It’s most likely your two main priorities when choosing an accessible holiday will be finding the right accommodation and being able to independently explore the area. Accessible Accommodation is a luxury property for rent in the centre of Barwon Heads, Australia, an area that has been popularized for being the setting of the TV series SeaChange. The home is designed to accommodate 8 guests comfortably and is close to many activities.
Owner, Kerry Williams says, “After 4 years operating Accessible Accommodation with awesome reviews, my favourite comment is: I had no idea 100 Hitchcock was wheelchair accessible!” She explained that just because you need a little extra help getting around, it does not mean your wheelchair accessible accommodation has to look clinical like a hospital. Williams designed this home so that her mum (who has MS) can be independent, after so many frustrating experiences booking a holiday only to discover that the accommodation was not accessible. Williams wanted her mum (or any guest needing a bit of extra help getting around) to feel like they were ensconced in a little luxury – not a hospital.
Rental Home Details
Multiple Rooms: The house is set up for large groups and extended families, and includes a covered outdoor desk, massive lounge room and second living space. There is also a wheelchair accessible dining table, and a gourmet, chef-style kitchen with most items at hip height. The polished concrete flooring, firm carpets and wide walkways ensure that you can wheel around comfortably and easily. Almost all areas are completely level, with a gentle 10 cm ramp to the outside.
Bathrooms: The en-suite has two sinks that a wheelchair can slide under and shower that is wide enough and free standing, without any bumps or lips (barrier-free). They have fold-away (portable) shower chair and toilet seat. They chose detachable grab rails, as they can be used on the left or right. Also provided are two very large non-slip mats. The second bathroom has a bath and shower for your other guests.
Bedrooms: The master wing is ideal for accessible guests. There is also a separate wing with another two bedrooms, bathroom and living space. All rooms have extra wide sliding doors, with built in cupboards are two levels. Williams was very particular about bed comfort, and she selected the highest quality beds, ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep. Guests can choose from 4 types of pillows for ultimate comfort. The main and 2nd bedroom have a queen bed, and the 3rd bedroom has two sets of bunks.
Home Extras: Over 80 DVDs, heaps of books, games and kid’s toys and drawing easel. Super comfy bean bags designed specifically for children and teenagers. (For your little ones, a porta-cot, high chair, and potty is also provided). They have a walking frame, shower chair, toilet chair and grab rails. Picnic sets, hot water bottles, log fire and air conditioning throughout. All to ensure the kids won’t be bored if it rains, and you enjoy style and comfort as a home away from home.
Transportation: If arriving by car, follow the road towards Geelong, take the Geelong bypass and head to Barwon Heads. Map and directions. If flying here, it is quicker if you arrive at Avalon Airport, then follow the road towards Geelong, take the Geelong bypass and head to Barwon Heads. Whilst the holiday house is centrally located, you will need a car to get there. Once there, most guests park their car and stroll/ cruise everywhere.
Besides many things to do and see in the centre of Barwon Heads, accessible accommodation is also only 90-minutes from Melbourne, a popular, modern city in Australia. With so many options in just Barwon Heads alone, you may have trouble choosing which activities to do, like going wine tasting, visiting the Koala Sanctuary, cruising miles of flat pathways, taking a small plane tour along Great Ocean Road, going to the beach with a beach wheelchair, and even surf lessons.
At the Barwon Heads Airport, attractions include Warbird Air Adventures, riding in a powerful prop driven fighter aircraft, helicopter flights, skydiving, and stopping to pickup the freshest seafood at JLI Seafoods.
Wineries and Vineyards: The Bellarine Peninsula offers the freshest ingredients to take home to the accessible kitchen. With a range of markets to choose from, gorgeous gourmet shopping as well as homewares décor and fashion. Kerry advises that 80 per cent of the shops are wheelchair accessible and wide enough to navigate.
Footpaths and Trails: There is nothing better than being able to explore in the sunshine. Barwon Heads certainly ticks that box. So, make sure your battery is fully charged, and before setting off on an adventure. The paths are made up of gravel, concrete and occasionally timber boards (on the jetty). Unless there has been a very windy day (and beach sand has blown across the paths), they are firm and flat. Cruise through tea tree bush running along the river and feel comfortable knowing the footpaths in town are level. Know that there are accessible toilets, stop for a BBQ, a coffee, or let the kids play in the park.
The most popular path runs across Barwon Heads Bridge, returning to At The Heads Restaurant (scene of SeaChange) and along the jetty. If you continue cruising along the concrete foreshore, you’ll find the marine sanctuary at the Bluff. Another popular path runs inland along the river through farmland and the bush. Both paths have fishing and picnic spots too, see more. The Bellarine Rail Trail is a 32 kilometre stretch of bike path recycled from abandoned railway corridors.
Surfing Waves: If you have ever wanted to feel the thrill of riding the waves on a surfboard, you can on surf days with the Disabled Surfers Association (DSA). The goal is “to provide an inclusive experience for all people with any disability to experience the rush of riding a wave.” And that they do! A small army of volunteers are there to guide and help you from start to finish to help you achieve your disabled surfing goal. People of all ages participate, and it’s a fun day. Furthermore, you can hire a beach wheelchair here for free. More information about activities on this blog.