Tim Barnes is a 39 year old husband and father of three, living in Adelaide, South Australia! He’s been using a wheelchair for 17 years after becoming a paraplegic when his car was hit by a falling boulder in a freak accident. His love of travelling stems from his childhood adventures and he has big plans for future trips with his family!
Tell us about one of your great Australian adventures!
Our greatest Australian Adventure so far would have to be in 2014 driving from Adelaide to the Gold Coast via Griffith, Parkes, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour and then on to the Gold Coast. There we met up with great family friends, and spent a week and a half on the coast visiting Sea World, Dream World and Movie World, and exploring. We also drove up through the Tambourine Mountains to O’Riley’s Rainforest Retreat for the day and fed the wild birds.
What do you love most about travelling?
I have loved traveling since I was a kid and my parents would take us on family adventures both in Australia and overseas. I now share my love of traveling with my wife and our children. I love traveling now as it can provide me with a sense of freedom. The thrill of finding somewhere new that we have never explored, learning about new places, the history and of course meeting different people.
What do you find challenging, travelling as a wheelchair user?
I think the things that cause me the most grief and frustration when traveling would have to be missing out on joining in with my family or everyone missing out on an activity because of it’s inaccessibility.Really there is a very long list!
The lack of understanding of what accessible means from service providers, the lack of access to public places (playgrounds, beaches, rides at theme parks just to name a few), how difficult it is to book accommodation with wheelchair accessibility, Hotels/motels/apartment buildings that advertise that they are accessible but on arrival do not have access carparks or have steps leading into the swimming area! I also really struggle with the fact that if my family wants to go away we usually have to pay premium prices in order to get accessible rooms or have to hire two rooms to suit my needs and fit my family. At times we have even had issues with finding an accessible room in a hotel as they only have one out of a few hundred in a building that meet the needs for wheelchair access. It all puts a dampener on your trip!
How do you plan your travel?
If we are traveling locally (within Australia) my wife and I usually book everything. We have used online booking in the past however this is usually paired with calling everywhere as well to ensure that the accommodation is accessible. So yes there is usually a lot of research before booking. If we find somewhere that works for us we will definitely go back if heading to the same place again!
What would be your top-travel-tips for other wheelchair users?
If ever in Paris and someone offers to push your baggage trolley, say no!
Be prepared for anything…
Never trust temperature regulated taps!
Show the people who say you ”can’t’, that you ”can”!
What’s on your bucket list?
A trip up to Cape Yorke/Far North Queensland
Taking my family to the USA and back home via Europe visiting family, around the world ticket
New Zealand North to South to show our children the first trip my wife and I took in 2004
Canada via Japan
Thanks Tim, we can’t wait to see where your next adventure takes you!