stunning vistas, beautiful wildlife and amazing sandstone rock formations. The area also boasts amazing waterfalls, ancient indigenous culture and wineries. The Grampians National Park now offers all-terrain wheelchairs to allow visitors with mobility issues the opportunity to enjoy the walking trails. The park also offers volunteer “Sherpas” who are trained in using, lifting and pushing the all-terrain wheelchairs, and can be booked up to a week in advance to assist solo travellers or families to see all the gorgeous scenery that the Grampians have to offer. For further information about the Sherpa Volunteer Program or the all-terrain wheelchairs contact the Brambuk National Park and Culture Centre at Grampians National Park on (03) 5361 4000.
2. Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is known the world over for it’s one of a kind beauty and scenery. Tourists from around the world flock to the road and its seaside towns every summer to see some of the world’s best beaches, marine wildlife and bushwalks. Many of the Great Ocean Road attractions are also wheelchair accessible. The 12 Apostles can be viewed and experienced following the fully wheelchair accessible walking track. Loch Arch Gorge also has dedicated parking spaces and disability access to views, as does The Grotto and The Bay of Islands. The Petersborough Foreshore has many accessible sections, where dolphins are often seen playing in the waves.
The Great Ocean Road and the areas surrounding also play host to many accessible accommodation options. A list, as well as more information on accessing The Great Ocean Road sights with a mobility impairment can be found here.
The Colac Otway Shire Council can also be contacted for more information on all-terrain wheelchairs and accessible sight-seeing in the Great Ocean Road Area at Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Centre, 100 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay, Victoria 3233, Phone: 1300 689 297, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Wilson’s Prom
Wilsons Prom is a stunning bay area and national park four hours south of Melbourne, known for its beautiful bushland, mountain ranges and breathtaking sea views. Wilson’s Prom also boasts a variety of accessibility options for those with mobility aids. There is plenty of wheelchair accessible accommodation, and all terrain wheelchairs can also be hired from the visitors centre in order to enjoy the beauty of the national park on the rough trails. Other items such as hoists and commode chairs are also available to hire free of charge for those visiting the area. Norman Beach and Tidal River are both accessible by all terrain wheelchair, as are many of the national parks walks.
For more information on accessible accommodation, walks and mobility items, contact Wilsons Promontory National Park Information Centre on 5680 9555.
4. Ocean Grove
Another gorgeous accessible beach spot is Ocean Grove Main Beach. While the beach and nature reserve boast a number of wheelchair accessible walks and features, Ocean Grove is also where The Disabled Surfers Association meet twice a year. The Disabled Surfers Association have the mission of helping people with mobility restrictions realise their dream of being able to learn to surf. Year round, the beach has world class accessibility options such as a Special needs changing/amenities, wheelchair ramp access from the carpark all the way to the sand and Specialised Beach Wheelchairs (to suit adults and children) meaning that people of all abilities can enjoy the beach and surf.
Bright is known as a prime autumn visiting spot for Victorians due to its series of deciduous trees that become adorned with an array of colourful leaves in the autumn season. As well as enjoying the natural colours, highlights of the festival include the Gala, with a market, music in the streets and a parade. There are also a series of open gardens to enjoy throughout the cities and local eateries. The event is suitable for those using a wheelchair, with many wheelchair accessible facilities and parking spots in the area. For more information on the festival, click here.
6. Dandenong Ranges
The Dandenong Ranges are an iconic Melbourne spot for relaxing amongst the leafy greens, quiet forests and gorgeous flora. The park offers detail guides of walks to users of wheelchairs wanting to explore the natural sights, which can be found here.
There are also various gardens throughout the Dandenong Ranges that have wheelchair accessible walks and facilities. In particular, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens are known for their beautiful autumn colours and for being wheelchair friendly.
The Dandenong Ranges also offers an all-terrain wheelchair for use on the rough walking tracks and trials. More information on booking the free wheelchair to enjoy the parks natural beauty, can be found here.
7. Fairy Caves
Generally speaking, access to most caves, including the caves in the Buchan area are restricted for adults and children with mobility issues due to the cramped spaces and stairs that cave traversing involves. Parks Victoria has made it possible for children and adults under 60kgs to visit the end of the Fairy Caves and take part in a cave tour using a dedicated accessible stair climber. The stair climber makes it possible to take those with mobility restrictions into the fairy caves to experience the amazing stalactites and cave atmosphere.
The stairclimber is free of charge to hire, but a cave tour fee does apply for all people wishing to go into the Fairy Caves. More information can be found here or by contacting the Buchan Caves Reserve on (03) 8627 4700.
At Lifemobility, we understand that no two families are the same, and each family has its own unique needs and mobility requirements. We strive to help families and individuals maintain their lifestyle and independence through the use of mobility aids, scooters, wheelchairs and other mobility items. You can arrange a visit to our showroom by contacting us on our website, or arrange for us to conduct a home visit to you to discuss your lifestyle and needs.