The Gold Coast delivers family fun for us every visit. On our most recent trip, we found the Gold Coast to be more accessible than ever. Famous for its long stretches of beach, we were thrilled to find beach wheelchairs are available free to loan at many locations.
Taking a spontaneous walk along the beach as a family was wonderfully liberating but we should add there’s an abundance of accessible activities from the coast to the hinterland.
If you’re travelling to the area, here’s a few accessible Gold Coast tips to get you started.
GOLD COAST AIRPORT
Gold Coast airport is a medium size airport with a good range of facilities including stand-alone unisex bathroom facilities before and after security.
We were pleased to find a new covered airline ramp being offered at the airport on our most recent visit. It was out of service by the time we returned for our flight home but it’s great to see this being offered as an alternative to the cherry-picker lift transfer for wheelchair users.
The Skybus service is wheelchair accessible offering ramp access and dedicated wheelchair spaces once inside. There’s even free WIFI to help you stay connected for the drive. Read more about the service offered by Skybus on their website.
After an extensive and successful trial, it’s fantastic to see the City of Gold Coast has implemented a permanent accessible beach program. This includes a range of beach wheelchairs, beach matting and information about accessible facilities at the various locations. Showing a real commitment to accessibility, and an understanding that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, the City of Gold Coast have purchased a variety of equipment. And the best bit, it’s free of charge to loan.
On our recent visit to the region we borrowed the Sandcruiser beach wheelchair from Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club and enjoyed a long walk on the beach.
The Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club also has a Water Wheels floating chair available for use in the water. Visitors are required to fill out paperwork at the time of borrowing the chairs or can book online.
Beach wheelchairs and facilities are also available at the following locations –
Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park Surf Life Saving Club, Nobby’s Beach Surf Life Saving Club, North Burleigh Life Saving Club, Southport Broadwater Parklands, Southport Surf Life Saving Club, Tallebudgera Surf Life Saving Club,Tallebudgera Creek – Neptune Royal Life Saving Club, Pacific Surf Life Saving Club, Aquasplash.
If you like the idea of being free to use a beach chair any time of the day and would like to borrow one for your stay you can contact Gold Coast Recreation and Sport Inc, they have a Hippocampe and Sandcruiser available to loan free of charge. You are able to use these anywhere in the city. A security deposit is required to loan the chairs.
Read more about the facilities at each of the beaches on the City of Gold Coast’s website.
O’REILLY’S RAINFOREST RETREAT
An accessible tree-top walk was the drawcard for our trip to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. We found two accessible walks, uninterrupted hinterland views and stunning birdlife.
Read all about this stunning corner of the Gold Coast Hinterland plus check out their accessible accommodation in our review.
GOLD COAST BUGGY TOUR
Just a short cruise from the high rises of the Gold Coast we enjoyed a day of fun on South Stradbroke Island. A buggy tour exploring the rainforest and seemingly endless stretches of deserted beach was the highlight for us all.
You can read all the thrill-seeking details of our Gold Coast Buggy tour here.
FIRE ENGINE TOUR
For our transport-loving guy, a ride in a genuine fire truck made his day.
Geoff, a retired fire fighter, ensured the experience was both fun and educational. If you’d like to know more about the tour, you can read more here.
We’ve made lovely family memories at Sea World on the Gold Coast over multiple visits. AJ even celebrated her second birthday there. Over the years the attraction has evolved but maintained the elements that encourage us to visit again and again.
BJ loves the shows, the monorail and the character meet and greet opportunities. The rest of us love the animal exhibits, and my personal favourite is Polar Bear Shores.
Read more about our day and the accessibility at Sea World here.
Our movie-loving family always has a fun day at Movie World. Rides, character meet and greets and a parade ensures the smile never leaves BJ’s dial.
Where else can you be part of the show?
You can read all about the access and fun at Movie World here.
We’re always keen to embrace a unique experience and given there’s only 10 Fun Cars in Australia we were assured this was a different way of touring the beaches. BJ was thrilled to ride along the Esplanade. With a top speed of around 50km per hour, there was plenty of time for people to stop and wave as he drove by. AJ and I walked along the Esplanade while the boys were touring and I can tell you BJ’s smile could be seen long before they got close. The grin was wide and exuded happiness.
The Fun for Hire website is undergoing a rebranding but you can book your Fun Car by phoning 07-55268888.
KURRAWA ALL ABILITIES PLAYGROUND, BROADBEACH
When we celebrated BJ’s 18th birthday with family on the Gold Coast, we headed to Kurrawa Playground so he wouldn’t miss out on playing with his younger cousins. We were impressed with the dual flying fox, Jenn swings, sway rocker, nest swing and the communication boards dotted around the park.
The park has a large MLAK keyed change facility with adult size change table and hoist.
For more information about Kurrawa All Abilities Playground head to the Gold Coast Council website.
When the sun goes down, those in the know head to Miami Marketta for live music, street food and to shop vintage clothing.
Though the venue is wheelchair accessible, the street parking gets busy, so we recommend arriving early. We didn’t find any specific accessible parking in the surrounding streets but did manage to find a suitable spot.
The market is open Wednesday 5-pm, Fridays 5pm-late and Saturdays 4pm-late. Check the Miami Marketta website for more information.
iFlY GOLD COAST
Marlena, one of our HWWT readers, shares here experience at iFly Gold Coast.
“IFLY Indoor Skydiving on the Gold Coast is an amazing activity for ALL abilities age 3 to 103 . I highly recommend you get in touch with the guys and they will organise two instructors if you have higher needs . I’m a wheelchair user and have spent approx 20 minutes in the tunnel now. Do it, you will love it and then be wanting to do the real thing, which also can be arranged for most people in chairs.”
Take a look at Marlena’s experience –
SUNSET ON THE GOLD COAST
From Burleigh Heads to The Spit, I don’t think there’s a bad place to watch sunset but we particularly enjoyed taking a picnic dinner to The Spit.
We’d love to hear any tips you have for accessible fun on the Gold Coast. We’ll be returning because there’s always plenty of accessible activities for the whole family.
ACCESSIBLE CAR HIRE
Getting around on the Gold Coast is made easier with the accessible car rental service provided by Wheelies Van Rentals.
You can read more about the vans available and our experience here.