Exploring National Parks in a wheelchair
By Julie Jones, Have Wheelchair Will Travel
Most Australians love embracing the outdoor lifestyle and it is wonderful to see that National Parks are finding ways to ensure no-one misses out on the fun.
If you have a family member with mobility restrictions, or someone who uses a wheelchair, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy beautiful bushwalks and our National Park’s beaches. Some even offer wheelchair accessible accommodation.
Accessing the Beach
Beach wheelchairs are specially designed to handle the sand with either balloon tyres or wide wheels. It’s fantastic to see that Wilsons Promontory in Victoria has a range of beach wheelchairs available so visitors can enjoy a walk along the sand (usually impossible with a regular wheelchair) or to have a dip in the water. They come in a range of sizes and styles for children and adults.
The TrailRider is a piece of equipment which allows a person with mobility restrictions to access tracks that are not wheelchair accessible. This even includes walks with stairs. The TrailRider has a seat with a high back, foot and arm rests. Depending on the difficulty of the terrain, between two and four people use the handles to guide the rider along the tracks. The wheel under the seat means that there is no lifting of the chair and makes it enjoyable for all.
The Grampian’s have trained volunteer Sherpas who can assist visitors by providing physical assistance with the TrailRider. This means there’s no need to have your own army of family and friends to help you enjoy the beautiful walks in this area.
Muogamarra Reserve in Sydney is open for 6 weekends during the peak wildflower season. The TrailRider and Hippocampe will be available for loan at this time (13 August – 18 September with bookings recommended).
The TrailRider is available in many locations around Australia including the spectacular Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.
Caves are generally inaccessible to wheelchairs due to the many stairs but Buchan Caves Reserve has found a solution. An electric Stairclimber takes children and light adults (up to 60kgs) down the stairs to explore the Fairy Cave.
It’s so liberating for families with additional needs to be able to access the beach, a walk or even a cave and wonderful to see National Parks all around Australia embracing the idea of access for all.
Further information on how to book or enquire about these facilities can be found here -