By Sue Willis © 2003
Sue Willis, of Sydney, Australia, shares the joy and freedom her daughter, Joanna, experienced while on a resort holiday in Noosa Queensland.
Four years ago our daughter, now 22 years old, became a C6 quadriplegic. She uses an electric chair at home, but when she goes out she takes her manual chair that folds into the car boot and gets pushed by her friends. The reason for using the manual chair is that Sydney is not very accessible for an electric chair.
Last year we went on holiday to Noosa and we were delighted to see our daughter for the first time in four years absolutely independent. All foot paths are wheelchair friendly, most coffee shops, restaurants and shops have ramps.
Most shops have ramps and the footpaths are very wide. Its just a paradise for wheelchairs.
There are board walks on the beach and all around the coast.
There is a beautiful paved walk all along the river with free BBQ areas.
There are paved paths in the National Park overlooking the sea and secluded beaches (where we even spotted a koala).
There is a very sophisticated street, with European boutiques and restaurants.
There is a wheelchair friendly ferry and you can even hire a self driven boat wheelchair accessible.
For the first time my daughter could go out with her friends without having to ask for a lift in the car. She could go out as far as the battery charge of her electric chair allowed her.
For the first time in the last four years, just like in the good old days before her accident, she went in and out as she pleased completely independent.
I read in a book that Noosa was "overrated", but it is not. If you are looking for a holiday in a place where you can be independent and won't need a car, go to Noosa. I tried other accessible places from the "Easy Access Australia" book, like The Wheelies resort in Byron Bay. The place is very good and accessible but to go out anywhere you need a car. In Noosa, the whole town, not just the hotel, is accessible.
The weather is warm even in winter. We went for the first time in May 2002, then again in October 2002, and next week we will go for the third time in February 2003.
The closest airport is Maroochidore,
Boat hire: The pontoons that carry about 10 people are wheelchair accessible. They run slowly and are very stable so the person on the wheelchair can move around safely. It has a table and chairs so people can spend the whole day as in their own floating restaurant. They are self-driven and people can go down the river to see the very rich water front houses or up the river where there are paper bark forests and white sand and no people around.
Boat tours to Everglades. Or you can combine the boat with 4WD and go further.
4WD tours to Colored sands and even to Fraser Island.
There is very posh shopping, restaurants and coffee shops on Hastings St.
There are also casual and cozy, tropical restaurants, pizza places, coffee shops, fruit drink shops, and the best Italian ice-cream shop ever.
Bush walks in the National Park. One path next to the open sea is accessible and beautiful. It reminds me to the paths in Keppel Island.
Walks, walks and more walks everywhere. All is connected by board walks and paths. Even a board path on the main beach. Also important, there is lots of shade to avoid overheating and beach wheelchairs for hire.
Warren Blee at Maroochydore phone 61 7 5443 1254 hires hospital beds, commodes, hoists, etc. Phone: 61 7 5476 0988
Blue Care provides personal care. Phone: 61 7 5447 6486.
Beach wheelchairs for hire Phone: 61 7 5474 7400.
Noosa River Sandy Shores (previously Noosa River Motor Inn), 17 Albert St., Noosaville. Phone: 61 7 5474 1122. One accessible room A$85.00.
The Sheraton Noosa Resort, Hastings St., Noosa. Phone 61 7 5449 4888. Has two accessible rooms. Phone: 1800 073 535 Two persons $250-$410.
Noosa Riverfront 277 Gympie Tce, Noosaville. Phone: 61 7 5449 7595.
We prefer Noosaville because it is less crowded, but if you like a sophisticated luxurious place and can afford it, the Sheraton is the place for you.
To hire accessible vehicles:
Fax 61 7 5520 5225
Phone 1300 301 903
Mob 0439 963 563
update December 2003
Sue Willis, who has
shared her adventures while traveling with her disabled daughter,
Joanna, in Noosa, QLD, Australia, wrote to advise readers of which
equipment supplier to use when visiting that region. Formerly
Willis recommended the supplier Ian Bennet for equipment rentals, but
now she reports that Bennet increased his hiring rates 300% and that
Warren Blee offers far lower rental rates. Contact Warren Blee at
Maroochydore phone 61 7 5443 1254. Willis writes: On our last visit
to Noosa, I was very disappointed with Ian Bennett's pharmacy (Plaza
Pharmacy, Nambour phone 07 5476 0988). Concerning their rates:
$30 weekly hire $22 delivery
no deposit total $52
went up to
$99 weekly hire $33 delivery
$297 deposit total
$132 + 297 deposit
I contacted the
marketing manager Karen Bonhayer and the general manager (Deon) who told
me that the new prices were correct, and that a hoist costs him $1000,
so he has to hire it for 20 weeks to make some money. 20 weeks @ $99 is
$2000, which is twice the cost of the equipment.
I checked with other rental places: Warren Blee,
Maroochydore (phone 07 5443 1254) charges are: hire $35/WK, deposit
$50 and delivery $20
It worries me that because of my recommendation there might be other people hiring from Ian Bennett. We only need a hoist, but other people might need a hospital bed, commode, hoist, etc. and they will be paying 300% more than they should.
Discover Sue & Joanna's travel adventure in 2000 to Magical India.
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