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Beaches are a huge part of Australia’s cultural identity. Not only are they some of our most iconic locations, beaches provide a range of health benefits, from relieving stress to boosting our immune system. In 2016, the Accessible Beaches campaign set out to improve the quality of life for the more than four million Australians living with disability by improving access to beaches around the country.
Now, there are 14 beaches with accessible features with more on their way. With summer coming up, there’s no better time to discover these amazing beaches.
Accessible Beaches in Victoria
Victoria has led the way in making beaches accessible for people living with disability. The state has the only two 24/7 accessible beach matting facilities, meaning anyone can get on to these beaches at any time during the summer:
Williamstown Beach and Altona Beach, Melbourne
These accessible beaches are close to Melbourne CBD, and with great 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.
These beaches both 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:
All these beaches have accessible beach matting, however 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 on to the beach, and is free with a booking.
Accessible Beaches in Queensland
Currently, the Gold Coast is testing accessible beach access at a number of locations. The Gold Coast is a popular destination for holidaymakers and in 2018 it will host the Commonwealth Games.
Burleigh Heads Beach, Gold Coast
The national case study for accessible beach standards 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 beautiful beach.
There are also free loans of Mobi-Chair floating wheel chairs and Hippocampe beach wheelchairs.
Other accessible beaches in Queensland:
Southport and North Burleigh Heads will introduce accessible facilities soon.
Accessible Beaches in New South Wales
Claire is a writer for Better Caring, an online platform where people living with a disability, or those who are ageing, can find and hire local care and support workers, specific to their needs.