Location, location, location – that’s what South Bank Brisbane provides visitors. I can’t think of anywhere I’ve stayed recently where so many accessible attractions are within such a short walking or wheeling distance. From a waterfront walk, art galleries, performing arts centre, a museum and so much more, this location will certainly have something for everyone.
If you’re looking for wheelchair accessible activities in Brisbane, you’ll find many in South Bank.
SOUTH BANK PARKLANDS
South Bank Parklands totally won me over during my short stay. 17 hectares of waterfront to explore and as far as I could see, all of it’s wheelchair accessible!
The expansive area of the Parklands combines beautiful gardens, a free outdoor swimming pool, water play, paths for walking, wheeling or cycling, picnic areas and restaurants.
I was amazed at the number of people enjoying barbecues and picnics in the South Bank Parklands given it was winter. The temperature was so mild we soon joined them with champagne, cake and the kids playing in the playground area.
You can read more about South Bank Parklands here.
BRISBANE GREETER SERVICE
I have to admit to being ignorant to the existence of a Greeter service in Australia. When we travelled to New York we booked well in advance to ensure we could experience the Big Apple Greeter service where we toured the city with a local. It was especially helpful as an international visitor to the city as our Greeter provided us with information which assistedwith navigating the city for the rest of our stay. You can read about our Big Apple Greeter experience here.
When AJ and I paid a visit to Brisbane we had the opportunity to tour South Bank with local, and Brisbane Greeter, Anne. Once again I found it interesting and an ideal way for visitors to a city to get local tips and insights into a city.
My first question was of course around accessibility of the service and Anne confirmed the service can accommodate visitors with varying needs. In fact, Anne had supported a visitor who was blind on a tour of an area of the city. The Brisbane Greeters service welcomes everyone to use their service and their Greeters receive special training support across the city and can tailor the Brisbane Greeter experience to special needs requirements.
You can book or read more about the Brisbane Greeter Service here.
THE COLLECTIVE MARKETS
AJ and I love nothing more than strolling around a good quality market. The Collective Markets feature an exciting range of arts, craft, homewares, collectibles, exotic items, designer fashion and much more. As we were only in Brisbane for a couple of days it was a fabulous spot to pick up a couple of small gifts for Hubby and BJ. AJ also bought herself a lovely ring and print for her room which are nice mementos of her trip.
The Markets are held every Friday evening from 5pm to 9pm, Saturday morning 10am to 9pm, and all day Sunday from 9am to 4pm.
You can read more about the Collective Markets here.
QAGOMA – QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY & GALLERY OF MODERN ART
QAGOMA is the combination of the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) with these two buildings standing side by side in South Bank’s Cultural Precinct. The two galleries offer a distinctly different experience.
QAGOMA – GALLERY OF MODERN ART
QAGOMA has an evolving program of Australian and international exhibitions, with a focus on the contemporary art of Australia, Asia and the Pacific.
Until 3 September the gallery is featuring The Marvel exhibition, covering the entire ground floor of GOMA with more than 500 objects including more than 60 original costumes (worn by actors including Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. and Tilda Swinton), comic books, props and spectacular set design. This is the first Marvel exhibition in Australia and the largest ever presented in a museum worldwide.
You can read my full review of The Marvel exhibition and see all the photos here.
QAGOMA has a range of free services and programs for visitors with disability. Volunteer guides conduct customised tours for visitors living with a disability and booked special interest groups.
You can check out what’s on at QAGOMA here.
QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY
In contrast to the bustling Gallery of Modern Art, its neighbour, the Queensland Art Gallery is a quiet, spacious place for contemplation of the artworks on display.
The sculpture garden is a lovely place to stop to enjoy a coffee or lunch on a warm day.
You can read more about the Queensland Art Gallery and facilities here.
I was itching to have more time to explore the Queensland Museum but I was on a tight schedule so just had enough of a look to get a general overview.
It looks fantastic, particularly for families. Groups of children were thoroughly engaged by the hands-on displays, microscopes and other interactive features of the museum. I noticed all of these were at a great height for wheelchair users. However, the reason for my visit was to see the Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum.
QUEENSLAND MUSEUM – GLADIATORS: HEROES OF THE COLOSSEUM
Queensland Museum’s current exhibition is Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum which features more than 110 original artefacts including pieces of the Colosseum, authentic bronze gladiator helmets and original armour preserved in the ashes of Pompeii. It’s a fascinating insight into history and ancient Rome.
Gladiators is a timed ticketed experience. The interactive games and displays allow visitors to immerse themselves in the everyday lives of Ancient Roman Gladiators.
Kids queued to have the opportunity to don replica helmets and armour and duke it out (under the supervision of Museum staff of course).
The exhibition is extensive so allow plenty of time to explore the many artefacts on display.
The Queensland Museum has extensive information regarding accessibility and access needs here.
The Australian Companion Card is accepted for this exhibition which runs until 28 January 2018
You can read about the Queensland Museum here.
QUEENSLAND PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE (QPAC) WEEKLY DISCOVERY TOUR
Each Friday, QPAC offers visitors the opportunity to join a guided tour (ticketed). I love any opportunity to hear behind-the-scenes stories on productions and to get an insight into the arts and entertainment industry. Our guide Aileen had plenty to share and was also knowledgeable about all aspects of the centre’s accessibility and access services. The services are extensive, including interpreted performances, live captioning and more.What you’ll see on the tour varies according to the productions on at the time. I was thrilled to see the back stage corridors lined with hundreds of costumes for the Royal Ballet’s production. It was a small insight into the logistics of costuming and the work involved in bringing a production from Convent Garden to Australia. Sadly, no photos were allowed of the costumes.
The tour can accommodate visitors with mobility restrictions as there is lift access throughout. Make sure you mention the need for wheelchair access when booking the tour.
If you are attending a performance at QPAC there is a passenger set-down area, lift access, stand-alone accessible bathrooms and wheelchair seating. QPAC has extensive information on their website regarding all types of accessibility which you can see here.
You can read more about the weekly Discovery Tour here.
CITYCAT FERRY SERVICES
The CityCat provides an accessible and pleasant way to see more of Brisbane while exploring the Brisbane River.
The ferries are accessible with ramp access and dedicated seating for wheelchair users on board.
The following CityCat terminals are fully accessible:
- Mowbray Park
- New Farm Park
- Northshore Hamilton
- QUT Gardens Point
- Sydney Street
- University of Queensland
- West End
More information about discounts and services for people living with a disability can be found on the Brisbane City Council CityCat website here.
WHEEL OF BRISBANE
As a first-time visitor to South Bank in Brisbane I was thrilled to ride the Wheel of Brisbane and have the opportunity to take in 360-degree views of the city.
You can read my full review and see more pictures of the Wheel of Brisbane here.
VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE
If you need further information while visiting South Bank, pop into the Visitor Information Centre in Stanley Street Plaza for free maps and advice. The staff can also help you with the hire of strollers, standard wheelchairs and specialty pool and beach wheelchairs.
The South Bank Visitor Information & Booking Centre’s opening hours are:
- Open Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm;
- Closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday;
- Open from 1pm on Anzac Day; and
- Open from 10am on public holidays.
You can call on 07 3156 6366 or email at [email protected]
ACCESSIBLE ACCOMMODATION SOUTH BANK
While in Brisbane I stayed at Rydges South Bank which offers guests accessible accommodation in an ideal location to enjoy all of the attractions above.
You can read about Rydges’ accessible accommodation and facilities here.
If you have a car, take a 15 minute drive from the city to Mt Coot-tha Lookout. We only had time to take in the stunning views of Brisbane and surrounds from the lookout but Mt Coot-tha Forest is made up of 1500 hectares of open eucalypt forest.
The lookout has a café, restaurant and gift store.
We enjoyed the peace and quiet while tucking into a light meal for lunch at Kuta Cafe.
Accessible parking, ramp access and an accessible bathroom are available.
You can read more about Mt Coot-tha Lookout and Forest here.
I was a guest of #Visitsouthbank for my stay but as always my opinions are my own. I’m happy to be able to share so many accessible attractions.
I’ll leave you with a few more photos from my stay. Let me know if I’ve missed a great accessible attraction in comments below or over on Facebook.