We’re a Sydney based family of four trying to find our way around tricky situations so we can do as much as possible, despite a wheelchair being part of our package. Our son BJ is 24 and lives with cerebral palsy, is non-verbal, a wheelchair user and needs assistance with all his living needs. , has cerebral palsy and is non verbal.
When we travel we use his manual wheelchair that does not fold (I’m specific about this because it becomes an issue when doing tours etc which I will mention later).
We have a 17 year old daughter, AJ, who is always keen to lend a hand planning our travels.
Up until our son was 7 my husband managed to carry him in a hiking backpack for those difficult to get to places. We were lucky enough to do a cruise around the South Pacific, tour New Zealand (picture my husband crawling into the glow worm caves at Te Anau with our son perched in a hiking backpack at the age of 6 1/2), Uluru, Darwin, Kakadu and Cairns.
The backpack enabled us to get to more remote areas. If you are a family with a younger child with a disability I’d recommend doing any of the hiking type trips while they are young.
We did some amazing hikes in Kakadu which we simply could not have done once we were purely reliant on a wheelchair. There are plenty of things you can do with a wheelchair but more difficult terrain is best done while your child is younger. This is just our experience. We hope to go back to Uluru and Kakadu so AJ can see it but we know it will be a modified itinerary.
In finding our way around ‘tricky situations’ with the chair we have been known to (shh, don’t tell the physios and OT’s) bump the wheelchair up stairs, drag it across beaches, lift it onto trams, buses, ferries etc (when inaccessible). We understand this is not possible and certainly far from ideal for most families. As our son grows we are also finding this for ourselves.
The aim of this website is to give some tips on places we’ve found accommodating, wheelchair accessible/friendly and some fun things we found in our travels.
I plan to keep updating the website with our weekend outings telling you about places that we’ve found and giving you an insight to our experiences we have at well known attractions around Sydney. I will also update it after any holidays.
Anything I mention is simply from our point of view. You will have to decide if it is right for you and I highly recommend you ask questions, email and research for your own personal needs. Every person with a disability has different preferences and needs. We always look for accommodation with a bath for example because our son can transfer but most people probably look for an accessible room with a roll in shower. You may be a family with a 2 year old with a disability that can still be lifted easily or it could be that you are an adult travelling with a disability. Obviously this will determine your needs.
Have Wheelchair Will Travel is purely to start you off with some ideas and tips.