10 Accessible Queensland Experiences That Everyone Can Enjoy

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

A recent report found that almost one quarter (23%) of travellers worldwide have accessibility needs. It’s crucial then that tourism operators clearly communicate the inclusive experiences and infrastructure they have on offer.

Fortunately, Queensland is filled with such tourism operators, letting visitors of all mobility levels experience the state, which features over 100 islands off its coast and an average of 261 sunny days each year. Ahead, we round up 12 of them, from accessible diving in the Great Barrier Reef, to an immersive art experience, and an eco-tour exploring Magnetic Island.

Glide Over Rainforest in Cairns

Soar above the canopy on Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a unique perspective of Queensland’s UNESCO World Heritage Listed Wet Tropics. The cableway is equipped with manual wheelchair and mobility-friendly access. Visitors board in Smithfield, 15 minutes out of Cairns city centre, and are transported through the trees on an aerial adventure to Kuranda. Touch down to wide, wheelchair-friendly boardwalks for a ranger-guided tour, before taking in views of Barron Gorge and Barron Falls from The Edge Lookout. Journey back to Cairns along the heritage-listed Kuranda Scenic Railway that passes waterfalls and rainforest. The railway has an accessible carriage and motorised lift for wheelchair users.

Cruise Across the Great Barrier Reef

Quicksilver Cruises’ Agincourt Reef pontoon, which leaves from Port Douglas, is a great base for accessible Great Barrier Reef adventures. The pontoon offers all kinds of activities on board, including glass bottom boat roads and sessions at an underwater observatory. It also has a water-powered lift those with mobility needs can use to access the water to snorkel or swim.

Queensland accessible travel
Image: Getty Images

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Want to learn to scuba dive? Quicksilver Dive is the first PADI Adaptive Service Facility in Queensland and is recognised as fully accessible to all who wish to take part in recreational scuba diving and associated training courses. It gives those with different abilities, special needs and varying levels of mobility the chance to experience seeing the Great Barrier Reef.

Visit a Dinosaur Museum in Outback Queensland

Outback Queensland is one of Australia’s most prolific palaeontology sites, and visitors can unearth the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils at Australian Age of Dinosaurs. Budding palaeontologists can even help prepare specimens in the museum’s laboratory as part of the Prep A Dino program. All areas of the museum and laboratory are wheelchair accessible and table heights can be changed for the Prep A Dino program when required, so all guests can get hands-on with real dinosaur bones. The experience ranges from one to 11-day packages with accessible onsite accommodation also available.

Be Immersed in Art on the Gold Coast

Enter a world of optical illusions at ArtVo on the Gold Coast, where larger-than-life murals invite visitors to become a part of the artworks themselves. Explore six vast rooms of immersive art, and come face-to-face with King Kong, surf a pipeline and fight a dragon. The venue is wheelchair accessible, and staff are on hand to assist with photography, helping visitors get into position to bring the trick art to life.

Learn About Aboriginal Culture in Cairns

Set among Wet Tropics Rainforest near Kuranda, Rainforestation offers an immersive cultural experience for all, including wheelchair users and those with mobility restrictions. Share in the stories and traditions of the oldest surviving culture in the world at the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, then hop on board the Amphibious Army Duck — a historic World War vehicle that uses six-wheel drive, a propeller and rudder to tour the rainforest by land and water. Visitors with mobility challenges can make use of the transfer from a level loading platform on to the Army Duck, which is equipped with removable armrests to facilitate easy transfers.

Take an Eco-Tour on Magnetic Island

Aquascene Magnetic Island offers eco-tours on small boats, taking guests to secluded bays, beaches and fringing reef. With long-time ‘Maggie’ locals and Master Reef Guides at the helm, the tour gives guests the opportunity to learn the history and stories of the island, as well to swim and snorkel the island’s fringing reef. The vessel is manual wheelchair accessible, and a floating pontoon lets those who might not feel comfortable swimming get a closer look at the reef. Flotation aids are also available for those who want to enter the water with additional support.

Aquascene Magnetic Island
Image: Aquascene Magnetic Island

Train Ride Through Sunshine Coast Countryside

The Mary Valley Rattler is a heritage steam train running through the Sunshine Coast’s countryside. Gympie Historic Station, Amamoor Station, and Mary Valley Rattler rail experiences, like the Rattler Tasting Train food experience, are wheelchair accessible, thanks to wide, level platforms at both train stations, ramp access onto the train’s carriage that can accommodate prams and wheelchairs, and priority seating. Settle back in your chair and enjoy the views as the steam whips past the windows. Accessible rail experiences are limited in number, so call ahead to ensure availability.

See a Cave in Cairns’ Undara Experience

Hidden among the rich basalt soils of Undara Volcanic National Park, a series of hollow tubes formed by flowing molten lava around 190,000 years ago is the setting for an unmissable Outback experience. In the years since, the roofs of these tubes have sunken in places, allowing rainforest and wildlife to flourish, including colonies of microbats. Wheelchair users can head out on a guided tour of Road Cave with Undara Experience, with ramps and lift access to assist in safe exploration.

Whale Watch on Fraser Coast

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Fraser Coast during whale season, be sure to get out on the water to spot them close-up. Hervey Bay Whale Watching’s Quick Cat II vessel is designed specifically for wheelchair, pram and mobility aid access, with great viewpoints to watch humpback whales rest and play in the calm waters of the bay. The area was declared the world’s first Whale Heritage Site in 2019.

Related: Get Off Grid With 5 of Queensland’s Most Remote Bushland Tiny Homes

Related: 15 Queensland National Parks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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