ALL ABILITIES HOLIDAY ITINERARYby Maycie-Lee
I love the sound of the waves crashing down at Cape Bridgewater, with the sun on my back and a spectacular view of the cliffs. It is one of my favourite places. I’m going to take you on a tour of the Glenelg Shire, a gem nestled in the South West corner of Victoria. This tour is unlike any other tour, this tour is for those who face similar challenges as me. I’m in a wheelchair and I want to guide you to the areas that people of all abilities can enjoy.
I live in the coastal town of Portland, and I would recommend here as the perfect base when you visit. Portland is in hot pursuit to make travelling with a disability easier with the completion of the new Changing Place amenities and the All Abilities Playspace currently being built. If you haven’t heard of changing places, head to Changing Places to order your very own MLAK key. There is an abundance of beautiful holiday accommodation to choose from – some with larger rooms and disabled access.
Portland is the birthplace of Victoria and the best place to learn more is at the Portland Visitor Information Centre. Whilst your there why not take a stroll around the Maritime Museum and see the 14m Sperm Whale Skeleton that washed ashore in the 1980’s. This site is wheelchair accessible and you can enjoy a hot cuppa with one of the best views of the bay. If you love to dip your toes in the water, the Visitor Information Centre has a beach wheelchair to help you make the most of this coastal town.
If you enjoy fishing, don’t forget to pack your fishing rod. For a spot of Ocean fishing, you can drive down the Lee Breakwater and (hopefully) catch a snapper off the paved road, or you can head down to Canal Court and fish from the new fully accessible fishing ramp over the canal.
With paved access the Portland Botanic Gardens are a hidden tranquil beauty. Dating back to the 1850’s it is one of Australia’s earliest botanic gardens. I love getting back to nature and wondering through the peaceful garden.
I think I am truly lucky to live in Portland. During the winter months we are fortunate to be a breeding and playground for the Southern Right Whale. They are spotted regularly from the whale viewing platform on Wade Street. The platform is wheelchair accessible and has free binoculars to view these magnificent creatures. If you are lucky they can be spotted along the Lee Breakwater, just meters away from you, you can stay up to date by following Whalemail.
A 20 minute drive from the township of Portland will take you to the cosy seaside escape of Cape Bridgewater. Perhaps my favourite place in this area, with wide sweeping views of the cliffs meeting the deep turquoise waters of the Bay. A simply magnificent sight. A steep ramp gives you access to the beach but I love to enjoy a bowl of chips at the Café.
A scenic drive to Casterton will have you in awe of the green rolling hills. Casterton is the birthplace of the Kelpie, the Australian Kelpie Centre is a free interpretive museum that showcases the history of this iconic working dog. Casterton is a beautiful historic town, situated just over an hour from Portland on the banks of the Glenelg River.
There is so much to see and do for everyone in this pocket of Victoria, what are you waiting for.