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About Our Family

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 Braeden is 26 and lives with cerebral palsy, is non-verbal, a wheelchair user and needs assistance with all his living needs.

When we travel we use Braeden’s 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).

Have Wheelchair Will Travel

We have an 19 year old daughter Amelia, who is always keen to lend a hand planning our travels.
Up until Braeden was seven years old 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 six and a half), Uluru, Darwin, Kakadu and Cairns.

Have Wheelchair Will Travel
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 Amelia can see it but we know it will be a modified itinerary.

Have Wheelchair Will Travel

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.

Have Wheelchair Will Travel

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.

Have Wheelchair Will Travel

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 two 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. We have a lovely community over on our Facebook page and invite you to join the conversation over there. 

Happy travelling!

 

 




16 thoughts on “About Our Family”

  1. Hi, I am at the moment exploring ways of making a back pack for a 9 yr old with a disability. What type of pack pack were you using to carry your child in. I have made a prototype but I am concerned about the weight over the shoulders. I am struggling to find any information in this area.

    Warm Regards Ian.

    Reply
    • Hi Ian,

      Lovely to hear from you. Unfortunately I do not remember the brand of the backpack. It was purchased from a hiking store and really was wonderful. We recently did a post on facebook about back carriers and I will check back through that to see what others recommended. Bare with me while I search back through facebook. We had some very helpful answers from people regarding backpacks for older children. Julie

      Reply
    • Hi Ian, The post I did about back carriers was on facebook 5 July if you want to scroll through our page to find it. The Ergo carrier was recommended by a couple of people with one person saying the following about it ” I use a Ergo Baby carrier. My kiddo is 42 lbs and 6 years old and i can still carry him an hour or two on front carry, and it is even easier on a back carry. I can load him front carry by myself, but i need help to stabilize him to load on the back. We also used a more structured Phil and Ted’s frame for back carry. It has adjustable height for both the person carrying and the kiddo, and a frame that sits on the hips. We’ll get a couple more years of use out of that one. kiddo can be loaded on the ground and then hoisted up on the back with a single person. Both have been excellent investments” Another person recommended the Boba as it has foot straps.

      I hope that helps a little. Julie

      Reply
      • Hi Julie, Thank you for your info, I have completed most of my carrier I just need to have the child seated in it to make the necessary adjustments and feedback from mum and dad. Cheers Ian

        Reply
        • I’d love to see it Ian when finished. I am currently working on a blog filled with solutions that people have come up with. Then ideas will be permanently on the website for people to use as a resource in the future. Julie

          Reply
          • This project is work related and has to be funded first, but it is a personal idea I have always thought about, I love hiking and have climbed and trekked the Himalaya a few times and local. To be able to leave the wheelchair behind and have your child with you while you walk the hills, cross streams would be magnificent. I am making this in my own time and hopefully the funding will come through soon, frustrating. so when it all happens and if it works I will forward it on to you. Ian

          • Sounds fantastic Ian and as parents we love people like you who go that extra mile and understand what it means to a family to do things together. Good luck with it. Julie

  2. Have found a couple in the states that take up to 35 pound, one is called the freeloader and one looks like an old indian travois

    Reply
  3. Hi Scott,

    Thankyou Scott for your message. I have actually purchased “The FreeLoader”, the concept is good but in my opinion it can be improved. I have modified the one I bought by changing the seating idea, I have made lateral padded straps for more support and made and included a back support. The cushion I have built in a pommel which gives more comfort and padded leg straps that can be adjusted to hug your waste or to loosen to your need. It may sound complex and heavy but in actual fact it fits snug. I’m in final stages with completing it. Thanks again for your info.

    Cheers Ian

    Reply
  4. Hi thanks for your information and blog. I have a niece who is disabled and I know how hard it is to find holiday accommodation so we are setting up a wheelchair friendly cabin in our back yard, I’d love it if you could come and be our adviser – the pressure is on to get it finished for Christmas.
    We have a one bedroom with shower and toilet and a kitchenette/ bedroom/ bathroom, with a deck – thats all that council will allow us to build … grrrr. But we are in a good spot near Sandon Point Bulli and there is the bike track along the beach with 2 cafes, one a few doors up. There is a disabled surf chair at Thirroul too.
    I have noted that the bed needs to have room fork a hoist under. If I can I will get one for here.
    All the best. Heather

    Reply
    • Hi Heather,

      It sounds like you have a great handle on what is needed. I would say there needs to be room to transfer from a wheelchair to the toilet with appropriate rails, also the bed shouldn’t be too high so people can transfer from a wheelchair. The position sounds wonderful.

      Good luck with it all.

      Julie

      Reply
  5. I recently read ‘Driving Miss Norma’ about a couple travelling round America in a camper vanwith their 90 year old mother who is very ill.

    They went to every tourist attraction and national park on the way. Norma had a light weight wheel chair. Their greatest times were spent in places where trails could get them into the wild.

    Reply

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