It’s a sign that we are moving towards a more inclusive society when a new water park opens and not only does the council include a choice of water wheelchairs and inclusive playground elements, but also a Changing Places bathroom facility. We couldn’t wait to check out Dawson-Damer Water Park at Oran Park in Sydney’s south-west. BJ had a great morning exploring this wheelchair accessible water park and the surrounding facilities.
Dawson-Damer Water Park – Wheelchair Accessible Sydney
Although water parks are generally level and accessible by nature, it’s pretty tricky to enjoy them to the max in a regular wheelchair. Well, you can, but the wheelchair gets totally soaked and is unusable until it dries. We once met friends at a water park and took BJ’s Sandcruiser beach wheelchair with us so he didn’t miss out on the fun, but it wasn’t ideal just because it’s so large. It was certainly better than him missing out though.
Our visit to Dawson-Damer Water Park was certainly made much easier with the ability to use the water park’s water wheelchairs which are Hippocampes. It does take a little pre-planning as an indemnity form needs to be completed and emailed to Camden Council.
WATER WHEELCHAIRS AT DAWSON-DAMER WATER PARK ORAN PARK
The Hippocampe water wheelchairs are kept in lockers at the water park. Once council receives your indemnity form you are issued with a four digit code which you enter on the keypad to open the locker which contains the water wheelchair which has been booked for your use.
The keypad is light touch so if you push too hard it can take a while to get it to open but it’s a really simple system in general.
Inside the locker we had a Hippocampe waiting for us. Instructions for using the chairs are provided inside the locker. BJ doesn’t need a harness but harnesses are provided for additional support. Multiple chairs and sizes are available. I’m thinking this is the perfect spot for a birthday party when several guests may have a disability.
BJ then swapped out of his wheelchair to the Hippocampe water wheelchair. We then securely stored BJ’s manual wheelchair in the locker.
The water park has a range of activities from tame water fountains to the big bucket if you’re game.
Young children, babies and those that like more sedate water play have the option of the Discovery Stream.
You can watch the video below to see more about the park.
We couldn’t fault the accessibility of the water park and playground. Accessible parking bays are located at the entrance to the park with four accessible spaces.
The Changing Places bathroom can be accessed using the same access code you are provided with for the water wheelchair locker or using a MLAK key if you have one.
We particularly liked the space the Changing Places bathroom afforded us to get BJ out of his wet swimmers, give him a rinse off and swap him to his manual chair. It was great to be able to fit both wheelchairs into the bathroom at the same time to make the process seamless.
It’s clear great thought and planning has gone into this facility to ensure visitors with a disability and their family and friends can make a day out of a visit if desired.
Unisex stand-alone accessible bathrooms are also available.
Wheelchair accessible barbecues are provided and it’s lovely to see a picnic table with space for a wheelchair user to wheel on up and sit alongside friends or family.
The playground also includes some inclusive elements including a nest swing, a wheelchair accessible carousel and inground trampolines which can be used by wheelchair users.
Bring your own paddles and table tennis balls and you can even have an accessible game of table tennis.
This isn’t Camden Council’s only accessible water park. You can read about our visit to Curry Reserve and the accessible facilities there in our review here.
For more information about Dawson-Damer Water Park and the online booking form, check the Camden Council website.