New South Wales in Australia offers the savvy traveller easy access to breath-taking natural treasures and one of the world’s most famous and vibrant cities. Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbour, outdoors lifestyle, and natural beauty. Or escape the crowds and venture further north to explore beautiful Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Port Stephens. There is a holiday to suit everyone.
As the most visited State in Australia, by total visitor nights, Sydney and the NSW region count many hotels accessible for people in wheelchairs even if this information is not always clearly indicated on their website. With some careful research, you can uncover some real gems. Here’s a list to get you started of both boutique and popular hotel options that are also surrounded by great accessible activities–all with roll-in or wheel-in shower setups.
Located in the heart of Sydney’s entertainment precinct, within The Star, the Darling Hotel boasts luxury rooms that cater for special needs, amazing service with great views of Darling Harbour.
Darling Harbour and The Star entertainment complex are popular waterfront destinations for Sydney visitors. Try your luck at the casino, or indulge your taste buds at one of their signature restaurants. All restrooms in The Star offer easy access to toilet facilities for those with special needs. Also within The Star complex is the Lyric Theatre, a premier live show venue for musicals, theatre, opera and ballet that is both wheelchair and hearing impaired friendly.
The Darling is part of The Star’s refurbishment, which includes 20 new restaurants, bars and cafes, retail shops and a nightclub with panoramic views. And they’re all right next door.
At the nearby Powerhouse Museum, the digital media centre offers a special access kit for people with a disability designed to allow you to access the wonderful world of music creation and self-expression.
You can stay on and over the water at Pier One Sydney Harbour. Located within the historic Rocks district this hotel is close to Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay and the iconic Opera House.
The heritage view rooms have dedicated disability and wheelchair access with bathrooms specifically designed for accessibility with hand railing, a special draining system, no steps and a large open plan design.
Circular Quay offers pontoon wharves where the height of the pontoon generally matches the height of the freeboard of the vessel for safe wheelchair access. Be sure to ask your potential Harbour Cruise tour provider for detail about the boat design, onboard facilities and embarkation processes before booking. Alternately you could take one of the public Sydney Ferries for a short, pretty trip across the harbour to Taronga Zoo, which has another pontoon wharf for easy embarkation.
If you prefer to stay in the middle of everything, IBIS World Square is located in the central CBD on Pitt Street, Sydney. This hotel has level entry through automatic glass doors and nine rooms accessible for wheelchairs. Bathrooms include a roll-in shower, grab rail and a lowered basin. All rooms offer a view of city buildings.
Opposite the World Square centre for shopping, cafes and business, the hotel is also close to the fabulous eats of Chinatown, undercover Paddy’s Market, and Darling Harbour.
Just a two-hour drive, or train ride, from Sydney, Newcastle is known for its beautiful natural beaches, rich heritage, delicious cuisine and fine wine sourced from the nearby Hunter Valley.
The Crowne Plaza Newcastle is situated on Newcastle Harbour with disabled access suites available on request, featuring a queen-sized bed, specially designed shower, larger rooms and ramps for entry and exit.
The Newcastle Museum located directly adjacent to the Hotel prides itself on accessibility for everyone, with all exhibitions and toilets wheelchair friendly. Civic Park and the Darby Street café and shopping precinct are just nearby. You could also take a dip in the Newcastle Ocean Baths as access to the baths area is fully ramped with lockable change rooms and two submersible wheelchairs provided.
O’Carrollyn’s Eco Resort
The picturesque coastline, lush hinterland and wildlife of Port Stephens will captivate lovers of the great outdoors.
O’Carrollyn’s Eco Resort offers self-contained cabin-style accommodation with an open plan design, wide doorways, plenty of turning space, support ramps, an easy-access kitchen and accessible bathrooms. The ground floor is completely wheelchair accessible with a loft bunk room for the extra family, carers or friends. Other facilities include landscaped gardens including a koala habitat, an open fire pit and a heated pool with a sling-style hoist.
Get on the water with flat-deck hire boats and dolphin cruises with wheel-on and wheel-off floating jetties or get adventurous with sand safaris and beach fishing with ramp access to the 4WD. Surfing One Mile Beach is also possible with assistance. Or simply relax, sit back, and soak up the natural beauty of this blue water paradise.
From luxury inner-city stays to harbour cruises, fine wine, pristine beaches and lazy koala watching; New South Wales really does offer a holiday to everyone’s taste. These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. Take the time out to call and ask the hotel concierge for details, they are always happy to help and you could unearth some gems of your own to create the holiday of your dreams.