Eight ways people with disabilities can get active this Spring!

Get active outdoors - Taronga Zoo with Better Caring worker John de Gusti

With Spring on our doorstep and Summer fast approaching, now is the time to start thinking about how to make the most of the warmer months by getting outdoors. With the right access and equipment, people with a disability have a wide range of options for getting active outdoors. Here are some ideas from around Australia.

Walk accessible trails

Increasingly, state and national parks are making trails accessible to those in wheelchairs or visitors who need a level surface. Here are some links to what’s available in your area:

Go cycling

If you’d rather cycle than stroll, there’s now a range of adaptive equipment available for taking a spin. Achievable Concepts provides a wide range of adaptive bicycles, trikes and stabiliser wheel kits. Strider Sports specialises in bikes to help children with cognitive or developmental disabilities to ride with confidence. If you’re a thrill seeker, you might choose to get into adaptive mountain biking.

Independent Living Centres Australia lists the full range of adaptive bikes and carts in Australia.

Hit the beach

Many beaches have accessible sections of boardwalk, pier and walkway, and this is growing. Check out the directory here.

If you would like to get out on the sand, you can hire a beach wheelchair from Independence Living Centres Australia or buy your own at Beachwheels Australia.

Say hi to nature

Access programs aren’t just confined to art museums. Australia’s zoos and aquariums offer a range of great options for people with a disability. Sydney’s Taronga Zoo offers access and facilities for mobility-impaired visitors, all-terrain manual wheelchairs and activities for children with vision impairment. Take note that unfortunately, the Zoo can’t admit guide dogs or other assistance animals. At Australia Zoo, wheelchairs and motorised scooters can be hired for a fee, and dogs permitted by prior arrangement. Sydney Aquarium is wheelchair-accessible throughout.

Cast a line

While there are online communities for fishing enthusiasts with a disability, facilities on the water are limited. Hats off to Western Australia’s Fishability. This not for profit organisation provides support for people to experience fishing by providing purpose-built motorised rods, reels and fishing rod holders. It also organises fishing activities, offers wheelchair-accessible boats and provides advice on accessible locations and facilities.

In NSW, there are a number of wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms available and this is growing in other states. If you’re a keen fisher based on the East Coast, why not start your own group?

Go skiing

If you’ve had an eye on the snowcam and think you’d like to try downhill skiing, membership to Disabled Wintersport Australia gets you access to discounted adaptive skiing and snowboarding lessons, equipment for rent, discounted lift tickets. Each of Australia’s five major resorts offers DWA’s Resort Services Program.

Bowling in the aisles

If bad weather drives you indoors, you can go tenpin bowling in any weather. AMF Bowling offers discounted entry to people with a disability and a free game of bowling for an accompanying carer (with a Companion Card).

Go on holiday

Why confine yourself to the beach or a park when what you really want to do is get on a plane? One of Better Caring’s workers, John de Gusti, organises group tours to Fiji for people with intellectual disabilities.

Leisure Options, a registered NDIS provider, arranges and tailors “barrier-free” local, national and international holidays for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. This includes people with acquired brain injuries, people requiring a travel companion, and families in need of respite support.

Do you have any tips on how you will be getting active with your support worker? Let us know! Leave a comment on our Facebook page.