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Accessibility News Round-Up: November 2023

There is so much exciting news at the moment – exciting museum exhibits, nocturnal animal encounters, accessible Santa sessions, 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!

Accessibility News Round Up November 2023 - text overlaid on image of the Jones family looking at a Rainforestation wildlife keeper holding a koala

The biggest cultural exhibition in over a decade

Most kids have an Ancient Egypt phase, don’t they? Mummies, pyramids, hieroglyphics, hidden treasure… If the fascination never quite left you, or you’re living with a budding Eyptologist, you need to see Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs.

Promotional image for Ramses & The Gold Of The Pharaohs

This is the largest cultural exhibition to visit Australia in over a decade. The Australian Museum is offering a unique interactive museum experience that features 181 priceless artefacts and ornate golden treasures (think mummies, jewellery, amulets, all the good stuff). Many of these one-of-a-kind relics have never before left Egypt, so it’s the best chance you’ll ever have to see them close to home.

We’re particularly excited to try the virtual reality experience that promises to “take visitors on a whirlwind tour of two of Ramses’ most impressive monuments: the Tomb of Queen Nefertari, his favourite Royal Consort, and the temples of Abu Simbel”.

Access is excellent at the Australian Museum, too. There are ramps/lifts to move between areas and exhibitions. They have a Changing Places bathroom on Level 2 with hoist, adult-sized change table and push button access, as well as standard wheelchair accessible toilets on all public gallery floors. The Museum also provides a Visual Story, advice on quiet times to visit, and support for people wearing Hidden Disability Sunflower Lanyards.

Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs opens at the Australian Museum on 18 November 2023, and tickets can be purchased via their website (Concession and Companion Card tickets available).




NOCTURNAL at Lone Pine Sanctuary

Treat yourself to an evening coffee to keep you alert for NOCTURNAL, a new first-ever immersive night-time experience at Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane. This special program allows visitors to discover the hidden world of Australia’s fascinating nocturnal wildlife.

NOCTURNAL is a one-kilometer walk or wheel through an established Eucalypt plantation, mostly on a custom-designed elevated boardwalk. Visitors are given handheld thermal imaging devices, about the size of a mobile phone, that pick up the unique heat signature of animals. Use a non-invasive red light torch to watch the animals go about their business undisturbed by their human observers. You can also check out the “burrow cams”, a unique opportunity to see what nocturnal creatures get up to in their “homes”.

A family with a Lone Pine Sanctuary guide on the boardwalk with red lights for the NOCTURNAL experience

Groups (maximum twenty participants) are guided by an expert who describes each animal species and their personalities. You’ll even get the opportunity to feed some of these night-time wanderers.

The 90-minute NOCTURNAL tour is available on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings for participants aged three years and older. There is free accessible parking available on site, and access to accessible toilets and device charging stations. The Sanctuary is located on naturally hilly terrain, so you may need to bring someone with you for mobility assistance or take alternate routes around the site. Some sections of the boardwalk may also have fencing heights that limit your visibility. There are manual wheelchairs available for hire at the Ticket Entrance. Get in touch with the Sanctuary team on (07) 3378 1366 or by email to arrange Companion Card tickets, and/or discuss options for attending with an Assistance Animal and other specific needs. Book your tickets here, and tick the Assistance Required box.


Get away and get back to nature with Accessible Accommodation 

Sponsored

Accessible Accommodation has a range of accessible farm and country stays where you can lose yourself in the tranquility of rural landscapes, enjoy real farm experiences, and create cherished memories. Get ready for an unforgettable summer adventure that suits your accessibility needs.

  • Mt Warning Estate, NSW, offers a fully accessible and stylish two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin. This stunning farm stay gives you the room you need to move. Roast marshmallows over the outdoor fire, soak in the large outdoor bath, and watch the beautiful sunsets.
  • Hollyhall Farm, NSW, offers a three-bedroom accessible cottage surrounded by lush farmland. Befriend the placid ponies and miniature horses, stroll or wheel along the concrete and gravel paths, and sleep well with serene nights.
  • Temdara Farm Retreat, VIC, has a beautiful purpose-built accessible barn, fitted with all-new modern facilities and comforts. Artists looking for a retreat with a difference can take Temdara up on their artist stays, with free access to a large beautiful studio.
  • Built with attention to details, the Gatehouse at The Maples B&B, VIC, is a fully self-contained ground-floor wheelchair-accessible apartment. Explore all that the Dandenong Ranges has to offer and enjoy the comforts of this romantic accessible getaway.
  • Riverwood Cottage, VIC, is a historical three-bedroom cottage on the Yarra River flats. It’s been lovingly restored to accommodate guests with specific needs, with a roll-in shower and level access. It’s just three minutes from central Warburton, making it easy to get the most out of your stay.

Collage of promotional images from Accessible Accommodation

This is the time to book an enchanting summer holiday or respite getaway surrounded by nature’s wonders. Reserve your accessible country stay with Accessible Accommodation today. Contact the dedicated team – who all have lived experience with disability – on 1300 180 889 for assistance with your booking. STA packages are available.


Seaside Stories: dementia and reminiscence

On the first Wednesday of every month, the Australian National Maritime Museum is hosting sessions for people with dementia and their carers, promoting storytelling to encourage social interaction and connection.

Seaside Stories are themed, hands-on reminiscence sessions where visitors can touch and hold museum objects. Museum educators (who are trained in dementia communication) ask questions and guide discussion for participants. Everyone is encouraged to share their personal stories and recollections in a safe and welcoming space.

A man and woman holding museum object and looking at it intently

Each session includes morning tea, and an educator-led tour of the exhibitions at the Museum. Tours are carefully planned to cater to participants’ sensory and mobility needs. Seating is available throughout the tour. All areas of the museum and cafe are wheelchair accessible.

Each session is $26.00 per person (or $20.00 for Museum members), with one carer per paying attendee accompanying them at no additional cost. The sessions run on the first Wednesday of every month from 10am-12pm. To find out more and make a booking, head over to the Museum website.

Explore the Maleny Botanic Gardens with new buggy fleet

The Sunshine Coast’s much-loved tourist attraction Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World has launched ints new upgraded buggy fleet. With funding from the QLD Government as part of the Year of Accessible Tourism, the Gardens now offer two custom-designed wheelchair accessible buggies that will allow visitors with mobility needs to explore all 23 acres of gardens, lakes, and waterfalls.

L-R Verena Olesch (Maleny Botanic Gardens), Queensland Tourism Minister, Stirling Hinchcliffe, Joel Fernandes (a guest of Spinal Life) and Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel.

The locally-manufactured buggies were designed in consultation with Spinal Life Australia.

With the warmer weather and summer just about upon us, it’s the best time to explore the Gardens, with 600 native and exotic birds, 8km of winding paths, terraced gardens, and numerous waterfalls and lakes. It’s wonderful to see government funding put to such good use, and now this beautiful attraction will be accessible to all!




Auslan Santa sessions are back at Westfield

After a roaring success with the pilot program last year, Westfield is bringing back Auslan Santa sessions and rolling them out to even more locations.

The Auslan Santa program offers children who use Auslan to communicate the chance to share their Christmas wishes with an Auslan-fluent Santa. The program was developed in collaboration with Deaf Australia. The sessions are longer than standard Santa interactions, and there are also assistants and interpreters on hand to facilitate.

A young girl wearing a hearing aid sitting with Santa and giving him a thumbs up

It’s not the only accessibility accommodation Westfield offers for this Christmas-time rite of passage, with Sensitive Santa sessions also available. Families can have a photo taken with Santa in a relaxed environment tailored to children with sensory needs. The sessions take place before the stores open, when the centre is quiet and relaxed for a sensory-friendly Santa interaction.

Online bookings are essential for both Sensitive Santa and Auslan Santa sessions. You can find your nearest Westfield and book online via their website.

ArtScreen Celebration at the MCA

International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD, 3 December) will be here before we know it! The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is supporting a special event for ArtScreen, the prestigious program supporting artists with a disability to develop their creativity and careers through the creation of video artworks.

The MCA has partnered with Accessible Arts to present ArtScreen 2023, premiering the work of artists Sofya Gollan and Guy Morgan at the Museum. The work of these talented creatives will be screened between 30 November and 2 December, in the lead-up to IDPWD.

The artworks will be screened on a loop, and will feature Auslan interpreted, captioned, and audio-described versions. There will also be a Q&A panel with the artists on Saturday 2 December. The MCA is wheelchair accessible, with accessible parking and bathrooms, and there’s also seating available. It’s free to attend, too!

Find out more on the Accessible Arts website.




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