Are you in a wheelchair and looking for an accessible day trip along The Great Ocean Road? ♿️
As you may know, The Great Ocean Road is known as one of the most spectacular driving routes in the world and it is an iconic Australian destination. Hugging the coastline, meandering through the rainforest and cutting through pretty towns, it is a route that offers not only stunning views but action-packed adventures and activities too.
However if your in a wheelchair visiting this place may seem a bit daunting. With the preparations to find out what is and isn’t accessible…it almost feels not worth the challenge. ♿️ ♿️ ♿️ ♿️
That is why we have done the work for you and mapped out below the perfect wheelchair accessible day trip for anyone, who is a wheelchair user, visiting The Great Ocean Road. ☀️👙⛱️ 🏖️
From nature and wildlife parks, to scenic beaches, and yummy food, you are sure to have a fun day out that will make you want to come back for more! 😍
First Stop: Anglesea Beach
Start your day visiting the Anglesea Beach, located in the centre of Angelsea.
From towering cliffs and sprawling white beaches to abundant flora, native wildlife and coastal walking trails, Anglesea is a celebration of life by the water.
Play in the sun on Anglesea’s main beach, a wide sandy expanse beside the Anglesea River, which is perfect for swimming, surfing, or simply relaxing.
In Angelsea, you can hire an Aussie Beach Wheelchair and an Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair. Or, if you prefer a Trailrider or an Sandcruiser Beach Wheelchair you can hire these in Torquay, just a 20 minute drive south from Angelsea.
To ensure the availability and collection of a wheelchair, please book ahead by phoning the places listed here.
- Beach (riverside) Access Matting
- Riverside Access Matting is located in a quiet space suitable for those that may experience sensory overload at busy locations
- Disabled Parking
- Disabled Toilet
- Changing Place (MLAC key required)
- Beach Wheelchair: bookings essential YMCA Anglesea Recreation Camp 1535
For more about access matting visit here.
There are paved pathways from the carpark to the matting.
To find out about your unique accessibility requirements call the 03 5261 4219.
Second Stop: Lunch
Next, head to the town centre of Angelsea for lunch at Mr T and Me.
This place is so simple & unassuming from the front but so worth the visit. The food is fresh, delicious and quick.
They have a fully accessible, with an accessible bathroom and 2 accessible car parks in the shopping precinct 20 meters from the cafe.
To find out more about the cafe and to contact them directly click here.
Instagram page here.
Third Stop: Split Point Lighthouse, Aireys Inlet
Does this lighthouse look familiar? Does it give you feelings of Deja-Vu?
Well if it does your instincts are right. 😍 For most Australians this lighthouse will feel familiar from the infamous classic TV show “Round The Twist”. This show forming a significant part of the childhood of so many Australians.
By visiting this lighthouse not only will you get to visit the area this show was filmed on but set against the pretty backdrop of Aireys Inlet along the Great Ocean Road, it also offers spectacular views. It boasts a 34-metre high tower and is renowned for its eye-catching red “cap”.
The lighthouse is still a working one, but it has been open since 2005 as a tourist attraction where members of the public can look around and marvel at the stunning views it boasts across the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary, the Great Ocean Road, and Phillip Island.
Around the lighthouse, visitors can soak up scenery including wild cliffs and beautiful beaches. Elsewhere, there is a unique replica of the traditional bark huts that the first residents of Aireys called home, and there is a smattering of rock pools that languish at the bottom of the lighthouse itself. Whether you are hoping for a historic afternoon, or a day spent sightseeing, a stop in the lighthouse is for you!
For more information on the lighthouse go here.
There are two roads leading up to the lighthouse, only the one with handicapped parking gets you right to the base of the lighthouse.
Whilst climbing the lighthouse itself is not accessible, the surrounding area is wheelchair friendly.
Some easy access viewing platforms are on the foreshore for great coastal views.
To find out about your unique accessibility requirements call the Anglesea Visitor Centre on 03 5261 4219.
Fourth Stop: The Twelve Apostles
Known as the jewel in the crown of The Great Ocean Road the 12 Apostles is the number one visited attraction in the region.
Seeing the beauty of these limestone monuments is unforgettable and absolutely not to be missed. Sunrise and sunset provide even more impressive scenery.
They call the rocky stacks the 12 Apostles because they stand tall and proud along the shore. Despite the name the 12 Apostles, there are only 8 left standing as Mother Nature, time and the salty waters have caused several of the apostles to fall.
Many people travel across the globe to witness the splendour, the myth and the mystery of the 12 Apostles. It has been a tourist favourite for years, even before it was named the 12 Apostles.
The 12 Apostles are wheelchair accessible and include;
- Large sealed car park with designated accessible parking spaces.
- 300m of sealed paths to viewing areas by passing through or around the Visitor Centre.
- Prams and wheelchairs can access the lower viewing platform by following signs at the main lookout.
- There is a 200m extension to the eastern viewing platform which is steep in its final section and unsuitable for those with impaired mobility.
- Wheelchair accessible toilet open 24 hours at the Centre.
- Wheelchairs are available upon request from Kiosk staff between 10:00am and 5:00pm.
For more information on visiting the twelve apostles and their accessibility click here.
Fifth Stop: Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge is named after the famous 1878 shipwreck on nearby Mutton Bird Island. Fifty-two people were lost from the Loch Ard and only two teenage survivors were fortunate enough to be washed into the only safe gorge on the coast.
It is impossible to walk these trails and not be moved by the powers of nature that have shaped and the shipwreck history that defines the area. Offshore stacks, blowholes and the indescribable beauty of formations like the Razorback and Island arch make this precinct the one with the lot.
For more information on visiting Loch Ard Gorge click here.
The Loch Ard precinct is linked by 3 car parks and four main trails.
The designated accessible parking space at Loch Ard Gorge allows for good access to the Geology and Loch Ard lookout trails.
Car parks at Mutton Bird island are not suitable for caravans and large vehicles and have no designated accessible parking spaces.
There are no toilets on the site.
Watch this video here for more information about it’s accessibility and the accessibility at the 12 Apostles.
Sixth Stop: Dinner
To end such a scenic and memorable day, stop off at Waves Cafe Bar & Restaurant, in Port Campbell, for dinner.
Waves Restaurant is all about fantastic food with sensational flavours. Offering a large range of a la carte dishes with an Asian influence on many of those.
Click here for their website with more information.
There is wheelchair access through their front deck and they have had many vistors with wheelchairs visit their restaurant.
They have a bathroom that is accessible to some wheelchairs.
To see if they suit your unique accessibility requirements call them on 03-5598 6111.
After having dinner you can start your return journey at home, visiting as many places on the way back as you like. You might even want to stop somewhere for dessert 😉
Just make sure to give yourself ample time to get home safely.
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:
- Have a read of this handy accessible guide for the 12 Apostles region
- 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 or purchase tickets for all restaurants and activities. Whilst doing this confirm all of your unique accessibility requirements, e.g. steps, accessible bathroom, corridor space etc.
- Look up and view the day trip route on your maps and print the map off or download it onto your phone
- 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!)
- Verify parking options at each location
- Beach wheelchair rental if desired
2 Day's Prior to Day-Trip:
- Make sure to be prepared to leave early in the morning, as it’s approximately a 3-hour drive from Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road
- Check weather and organise essentials for changing weather conditions; e.g. an umbrella, extra layers, sunscreen, sunhat, a waterproof jacket etc.
- Water bottle
- Confirm bookings and details with support worker, accessible vehicle hire company, restaurants and activities
- Collate back ups for your mobility device
- Personal Comfort and Supplies e.g. snacks
- Emergency contacts
- A camera or smart phone for photos
- Ensure your phone is fully charged
- Download relevant apps for navigation, accessibility information and communication
- Download copies of reservations
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- International Day of Disabled Persons
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