As a person born and raised in Melbourne I may be a bit biased but I think Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world (and I’ve travelled quite a bit overseas!)! The way the city lights up at night time, the old-school churches that line different hidden streets, the artsy and hip vibe amongst the inner city suburbs of Fitzroy and Northcote (I mean you never know what sort of outfit you might see there 😆), the new and old restaurants serving all different types of multicultural food, and the live music or entertainment found on the bustling street corners. An adventure is always awaiting in Melbourne and I would hate to think people in wheelchairs have to miss out on the beauty and culture of this city simply because a building didn’t have a lift or instead of a ramp there were stairs!! 😤
So below I’ve curated a day-plan that allows people in wheelchairs to immerse themselves in the enjoyment, vibrancy and beauty of this great city of Melbourne.
Get ready and be prepared to enjoy a day of adventure, shopping, art, and lots of yummy food!
First Stop: Melbourne Central
Your first stop for the day will be Melbourne Central. A place full of shops and lots of eateries! Melbourne Central is a diverse shopping and dining destination that invites you to keep exploring and brings together more than 300 retailers over five levels.
There is plenty of accessible parking in their underground carpark and plenty of accessible bathrooms available throughout the La Trobe and Lonsdale buildings at Melbourne Central.
If your needing some energy in the form of a coffee or food they have lots to offer. Either you can find something exciting and different along your way, and let your eyes choose for you 😂 or you can head to their food court on level 2 where you will find a huge array of choices.
See here for a list of other food venues.
To find out more information, including the location, go here.
Second Stop: NGV and Royal Botanical Gardens
Next, head to the NGV, properly known as the National Gallery of Victoria to have a leisurely browse and unwind after shopping! It is the oldest and most visited gallery and offers an extraordinary visual arts experience with diverse temporary exhibitions, collection displays, talks, tours, programs for kids, films, late-night openings and performances.
The NGV is completely wheelchair accessible with ramps, lifts and accessible bathrooms throughout the building. You can hire a manual and electric wheelchair from reception for free.
For more accessible information go here.
For general information including tickets, opening times and what’s on go here.
After the NGV, take stroll across the road to the Royal Botanical Gardens. One of Melbourne’s most beautiful green spaces, the Royal Botanic Gardens has surprises hidden in every leafy corner. See here for more information.
All areas of the gardens are accessible by wheelchair and walker, except the Melbourne Observatory buildings and Fern Gully. Walkers, motorised and manual wheelchairs are welcome on guided tours and hire is available. Check out the Access Map to find your nearest accessible parking spaces and toilets throughout the gardens.
Find out more information here on accessibility in the gardens.
If your feeling a bit peckish at the gardens why not stroll past The Terrace, serving both take away and sit down options, with a menu that features all the options.
See here for details on the cafe.
Third Stop: Eureka Skydeck
Next, head to the Eureka Skydeck for an evening view of Melbourne. Melbourne Skydeck is the southern hemisphere’s highest observation deck and the city comes to you when you take it all in from nearly 300 meters high.
Melbourne Skydeck is wheelchair friendly and their experiences including, VR Voyager Theatre, Edge Experience and VR Plank are also wheelchair accessible.
They also provide an accessible bathroom and parking spaces.
Call them directly on 03-9693 8888 to discuss your unique accessibility needs.
For more information regarding tickets and what’s on click here.
Fourth Stop: Dinner
Next, enjoy dinner on the Southbank waterfront at the Red Emperor Chinese Restaurant. Running for over 23 years, this restaurant, now located on Level 2 offers al fresco dining in the terrace which overlooks the Yarra River or an inside, warm burgundy and gold authentic Chinese interior. If warm enough, I recommend outside dining for its panoramic views of Flinders Street Station and Melbourne skyline.
They are wheelchair accessible with an accessible bathroom and enough spaces between the tables.
For more information and their menu click here.
Fifth Stop: Evening Stroll
Finish the day off with a leisurely stroll along Southbank, enjoying the beautiful scenery and vibrant atmosphere.
You can even stop off at one of the many ice cream stores along the way for your dessert!
It’s board walk is smooth and accessible for wheelchair users.
An accessible public toilet is in the Southgate shopping centre food court.
What to Prepare?
Make sure to prepare for your trip! Below is a rough guide for you to follow, however there will be things that you need to prepare specifically for your needs. Try to write these down and organise them in advance to have everything perfect for your trip, and to avoid unnecessary stressors.
Look at guide below ↓ ↓ ↓
2 Week's Prior to Day-Trip:
- A support worker to push you around on your chair and to drive you to the different locations
- A wheelchair accessible vehicle (if you do not have a vehicle you can drive and need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, have a look at our vehicles here, we would love to support you on your day out!)
- Disability Parking Permit
- Essential back ups for your mobility device e.g. batteries, crutches, waterproof covering for your wheelchair, visibiliity LED lights just in case it becomes dark etc.
- Book reservations and contact all restaurants and venues. Whilst doing this confirm all of your unique accessibility requirements, e.g. steps, accessible bathroom, corridor space etc.
- Check weather and consider any potential impact on outdoor activities. (do this a few times leading up to trip and organise a plan b if its predicted to be bad weather!)
2 Day's Prior to Day-Trip:
- Print of a map or have ready a map on your phone for use, and directions to the different locations (check out Melbourne’s accessibility map here designed for people with mobility issues)
- Check weather and organise essentials for changing weather conditions; e.g. an umbrella, extra layers, a waterproof jacket etc.
- Water bottle
- Confirm bookings and details with support worker, accessible vehicle hire company, restaurants and venues
- Collate back ups for your mobility device
- Personal Comfort and Supplies, e.g. snacks
- Personal Medications
- Emergency contacts
- Confirm stores within Melbourne Central that have accessible changing rooms
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