In a world where we, as human want to explore and be given the chance to experience new activities, it is essential that businesses take steps to ensure inclusivity of all and make their services wheelchair friendly and accessible.
Over 4.4 million people in Australia have some form of disability. That equates to 1 in 5 people. Of these 4.4 million people, 4.4% of them utilise a wheelchair to assist with mobility. For these individuals, it is just as important for them to be able to experience activities as any other individual.
The Newcastle area on the east coast of New South Wales offers a wide variety of wheelchair friendly venues that can allow one to let their hair down and experience new and fun activities. Here are the top 3 wheelchair friendly places in the Newcastle area.
Newcastle Museum is located at 6 Workshop Way, Newcastle. The museum offers a variety of permanent and travelling exhibits for everyone to experience. Founded in 1988, the original Newcastle Museum was housed at the old Castlemaine Brewery building but was relocated to the more accessible location in Honeysuckle in 2011, where it is currently located.
The Newcastle Museum is a fully accessible facility for everyone and strictly follows disability accessibility guidelines. All exhibitions can be easily accessed by wheelchairs and the museum welcomes groups and families to attend. There are designated disabled parking spaces available in the adjacent Wright Lane carpark with entry to the museum only a short distance away.
Access to the museum is via a clear, well made, wide path with non-slip surface with no steps and accessible ramps where required. The museum offers personalised assistance throughout should an individual require that bit of extra support, however all exhibits can be viewed by anyone, regardless of their capabilities. The museum prides itself on offering an all-inclusive venue and it definitely shows, with the museum having a large turnover of willing attendees every year. The Newcastle Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm. For further information or to plan your trip to the museum, visit the Newcastle Museum website.
Blackbutt Reserve occupies 182 hectares of bushland on Carnley Avenue, Kotara, just a short 10-minute drive from the centre of Newcastle. It gives participants the opportunity to enjoy the vast range of nature trails, wildlife exhibits and passive recreational areas, perfect for groups and family BBQs. The venue offers elevated wheelchair accessible boardwalks for everyone to experience. These walks link the variety of wildlife exhibits including koalas, wombats, birds, and reptiles.
Entry to the reserve is free, however there is a small daily fee to park in the reserve carpark. There is a range of disabled carparking and entry to the reserve is only a short distance from the carpark. The Blackbutt Reserve picnic facilities are open daily 7am – 7pm, while the wildlife exhibits are open 10am – 4.30pm daily. For more information about the offering at Blackbutt Reserve or to plan your trip, visit their website.
Newcastle Art Gallery
Newcastle Art Gallery is located at 1 Laman Street, Newcastle. Boasting a wide variety of exhibitions, the Newcastle Art Gallery is a great place for anyone to visit who has a keen interest in learning more about the arts or just wants an interesting day out. The venue is fully wheelchair accessible meaning that everyone can enjoy what the art gallery has available to showcase. Parking is available on Darby Street and Laman Street which us only a short distance from the gallery entrance. The gallery is open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm and admission to the gallery is free. For more information, visit the Newcastle Art Gallery website.
While these recommendations are the top 3 picks, there are some other notable mentions including: the Hunter Wetlands, Fort Scratchley and the Newcastle Memorial Walk. All these iconic places offer wheelchair friendly experiences for everyone to enjoy.
As the years pass, more and more businesses are striving for an all-inclusive experience, opening their doors to everyone. It is important to remember that being inclusive is everyone’s responsibility and a simple gesture can make the world of difference. At a personal level, from helping someone open a door or stepping aside to allow someone in a wheelchair to see, to a larger scale full business inclusivity plan, everyone can help make an inclusive environment. If you or someone you know is needed that bit of extra support to experience life, contact ConnectAbility Australia. As a registered NDIS support provider, ConnectAbility can assist with all aspects of disability support from around the clock care to outings and fun activities programs. Don’t hesitate, contact them today.
“Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life.”
- Emma Thompson