Tasmania: Disabled Needs

Top Destination for 2009

Tasmania Disabled Needs

It is a mixed picture for disabled people going on holiday to Tasmania. Most public areas, shopping centres, accommodation, attractions and restaurants have disabled facilities and services. As far as transport is concerned, the Tasmanian Government initiated a wheelchair access scheme for taxis in 2004, which has been making some progress in improving taxi services. In the metropolitan areas of Launceston, Hobart and Burnie 25% buses are wheelchair accessible. However elsewhere, Tasmanian buses provide very limited access for travellers in wheelchairs. Tassielink, one of the Island's two principal bus companies, has pledged to improve its services for all disabled passengers, but only on the most popular routes. If you are thinking of hiring a car, several Tasmanian car hire car firms offer hand-controlled vehicles. The situation with regard to water transport is equally mixed. For instance, the Spirit of Tasmania website contains no substantial information about the wheelchair accessible facilities, or services, stating only that it has wheelchair access. However, the customer service operators (telephone 1800 634 906) are much more helpful in this respect, being able to provide information on the dimensions of bathrooms, doors etc. On a more positive note, there is a fully accessible catamaran service that operates a sightseeing trip between Hobart and Peppermint Bay, through the sheltered waterways of the Derwent River and D'entrecasteaux Channel. Other Tasmanian facilities are generally better prepared for disabled customers. For example, some locations with wheelchair standard tracks include Mount Field, Cradle Valley and Hastings Thermal Springs. Also, the Launceston shopping and business centre has good wheelchair access as the streets are fairly level with good curb ramps. There are also some resorts that offer accommodation that is fully adapted for disabled travellers. One of these is Craggy Peaks, which offers self-contained contemporary accommodation on the edge of Ben Lomond National Park. Some useful sources of information on travel for people with disabilites in Tasmania are: NICAN (National Information Communication Awareness Network), which has a database of current services and facilities (email: info@nican.au), and the website Pleasetakemeto.com, which lists accommodation for disabled travellers in northern Tasmania. In general however, both information and facilities for disabled travellers in Tasmania are less developed from what you might expect.