Travel in Australia and/or NZ

I'm planning to visit those countries next year. Is there anything that I should especially take into consideration when travelling there as an ataxian? I will take a wheelchair (or a rollator) and have an assistant with me.

I just came back from Russia and Siberia. You'll get fatigued, so plan on sleeping on the plane. You may get cold so wear layers. Take lot's of water. Get on the plane EARLY. Have a wonderful time! Sounds like you're all set with walking and an assistant!

Australia is a huge country. When it is warm in one place, it will be cold in another. What time of year will you be travelling?

As dic has said you will get tired so make sure you get plenty of rest. Enjoy yourself!...:)

In NZ wheelchair access must be provided by law so virtually everywhere has ramps etc for access. If you're travelling by rental car make sure you take your handicapped parking card so that you can take advantage of the parking. All shops must provide disabled parking at their doors.

It can be extremely cold in our winter, particularly at the bottom of the country, so make sure you bring really warm clothing if this is when your visiting.

Feel free to email me if you want to know anything else.

Best wishes

Kiwi Poppy

Great advice about the sticker Poppy. Having traveled to Russia- I can't say that ramps and handicap access is a law internationally. Some international countries have voluntary policies, or they don't enforce the law. Better check!

Disabled parking is rigorously enforced in this country, otherwise people get really shirty about it.

Great to know! In Siberia, a Russian lawyer, who was in a wheelchair would accost people who took the handicapped spots!!!

I'd just temper Kiwi Poppy's advice about disability access and parking in New Zealand: shops only have to have disability parking if they have their own parking area - but there are disability parks in central areas in central shopping districts too. Also, disability access is only a requirement for new buildings - there are plenty of older buildings and shops that won't have it. Private residences are another matter again.

On the plus side: main centres have some wheelchair-accessible buses on some routes. If you know which cities you'll be visiting, you can look them up in advance.

Happy travels!

.. If you can handle Ataxia then the flies, snakes,sharks,crocodiles and Dingos won't be a problem!!!...LOL..

>>Honestly,you'll love the place and the people..Ozzy National Toilet Map for Australia. Tells you where some disabled toilets are. Look up online what access the councils claim and download the PDFs showing maps of kerb cuts, accessible ATMs, inclines and toilets. Prepare to be really hot, humid, wet, windy or cold.

I spent 3 weeks in the North Island of New Zealand last year (Nov-Dec). I've written an article on my holiday for the website Disability Horizons (it's called Accessing New Zealand:part one and part two) - so feel free to email or message me. How long are you going for?

Thank you all for your lovely advice! Jasmine, that site looks great! I think I have some reading to do...I'll spend there at least three weeks.
And Ozzy, as I have survived ataxia so far (not to mention the bears and wolves here in Finland), I think I'll cope with those as you said :)

  • ..I'v e got a spare

Hi Anna, I'm 33 years old, I have got Friedreich's Ataxia and use a wheelchair. I traveled with my Personal Assistant to Australia and New Zealand (where I celebrated my 30th Birthday) in 2010. My biggest advice to you would be plan and book your accommodation, tours and flights before you go because being a wheelchair user makes it more difficult to find somewhere suitable and saves time. Where in Australia and New Zealand do you plan to go to? I went to the following places in Australia; 6 days in Perth, 5 days in Sydney, 5 days in Cairns, 4 days in Gold Coast, 4 days in Melbourne. Then I did a 10 day tour with Kiwi Accessible Tours ( in North Island of New Zealand; Auckland, Colomondol Bay, Tauranga, Rotorua, Huka Falls.

If you would like more information about any of the places I stayed at, just let me know.


Now I have visited the both countries in March. What can I say - great countries, beautiful sceneries and friendly people. Loved it!