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Travel guide Australian Capital Territory

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Canberra on wheels!
  • Parliament House
  • Parliament House

I first stayed in Canberra (ACT) when I was researching my History thesis in 1979.  Back then I wasn’t in a wheelchair - but I did rely on wheels for mobility; all I had to get around on was my pushbike. Canberra is ideal for accessible travel as the paths and their coverage are excellent.  As befits a national capital, access just about everywhere is taken for granted.

There are just too many sightseeing spots to cover, so before you start, a good place to visit would be the Canberra Visitors Centre on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin; right in front of the Captain Cook Fountain at 330 Northbourne Avenue.

Some of the major attractions you might want to see which have good access, disabled parking and toilets would include Parliament House  (take the lift up to the roof for a great view of Canberra) and don’t forget Old Parliament House, which wasn’t accessible originally, but is now very easy to get around.  Disabled parking is available right out the front. Buzz at the door under the front steps and a guide will come down to let you in.  We found the whole place most interesting and felt quite safe in the knowledge that we wouldn’t be inadvertently bumping into any current politicians!
The Australian War Memorial has disabled parking out the front and entrance via a ramp and buzzer on the right side, or you can go around the front steps and take the lift on the left side.  They also have wheelchairs available and entry is free.

The National Museum is fully accessible, as is Questacon, where I once had a thrilling ride down the spiral ramp on my wheelchair (not recommended for children or sensible adults!).  The National Gallery is accessible and free, with disabled parking and a lift underneath and the National Zoo has free entry for carers.

The Australian Institute of Sport also has free entry for carers and is fully accessible, including some of the ‘Sportex’ tour activities.  Cockington Green (1800 627273) is a most enjoyable ‘Lilliput Land’ and has a wheelchair or electric scooter available for disabled visitors.

A cruise on Lake Burley Griffin with Southern Cross Cruises might be a pleasant way to get your bearings (6273 1784).  Another great way to do this is from the stunning lookout atop Black Mountain Tower (1800 806 718).

However much – or little – you choose to do, Canberra caters for the accessible tourist beautifully.

More information on accessible accommodation in Canberra, or try Accessibility which also has information for all types of tourism products, and Australia for All has some information on attractions in Canberra.

Author - Bruce Mumford
Bruce Mumford lives at Burrawang in the NSW Southern Highlands with his wife Louise and sons, Ashley and Rohan.  He was formerly an English, History and Drama teacher at high schools in Forbes, Nowra and Moss Vale.  In 1990 Bruce was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and he is currently a Disabled Travel Consultant.  Since Bruce's retirement from full-time teaching, the family has travelled widely in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and overseas. 

About the author
Bruce Mumford is a Disabled Travel Consultant...

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