Standley Chasm, West MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Helen Orr
The best accessible experiences in Australia
Experience the best of Australia with these unforgettable accessible and inclusive experiences.
By Carly Spek and Mark Sariban
Visit stunning beaches
Why you’ll love it: Feeling the sea spray on your face
Australia is home to many of the world’s most spectacular beaches. It’s no surprise that experiencing the white sand and blue water is a bucket-list moment for many. Accessible Beaches is a helpful tool for browsing coastal locales with accessible facilities such as beach matting, shaded areas and beach wheelchairs. Ride the waves with Let’s Go Surfing at iconic Bondi Beach – the team will work with you to create a fun and comfortable learning environment accounting for physical and intellectual disabilities. Those with sensory sensitivities can also use live beach cams to assess the crowds at popular spots before heading to the coast.
Explore Australia's epic nature
Why you’ll love it: Weaving through Australia’s breathtaking nature
From rich, ancient rainforests to red sand deserts, the natural environments Down Under are breathtaking. You’ll find awe-inspiring scenic trails to explore, many of which feature accessible pathways and facilities. Start planning by exploring AllTrails’ list of Australia’s best wheelchair-friendly trails. Cruise through the Daintree Rainforest, spot flowers at the National Botanic Gardens on a mini-bus tour, trek through the rugged red hues of Standley Chasm or chase waterfalls in Tasmania. For something a little more thrilling, you can take to the skies aboard the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway near Cairns, or the Scenic Skyway in the Blue Mountains.
Immerse yourself in the art scene
Why you’ll love it: Soaking up the history, art and cultures of Australia
There’s no shortage of world-class accessible museums and galleries to explore across Australia. Some highlights on the scene include the iconic Sydney Opera House and the National Gallery of Victoria, both of which offer accessible tours for visitors with vision, hearing, mobility or neurological sensitivities. There are off-the-beaten-track galleries that hold brilliant treasures as well – Geelong Gallery in Victoria provides a host of accessible facilities as well as dedicated tours for travellers with dementia. Araluen Arts Centre near Alice Springs is accessible for visitors with limited mobility.
Get your heart racing
Why you’ll love it: Venturing out of your comfort zone
Australia is a haven for all things adventure and adrenaline, and there are accessible thrills to explore. Travellers with mobility, sensory or cognitive access needs can carve up the slopes with adaptive ski lessons at Thredbo. On the Gold Coast, you can parasail over Queensland’s magnificent coastline with Gold Coast Watersports. Over in Western Australia, Eco Adventures Margaret River will endeavour to cater to your accessibility needs so you can quad-bike through gorgeous bushland, or if you’re a sporting fan, you can soar over Perth’s Optus Stadium at the Ozone. Wheelchair users can also take advantage of Quicksilver’s water-powered lift to snorkel the wondrous Great Barrier Reef.
Spot Australia’s famous wildlife
Why you’ll love it: Saying hello to cute and quirky creatures
Around two hours from Melbourne, Phillip Island awaits – an unexpected oasis of gorgeous beaches and abundant wildlife. Phillip Island Nature Parks are committed to helping all travellers access the island’s treasures, including the adorable Penguin Parade and Koala Conservation Reserve. Both attractions provide sensory-inclusive tours and limited mobility access. Travellers can also meet the incredible creatures living at Sydney's Taronga Zoo before the crowds arrive, or enjoy a relaxed session at Adelaide Zoo. For wildlife spotting in the wild, catch a wheelchair-accessible ferry from Perth to Rottnest Island. Facilities have been mindfully created to ensure everyone can say hello to the smiley local quokkas.
Experience the world’s oldest living cultures
Why you’ll love it: Exploring beautiful places with Traditional Custodians
Immerse yourself in the wisdom and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. In Kuranda, located just outside of Cairns, join Rainforestation Nature Park’s wheelchair-accessible Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience. Observe traditional local practices such as boomerang throwing, dancing and didgeridoo playing within the peaceful surrounds of the rainforest. Or, wander between the striking red walls of Standley Chasm – a sacred site to the Arrernte people in the Northern Territory – along a wheelchair-accessible trail.
Indulge in delicious foodie experiences
Why you’ll love it: Tasting the unique flavours of Australian ingredients
Beyond the stellar cafés, bars and restaurants on Australia’s foodie scene, you’ll find out-of-the-box experiences to take you behind the curtain of the country’s most loved food and drinks. Travellers with limited hearing, mobility or vision can taste their way through the vines and wines at boutique Puddleduck Vineyard near Hobart. Continue sipping your way through Tasmania at Callington Mill Distillery, where you can whip up your very own single malt whisky – give the team a call to plan your accessible visit. If you’re exploring Queensland with mobility aids, be sure to stop in at Macadamias Australia for all things nutty and delicious, or create your own gin and rum at Bavay Distillery in Brisbane’s swanky Rivermakers precinct.
Marvel at the icons
Why you’ll love it: Enjoying pinch-me moments at Australia’s most famous locations
Australia’s incredible icons are famous for a reason – they’re beautiful, thought-provoking and totally unique. Accessible services and facilities are available to ensure everyone can tick off these inclusive locations. Travellers who are deaf or hard of hearing can hop in a harness and scale the monumental Sydney Harbour Bridge during an Auslan (Australian Sign Language) Climb. Wheelchair users can visit the magic of the Blue Mountains during an accessible tour, or over near Melbourne, snap photos at the towering 12 Apostles by planning ahead with the region’s accessibility guide. For a taste of adventure, Outback Tour Services will guide you on an unforgettable safari throughout Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, tailoring each day to your specific needs.