Wondering what you can access in National Parks around Australia? These ideas are sure to get you excited!
Wilsons Promontory would have to be top of the list, accessible trails, beaches and accommodation. This place gets a big Tick. Parks Victoria have been working hard over the past decade to improve access for all within their parks. They initial push came from recognising that healthy people put less pressure on the health system and that there is a direct relationship between obesity and people with disabilities. So with support from the Health department they identified a few key parks that they could begin to adapt to become more accessible. With Wilsons Promontory and Arthur’s Seat being among the first. Parks Victoria went on to Win the Specialised Tourism category in the 2017 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards for their initiatives. More information on accessibility at Wilsons Promontory.
Recently we attended a workshop held by the Parks Victoria accessibility expert, John Kenwright and learnt about some of the techniques they used to create such a success program. The South Australian Department of Environment and Water (DEW) had a strong attendance at the session and gained some valuable insights that will enable management to identify the next steps to take to improve accessibility in SA National Parks. DEW have been working hard to improve the access information they provide online, and this is just the start.
Last year DEW completed a major project to create an accessible Rooftop Loop Walk at the Naracoorte Caves, giving people that cannot descend the stairs into the underground cave system a chance to learn more about the local environment. And approximately an hour down the road is Australia’s first accessible cave – Tantanoola.
There’s some great walks and fantastic scenery across Kangaroo Island with an accessible boardwalk that leads to the amazing geological feature of Remarkable Rocks, within the the iconic Flinders Chase National Park.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service have an Access Friendly Guide to their parks available online. With activities from the South Coast, Sydney up to the North Coast you are sure to find a park that suits you.
Mostly along the East Coast of Australia there are Trail Rider’s for use, a trail rider is adaptive equipment that enables people with little mobility to be carried up narrow and rugged trails. Check out this list to start planning your next National Park visit. One is soon to be available in Mt Remarkable SA.
Over in Western Australia, our friends at Breaking the Boundary are an adaptive mountain bike organisation challenging people with disabilities to go beyond the flat surface! They have rated trails for accessibility in WA and NSW and are always looking for more. The Break the Boundary team are running a couple of introductory camps in Brisbane QLD and Lowden WA in September, check out their website for more details.
Wanting to get on the water? Then check out the canoe launcher at Kings Billabong, Mildura, Victoria. The canoe launcher enables the paddler to roll down the launcher using the rails and float into the water from the hinged section that sinks under the weight of the paddler. The extended rails enables the paddler to pull the craft onto the floating section and slip back up the launcher.
Photo credit: Alice in the Territory
The Ellery Creek Big Hole in the MacDonnell Ranges, just outside of Alice Springs boasts a popular water hole and picnic spot that can be accessed by wheelchair users, although you might want to use your off road wheels or all terrain wheelchair.
It is brilliant to see so many accessible activities to participate in, the hard part is deciding which one to try next!
Feature photo credit: Parks Victoria, Wilsons Promontory