Embrace inclusive travel
People of all abilities can enjoy the best of Victoria on an accessible escape. Explore a sensory forest trail, sip delicious drops at a winery with braille tasting notes, and take advantage of wheelchair accessibility at some of the state’s best art galleries. Tourism providers are making it easier than ever for people of all needs to live it up in Victoria’s regions.
1. Buchan Caves
Head to Buchan Caves Reserve to see Victoria’s largest cave system. Bask at the limestone formations carved almost 400 million years ago by an underground river and marvel at spectacular stalactite and stalagmite forms and ancient, flowing rivers. Parks Victoria has worked with advocacy and support group, Amaze, to make the caves more enjoyable for kids on the autism spectrum through the development of a social script that explains what kids can see and experience in the reserve.
2. Art Gallery of Ballarat
As Victoria’s biggest, oldest gallery with a beautiful collection of local and international art, this regional gallery is one for the holiday list. The multi-level space at the Art Gallery of Ballarat can be enjoyed by people with all access needs, with lifts and ramps providing access to all areas of the heritage space.
3. Woowookarung Regional Park
Wander a gentle, one-kilometre sensory trail in Ballarat’s Woowookarung Regional Park. As Australia’s first dementia-friendly forest, the trail offers an inclusive way to see, smell, touch and hear the beauty of nature with a range of touchpoints which are designed to evoke positive memories and sensations for people living with dementia. The trail is also accessible for wheelchairs and is suitable for assistance dogs, carers and groups of visitors from residential aged care facilities.
4. The Mill Castlemaine
Shop for eclectic handmade and artisanal goods in a re-purposed 1870s wool mill at The Mill Castlemaine. Browse vintage and antique wares in the Vintage Bazaar and discover local makers and creators as they work their creative magic in this inclusive space. The Mill features wide pathways and gentle sloping ramps so people of all physical abilities can enjoy the market.
5. Phillip Island Penguin Parade
Phillip Island Nature Parks cater for people with sensory and mobility needs. Visit the Phillip Island Penguin Parade at dusk to see local penguin colonies head home for the night. Keep your eyes open for other wildlife, like swamp wallabies, eastern barred bandicoots and cape barren geese. Speak to staff to get one of the attraction’s sensory bags, which contain noise cancelling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards. You can also visit quiet and headphone zones, or time your trip for when they run sensory nights with less visitors and reduced noise.
6. Red Feet Wines
Boutique King Valley Winery, Red Feet Wines, offers sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and is wheelchair accessible. Pop in for a wine tasting and read the tasting notes in a large font type or in braille, so those with a vision impairment can get the full tasting experience.
7. Waterbikes Australia
Head to Geelong and the Bellarine or down the coast to the Mornington Peninsula and feel the wind in your hair as you explore your independence on the water, while having a tonne of fun on a waterbike. Tandem bike styles allow carers to accompany those with extra needs on a memorable water paddling adventure.
8. Geelong Gallery
See a collection of Australian and European paintings, sculpture, printmaking and decorative arts that’s been 125 years in the making at Geelong Gallery. Art lovers with accessibility needs can also rejoice, as the gallery has installed wayfinding signage in raised letters and braille, has audio information on some of the art and offers wheelchairs for loan. Visitors with early to mid-stage dementia can also join a curated tour to get the best gallery experience possible.
9. Wildlife Wonders
Natural beauty abounds at Wildlife Wonders along Victoria’s scenic Great Ocean Road. Embark on an exploration of native wildlife and ecology while enjoying stunning native bushland and learning about current research projects targeted at protecting local threatened species. Wildlife Wonders features a 1.4-kilometre all abilities path suitable for wheelchairs, people on crutches and for prams.
10. Tidal River
Explore the enchanting beauty of Victoria’s southernmost point by hiring an all terrain wheelchair, a TrailRider, from the information centre at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park. From here, have fun in the sand and sea at Squeaky Beach and easily navigate your way around the camp ground and surrounding nature paths.
Other accessible options
There’s a plethora of accessible travel options on offer around Victoria. For example, Kings Billabong in Mildura offers an accessible floating pontoon and canoe launcher with built-in handrails and a series of rollers so those with mobility issues can still get their canoes in and out of the water. While Vacayit has developed an audio guides app so people can discover the wonders of Victoria from anywhere. Destinations include Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill and Bendigo’s Golden Dragon Museum.
Learn more about Accessibility in Victoria to make your next getaway one you’ll always remember.