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Accessible beaches around Australia to visit this summer
Beaches are a huge part of Australia’s identity. They’re some of our most iconic locations and they also provide a range of health benefits, from relieving stress to boosting our immune system. In 2016, the Accessible Beaches campaign set out to improve access to beaches around the country, with a target of making most of Australia’s patrolled beaches wheelchair accessible by 2020.
Now, there are 11 beaches with accessible beach pathways, with five on their way. Summer’s here and there’s no better time to discover them.
Accessible beaches in Victoria
Victoria has led the way in making beaches accessible for people living with a disability. It has Australia’s only two 24/7 accessible beach matting facilities, meaning anyone can get on to these beaches at any time during the summer. The beaches are Williamstown Beach and Altona Beach, both in Melbourne.
These accessible beaches are close to Melbourne CBD, and, with good cafés right by the 24/7 matting, are great locations for a beach day. The matting, which is available during the operating season (3 December- 26 March), extends all the way to the shoreline.
Both beaches have accessible bathrooms, showers, and parking, while only Williamstown has an accessible change room. There’s also a Mobi-Chair at each location which can be used for free with a booking, allowing users to get across the sand and even into the ocean water.
Other accessible beaches in Victoria are:
- Mordialloc Beach, 25 minutes south of Melbourne
- Mt Martha Beach, Mornington Peninsula
- St Kilda Beach
- Port Melbourne
All these beaches have accessible beach matting but they are only available during patrol hours or the weekends, depending on the location. Each location also has at least one wheelchair that can be taken onto the beach and is free with a booking. St Kilda has a new specialized Changing Places bathroom facility which includes electronic hoists for wheelchair transfers and a changing table.
Accessible beaches in Queensland
Currently, the Gold Coast is trialing accessible beach access at a number of locations.
Burleigh Heads Beach is a national case study for beach accessibility standards so it has everything required to get people onto the beach. Accessible beach matting reaches the hard sand, allowing anyone with a manual or electric wheelchair, a pram or walking frame to get onto this picture-perfect beach.
There are also free loans of Mobi-Chair floating wheelchairs and Hippocampe beach wheelchairs.
Other accessible beaches in Queensland are:
- Alexandra Headland, Sunshine Coast – Accessible beach matting and bathroom
- Torquay Beach, Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast – Accessible beach matting and floating beach wheelchair
- Port Douglas, Far North Queensland – A beach wheelchair is available on Four Mile Beach
Southport and North Burleigh Heads will introduce accessible facilities soon.
Accessible beaches in New South Wales
NSW national parks and some beaches offer easy wheelchair access. One spot is the spectacular Camp Cove Beach on Sydney’s South Head. But for easier access straight to the water, there are three options:
- Lighthouse Beach, Ballina – Accessible beach matting
- Avoca Beach – Accessible beach matting
- Cooks Hill SLSC, Newcastle – Lasher sport beach wheelchair
Accessible beaches in Western Australia
- Town Beach, Mandurah – Accessible beach matting and bathroom
- Madora Bay Beach, Mandurah – Accessible beach matting and bathroom