A view of central Perth from the Bell Tower

A view of central Perth from the Bell Tower
Photo by: Vaughan James (Stock Exchange)

We’re on an Australia marathon here at Disabled Travelers, and we’re coming ‘round the bend to the sun-soaked city of Perth, capital of Western Australia and fourth-largest city on the island, known for its brilliant beaches and lively nightlife, made even more lively by the steady stream of able-bodied and handicapped travelers who visit on a regular basis. Perth is a beautiful city, and a big part of our access guide countdown to hit all the major metro zones in the wacky and wonderful Land of Oz.

So far, local airports and airlines have been a little hit-or-miss with accessibility, and that’s a shame. Perth Airport is pretty terse about accessibility within the terminals, but you can get a wheelchair by calling ahead to the airline you’re flying with. Better news is provided by official outlets: the City of Perth website affirms its commitment to universal access in a glowing and detailed listing of accessibility features, including transit, parking, streets, and buildings. Ramps, tactile indicators and audible street signs are common throughout the city. For a more whimsical take on the city’s attractions and offerings, try Perth Tourist Centre Online.

Need a little help getting around? Swan Taxis’ Easy Access Perth fleet is totally wheelchair accessible. Captain Cook Cruises has some accessibility on cruises, but can only accommodate manual wheelchairs, and any assistance needed must be provided by members of the wheelchair user’s group.

The best all-inclusive access guides for Perth and Western Australia generally are provided by You’re Welcome Western Australia, a handicapped organization that advocates for universal access. Using their sophisticated search features, you can search for specific accessibility features like parking, restrooms, accommodations, beaches, and more in virtually every city and town in the region. Info is provided by volunteers or business owners, and seems pretty sound. There are 24 accessible hotels listed at the time of this writing, with very detailed run-downs of just what adaptations are available.

For past beachfront destinations (like my own home state, Florida) we’ve discussed beach accessibility in depth, and seen a lot of intriguing new wheelchair designs to help everyone get out on the sand. Information for Perth is a tiny bit more scant, but there’s a good report from the news site Local Government Focus. In summer 2008, a bold new pilot project aimed at increasing accessibility at popular beaches was launched. Focused largely on North Cottesloe Beach, with the North Cottesloe Beach Surf Living Saving Club at the forefront, aimed to establish special beach chairs and other features.

Naturally, I can’t get out of Perth without a wave to the accessible restaurant database at eatability. AOL Travel has the hookup on accessible hotels in the city, and so does PleaseTakeMeTo. The giant observation wheel known as the “Wheel of Perth” is accessible and loans wheelchairs. For more accessible attractions, see the article from WheelieGood, which provides total access guides for Western Australia. Places to stay, parks, beaches, and all kinds of other sights are a click away!

Would you believe there are still more cities, more attractions, and more vital info to share on Australia? It’s time for me to take a little breather, but we’ll be seeing each other again real soon – in Darwin, in Adelaide, or maybe in your own backyard! Thanks for visiting, and adventure on!


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