Outdoor exhibitions are a great way to take in Australia’s culture, beauty, and rich sense of community. At some of these events, wheelchair access can be a little tricky. Luckily, Australia is moving quickly towards an inclusive future and is beginning to develop accessibility solutions that make exhibitions wheelchair-friendly. With plenty on offer, from art and music to sport and gardens, these are some of the best wheelchair accessible outdoor exhibitions in Australia:
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
A Perth, Western Australia icon, Kings Park is pretty incredible, teeming with native flora and overlooking spectacular views. Kings Park has plenty of disability parking spaces available, as well as wheelchair access to most cafes, restaurants, buildings, barbeque areas, and some parts of the park’s bushland. Many picnic tables include a concrete extension for wheelchair seating, drinking fountains are available wheelchair height, interpretive signage is positioned at wheelchair appropriate height throughout the park, and the Aspects of Kings Park gallery shop has ramp access for disabled visitors. All Kings Park toilet facilities include wheelchair access and many of the park’s key viewing areas are serviced by ramps. There are some guided walks that are suitable for wheelchair users, as is the paid bus tour service. If needed, free wheelchair hire can also be arranged at the Visitor Information Centre. As for play? Many of the best Kings Park play areas are serviced by ramps and offer sensory experiences for children with special needs.
Cockington Green Gardens
Canberra’s stunning Cockington Green Gardens are absolutely delightful, showcasing beautifully crafted miniature buildings, houses and monuments from over 30 different countries. The incredible attention to detail is something to marvel at, and the surrounding gardens are pretty fantastic too. The gardens are fully wheelchair accessible, with granite paths and walkways throughout, and there is an accessibility entrance located to the side of the main ticket door entrance, as well as an accessibility entrance to the café. If needed, guests can hire a wheelchair or mobility scooter (it’s recommended to book ahead to avoid missing out!). The gardens are also fully serviced by disabled access bathroom facilities.
Chinese Garden of Friendship
A beautiful, secluded garden nestled in the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s Darling Harbour, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is bursting with culture and history just waiting to be discovered! Full of beautiful waterfalls, lakes, exotic plants, pavilions and hidden pathways, the garden emphasise the philosophy and harmony of traditional Chinese gardens and offers plenty of opportunities to learn about traditional Chinese culture. Guests can take a tour or enjoy exploring the garden for themselves. There is an upgraded accessible toilet available on site, and the pathways and pavilions of the lower part of the gardens are fully accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
Dandenong Ranges National Park
Rich with greenery and native Australian wildlife, a trip to Dandenong Ranges National Park might yield a chance sighting of a kookaburra, crimson rosella, or lyrebird, or perhaps just a spectacular view of the spectacular Mountain Ash trees and fern gullies. Ideal for picnics, the park includes beautiful gardens, as well as nearby coffee shops, restaurants, and craft and antique shops. While the terrain is rough and largely inaccessible for wheelchairs, there is wheelchair access in many of the park’s picnic areas and, excitingly, Dandenong Ranges National Park has access to a Trailrider all-terrain wheelchair and Sherpa volunteer service, a relatively new initiative that uses the fantastic Trailrider wheelchair to provide access to areas otherwise out of reach of standard wheelchairs. It’s important to book ahead for this service.
Australian Rainbow Fish Trout Farm
Fun for the whole family, the Australian Rainbow Fish Trout Farm is located less than an hour out of Melbourne CBD and is surrounded by all-too-beautiful scenery. An opportunity to try your hand at fishing, the trout farm allows visitors to catch their own fresh fish and enjoy a barbeque, all while taking in the spectacular natural environment. With mini golf, picnic areas, and a playground on offer, the farm advertises disabled access with assistance.
Anstey Hill Recreation Park
Adelaide’s fantastic Anstey Hill Recreation Park offers plenty of fascinating attractions. It’s bursting with wildlife, from native birds to kangaroos, koalas and more, and is home to the ruins of the original Newman’s Nursery. The park has an accessible parking space and an accessible toilet. There are three wheelchair-friendly picnic areas located around the Little Quarry Loop, which is a 650-metre long trail with a mostly level hard-packed gravel surface–perfect for wheelchair maneuverability!
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
Located at the northernmost point of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, Western Australia’s Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse stands on a 100-metre bluff overlooking Geographe Bay. Built in 1903, the three original keepers’ quarters are still standing and the lighthouse is still in operation, now automatically. The Access for More section of the Cape to Cape Track runs between the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse and Sugarloaf Rock. It prioritises inclusive access and is designed to meet the needs of visitors of all abilities. With over a kilometre of timber boardwalk and seats along the way, the track is serviced by easy drop-off points and is suitable for wheelchair users. Take in that extraordinary view!
Australia takes advantage of its fantastic weather conditions, offering all assortment of fun outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy! As wheelchair access improves in these locations and more, Australia is set to become an inclusive activity hub. There’s always a new and exciting adventure to take part in!
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