Parks Victoria offers plenty of popular and inclusive recreational activities in parks, from canoeing using an accessible canoe launcher to bushwalking with an all-terrain wheelchair, the TrailRider.
The Grants Picnic Ground in the Dandenong Ranges National Park offers accessible picnic grounds, an all abilities walk in Sherbrooke Forest and an opportunity to further explore the magnificent forest in a TrailRider.
TrailRider all-terrain wheelchairs enable visitors with mobility limitations to explore the great outdoors like never before. With the assistance of two operators, visitors can access rugged walking trails not accessible with conventional wheelchairs. TrailRiders are free to borrow in selected parks, including at Grants Picnic Ground.
Beach wheelchairs are available at several Victorian coastal parks, including Tidal River at Wilsons Promontory National Park and Cape Conran Coastal Park. These chairs enable visitors with mobility limitations to explore many magnificent beaches and walking trails that have soft sandy surfaces.
For those wanting to stay overnight at Wilsons Prom, an all abilities unit with an accessible kitchen, bathroom and bedroom with an electric queen size bed can be reserved at: www.parks.vic.gov.au. A personal hoist and specialised bathroom equipment, such as a shower commode chair are available to borrow free of charge. Visitors can explore the all abilities Loo Ern boardwalk along Tidal River and the spectacular Norman Beach using a beach wheelchair.
For children on the autism spectrum, Parks Victoria in partnership with AMAZE (Victoria’s peak autism body) developed social scripts to make selected parks more autism-friendly. These resources for parents and teachers help young children rehearse what they may see and experience during their park visit before they arrive. This can help prevent children from feeling overwhelmed when visiting the park for the first time.
In Melbourne, Brimbank Park Playscape provides inclusive playscapes with nature-based themes, that allows all children to explore, have fun and play.
At Kings Billabong Park in Mildura, Parks Victoria has installed a canoe launcher. The facility helps paddlers with a range of abilities to get in and out of their kayak or canoe easily and safely before launching into the water. The launcher is equipped with handrails and supportive rollers to help paddlers guide their canoe easily in and out of the water.
In Port Phillip Bay visitors in wheelchairs can safely board and disembark boats using the electric hoist at the Patterson River boat ramp. Hoist operators must undertake initial safety training to use the hoist.
There are many guided walks lead by trained volunteers on offer that cater to visitors of all abilities. These, include Welcome walks, Nature walks, and Discovery walks. There is also the Walk in the Park program that provides group walks specifically designed for blind or vision impaired visitors. This is a partnership program between Blind Sports Victoria and Parks Victoria.