The holiday season is a time of joy, festivity, and sharing quality time with people and/or pets we care about. For wheelchair users, finding accessible and enjoyable spots during Christmas can be a challenge. However, if you know where to look there are wheelchair friendly activities and fun things to do for wheelchair users that promise a memorable experience for everyone.
We’ve rounded up some highly recommended spots that wheelchair users will be able to navigate. Check out these iconic landmarks, serene gardens and vibrant markets across the country. Planning to road trip or fly somewhere for the holidays? Bookmark and read our article that provides tips for travelling with a disability.
In this article
- Wheelchair friendly activities – Opera House and Circular Quay, Sydney
- Wheelchair friendly activities – The Royal Botanic Garden, Melbourne
- Wheelchair friendly activities – Bondi Beach, Sydney
- Wheelchair friendly activities – South Bank Parklands, Brisbane
- Wheelchair friendly activities – Adelaide Central Market, Adelaide
- Wheelchair friendly activities – Wineries in the Barossa Valley
- Wheelchair friendly activities – Cairns Esplanade, Cairns
- Wheelchair friendly activities – Tamar River, Tasmania
- Wheelchair friendly activities – AQWA (Aquarium of Western Australia), Hillarys
- More activities you can roll right into
- Insurance for wherever you are
Wheelchair friendly activities – Opera House and Circular Quay, Sydney
Sydney, with its iconic skyline and world-famous landmarks, is a fantastic destination for wheelchair users during the Christmas season. Its most famous symbol of architectural brilliance, the Sydney Opera House, lights up with a festive glow during the holidays.
This world renowned building is located at the tip of Circular Quay, which transforms into a magical wonderland with sparkling lights, festive decorations, and a joyful atmosphere.
Cultural treats abound inside and out
Within, the Opera House offers plenty of fun things to do for wheelchair users and others with limited mobility – including various performances from opera to theatre and dance. Most of the venues inside, like the Concert Hall and Joan Sutherland Theatre, are wheelchair accessible. There are specific seating areas for wheelchair users, ensuring a good view of the stage.
It’s best to book your tickets in advance and let them know about your accessibility needs, so they can accommodate you comfortably.
Additionally, guided tours are available, and many of them are wheelchair-friendly. These tours give you a behind-the-scenes look at this iconic building and share fascinating stories about its history and the performances held there.
Wheelchair users can easily navigate the accessible paths around the Sydney Opera House, enjoying the breathtaking views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour. Circular Quay offers wheelchair-friendly access to a range of restaurants, cafes, and shops, letting visitors soak in the festive spirit while enjoying a meal or shopping for unique (if slightly expensive!) Christmas gifts.
Wheelchair friendly activities – The Royal Botanic Garden, Melbourne
Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Garden provides a tranquil and enchanting setting for a festive escape.
During the Christmas season, the garden comes alive with twinkling lights, vibrant decorations, and the sweet scent of blooming flowers. Wheelchair users will find well-maintained paths that lead to various themed gardens, each adorned with unique holiday displays.
One of the wheelchair friendly activities to explore is Guilfoyle’s Volcano, a garden that showcases a mesmerising water feature and a diverse collection of plants.
If you fancy a guided tour, the garden offers accessible tours either on foot or using their tour vehicles, which are often equipped to accommodate wheelchairs. This way, you can learn about the plants and history of the gardens from an expert guide.
And don’t forget to stop by the Botanic Gardens Cafe or Botanic Gardens Restaurant. They have lovely views of the gardens, so offer great spots to relax and soak in the setting.
Wheelchair friendly activities – Bondi Beach, Sydney
For those dreaming of a sunny Christmas by the ocean, Bondi Beach is the perfect spot. Renowned for its golden sands and rolling waves, it welcomes wheelchair users with accessible ramps, beach wheelchairs, and beach matting, making sure everyone can enjoy the seaside festivities.
During the Christmas season, Bondi evolves into an even livelier hub of activity. It truly is a feast for the eyes.
The Bondi Pavilion hosts events, live performances, and markets, creating a vibrant atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. Wheelchair users can take in the spectacular ocean views, join in the beachside celebrations, and even dip their toes in the accessible seawater pools.
Wheelchair friendly activities – South Bank Parklands, Brisbane
Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands is a haven of fun things to do for wheelchair users that blends urban charm and riverside beauty. Accessible paths wind through the parklands, connecting visitors to an array of festive wheelchair friendly activities and attractions. The South Bank Christmas Village, adorned with fairy lights and festive stalls, offers a great shopping experience.
Wheelchair users can take advantage of the accessible riverfront promenade, providing stunning views of the Brisbane River and the city skyline. The Wheel of Brisbane, a towering observation wheel, becomes a dazzling spectacle during the Christmas season, offering panoramic views of the festive lights below.
If you’re into swimming or just relaxing by the water, Streets Beach is a must-visit. It’s a man-made beach and lagoon right in the middle of the city. The area includes accessible paths and viewing areas, making it easy for everyone to enjoy the beach atmosphere.
By the way, if you’re traveling and considering hiring a wheelchair, check out our wheelchair hire FAQ.
Wheelchair friendly activities – Adelaide Central Market, Adelaide
Adelaide Central Market, a busy hub of foodie delights, offers plenty of fun things to do for wheelchair users during the Christmas season. The market is adorned with festive decorations and filled with the aromas of seasonal treats, offering some great wheelchair friendly activities.
Navigating the market is made possible through wheelchair-friendly ramps and spacious aisles. From fresh produce to gourmet goodies, visitors can explore the diverse offerings of the market while immersing themselves in the festive spirit.
The Adelaide Central Market also hosts a range of events and cooking demonstrations, and these are often accessible to wheelchair users. It’s worth checking their schedule to see if there’s anything special happening during your visit.
In terms of facilities, the market has accessible toilets and parking. The nearby streets also have several accessible parking spots.
Wheelchair friendly activities – Wineries in the Barossa Valley
For a unique Christmas experience, you may be interested in exploring the picturesque vineyards and wineries of the Barossa Valley. Renowned for its world-class wines and scenic landscapes, the Barossa Valley has made strides in ensuring accessibility for wheelchairs users and others living with disability.
Several wineries in the region provide wheelchair-friendly facilities, including accessible cellars, ramps, and designated parking spaces. Visitors can embark on many incredible wine-tasting journeys, savouring the rich flavours of the Barossa’s finest drops while enjoying the festive decorations that adorn the wineries during the Christmas season.
If you’re wondering if you can use your disability parking permit in another state, we’ve got the answer for you.
Wheelchair friendly activities – Cairns Esplanade, Cairns
Cairns, with its tropical climate and stunning waterfront, offers a unique array of Christmas wheelchair friendly activities. The Cairns Esplanade is a real focal point. Wheelchair users can take advantage of the accessible paths along the waterfront, enjoying views of the Coral Sea and the lush greenery that lines it.
During the Christmas season, the Cairns Esplanade comes alive with a vibrant atmosphere and interesting people watching experiences. Check out outdoor performances, enjoy all kinds of foodie offerings and bask in the relaxing warmth. The accessible swimming lagoon allows wheelchair users to cool off and relax amid the holiday festivities.
If you fancy a bit of nature, the Cairns Esplanade Mangrove Boardwalk is a unique fun thing to do for wheelchair users. It’s a fully accessible boardwalk that takes you through the mangroves. You’ll get a chance to learn about this unique ecosystem and spot some local wildlife.
Wheelchair friendly activities – Tamar River, Tasmania
How about a relaxing river cruise along the picturesque Tamar River? Some river cruises have accessible facilities, allowing you to comfortably enjoy the scenic beauty of the Tamar Valley from atop the water.
The cruises usually start from Launceston and journey along the Tamar River, giving you a chance to see the picturesque landscapes and learn about the region’s history and wildlife. The river banks are lined with vineyards, pastoral and forested areas, which make for a serene and beautiful setting.
For wheelchair accessibility, Tamar River Cruises is quite accommodating. Its boats are designed to ensure comfort and accessibility for all passengers, including those in wheelchairs. However, it’s always a good idea to contact them ahead of your visit to discuss specific accessibility needs and ensure they can accommodate your wheelchair comfortably.
On board, you’ll find informative commentary that delves into the history of the region, from its Aboriginal heritage to European settlement and the development of the Tamar Valley. It’s not just a cruise; it’s an educational journey as well.
Wheelchair friendly activities – AQWA (Aquarium of Western Australia), Hillarys
Let’s chat about AQWA, the Aquarium of Western Australia in Hillarys that’s about 30 minutes from Perth. It’s a really fun thing to do for wheelchair users, especially if you’re fascinated by marine life!
AQWA is dedicated to showcasing the incredible and diverse marine life of Western Australia’s coastline. From the icy waters of the Southern Ocean to the tropical wonders of the coral reefs in the Far North, AQWA gives you a unique glimpse into these underwater worlds.
For wheelchair accessibility, AQWA has done a great job. The aquarium is designed to be accessible, with ramps and lifts making it easy to navigate through the different exhibits. This means you can comfortably enjoy the entire experience without worrying about accessibility barriers.
One of the highlights of AQWA is the underwater tunnel. It’s one of the largest in the world and offers a 180-degree view of life under the sea. You’ll be surrounded by all sorts of marine creatures, from graceful stingrays to sleek sharks, as they swim around and above you. It’s like being under the ocean without getting wet!
Besides the tunnel, there are plenty of other exhibits where you can get up close with various marine species. Touch pools, coral reefs, and interactive displays make the experience both educational and fun. The aquarium also features informative presentations and feeding demonstrations that are valuable for learning more about marine conservation and the animals’ behaviours.
More activities you can roll right into
Were these wheelchair friendly activities not quite what you’re looking for? Check out these related articles:
- 5 Disability Friendly Holiday Spots to Visit This Spring (and summer, too)
- Top Wheelchair Accessible Holiday Accommodation on the East Coast
- Accessible Holiday Stays for Valentine’s Day (or any day)
- Tempting Accessible Accommodation Options for Winter (they’ll work all year round)
And if you’d like to take your fur kid along, check out “Pet Friendly Accessible Accommodation for the Christmas Holidays“.
Insurance for wherever you are
Travelling with disability equipment can be stressful, we get it. The worry that it may be stolen or damaged can take the shine off your holiday of wheelchair friendly activities. At Blue Badge Insurance we understand that your equipment is more than just the price tag. It’s part of everyday life.
We offer year-round, cost-effective comprehensive wheelchair insurance that includes cover for domestic and overseas travel. You should discover our tailor made wheelchair cover options, or mobility scooter insurance, insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and more.
It might just be the small confidence boost you need to ensure you have an amazing trip. Wherever you decide to go, Blue Badge Insurance will follow.