Queensland and the Sunshine State have upped their inclusivity game with the Year of Accessible Tourism and you can hear all about it with the launch of a new podcast, Accessed That, hitting the airwaves.
The podcast was conceived around the belief that ‘travel should be good’ and ‘travel should be easy’ for everyone Recent studies revealed statistics that highlight a need for increased awareness, information and empowerment around accessible travel options.
The Accessed That podcast explores what it’s really like to travel while living with a disability. The aim is to both educate the tourism industry about the specific needs of guests living with disabilities, while at the same time, inspiring travel without limitation. Spanning 11 engaging episodes, the series encourages travellers with a range of disabilities to share their own insights of ‘having been there, accessed that’.
Driving the conversation each week is Oliver Hunter, award-winning standup comedian living with Cerebral Palsy, and Karni Liddell, Paralympic swimmer, TV presenter and proud Queenslander who was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy as a child. The duo get in front of the mic for a candid and informal chat with each of the 10 guests, drilling down into the challenges as well as the uplifting moments that come with travelling with a disability.
Speaking ahead of the Accessed That podcast launch, Mr Hunter said he wants to spread the word about accessible tourism and share stories of those who travel with a disability.
“I’m really looking forward to hearing how different people travel and what they need in order to have a really great trip,” said Mr Hunter.
“It is also a chance for me to get a bit of a low-down on the various accessible experiences, stays and events that are available across Queensland – from the beaches to the hinterland, the outback and the city centres.
“I use a wheelchair and the main barrier for me is the limited information available about accessible accommodation and activities. I often have to double check, usually with a phone call, which is becoming harder as everything is online. I sometimes need to get photos to understand how I can make travel work for my individual needs.
“For people with a disability, the best resource to prepare for anything, especially travel, is to hear direct from others with lived experiences. Firsthand reviews are what the Accessed That podcast offers. Each episode is filled with experiences straight from the horse’s mouth.”
Queensland’s tourism industry is embarking on a long-term journey to expand its existing accessible experiences and the podcast references examples from across the state.
Accessible experiences in Queensland
Tourism operators in Queensland already shining a light on accessible experiences include the Brisbane Powerhouse which schedules regular Auslan performances for visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing. The popular venue also offers reserved wheelchair seating space right in front of the stage for select standing flat-floor shows.
At the Gold Coast, Sea World provides wheelchair-friendly access to many of the park’s shows and exhibits as well as a pool hoist for people with mobility restrictions to access the dolphin pool and get close to the notoriously friendly creatures. Also at Australia’s seaside playground, iFLY Gold Coast turns the dream of flight into a reality with an All Abilities Events, held on the last Thursday of every month. These are custom-designed for people with physical and cognitive challenges, creating a social and supportive environment to experience the joy of floating weightless in the air.
Visitors to Queensland’s north can tap into 60,000 years of Kuku Yalanji culture and art at Janbal Gallery in Mossman. Artist Brian ‘Binna’ Swindley, was born with a hearing disability and his gallery and classes are open for all, including budding artists with hearing loss, mobility restrictions and neurodiversity. Meanwhile, aquatic lovers of all abilities can now access the greatest underwater biosphere of all, the Great Barrier Reef, thanks to Quicksilver Cruise’s Water Access Lift at the Agincourt Reef Platform.
The Accessed That podcast will be streamed via Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts from today, 28 August 2023, with new episodes released weekly on Monday. Listeners can find out more about the Accessed That podcast at queensland.com/accessedthatpodcast.