Sam Bloom and her family recently explored Tropical North Queensland, enjoying the numerous accessible options the region provides. Read on to delve deeper into Sam’s story and explore the varied experiences she encountered.
Ever since I was young, I’ve always loved to travel. The catalyst could have been when I was in 1st grade and mum and dad pulled me, my brother and sister out of school to travel overland around Australia in a Toyota 4wheel drive. I’ll never forget driving along endless dusty roads and particularly the pristine beaches of Tropical North Queensland.
Fast forward 30 years and I’m fortunate to have travelled to over 35 countries and much of Australia. This love of travel came to a grinding halt whilst we were on a vacation in Thailand when I fell through a rotten balcony railing. I sustained many injuries but none worse than breaking my back and becoming paralysed from the chest down. Since the accident, travel has been hard. So hard I thought I’d never be capable of traveling again. But over the past few years, I’ve noticed there are more accessible options and a greater willingness from the travel industry to provide better options for people living with a disability or those travelling in a wheelchair like me.
Skypark Cairns by AJ Hackett
With QLD promoting ‘2023 The Year Of Accessible Travel’ Far North Queensland couldn’t be a better option for those living with a disability to come and explore the diverse landscape and natural beauty.
My husband, Cam, and I recently embarked on a bustling trip to Tropical North Queensland with our three boys, making the most of every moment.
The adventure began with excitement as we made our way to Skypark Cairns by AJ Hackett. My two sons and I experienced the thrill of the giant swing, and the attentive staff ensured a comfortable and enjoyable time. While the bungee facilities do accommodate wheelchair users for jumping, I entrusted that exhilarating experience to Cam and the boys!
Palm Cove & Port Douglas
Next, we journeyed to our initial hotel, ensuring each accommodation featured accessible rooms. Our first destination was The Reef House in Palm Cove, a gorgeous adult-only (16 and over) resort along the esplanade. We secured a beach wheelchair (complimentary) from the lifesaving tower, providing us the joy of cruising along the beach with effortless access to the water.
The next day we drove to Port Douglas, where we reached the breathtaking Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. A beachfront resort boasting more than two hectares of stunning saltwater lagoon pools, perfect for swimming and relaxation.
Mossman Gorge & Silky Oaks
Exploring Mossman Gorge, we immersed ourselves in a captivating smoke ceremony and enjoyed wheelchair-accessible amenities such as the shuttle bus, picnic area, toilets, and the inclusive rainforest boardwalk, Baral Marrjanga, leading to the Mossman River lookout.
Next, we ventured to our accomodation for the night, Silky Oaks Lodge. We stayed in the generously sized Rainforest Retreat suite designed for wheelchair accessibility. Additionally, we participated in daily guided walks with wheelchair access available upon request and explored uneven self-guided trails. Silky Oaks even have a mobility fact sheet that outlines the areas of the resort suitable for wheelchair uses.
Great Barrier Reef & Cape Tribulation
The following day, we rose early to embark on a journey to the Great Barrier Reef with Quicksilver Cruises. Their Agincourt Reef platform stands out for hosting the sole water-powered lift on the Great Barrier Reef, facilitating wheelchair access to the water.
Back on land we then entered one of the world’s oldest rainforests and headed for Cape Tribulation. It revealed a captivating fusion of lush rainforests meeting pristine beaches. Nestled in the Daintree Rainforest, the destination’s distinctive mix of biodiversity and beauty left me in awe. Whether wandering the boardwalks or savouring the endless beaches, each moment had us immersed in the wonders of nature.
Travelling in a wheelchair shouldn’t preclude you from enjoying many of the activities able bodied people experience, nor should it stop you from seeing this beautiful country. It’s great to see many operators fully embrace the huge accessible market that is out there and make traveling equitable for everyone who’s willing.
With QLD promoting ‘2023 The Year Of Accessible Travel’ Far North Queensland couldn’t be a better option for those living with a disability to come and explore the diverse landscape and natural beauty. Our 5 days was way too short but I’m sure to be back in no time.
Disclaimer: Please check with operators before booking, as experiences may be available on a case-by-case basis.