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Wildlife Tours for the disabled

Viewing wild kangaroos: photo Araucaria Ecotours

Viewing wild kangaroos: photo Araucaria Ecotours

We’ve had a number of comments on our blog entries and our Facebook page on the topic of birding tours for the disabled.

We’ve thus decided to make this a  topic on our Discussion pages

You might like to visit our blog on birding for the disabled and our Facebook entries on the same.

It is not only birds, but wildlife in general that can be of interest to those not fit enough to get around as readily as the rest of us.  I wouldn’t like to see a major road constructed to the top of every wild mountain, as was actually suggested some years ago in South Australia, and I’m sure wheel-chair-bound nature-lovers wouldn’t want this kind of disruption to native habitats either.

There are numerous ways though in which things can be made easier in environmentally friendly ways for the less able wildlife enthusiasts, including appropriate attention paid by guides as well as physical structures etc.

As one respondent to our Facebook noted, being disabled does not just mean lack of walking ability.  There are also the visually impaired (who can still enjoy listening to bird and frog calls and the whole sensation of being in the forest etc.), the hard of hearing (which guides can learn to cater for), the intellectually handicapped (another challenge for guides but some are genuinely very enthusiastic about seeing our animals) etc.

Okay, so over to you … we especially welcome comments from both guides and travelers on this topic (also tourism managers, researchers and others with an interest in the topic)


  1. What a great topic – have just discovered it a year after it started. Later is still good…have just resumed camping after 20 years. Reliance on CPAP machines to keep breathing at night was the barrier. Retirement funds bought the camper trailer, deep cycle batteries installed in trailer now let my partner and I (both late 60s women) use our CPAPS for several nights without needing to re-charge. Gluepot Reserve was a fantastic re-introduction to bush camping and gorgeous birds.
    Difficulties for CPAP users are access to powered sites (rarer than night parrots at wild camps) and permission to recharge with a generator (denied at most wild camps). We are OK for now but keep looking for ways to stretch our trips….the super-quiet generator we bought was still not negotiable at Gluepot, and taking down our whole camp in order to drive outside park boundaries for a re-charging session was not appealing. Planning Sydney to Lakefield National Park via inland one way, coast the other, for July! Thanks, Ruth

  2. No, I definitely would *not* want to see big ugly roads crisscrossing beautiful wild lands. I don’t think that’s the right solution to create more universally accessible wildlife tour options throughout the world.

    In California (my home), many beach state parks offer “sand chairs” on loan for visitors who would like to traverse the beaches but need to use a wheelchair. These chairs have big, burly all-terrain wheels and a different balance-point than a “standard” wheelchair. These chairs do well on sand and even on some rocky trails.

    For me, because I don’t use a wheelchair but I need to sit and rest often, I don’t necessarily want benches built everywhere for me. I’d rather figure out how to carry a lightweight seat that meets my specific physical needs with me when I’m traveling.

    I think that this type of technology is a better direction for universal usability. Rather than concentrating on changing the surrounding environment, I’d love to see focus on changing modes of travel to better suit the people. Does that make any sense?

  3. Heather from Adelaide has asked me to put this in on her behalf:

    “This year I was injured while on holidays. I had two days of birding tours booked with Araucaria Wildlife Tours before my flight home. I asked Ronda if she could cater for me – yes. Ronda opened and closed the vehicle door, did up my seat belt, tied my shoe laces in preparation for walking, took photographs and ticked off the birds we saw. Thank you for ending my holiday on a pleasant note. Heather”


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