Sydney Opera House, Sydney, New South Wales © Destination NSW
Accessible ways to experience Australia’s icons
Visitors of all abilities can explore Australia’s must-visit destinations and instantly recognisable landmarks.
By Mark Sariban and Carly Spek
Sydney Opera House
Great for: Behind-the-scenes experiences catering to physical disabilities and neurodivergence
There are plenty of accessible options for enjoying Sydney’s incredible natural beauty and world-famous architectural gems. The Sydney Opera House aims to provide access to everyone, with initiatives for visitors who have physical disabilities, who are blind or have low vision or are deaf or hard of hearing. The performing arts venue also offers daily Mobility Access Tours for visitors with limited mobility, as well as a number of 'relaxed' performances for those with sensory sensitivities.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Great for: Seeing Sydney’s harbour from the incredible steel-arch bridge
The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge gives you some of Sydney’s best harbour views. You can cross the famous formation on the pedestrian walkway via lifts at either end of the bridge. Using the Vacayit app, travellers who are blind or have low-vision can listen to immersive audio guides to both the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can also check out WheelEasy’s guide to Circular Quay to find accessible restaurants, cafés and facilities in the area.
Great for: Unforgettable wildlife encounters catering to limited mobility and neurological sensitivities
If you or someone you’re travelling with has autism or sensory sensitivities, you can encounter Australia’s unique wildlife – as well as take in spectacular harbour views – at Taronga Zoo Sydney. Access Taronga provides early access on selected dates for a quieter atmosphere, and Taronga’s visual story can help you prepare for your visit. Travellers using mobility aids can download the zoo’s accessibility map to plan the best route, and assistance dogs are permitted if you notify staff a few days before you arrive.
Great for: Surf lessons suitable for those with limited mobility and neurodivergence
Immerse yourself in Australia’s laidback beach culture at Bondi Beach, one of the country’s most famous strips of sand. The promenade above the beach provides level access for wheelchair users, and WheelEasy’s guide to Bondi Beach outlines helpful tips to get you on the sand. Visit Bondi as part of Australia in Style’s wheelchair-accessible Sydney Sightseeing tour, or make the most of your visit to Bondi Beach by taking a surf lesson with Let’s Go Surfing. Instructors will try to help anyone get on a board – simply give them a call and discuss your needs. Travellers who are blind or have low-vision can also listen to immersive audio guides to Bondi Beach on the Vacayit app.
The Blue Mountains
Great for: Accessible options for marvelling at forests and rock formations
The stunning landscapes and charming villages of the Blue Mountains, located west of Sydney, are accessible for visitors with limited mobility. Download the Accessible Blue Mountains fact sheet for detailed listings of accessible accommodation, restaurants, lookouts, bushwalking trails and more. Book Australia in Style’s full-day Blue Mountains Wheelchair Tour and you’ll be transported from Sydney to the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains in a private vehicle. On your own, you can wander the wheelchair-friendly Three Sisters Walk and soar through the skies on the wheelchair-accessible cable car at Scenic Skyway.
The Great Barrier Reef
Great for: Tailored support for experiencing a natural wonder above and below the water
There are plenty of services to help travellers with disabilities experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. Find accessible accommodation and tours that work for you, or arrange a bespoke itinerary with inclusive travel specialists TravAbility. Operating out of the marina at Port Douglas, an easy one-hour drive from Cairns, Quicksilver Cruises offers a number of wheelchair-friendly cruises to the reef. Quicksilver operates a wheelchair lift at its Agincourt Reef platform to facilitate access to the ocean and offers accessible scuba diving courses at the PADI adaptive facility.
Great for: Accessible paths and facilities that make an island adventure easy
Rottnest Island takes pride in being an accessible destination for all travellers. The island is rich with pristine blue waters, white sandy beaches and calming greenery, all mindfully equipped with accessible pathways and facilities. It’s the resident quokkas that really make this picturesque place an Australian icon – the adorable little marsupials far outnumber people living on the island, so you’re bound to come across their smiling faces. SeaLink Rottnest Island operates wheelchair-accessible vessels to the island from Perth, and a range of mobility equipment is available from Pedal & Flipper Hire upon arrival.
The Daintree Rainforest
Great for: Wheelchair-friendly pathways through the world’s oldest rainforest
While based in Cairns, you can explore 130 million years of natural treasures in the magnificent Daintree Rainforest. Explore the most accessible sections of this incredible ancient wilderness on wheelchair-friendly trails through Mossman Gorge. Extend your stay in Cairns and visit the nearby mountain village of Kuranda. Arrive via the wheelchair-friendly SkyRail Rainforest Cableway or Kuranda Scenic Railway, and don’t miss the Rainforestation Nature Park to experience local Aboriginal practices and traditions.
Uluru and the Red Centre
Great for: Epic outback journeys for travellers with limited mobility and neurodivergence
There are a number of accessible options for exploring Australia’s Red Centre. Discover the sacred Standley Chasm on a wheelchair-accessible path and dive into the Aboriginal artworks on display at Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs. Most of the walking tracks in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are wheelchair accessible, with grades ranging from easy to moderate. Travellers who are blind or have low vision can hire an Uluru audio guide with more than 100 stories detailing the geology of the monolith and the culture of the Anangu people, the Traditional Custodians of Uluru. If you’d like to let someone else do the planning, TravAbility can arrange your perfect itinerary for the Red Centre, and wheelchair users can tailor a charter tour to Uluru with Outback Tour Services.
The Great Ocean Road
Great for: Guided nature tours for travellers with physical disabilities
One of the world’s greatest coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road stretches for 664km (413mi) from the town of Torquay, just over a one-hour drive from Melbourne, to the charming fishing village of Port Fairy. Wheelchair users can download the 12 Apostles Accessibility Guide for information on visiting the Great Ocean Road’s 12 Apostles, a series of striking limestone pillars emerging from the Southern Ocean. Explore a section of the Great Ocean Walk in an all-terrain wheelchair from Apollo Bay Visitor Information Centre, or pay a visit to the wheelchair-accessible Wildlife Wonders sanctuary, where audio headsets and binoculars are available for spotting sleepy koalas.
Great for: A tiny penguin encounter perfect for travellers of all abilities
About a two-hour drive from Melbourne, the natural wonderland of Phillip Island is a leader in inclusive and accessible experiences. Phillip Island attractions are accessible for guests with sensory sensitivities as well as travellers with limited mobility. The nightly Penguin Parade, during which hundreds of little penguins waddle along the beach to their burrows, is accessible for travellers with limited mobility and is a certified sensory-inclusive site, with dedicated equipment and quiet spaces available. The island’s Koala Conservation Reserve also caters for guests with both sensory sensitivities and mobility needs.