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By Barbara Worley AM,
(Photographs reproduced with permission © South Australian Tourism Commission).
You love travelling and are wondering where to take your next holiday. Like any holiday maker you have a budget to keep within, you have certain expectations for your holiday, interests you want to follow and, most importantly, you want your holiday to be carefree and enjoyable, knowing that all the details have been taken care of before your leave home. You want to be sure that not only is the accommodation suitable, but that the location will enable you to move around, that the attractions and cultural events are accessible, that you can access suitable transport and above all have fun and have your dreams come true.
The capital, Adelaide, is recognised by many as the cultural centre of Australia, with its festivals, music and art. Where churches and gardens are as plentiful as concerts, galleries and theatres. A city of excitement where you can try your luck at the International Casino, the nightlife, restaurants, discos and cafes. It is bounded on the west with the beautiful Adelaide Hills, and on the west by miles of white sandy beaches.
Adelaide boasts a Mediterranean climate, perfect for enjoying the great Australian outdoors, which explains why alfresco dining, festivals, sport and general fun is a way of life. AND the traffic flows without traffic jams!
I believe that South Australia, and in particular Adelaide, is the easiest city to move around and has the greatest variety of wheelchair accessible properties and attractions in Australia. We are working towards promoting it as a blueprint for accessibility throughout the Tourist Industry. In the city the terrain is flat and the footpaths have good negotiable kerb ramps.
Public Transport is good with a large part of the metropolitan area serviced by accessible buses. The trains are all accessible. The City Free bus service is your free ride around the city of Adelaide. City Free gives you easy access to all of Adelaide's major attractions including shopping, retail, arts, cultural, educational, historical and culinary experiences. You do not need a car!
Accessible taxis are available. Hand controls can be fitted to hire cars. You can hire an accessible van that can be driven by a friend or family member. And an accessible mini coach for conducted tours is available and specifically designed tours can be arranged. Adelaide has a vast range of accessible accommodation, ranging from cabins and caravan parks through to 5 star hotels, including three each with 19 accessible rooms - great for group bookings.
Adelaide can be a holiday destination in itself and also used as a stepping stone to explore the beauty of South Australia.
Victor Harbour is South Australia's most popular seaside holiday resort, where you can take a horse drawn tram ride to Granite Island (they also take wheelchairs) to see the Fairy Penguins.
Some of the many accessible attractions and day trips that South Australia offers include:
Another extension to your holiday in South Australia could be to drive to Mannum and board the largest and most luxuriously appointed paddle wheeler in Australia, the Murray Princess, which plies the River Murray. The Murray is one of Australia's greatest rivers and the lifeblood of Oasis Country. You have 5 days and nights to relax and indulge in gourmet food, enjoy entertainment and dancing under the stars, as well as watching a timeless landscape, observing fascinating native wildlife at close hand, and visiting historic river ports and ancient aboriginal sites. The Murray Princess is completely wheelchair accessible, including a lift, accessible cabins, and staff who encourage you to join in all activities such as surfing in a rubber dinghy!
Or you might like to drive your own houseboat for a relaxing few days.
Other unique State attractions such as the Tantanoola Caves in the South East, a board walk through the mangroves, sections of the Heysen Trail through pine forests, and the Riesling Trail through the Clare Valley are all accessible
If a working farm is your choice, there are a number which are accessible including Bayree Farm near Coonalpyn and the Wilde Retreat at the foot of scenic Yorke Peninsula, which is a purpose built house sleeping 6 - 8 people. Here you can get onto the beach with a beach chair and enjoy boat fishing, aquaculture tours, snorkelling and fresh fish BBQs on the beach.
And most unique of all an underground accessible motel in Coober Pedy which is famed for the world's most colourful gemstone - the opal. Here your accommodation, dining room, bar, and shops are all underground, dug out of natural sandstone which gives natural temperature control in this semi-desert area of Outback South Australia.
Perhaps you would like to spend more time exploring some of the unique countryside of South Australia and would like an itinerary specifically designed for you. The following is just one example -
Surrounded by parklands and decorated with squares and gardens, Adelaide is a well planned city graced with Victorian and Edwardian architecture preserved from the colonial era. North Terrace is a boulevard of galleries and museums, paralleled by Rundle Street, lined with café bars and restaurants. Rundle Mall is the city's shopping precinct, and the Central Market near Victoria Square is the food hub.
Accommodation Hyatt Regency - Hyatt Regency Adelaide is adjacent to the Casino, next door to the Festival Centre and Convention Centre and has the City Loop free wheelchair accessible bus line stop at the front. The River Torrens is at the front of the Hotel and there are wheelchair accessible walks along the banks. This hotel is fully accessible including 19 wheelchair units.
If you hire a car there are so many sights to see: a drive along the beaches (and maybe stopping for a meal at one of the restaurants overlooking the Gulf) to Port Adelaide and a visit to the Maritime Museum, and Port Dock, which houses a collection of old steam trains. Another drive could be to Windy Point to view the city lights spread before you and on to Mt. Lofty Lookout and seeing the city from another angle.
Today is at leisure to explore the city of Adelaide
This morning you depart Adelaide and drive north to the rolling hills of the beautiful Clare Valley, a picturesque and historic wine producing region. Spend 2 nights at the Clare Country Club, overlooking the Golf Course. This property is wheelchair accessible.
Accommodation Clare Country Club.
Today is yours to explore this delightful area of Clare and it's surrounds.
Suggestions include a visit to Martindale Hall, which featured in the film "Picnic at Hanging Rock", the old copper mining town of Burra, wine tasting perhaps and there are numerous quality restaurants where you can indulge yourself. Clare is the cenre of a rich agricultural and horticultural region, producing wool, wheat and some of Australia's most famous table wines.
Today you leave this lovely valley behind and drive north to the Flinders Ranges. In the Flinders Ranges National Park you will experience spectacular rugged mountain scenery, peaceful tree lined gorges, wildlife and seasonal wildflowers.
Spend the next three nights at the Wilpena Pound Resort. This property has five wheelchair accessible units and the whole area is paved for easy wheeling.
Accommodation Wilpena Pound Resort
Wilpena Pound is a spectacular natural feature, rising as an immense crater-like fusion of stark purple ridges, overhanging bluffs and natural vegetation. As well as the varied wildlife, which includes kangaroos, euros, wedge-tail eagles, galahs and emus, you will also see the marks of long aboriginal occupation with important heritage sites scattered around the area.
There are a number of 4-Wheel Drive Tours, which take you through dramatic scenery, driving over rugged mountain peaks and through some geological marvels in the gorges and valleys. You can see the area that inspired Sir Hans Heysen and watch the wildlife in their natural habitat.
There are also Air Tours which can take you to the Andamooka Opal Fields, to William Creek which offers excellent views of Outback South Australia, and take you over the vastness of Lake Eyre, one of the world's greatest salt lakes and on to the Simpson Desert. And the owners say that they will ensure that anyone with a disability can go on any of their tours and so completely enjoy the experience of the outback.
Today is at leisure to enjoy the Flinders Ranges.
Having enjoyed the unique Flinders Ranges area you drive south through farmlands to the Barossa Valley.
Spend the next two nights in an Original 1840s Pioneer Cottage set in the historic village of Bethany. This cottage has been completely renovated, has a fully equipped kitchen and laundry, lounge and two bedrooms. It is fully wheelchair accessible
Accommodation Sonntag House Bed & Breakfast.
Relax in this beautiful wine growing region which was settled by German immigrants in the 1840's This is an ideal tourist spot with its neat vineyards and townships dominated by church spires. You can taste the quality wines, tour through the vats, visit many galleries and craft shops, and eat at a variety of lovely restaurants that offer German specialties.
Today you drive south to Adelaide.
Spend the final 2 nights of your holiday at Mt Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills with its magnificent views over the Piccadilly Valley. A beautifully restored world class country estate, Mt. Lofty House is set amidst English-style gardens, and furnished with antiques and fine South Australian art. Built in the 1850's, the estate was destroyed by the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983, now rebuilt to its former splendour. This property has a wheelchair accessible room.
Accommodation Grand Mercure Hotel.
Meander through the winding roads to Hahndorf, an old village full of a mixture of antique, craft, and other interesting shops where you can browse for hours. Melba's Chocolate Factory and the Big Rocking Horse, a place to buy children's wooden toys. Drive along the beautiful country roads and enjoy the ever-changing scenery, stopping off to eat when you feel like it at an old pub, café or restaurant attached to one of the many Hills wineries.
Today you depart Adelaide from Adelaide Airport. The International Airport has air bridges, but at the Domestic Airport you will board and disembark by forklift.
South Australia really can offer a wonderful range of accessible holiday options, however as we all know "Accessible" means different things to different people.
The answer - detailed planning.
Firstly, you, the traveller, must give thought to where you want to go, what you want to do when you get there, how much you can afford to spend, and what special requirements you have to make the holiday enjoyable. You can either research and plan your holiday yourself or book through a travel agent. Either way it is important to have all the details planned. You know what you want and how you do it, and you must be able to relate that when making you own enquiries or to the travel agent.
GOOD LUCK !
The above article was prepared and written by Barbara Worley who has used a wheelchair for mobility for 33 years, and during that time travelled extensively both within Australia and internationally by air, train, road and ship. She has the experience to understand and pre-empt the many problems which can arise, and also understands the feeling of confidence in knowing that every detail has been covered before leaving home. Barbara has 8 year's experience as a Research Consultant within the travel industry and her niche market is People with Disabilities and the Frail Aged. She assess and researches their needs and designs the holiday to suit them whether it be within South Australia, Australia or overseas.
She says "The responsibilities are heavy, but the rewards are many when you see people who have never ventured on holiday before because it was all too hard, return home with a smile on their face and start planning their next adventure. To be able to broaden their horizons is a privilege"
Barbara Worley, AM,
Postal Address: 20A, Ayr Ave, Torrens Park, SA 5062.
Tel: (08) 8373 3030
Fax: (08) 8S7S 4846
Web Site: www.e-bility.com.au/travelaffare
Photographs © South Australian Tourism Commission:
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