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Accessibility News Round-Up: August 2023

There is so much exciting news at the moment – fun ways to enjoy the warmer weather, festivals, art shows, and more – that it’s easy to miss something amazing. Here’s a round-up of everything that’s caught my attention lately. If you have any hot tips, please share them in the comments or over on our Facebook page!

Braeden sitting by the water on the Gold Coast

ChirpOMatic Australia: A fun outdoor activity

Is the weather warming up yet? If you’re keen to get outside and shake off the winter blues, the new Australian version of the ChirpOMatic bird song recognition app is perfect for that.

Did you know that Australia has over 850 species of birds, and nearly half of those aren’t found anywhere else in the world? Families and nature-lovers in New South Wales and Victoria can use the local version of the best-selling UK app to identify birds anywhere outdoors: on a walk, at the park, even in your own back-yard. It’s super-simple to use, too. One tap opens the app, a second tap records a bird’s sounds for 10 seconds (just like Shazam!), then the app will display the type of bird and a short description. Apparently, it can identify a huge range of bird songs, “from the short, sharp call of the tiny Weebill to the Brolga’s loud trumpeting”.

Bird on a branch, with a phone graphic showing the ChirpOMatic app screen

We love that this activity can be done anywhere (weather and access permitting), and can get everyone involved in nature. You can download the app from the App Store for Apple or the Play Store for Google/Android.

Stop and smell the roses at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2023

The Toowoomba Carnival Of Flowers kicks off next month, and runs until the end of September. The carnival calendar is packed with colourful community events, spectacular floral features, and more – there’s something for everyone!

Visitors at Queens Park during the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

The Festival of Food & Wine is a must for foodies, from 8-10 September. The flowers are the main event, though, and the Grand Central Floral Parade will run on 16 September.

The organisers recommend these accessible parks and gardens for visitors with limited mobility:

The Toowoomba Regional Council has provided a great accessibility map of the CBD, which highlights accessible parking spaces, wheelchair accessible toilets, and other information for visitors’ convenience.

To see what’s on and book for ticketed events, visit the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2023 website.

Unlocking the World of Pet-Friendly Accessibility (sponsored)

When it comes to travel and accommodation, finding the perfect place that caters to both our furry friends and our accessibility needs can be a challenge. However, the crew at Accessible Accommodation have opened new doors for those seeking inclusive pet-friendly travel experience.

Here are some of the accommodation options that go the extra mile to provide accessible features (like wheelchair ramps, widened doorways, and accessible bathrooms) and recognise the therapeutic benefits of bringing pets along.

City: Melbourne is buzzing with energy, and this accessible pet-friendly apartment is located in the heart of it all. It has a great rooftop courtyard for pups to play, and humans to take in Melbourne’s famed laneway scene.

Beachside: Sunnynook is a pet-friendly house that comfortably sleeps up to eleven guests, located 70 minutes outside of Adelaide. It has a hoist, commode, and electric bed. There’s also this cosy Coochiemudlo Island hideaway, a ten-minute ferry ride from Victoria Point in Brisbane, with miles of flat paths for puppy strolls.

Two fluffy miniature poodles in patterned jackets on the rooftop courtyard at Melbourne accessible accommodation
Sponsored: Accessible Accommodation

There are over 50 pet-friendly accessible places to stay: search for your perfect place here, or call the crew at Accessible Accommodation on 1300 180 889.

Free public exhibition of Blue Mountains artists at The Concourse (Chatswood, NSW)

One of Australia’s most respected contemporary artist duos, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, will present new work in a free public exhibition at Art Space on the Concourse in Chatswood, NSW.

The show is running from 9 August to 3 September, and features mosaic renderings of monsters and paranormal creatures created out of second-hand Lego pieces. The well-worn pieces have been used to create visions of the Loch Ness Monster, ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot – and more!

Cropped image of one of the artworks on display as part of the exhibition, a mosaic made of used Lego pieces

This exhibition – Persistence of Vision; The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters – is the perfect combination of contemporary high art and family fun. Best of all, The Concourse has great accessibility considerations. Accessible parking spaces are available onsite on Level 1 and 2 of the car park, with access to the Art Space by lifts. There are accessible toilet facilities throughout the venue, and all spaces are accessible for wheelchairs and other mobility aids. There is seating available for anyone who needs it, and the Box Office is happy to help with any other accessibility needs (e.g., Assistive Listening devices). This exhibition is free, but if you’re visiting for any other shows, contact the Box Office to arrange Companion Card tickets. Find out more on The Concourse website.

National Science Week (12-20 August)

National Science Week is an Australia-wide festival that engages thousands of people in all aspects of science. Last year, nearly 2 million people participated in over 1650 events and activities. Even if you don’t think of yourself as particularly scientific, you’ll be surprised at what you can find and learn. Best of all, a lot of the events are free(!) and accessible(!!).

An adult and child seated in a colourful room wearing VR vision goggles
Credit: National Science Week

You can find the full (huge!) program of events on their website. Here are some of our favourites that are wheelchair accessible:

There are also thousands of online events, competitions, and other ways to participate from home.

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