Plenty of warm sunshine, sandy beaches and salty waves are features of an Australian summer. However, for many wheelchair users the sunshine has long been the only one of that trio available to enjoy. But that’s changing with a growing number of Australian beaches now accessible.
Altona Beach, in Melbourne’s western suburbs, is one of those beaches and in February it was the site of Independence Australia’s first Accessible Beach weekend. Check out the video below for all the highlights!
What are accessible beaches?
Accessible beaches offer ramps or stair-free access to the sand. They also have beach matting, to make rolling across the sand possible. Many also offer beach wheelchairs for hire. Beach wheelchairs have buoyant armrests and wheels that allow the chair to float in the water. They also have straps to secure the rider. Beach wheelchairs are designed to enter the water, up to the waist height of a support person, so that everyone can enjoy the beach and have a dip.
Where can I find my nearest accessible beach?
The Accessible Beaches campaign was launched in 2016, and there are now multiple accessible beaches across the country. You can find a list of accessible beaches with details on the various accessibility features of individual beaches on the Accessible Beaches website. You can also contact your local council.