While staying on the Gold Coast last weekend, we were invited by Marie, one of our readers, to visit the Accessible Beaches Gold Coast program. The beach access program operates from multiple locations on the Gold Coast, including Surfers Paradise Beach. We were amazed at the volunteer program that we found, the passion of the volunteers and the equipment that is free to use for anyone wanting to do so. If you are visiting the Gold Coast during the Accessible Beaches Gold Coast program’s season and want to access the beach and the water this is a must to put on the travel itinerary.
Beach wheelchairs & walkers Surfers Paradise Beach, Gold Coast
When Braeden was in primary school, we visited the Gold Coast and due to the lack of accessible beach facilities at the time we thought it would be the last trip for us to the area unless we were able to visit on a driving holiday and take Braeden’s own beach wheelchair. The Gold Coast’s pristine beaches beckon us to get the sand between our toes and to dip in the clear blue waters so it wasn’t easy looking on as others enjoyed all the coast offered. So, we’ve been thrilled to see the Gold Coast embracing access and inclusion and developing more facilities to make a holiday on the coast accessible to all. Last weekend was the first look we’d had at the Accessible Beaches Gold Coast program and we were so impressed at the variety of equipment and the enthusiasm of the volunteers there to lend a hand.
When Braeden was getting too heavy to carry down to the water’s edge, I’d have been happy to have one beach wheelchair option, so it seems overwhelmingly exciting to see a council understanding that there’s no one size fits all approach to equipment for people with a disability and a variety of ways to access the Gold Coast’s beaches.
At Surfers Paradise Beach each Sunday between September and May a team of dedicated volunteers from Gold Coast Volunteering are on site to set up the beach mat and provide support (if desired) and to ensure visitors have the best beach experience.
For beach goers keen to remain independent the DaVinci self-propelling chair is offered. It can also be used by anyone who prefers the seating it offers.
A Water Wheels beach chair (blue and yellow chair pictured above) and two Hippocampes are also offered. The Water Wheels chair floats in the water so this can be problematic depending on the surf conditions but it does allow the user the opportunity to float in the water. If you are planning to use the Water Wheels chair you are required to visit with two support people to assist with managing the chair in the water.
The Hippocampe is designed to access the beach and the water up to seat level and is ideal for long walks along the wet sand.
Visitors wanting to use the DaVinci beach wheelchair do not need to have a support person to use the chair as long as you can independently transfer.
Surfers Paradise Beach is the first place I’ve seen beach walking frames. Next time Braeden is visiting the Gold Coast I can’t wait for him to give one a try. What a great way to access the beach for someone who can walk with support and wants to get down to the water’s edge. The Accessible Beaches Gold Coast program offers two beach walking frames for visitors to Surfers Paradise Beach.
The combination of beach matting, the beach wheelchairs and walkers makes Surfers Paradise Beach accessible to so many more people, whether that’s locals or visitors.
Volunteering Gold Coast volunteers are a friendly bunch and are responsible for setting up and lend a hand if needed.
A hoist is available to use to transfer to the beach wheelchairs but it does need to be organised ahead of a visit. The hoist is not taken to the beach routinely but is stored nearby. Small and medium slings are also available for use.
If you visit outside of the Accessible Beaches Gold Coast’s program’s season you may still be able to access the equipment by contacting the team in advance – 07 5526 0688
Accessible Beaches Gold Coast operates on Surfers Paradise Beach opposite Cavill Avenue Mall. The program runs on a Sunday from 830am to 330pm from September to May when the life savers are on duty.
Volunteering Gold Coast is looking for more volunteers so if you know of someone who can offer assistance it would be great to see this program expand to other days, but it takes the commitment of volunteers to make that possible.
You can read more about the program on the Accessible Beaches Gold Coast website.
We have a list of lovely accessible activities we’ve tried on the Gold Coast in this blog post.
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