We’re always keen to see more of our own backyard, but if you’re a wheelchair user, travel can be tricky to plan if you don’t have the right info! Lucky for you, we’ve got your back, with 5 of the most wheelchair-accessible cities to visit in Australia.
Melbourne is an awesome, vibrant city and definitely one of the most wheelchair-accessible cities in the world. Accessible public transit? Plenty of accessible activities? Sign us up!
Here are our top accessible things to do in Melbourne:
- The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest and most visited gallery in Australia, and always has amazing exhibitions on. It's fully wheelchair accessible. Plus, the rooms are wide which means there is plenty of space to circulate and unisex accessible bathrooms are scattered throughout the gallery.
- If you’re not scared of heights, the Eureka Skydeck is the southern hemisphere’s highest viewing platform! With a pretty impressive view of the city 88 floors up, the experience is wheelchair accessible.
- What’s a trip to Melbourne without a trip to the MCG? If you are keen to catch a game, wheelchair seating is available in all stands at the MCG, but you’re best to pre-book if it’s a big game.
- A couple of hours’ drive out are the Twelve Apostles, the stunning rock formation along the Great Ocean Road. The path to view them is paved so you can get there in a wheelchair.
Tip: You can also download a free access and mobility map that let you see disabled parking spots, where the accessible toilets are, mobility recharging points, public seating and drinking fountains! It also points out the accessible train station entrances and tram and bus stops.
Cairns and Far North Queensland are tropical heavens with pristine beaches and rainforest sanctuaries just a stone's throw away. There are a couple of nice accessible outdoor spots in the city:
- The Cairns Esplanade is super flat, with a path that’s made of asphalt and a (slightly bumpy) boardwalk. There are a few barbecue spots along the way and a free water splash park for kids, which includes a Liberty Swing and an accessible toilet.
- At the end of the esplanade is the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, which is super flat and a great, crocodile-free spot for a swim (there’s an accessible bathroom you can access with an MLAK key).
A little outside of Cairns, there are some great accessible walks too:
- The Barron Gorge National Park and its Din Barron Falls walk are along a boardwalk and the lookout (as well as the loo) are wheelchair accessible.
- Further North, near Cape Tribulation, is The Daintree. The Daintree is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest in Australia. The fauna and flora there is just next level and there are some stunning wheelchair-accessible walks through the Daintree National Park.
Perth is definitely one of the most stunning and wheelchair-accessible cities in Australia! So if you find yourself in WA, here are our top three accessible activities in the city and surrounds:
- The Perth Zoo has more than 150 species and nearly 1,300 animals on show and it is super accessible. Plenty of accessible toilets throughout the park and all the drinking fountains in the zoo are wheelchair accessible too. So is their Zoo Keeper Careers experience—great for kids and a perfect school holiday activity.
- A short accessible ferry trip away from the city is Rottnest Island, the quokka capital of Australia. The adorable marsupials have got to be the most photogenic residents on the island. Rottnest Island is an excellent wheelchair-friendly adventure with wide pathways and ramp access to most facilities. The island also has a wheelchair-compatible shuttle bus for access to and from the ferries.
- Twenty minutes East of Perth, in Woodbridge, is the John George Trail, a 5.5-kilometre walk along the Swan River, with great views of the wine region. It’s a super scenic trail with a mix of gravel and paved options, all of which are wheelchair accessible. The Woodbridge Riverside Park and Play Space at the start of the trail is an all-abilities playground with good play features for wheelchair users too.
We're so lucky that one of the most wheelchair-accessible cities in the world is also one of the most beautiful! Here some of the top wheelchair-friendly spots and activities in and around Sydney:
- Let’s start with the cliche, shall we? The Sydney Opera House is one for a reason. The site is surrounded by walkways and has accessible toilets on site.
- Behind the Opera House are the Royal Botanic Gardens, and while some sections can be a little steep, there’s heaps to explore in a wheelchair, with beautiful native plants and animals on show. There are also stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Tip: this makes for an awesome pic opportunity at sunset. There are also several accessible toilets throughout the gardens.
- The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is a five-level shopping centre in the heart of Sydney's CBD that dates back to 1898. The gallery is beautiful, and they also run QVB History Tours that are accessible by wheelchair.
- From Circular Quay, you can also hop on a short ferry ride to head over to the Northern Beaches suburb of Manly. Away from the hustle and bustle, it has a cool, relaxed vibe. There’s also a beautiful accessible walk along the coast between Manly and Shelly Beach, with beautiful views and zero stairs in sight. You can also borrow a free beach wheelchair from the Manly Surf Pavilion.
The Gold Coast is also one of the most wheelchair-accessible cities, with plenty of fun spots to try out:
- Many of the Gold Coast’s beaches, aka some of the most beautiful in Australia, are wheelchair accessible with beach wheelchairs and beach matting available to rent from most Surf Life Saving Clubs.
- The Gold Coast is the attraction park capital of Australia: Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet 'n' Wild and Dreamworld are all within a stone’s throw. Many rides and attractions are accessible by wheelchair, and for those that are not, employees can carry you from your chair to the ride.
- The 27 hectares of rainforest at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary will bring you some incredible animal encounters—from koalas to crocodiles and reptiles, kangaroos and amazing bird displays. The park has plenty of paths and walking tracks that are wheelchair accessible.
Enough dreaming! Get planning and book your next adventure. Which one of these spots is your next wheelchair-accessible adventure? Happy exploring.