Tasman Lake Iceberg, New Zealand

Tasman Lake Iceberg, New Zealand
Photo by: Robert MacDonald (Stock Exchange)

Good day, all, and welcome back to your Disabled Travelers blog. Yesterday we talked a little bit about Australia, the “land down under” famous for its kangaroos and laid back attitude. Now we’re headed out to visit its “next shore neighbor”, New Zealand. Together, these two countries are the most visible tourist destinations of the Oceania area, hosting millions of able and handicapped travelers each year. I don’t really know what to expect from accessibility in New Zealand, so let’s enjoy a journey of discovery together.

Like Australia, New Zealand has a totally unique environment and culture. But how is it for handicapped travelers? It’ll take us a while to uncover the whole story, but initial signs are very promising! To start with, a great accessibility travelogue from a contributor to eBility. We can follow that up with a sunny experience related by a writer at Apparelyzed, Budget Travel in New Zealand. But that’s not all: it seems as if there’s a good assortment of accessible venues and tour operators, too!

Accessible Kiwi Tours is the local tour operator, offering a full range of services. A complete vacation package with wheelchair accessible vehicle, driver, personal attendant, and itinerary to suit your needs is a click away. New Zealand is situated on two islands, the North and South Island, and Accessible Kiwi Tours can focus on either or both. Their signature option is a 14-day vacation in the Bay of Plenty, available November to March.

One place you always want to check is the official tourism website. New Zealand’s People With Special Needs page has plenty of good news regarding the country’s accessibility-positive laws and initiatives. From the rest of the site, you can see maps, hear about sights and events, and get a good dose of culture. There’s also a section to teach you all about your transportation options.

Looking for a dedicated, official access guide for the entire country? Accomobility has it all – it’s a centralized, quality resource for accessible hotels, activities, attractions, and businesses. You can explore every major town and city, and discover places with a total spectrum of mobility impaired access adaptations. Individual listings are very specific, offering detailed facts and an accessibility rating you can understand at a glance. Data on hearing and visual impairments is also provided, and many listings have measurements of doorways, halls, and more to help you decide if your needs will be met.

Our first look at New Zealand has turned up a lot of great finds, and I hope it’ll be enough to serve you well while I dig in and put together a full scale access guide in the very near future. Both New Zealand and Australia are in my sights for July, so if you’ve been there – or if you’re from there – I’d be happy to hear from you and get the “inside perspective.” Until next we meet, adventure on!


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