City lights of Melbourne

City lights of Melbourne Photo by: Timo Balk (Stock Exchange)

Are you ready for even more of the Disabled Access Australia series?

Today, we’re hitting the bush trail once again to visit Melbourne, the second most populous city, on the bay of Port Phillip.

A major cultural hub, home to the Australian film industry, television, and avant garde art, it’s an eminently livable place and a great base for your visit to the Land Down under.

But how does it rate for accessibility? Well, we’re about to find out!

Melbourne Airport has one of the most detailed disability access pages of any Australian airport we’ve looked at so far, definitely a good sign. Wheelchair accessible features include free wheelchairs available on request from all airlines, disabled parking, wheelchair accessible restroom facilities throughout the terminals, and assisted pick up and drop off of disabled travelers at the front of the airport. More information on accessible airlines and local airports is available from the Visit Victoria website. Transitions Abroad has strong content on various accessible public transit options.

Also from Visit Victoria, you can get information on over a dozen accessible hotels, motels, and rental properties, including Wheelies Rest, Countrywide Cottages, and Corella Rise Bed and Breakfast. Likewise, Backpack Melbourne is another public site with a useful mobility impaired access page giving you quick facts on accommodation, public transport, tickets, accessible transit lounges, toilets, taxis, emergency services, and more. If you’ve ever gotten a wheelchair banged up by inappropriate “care” from a taxi driver or sky porter who isn’t knowledgeable about handicapped travelers, you know how useful (and how rare!) some of this information is!

Per usual in Australia, Stayz is a major source for accessible hotels, and eatability knows everything there is to know about accessible restaurants and other venues in Melbourne and surrounding towns. These are definitely two sites to keep bookmarked if you’re going to spend a while in Australia, especially if you plan to move from place to place! (I’ll miss them when we’re done!) There’s also PleaseTakeMeTo, and don’t forget now has basic accessibility options in their search! For accessible vehicle rental, visit WheelAway. They’ll meet you at the airport with your new ride!

TravAbility is a brand spanking new website (you can tell by the .travel domain!) for a tour operator focused on inclusive, accessible tours that encompass Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Thailand, Africa, India, and destinations around North America. Customized Australia tours are available all over the continent, and can take in most of the cities and accessible attractions we’ve visited in our guide. The site also maintains a growing collection of news links related to accessible travel, updated regularly.

Of course, a city this serious about accessibility has plenty of wheelchair-friendly attractions to choose from. Major cultural venues generally have ample adapted seating available and also make room for caregivers. The official tourism site maintains a list of accessible gardens and parks. The Melbourne Cricket Ground has handicapped parking and accessible seating, and it’s the same with Etihad Stadium and the Melbourne Cricket Club, Looking for fun that’s a little less rough? The Melbourne Recital Center goes a long way to help out patrons with mobility, hearing, or sight impairments; the “arthouse” Cinema Nova is also devoted to a fully accessible experience. Melbourne just might be the most welcoming city for handicapped travelers that we’ve seen in Australia!

Next, it’s off to Perth. After that, I have a bevy of other goodies for you to enjoy before we move this party to New Zealand, and from there start to cover the whole region. Be sure to write in if there’s anything I’ve missed, or anything you want to see – this blog is for you! And I hope to see YOU for our next post … ‘til then, adventure on!


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