While Home Carers Direct is slowly expanding to help connect care seekers directly with care providers all around Australia, we are fortunate to be based in beautiful Melbourne - a thriving and accessible metropolis designed with mobility, hearing and vision impaired visitors in mind. People often joke that Melbourne can see all fours seasons in one day, but those warmer days are soon leaving us, so below is a list of 7 accessible must-do activities to squeeze in before summer leaves us completely.
1. See Melbourne from a Hot-Air Balloon
If you can brave the 5:30am start, and don't have a fear of heights, viewing Melbourne and it's surrounds from 760m in the air could be the perfect way to spend your morning. Global Ballooning, a local Melbourne business, was Australia's first hot-air balloon provider to offer accessible-friendly flights. They use an Easy Access Basket (EAB) which incorporates a door to allow access without needing to climb over the edge (unlike traditional balloon baskets), and specially designed seating and seatbelts.
2. A Safari Experience at Werribee Open Range Zoo
Nestled in Melbourne's inner west is Werribee Open Range Zoo where you can experience a 45-minute off-road tour where you'll see animals like giraffes, elephants, rhinos and zebras in their natural habitat, from within the safety of a safari bus. Wheelchairs are accommodated right at the front of the bus where you'll be safely strapped in beside the driver - with the best view!
3. Have a Splash in Melbourne's Accessible Beaches
The Disabled Surfers Association of Australia hold two events each year at Point Leo (Mornington Peninsula) and Ocean Grove (Bellarine Peninsula). These events are aimed at getting people with disabilities onto surfboards, but if surfing isn't your thing, there are also all-terrain surf-n-turf wheelchairs available to hire for free. These unique beach wheelchairs allow for easier exploring through any condition - including soft sand and even access into the water.
4. The Famous Penguin Parade at Phillip Island
Located on picturesque Phillip Island, each night at sunset see the world's smallest penguins in the their natural habitat as they return home after a day's fishing. Not only is the entire path to the viewing platform fitted with wide pathways and convenient ramps, but the best view of the parade is from the dedicated wheelchair viewing area.
5. Explore the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a gorgeous stretch from Torquay to Allansford, where you can really escape the city and take in the amazing ocean views. In addition, there are several sections where you can stop and enjoy accessible walking paths which are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Each walking path is designed with varying levels of difficulty, but the most accessible paths are are located in Apollo Bay, Cape Otway, and the Twelve Apostles. Parks Victoria have a fantastic resource to help you decide which trail will be the best one for you/
6. Wilson's Promontory Cabin Experience
With the latest redevelopment of Wilson's Promontory, Parks Victoria is really embracing inclusive tourism and is more accessible than ever before. Equipped with all-terrain wheelchairs and specially modified accessible cabins, the outdoors is right on your doorstep. Explore the stunning Loo-Errn track, which has been specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs, or take one of the all-terrain wheelchairs off-road and create your own adventure.
7. Hang-out in the Trees at Otway Fly
There is nothing more magical than roaming among the treetops. The treetop walk at Otway Fly in Lavers Hill is an elevated steel walkway, suspended 50m above ground. This 600m path (including the cantilevered section) is flat and wheelchair friendly, making it the best way to "fly" among the forest canopy.
There are so many accessible-friendly and accessibly designed activities to enjoy in Melbourne, so make the most of our remaining weeks of sunshine. Many of these activities can be enjoyed as group, so gather your loved ones. If you'd like the reassurance of extra assistance getting to and from these locations, or just a helping hand enjoying the activities once you arrive - connect directly with a carer in your area using our advanced search!
List originally inspired by Lonely Planet's new Accessible Melbourne Guide.