This is how holidays should be.
We booked the SA Care ‘Imagination’ wheelchair friendly houseboat, we rocked up and enjoyed it. There was no concern over the accessibility, no anxiety in the planning stage, we knew what to expect and we got it, and it was INCREDIBLE. SACARE is a South Australian, family owned and administered business that provides housing and care services for people with disability. So they know their stuff, they really do care and are keen to see as many people as possible enjoy this fantastic experience!
Imagination sums up perfectly what we preach…. when accessibility is done well, it is seamless. And, if you’ve never driven a houseboat before, the lovely Bob meets you on board to show you the ropes!
There are so many good things about this houseboat, including it being located at Mannum, as it’s easy to get to for a weekend away. Mannum is only an hour from Adelaide and (apparently) it rarely rains, so although we had cold nights, the days were stunning. Don’t be put off by cruising in Winter, it was so peaceful having stretches of river to ourselves, amongst the flocks of pelicans, that you won’t get that in the sunny months.
Five bedrooms with ensuites – awesome. One ensuite is wheelchair accessible and another has grab rails and a movable shower rose for those with reduced mobility needing a little bit of support. All internal doors have adjustable widths, opening up to 1.1 metres. The back door to the swim deck is a standard door and there is no access along the (out) sides of the boat.
Enough fridges and esky’s to keep your travelling party fuelled for a week! Well stocked cupboards with enough crockery and glass ware to support the onboard festivities.
It’s furnished tastefully and clean.
And the top deck has a spa, a BBQ, seating areas and a second steering wheel. The top deck is accessed by stairs, but there is a motorised stair climber available for use. Instructions can be given on request.
Don’t forget the swim deck, kayaks and yabby nets to keep everyone entertained.
Our weekend was fantastic to say the least, next time we’ll be booking in summer so we can make some use of the swim deck.
If this isn’t enough, Bob the houseboat manager has all other bases covered and gives you instructions on how to drive the boat and everything else you need to know. You only need a car drivers license to drive the boat and then you are away.
Our tip is to ensure you have someone onboard prepared to secure the boat with the ropes for when you want to stop. Finding a spot close enough to the bank to use the accessible ramp is a pretty tricky ask.
The hardest part might actually be booking the boat, as I can see why it’s in demand!
If a houseboat is not for you, then the Mannum Caravan Park has a good accessible cabin and the PS Marion River Cruise is worth a look. Picnicking on the river foreshore is also a great way to soak up the atmosphere.
Note – From 2021 Imagination is no longer available for public hire.