Together with my brother Steve, my husband Tim, daughter Fiona and son Seán and I just spent a few wonderful days in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia. We stayed at the Outrigger Resort in Noosa http://www.outrigger.com.au/queensland/outrigger-little-hastings-street-resort-noosa/overview.html
Adjoining the National Park, the resort has 2 pools, both with wheelchair access, one for laps and the other for people just wanting a dip in the pool between drinks from the poolside bar or sunbathing beside the pool. The resort has 1 bed-roomed apartments designed for wheelchair access and each apartment block has reserved parking spaces for wheelchair users. The accommodation is about 500 metres uphill from the beach and from Hastings Street, which is the main street for cafés and shops – the hotel provides a free buggy service to and from Reception for those who would prefer to keep their energy for the beach or for shopping. Many of the cafés have outside tables which makes it easy to draw up a wheelchair. We ate at Rococo – the food was fabulous and so was the live music! It has wheelchair accessible toilets although I didn’t try them out.
With a name like ‘Sunshine Coast’, you’d expect the weather to be good, and it certainly lived up to expectations … although the day it hit 36C was a bit hot. We went to the local farmers’ market and bought locally grown organic bananas, pineapples, passion fruit and other fruit and veg, before retreating to our air-conditioned apartment to chill.
One of the highlights of our stay was a trip to Australia Zoo, best known for its association with Steve Irwin. We were delighted to see Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin in the Crocoseum, which has spaces at the front for people in wheelchairs. Robert was learning to feed crocodiles and Bindi sang a touching tribute to her Dad with great footage of the Crocodile Hunter. The zoo is accessible throughout by wheelchairs, although there was one path which although not banned for wheelchairs, was marked Steep Descent … in other words, if you’re a thrill seeker, you can go this way, otherwise use the path past the wombats. There are lots of opportunities throughout the zoo to pat koalas, kangaroos and wallabies. The zoo is huge, 250 acres, so a lot of people with or without wheelchairs or pushchairs use the Safari Shuttle to get around or hire mobility scooters. Carers accompanying people in wheelchairs get free entry to the Zoo if they have a ‘companion card’.
There are lots of other places to explore in the Sunshine Coast, and we’d certainly recommend it to people regardless of their mobility levels.