If you ever spot a woman taking photos of bathroom facilities it’s sure to be me. And if it’s not me, it’s probably one of our Have Wheelchair Will Travel readers taking a photo for me. You see, I have a slight obsession and it stems from a good place so please stick with me on this one. Several years ago I met with a mother from BJ’s school. We were put in touch by a mutual contact and she wanted as much information as possible about a trip to the US. It was no ordinary trip as the lady was facing a terminal diagnosis of cancer and the family trip to the US was all about making memories. I was keen to share as much information as possible to make their trip smooth and memorable. However, she asked a question for which I had no answer. She told me her teenager was incontinent and asked how she should manage changes when they were travelling. It had never occurred to me that this was something people had to deal with. I felt so ignorant and once she described the distress of changing someone on public toilet floors I spent ages trying to think of how people could avoid it. I had no clue because even when I thought about something that was portable I realised without a hoist, people wouldn’t be able to safely lift a person to and from a wheelchair.
Fast forward several years and thankfully an organisation called Changing Places has improved the situation for people needing these facilities. They’ve worked hard to campaign, raise awareness and build adult-sized change facilities.
As we travel I plan to take photos and share information about these facilities in the hope of making travel easier for people who need these facilities. So, I’m starting with the accessible bathroom facilities I’ve found in Brisbane this year.
BRISBANE DOMESTIC AIRPORT
Airports are one of the most important places to have these facilities and it’s wonderful to see accessible bathroom facilities slowly starting to emerge in airports worldwide. Recently Brisbane Domestic Airport joined the list of places offering these facilities.
Located on the central ground floor area of BNE’s busy Domestic Terminal (near Qantas Baggage carousel 3) you’ll find the ‘Changing Places’ restroom.
Changing Places bathrooms are different from standard accessible bathroom amenities, providing additional space and specialised equipment such as an adult change table, hoist and toilet fitted with movable handrails for the use of people with severe disabilities and their personal carer providers.
Plans for the opening of a second ‘Changing Places’ facility at Brisbane’s International Terminal in the new year are well underway.
It seems Brisbane Airport is embracing many initiatives to ensure travellers with a variety of needs are catered for with a collaboration with Queensland University of Technology -based Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration: Carers and Consumers (DCRC-CC) developing a step by step guide – Ensuring a Smooth Journey: A Guide to Brisbane Airport for people living with Dementia and their Travel Companions – an action plan and resources kit for airport staff to improve the experience of air travel for people with dementia. Through this program Brisbane Airport was the first airport in Australia to be recognised by Alzheimer’s Australia as an approved Dementia Friendly organisation.
In 2014, Brisbane Airport opened Australia’s first dedicated airport Assistance Animals ‘bathrooms’ in the International and Domestic Terminals.
If you are arriving into Brisbane’s Airports there is the option of using the accessible Air Train to travel to a variety of stops in the city including South Bank. You can read my review of the Air Train (and see a photo of the on board accessible bathroom!) here.
BRISBANE CITY HALL
While staying in Brisbane I walked into the heart of the city to visit the Museum of Brisbane which is located in Brisbane City Hall. Walking through the doors I was immediately struck by the Braille signage and I also noted a Carers Room listed on the guide. The Museum of Brisbane is accessible and I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition on when I was in town, so it may be worth a look.
It’s wonderful to see a heritage-listed building (built between 1920 and 1930) providing such good accessible facilities to visitors.
The accessible bathroom facility is located on the ground floor of Brisbane City Hall and is easy to access from the main shopping district if you need these facilities.
Although not an official Changing Places accessible bathroom it offers a button operated opening door, an adult-size change table, hoist and toilet rails in the spacious bathroom.
Brisbane City Hall is located at 64 Adelaide Street Brisbane.
BRISBANE CITY BOTANIC GARDENS – CHANGING PLACES
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is a lovely place to visit with expansive gardens, a waterfront accessible walk and an inclusive playground. Along with all these attractions there’s also a good accessible bathroom facility.
Visitors are required to have their own sling and the bathroom facility is locked with a MLAK key (you will need to have your own key as the volunteer office above doesn’t have a key) to access the Changing Places facility.
A ceiling track allows visitors to transfer to the toilet which has a back rest and grab rails which can be lowered and locked into position.
For families with children, the playground is a must. You can read my full review of the playground here. I particularly like the way many of the Queensland accessible playgrounds incorporate communication boards.
The Changing Places website also lists facilities at
If you know of another good accessible bathroom facility in Brisbane please let me know in comments below.
So, if you’ve gotta go on-the-go when visiting Brisbane, I hope this helps you feel confident there is a bathroom which will meet your needs.