Rolling Around Cairns, Australia: A Wheelchair User’s Travel Guide

Great Barrier Reef

Cairns, Australia is considered one of the most beautiful places on Earth and is the reason that I am dying to go back to Australia. While I was in Sydney and Melbourne earlier this year, I kept hearing people talk about how amazing Queensland (the state that Cairns is in) was, but unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to visit during that trip. There are so many neat things to see and do there that are known worldwide. It is such a vibrant place that is full of life. If you are looking to roll around Cairns, you are in luck. There are plenty of things for wheelchair users to see and do that will give you an authentic Australian experience. Let’s take a look at how you can start exploring the city of Cairns.

wheelchair accessible cairns australia

Beautiful Cairns



Of course airports coming in and out are wheelchair accessible, as well as some of the local transportation. Be sure to check into this as you might have trouble depending on the size and type of your wheelchair. Yet, for wheelchair users one thing I would highly recommend is a wheelchair taxi. These are particularly handy for traveling to and from local attractions. The only thing you should do is pre-book your ride with a 24 to 48 hour advance notice. Cairns Taxis is one of the best, if not the best way to navigate the city quickly. Of course, there’s always the option of rolling down the street. The sidewalks and layout here are quite easy to maneuver.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Skyrail. This is one of the most convenient ways to get to and from major tourist hot spots and other points of interest. It’s about a 15 minute jaunt outside of the city, but once you are there reaching any major spot is not a problem. In fact, many of the tourist locations have a Skyrail station located on site.


Cairns Attractions


Great Barrier Reef

This one can be a bit tricky if you are a wheelchair user simply because most of the ferries will take people close to the barrier reef, but that’s it. A small dinghy boat is necessary to get up close and personal. This can be quite challenging, if not impossible if you are in a wheelchair. A better option might be to take a pontoon boat to the outer part of the reef. Here you can view many of the great wonders as they swim right past the boat.

Be sure to pre-book your ride to Green Island should you desire to go there. The island has plenty of board walkways that make navigation quite easy. You do need to be mindful of the sand. Under no circumstances should you attempt to roll across the sand as it is quite soft and you will get stuck.


wheelchair accessible cairns australia

Great Barrier Reef



Downtown Cairns

Be sure to take some time and find your way into the heart of the city. There are many retail shops, and the restaurants are more than capable of accommodating wheelchair users. You will want to take a break at some point. I recommend the Esplanade Lagoon that features a water park and playground activities for children. It’s a beautiful area and a great way to take a breather from a full day’s activities.


wheelchair accessible cairns australia

Esplanade Lagoon




Be sure you book an accessible taxi and make your way to this world famous destination. This is known to locals as the ‘village in the rain forest’ because of it’s many incredible attractions. Located on the grounds are a butterfly sanctuary, Koala Park, a colorful bird aviary, and a massive thriving market. This is the perfect place to snatch up your Australian souvenir as well as experience food that the region is known for. Some of the best stuff you ever put in your mouth and one of the best times you will ever have are waiting here in Kuranda. Don’t forget to visit Barron Falls while you are there and take a moment to marvel at its majestic beauty!


wheelchair accessible cairns australia

The Kuranda Scenic Railway, which is accessible.



Hotel stays in Cairns should not be a problem at all. Many of them feature several rooms that are handicapped accessible. The grounds of the property are also usually easy to navigate with most featuring ramps, elevators, and wide walkways. Any hotel that has an on-site restaurant is more than eager to accommodate you during your stay. In addition, many of the resorts also offer bars that are more than willing to give you a drink or six!


Beyond that, this is one of the most friendly locations for tourism. I guess it has to do with the tropical vibe that the city exudes and the relaxed nature of its inhabitants. There are several other natural attractions to visit. It would be impossible to see everything you want to see in a week. The bottom line is, if you plan on rolling around Cairns, just go ahead and make plans to roll back one day! I am sure you will love this place, just as I will one day.



*I have not visited Cairns. All of this information was found online from various sources.






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