Victoria’s parks are more accessible than ever
Visiting a park can be more of a challenge for people with disabilities, however in Victoria there are a wide range of facilities to help people of all abilities enjoy our wonderful parks around the state.
Here’s a list of some of the top spots on offer.
Accessible canoe launcher
Psyche Bend, Kings Billabong, Mildura
Victoria’s first all-accessible floating pontoon and canoe launcher is at Psyche Bend in Kings Billabong in Mildura. The facility provides a stable platform on the static jetty and then a secure ramp to launch into the water for a person with mobility limitations, with hand rails and supportive rollers to guide them easily in and out of the water.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
There are a number of facilities at Wilsons Promontory to help visitors with disabilities to enjoy the park.
- Wilsons Promontory National Park has modified cabins and all-terrain wheelchairs to make it easier for people with a disability to stay and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty.
- Specially modified cabins have entrance ramps, accessible bathrooms and parking close by to make it much easier for people with a disability, families and carers to enjoy their park stay. A personal hoist and specialised bathroom equipment, such as a shower commode chair, are also available to visitors free of charge.
- There is an all-terrain wheelchair at Wilsons Promontory making it easier to access the park’s many stunning trails. The chair is suited for sandy and semi rough tracks.
All terrain wheelchairs
People with a disability can experience Victoria's parks like never before with the help of one of the many all-terrain wheelchairs in parks across the state. The chairs are suited for sandy and semi rough tracks, making it easier to access some of Victoria’s most well known parks. All-terrain wheelchairs easily disassemble and fit in the back of a station wagon. Chairs can be accessed for at no cost in the following parks.
- Grampians, Wilsons Promontory, Cape Conran and Point Nepean national parks.
- All terrain wheelchairs are also available at selected shires close to Creswick State Park, the Great Otway, Alpine and Mornington Peninsula national parks.
- Lysterfield (Reservoir Road, Narre Warren North) and Brimbank (Keilor Park Drive, Keilor East) parks.
Sherpa Volunteer Program, Grampians National Park
Visitors with mobility limitations who would like to use the Parks Victoria TrailRider all-terrain wheelchair in the Grampians National Park can now book wheelchair operators, or volunteer “Sherpas”, to assist them. The Sherpa Volunteer Program provides trained chair operators to assist in pushing/pulling the visitor in the TrailRider chair on many of the Grampian’s spectacular park trails.
The service is free for park visitors and a minimum of one week's notice is required for booking Sherpa volunteers.
Especially for children
Brimbank Park Playscape
Brimbank Park, Keilor East, Melways Map 15 B10
Open seven days a week from 8.30am to 5.30pm (8.30am to 7.00pm during Daylight Savings)
The Brimbank Park Playscape is a haven for creative play that will inspire children and their families to connect with nature as they play, explore and socialise in the outdoors. The playscape has been designed specifically to create opportunities for children of all abilities, including those in wheelchairs, to join with their families to have fun in the park.
The playground design embraces several themes which focus on the indigenous and European history of the land where Brimbank Park is located. There are a range of tactile circular paths and animal sculptures that children can explore. There is signage in Braille and Auslan throughout the playground and an accessible water fountain. The playground includes swings catering for younger and older children with physical disabilities, a hammock, an accessible sand pit, interactive and colourful murals, a “build it yourself cubby house” and many other exciting features.
Buchan Caves Reserve
At Gippsland’s famous Buchan Caves, a stairclimber and motorised all-terrain wheelchair enables people with a disability to enjoy the spectacular caves and their surrounds. In the past, the steep and narrow steps leading to the caves made it impossible for those using a wheelchair or walking stick to access the caves. However, the specially designed stairclimber that is operated by Parks Victoria cave guides can take children and small adults with limited mobility of Fairy Cave. The stairclimber enables visitors with disabilities to experience one of the most spectacular viewing areas of Fairy Cave.
A motorised all-terrain wheelchair is also available at Buchan Caves Reserve to help people with limited mobility explore the Reserve, making it easier for people to explore the hilly trails in these areas
Beach access wheelchairs especially for children are also available at Wilsons Promontory National Park, Coolart Historic Area and for the Mornington Peninsula region.
Accessible parks around Melbourne
There are plenty of parks around Melbourne that have good access and toilets for all abilities including:
- Albert Park - Only 3km from the city, Albert Park features a picturesque lake, BBQ, picnic facilities and an all abilities Liberty Swing in the playground.
- Jells Park, Waverly Road, Wheelers Hill - Explore the nine kilometres of paths and trails that weave around 127 hectares of wide open spaces and the lake in this popular park.
- Serendip Sanctuary, Windermere Road, Lara - A wildlife oasis in the Western Volcanic Plains, this 250 hectare sanctuary is home to a rich array of birds and mammals.
- Wattle Park, Riversdale Road, Burwood - The huge gum trees, wattles, seasonal wildflowers and ponds in Wattle Park make this a great escape within the suburbs.
- Karkarook Park, Warrigal Road, Heatherton - Enjoy the accessible Wetlands Trail, the 15 hectare lake, birdlife and natural surrounds.
- Braeside Park, Lower Dandenong Road, Braeside - Nestled amongst a large expanse of native trees and plants, this park has many wonderful places to explore including the wetlands and an adventure playground with disabled access.
08 Jul 2016
A passionate adventurer, who hasn’t let disability stop him from living life to the fullest, is helping Parks Victoria test new equipment that could be used in the future to help others undertake more challenging hikes in National Parks. Campbell Message, who became a paraplegic after a car accident when…
24 Jul 2016 11:00am-2:00pm
Join Friends of Steele Creek, Wurundjeri's Narrap Team and Parks Victoria for a community tree planting day at Steele Creek in Lower Maribyrnong River Land Park. Please wear appropriate clothing and closed shoes/boots. Bring your own water and gloves. Light refreshments are provided. Enter from: Warrick Court, Avondale Heights; Lily…
14 Aug 2016 10:00am-3:00pm
Join PrimeSCI!; the LabRats Student Science Club for a day of fun hands on science activities. 'Young scientists' learn to identify and monitor local species of birds, frogs, koalas, ants and freshwater invertebrates. Or hear from researchers from Westernport Biosphere, Platypus Education Group and other presenters in the wetlands observatory.
25 Sep 2016 9:00am-11:00am
Loop track maintenance. Morning tea provided.
25 Sep 2016 10:30am-1:30pm
The historic site will be open to the public as part of the Activities in the Park program supported by the City of Greater Shepparton. Come along to take a tour of the best preserved 19 century flour mill in Victoria and learn more about its history. The mill is…