Tag Archives: New Zealand

Queenstown Wheelchair Access Travel

Queenstown is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand’s South Island. The town is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes, and has views of nearby mountains such as The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Walter Peak and just above the town, Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill. Neighbouring towns include Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Kingston, Wanaka, Alexandra, and Cromwell. The nearest cities are Dunedin and Invercargill. Queenstown is known for its commerce-oriented tourism, especially adventure and ski tourism. Queenstown wheelchair access allows visitors to enjoy the amazing scenery of the beautiful area.

Attractions and Opportunities

Arrowtown

Bob’s Peak

Cardrona Alpine Resort

Coronet Peak Ski Area 

Lake Wakatipu 

Marine Parade

Queenstown Gardens

Steamer Wharf

Transport

Buses

Public buses include low-floor buses, wide aisles and reserved wheelchair seating on some routes. These routes pick-up and drop-off in Queenstown, Frankton and Queenstown Airport. Some other bus routes can also offer accessible services, but it is advisable to contact Orbus in advance on 0800 672877.

Taxis

Accessible taxi services are also available in Queenstown but should be booked in advance. Queenstown Blue Bubble Taxis service includes an accessible taxi van with a mobility hoist. This is subject to availability, so we’d recommend booking in advance. Corporate Cabs is a pre-booked taxi service that has large sedans which can accommodate disabled passengers with wheelchairs that fold up or dismantle.

Hire Vehicle

Freedom Mobility specialise in Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and we have rented a van from them and enjoyed the experience. This way you can fully explore the region. Wherever you are travelling in NZ Freedom Mobility have you covered.

Queenstown wheelchair access

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Dunedin Wheelchair Access Travel

Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago region. Its name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. The urban area of Dunedin lies on the central-eastern coast of Otago, surrounding the head of Otago Harbour, and the harbour and hills around Dunedin are the remnants of an extinct volcano. Archaeological evidence points to lengthy occupation of the area by Māori prior to the arrival of Europeans. The province and region of Otago takes its name from the Ngai Tahu village of Otakou at the mouth of the harbour, which became a whaling station in the 1830s. Dunedin is home to the University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest university (established 1869), and the Otago Polytechnic. Students account for a large proportion of the population; 21.6 percent of the city’s population was aged between 15 and 24 at the 2006 census, compared to the New Zealand average of 14.2 percent. In 2014 Dunedin was designated as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Attractions and Opportunities

Chinese Garden

Dunedin Railway Station

Otago Museum

The Octagon

Toitu Settlers Museum

Speight’s Brewery

Transport

Christchurch Buses

Priority seating areas

All buses have priority seating areas near the front of the bus for passengers with mobility aids, service animals and for parents with pushchairs. For safety reasons, it may be necessary for pushchairs to be folded down before boarding. Please cooperate with the driver if they request that your pushchair be folded down to make space for a passenger with a mobility aid.  

Mobility aids, service animals and pushchairs 

All bus services welcome passengers accompanied by service dogs or disability assist dogs and most buses in Canterbury can cater for passengers with access challenges. 
All Christchurch and Timaru buses have:

  • super-low floors and the ability to kneel to meet the curb. Please ask the driver if you need the bus to kneel
  • wheelchair ramps fitted to allow easy access for most wheelchair users. The driver will manually fold these out

Please note: larger wheelchairs may not fit in the bus aisles. Please check the dimensions below. While many buses can fit two wheelchairs or mobility devices, some older buses only have space for one.

Accessibility will be improved as new Christchurch wheelchair access buses replace older vehicles. Newer buses have wider aisles and larger priority seating areas, making it easier to accommodate mobility equipment. 
For guidance only: Manual wheelchairs and power wheelchairs can be carried on most buses subject to the following restrictions:                                                                                     

  • Maximum length: 1200mm (including footplates / feet)
  • Maximum width: 700mm
  • Maximum weight: 300kg (combined weight of wheelchair and user)

Being able to operate within these dimensions and weights is necessary to enable safe negotiation of the loading ramp and maneuvering into the priority seating area.

Some larger mobility equipment may protrude into the aisle. This is acceptable as long as it does not make it difficult for other passengers to move down the aisle. 
For space reasons, buses are unable to carry electric mobility scooters.

Vehicle Hire

Freedom Mobility specialise in Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and we have rented a van from them and enjoyed the experience. This way you can fully explore the region. Wherever you are travelling in NZ Freedom Mobility have you covered.

Dunedin wheelchair access travel.

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Hamilton Wheelchair Access Travel

Hamilton is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the seat and most populous city of the Waikato region, with a territorial population of 169,300, making it the country’s fourth most-populous city. Encompassing a land area of about 110 km2 on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton is part of the wider Hamilton Urban Area, which also encompasses the nearby towns of Ngaruawahia, Te Awamutu and Cambridge.

Attractions and Opportunities

Classics Museum

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Lake Domain

Hamilton Zoo

Waikato Museum

Transport

Accessibility

We aim to make the buses accessible for as many people as we can.

All buses will be low-floor and wheelchair-accessible. These features also enable prams and strollers to get on and off the bus more easily. All bus stops will be brought up to standard to support this: kerbs will be raised and footpaths will be raised to the correct height to maximise the accessibility of the low-floor buses.

Wheelchairs and prams

All our buses have extra space for wheelchairs and prams/pushchairs. Your driver may ask you to move out of this priority seating for someone who needs it.

If you use a wheelchair, all our buses have the ability to kneel close to the kerb to make it easy for you to board. Because accessibility can differ from stop to stop and bus to bus, the driver may have to set up a wheelchair ramp to help you board.

If you have a motorised wheelchair, please note that size can also be a factor for access on the bus. There is a maximum weight limit of 300 kg and a maximum width of 700 mm wide.

Please contact Ritchies Queenstown for more information on wheelchair access 03 441 4471.

Service dogs

The only animals allowed on the bus are service dogs. This includes guide and hearing dogs, and puppies in training. Your dog must be on a lead and sit on the floor.  

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Wellington Wheelchair Access Travel

Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with a population of around 500 000. Wellington sits near the North Island’s southernmost point on the Cook Strait. A compact city, it encompasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. From Lambton Quay, the iconic red Wellington Cable Car heads to the Wellington Botanic Gardens. Strong winds through the Cook Strait give it the nickname “Windy Wellington.”

Attractions and Opportunities

Carter Observatory

Civic Square

Museum of Wellington City and Sea

Te Papa National Museum

Weta Workshop

Transport

Wheelchairs and mobility scooters

We are committed to making public transport an easy and convenient experience for people with disabilities.

Space is limited, so wheelchairs or mobility devices are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis as capacity allows. 

Bus

All Metlink buses are wheelchair accessible. However, some mobility devices are not allowed on Metlink buses due to their size and weight.

The following criteria are important:

  • Wheelchairs and mobility devices must not exceed 70cm in width and 90cm in length
  • Wheelchair and mobility device users who are unable to board a service unaided must provide their own helper 
  • The combined weight of either a self-propelled or powered wheelchair and mobility devices and its user must not exceed 250kg
  • Once your wheelchair or mobility device is in the wheelchair area on our vehicles, the brakes must be applied and the power (if applicable) must be switched off

Be aware drivers may not always be able to help you if they have to stay in their seats for safety reasons.

Train

All Metlink train services are accessible to wheelchairs and mobility devices, with allocated parking areas and securing belts.  

Please be aware that:

  • Wheelchair and mobility devices users must provide their own helper if manual lifting and heavy handling of the wheelchair / mobility scooter is required. Train staff will not operate mobility scooters
  • Buses replacing trains can’t always carry wheelchairs or mobility devices;
  • Wheelchairs and mobility devices up to 80cm wide and 130cm long can be conveyed on most services
  • Wheelchairs and mobility devices must be able to turn within a 95cm radius
  • The collective weight of the wheelchair/mobility scooter, passenger and helper on the ramp must not exceed 300kg
  • Once your wheelchair or mobility device is in the wheelchair area on our vehicles, the brakes must be applied and the power (if applicable) must be switched off
  • Wheelchairs and mobility devices must be in a safe and good working condition
  • Luggage and bags must not be attached to the wheelchair/mobility scooter, especially when using the ramp 
  • If you use a folding wheelchair or and mobility device you must be accompanied by enough carers to allow you to travel safely, including getting onto the trains, changing trains where necessary and leaving the train at your destination. Your helper(s) must store the folded wheelchair if necessary
  • Wheelchairs and mobility devices must be secured in the allocated space using the restraints with wheelchair brakes applied. In the case of powered aids, the power is to be switched off

Access

Access to train services is affected by three considerations:

  1. Access from the street to station platforms.
  2. Access from the platform to / from the train ie ramp or hoist access.
  3. Space and availability on the train, ie designated space with restraints.

Some train types are more accessible to people using wheelchairs and mobility scooters than others.  Our ability to provide services to people using wheelchairs and mobility devices differs depending on which line and which train type you are travelling. 

Railway stations

The following railway stations have steps and are not accessible by wheelchair and mobility devices:

  • Awarua Street
  • Takapu Road

These stations may be challenging to access without assistance due to steep ramps:

AvaBox HillEpuniKenepuruNaenaeNgaurangaParemataPomarePoriruaTaitaWingateWoburn 

Buses replacing trains

Buses replacing trains are not always able to carry wheelchairs and mobility devices, particularly when supplied at short notice.

Planned replacements will include at least one wheelchair-accessible bus per train line.

Call the Metlink Service Centre on 0800 801 700 to find out which service is equipped to carry wheelchairs.

Free mobility scooter hire

Wellington City Council and TSB bank are proving a free mobility scooter at New World Metro in Wellington Railway Station to help people get around and enjoy Wellington city.

The scooter is safe and easy to use and trained staff are available to show you how to use it. Anyone over the age of 18 with limited mobility, from wheelchair users to the elderly, can use it to move around the city.

This scooter is one of several available from 12 locations around Wellington city – Find out more on mobility transport and scooter hire (external 

Vehicle Hire

Freedom Mobility specialise in Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and we have rented a van from them and enjoyed the experience. This way you can fully explore the region. Wherever you are travelling in NZ Freedom Mobility have you covered.

Wellington wheelchair access

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Auckland Wheelchair Access Travel

The core of Auckland City is the Auckland CBD, a major financial and commercial centre, surrounded by many suburbs. Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand, with a population of almost 2 Million people. Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, is based around an extinct volcano and home to the formal Wintergardens. Near Downtown, Mission Bay Beach has a seaside promenade. Auckland wheelchair access is of a good standard.

Attractions and Opportunities

Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Zoo

Elliot Stables

Museum of Transport and Technology

New Zealand Maritime Museum

Sky Tower

Transport

Bus accessibility information

All bus services welcome passengers accompanied by service dogs or disability assist dogs.

Auckland wheelchair access buses constitute around 92% of the fleet. They have super low floors and the ability to kneel to meet the curb, or have wheelchair ramps fitted to allow easy access for wheelchair users.  New buses are being introduced regularly to increase the number of wheelchair access buses in service.

To ensure that there will be a wheelchair access bus on your bus route at the time you wish to travel, we recommend you contact the operator the day before you travel. Find a list of contact numbers.

For guidance only:  Wheelchairs, some mobility scooters and larger style pushchairs can be carried on a bus subject to the following restrictions:

  • Maximum length: 1200mm.
  • Maximum width: 700mm.
  • Maximum weight: 300kg  (combined weight of wheelchair and user).

Please note: for space reasons, buses are unable to carry large mobility scooters and the measurements above should be used for guidance only. For information about carrying pushchairs and prams see Luggage on public transport.

The mobility devices described above are deemed to be for disabled passengers and exclude personal motorised mobility devices, such as Segways, which may not be carried on passenger services.

A row of seats towards the front of most buses is identified as especially available for the elderly or those with access challenges. Please help us make these passengers’ journey easier by allowing them to sit in these seats.

Train accessibility information

All train services welcome passengers accompanied by service dogs or disability assist dogs.

Wheelchair access and mobility scooters on the train

Electric trains are designed with automatic ramps located on the central carriage doors providing a seamless transition between the platform and the train. When boarding, use the middle carriage of each 3 car train or the second and fifth carriage of the 6 car trains.

To assist passengers in wheelchairs, AT Metro are currently rolling out train station platform markings to indicate where to wait on the platform to board the central carriages with automatic ramps. These markings are planned to be completed at all train stations on the Auckland rail network at the end of 2017.

Train station platform markings for wheelchair access

Diesel trains which operate between Papakura and Pukekohe are equipped with wheelchair ramps (board at any door).

Some types of small battery powered mobility scooters may also be carried in off-peak times. 

Mobility scooters and wheelchairs can be carried on the Auckland rail network, subject to the following restrictions:

  • Maximum length: 1350mm.
  • Maximum width: 650mm.
  • Maximum laden weight: 300kg (200kg for diesel trains in service between Papakura and Pukekohe).

The mobility devices described above are deemed to be for disabled passengers and exclude personal motorised mobility devices, such as Segways, which may not be carried on passenger services.

If you require assistance boarding the train or travelling on the train, please ask either the on-board or platform staff.


Ferry

All ferry services welcome passengers accompanied by service dogs or disability assist dogs.

Wheelchairs can be taken aboard most ferries, please check with the ferry operator before travelling. If you require assistance boarding the ferry from a suitable waiting point, please contact the ferry operator to arrange this in advance. If you require assistance while travelling on the ferry, please ask the on-board crew.

Hire Vehicle

Freedom Mobility specialise in Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and we have rented a van from them and enjoyed the experience. This way you can fully explore the region. Wherever you are travelling in NZ Freedom Mobility have you covered.

Auckland wheelchair access travel

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Christchurch wheelchair access travel

Christchurch is the gateway to New Zealand’s South Island. Bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretch to the Southern Alps. The city is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand’s third biggest city after Auckland and Wellington. The Avon River flows through the middle of the city, with an urban park located along its banks. Named after the River Avon in Scotland. Christchurch wheelchair access is quite good, with public transport the noticeable ‘fail’ in our disability travel experience to this beautiful city.   

The Arts

The arts have been embraced by the people of Christchurch. Visitors are encouraged to check out the Christchurch Art Gallery.

The gallery building is a beautiful modern building with full wheelchair access.

The Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) is also worth a visit. CoCA’s exhibitions emphasise local artistry, from the Canterbury region and New Zealand alike.

You will also find sculptures and urban art throughout the city. Murals occupy much of the public space. It was a delight to see construction hoardings and the walls of many buildings covered in beautiful art.  

Akaroa

Akaroa is another must. We rented an accessible vehicle for the scenic drive to Akaroa. Just 75 kilometres from the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, Akaroa is a historic French and British

settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Explore the village with its colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores, and cafés. Relax or take part in the many activities that are on offer. Explore the dramatic outer bays and take your time to soak in the magic of this area. 

One of the tour boats has wheelchair access, so make sure you check first and book the right boat.

Lake Tekapo and Hanmer Springs

Two popular locations for day trips just out of Christchurch are Lake Tekapo and Hanmer Springs. They are both popular Alpine villages in the winter. We visited in the middle of summer. Hanmer Springs has thermal springs and people are encouraged to have a swim and sample the local food from the cafes in the main street.

Our favourite trip was to Lake Tekapo. It is a lovely drive and when you get to the lake, even in the summer you can see this native mountains from the Observatory on the top of the hill which also has a brilliant view of the lake.

Attractions and Opportunities

Akaroa

Canterbury Museum 

Christchurch Art Gallery

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Hagley Park and Gardens

Hanmer Springs

Lake Tekapo

New Regent Street

The Arts Centre 

Transport

Christchurch wheelchair access transport providers typically provide wheelchair ramps, hand rails, low steps and other disabled access facilities and services. You can search availability at Christchurch Accessible Transport. However wheelchair accessible taxis are very hard to come by when you need one. Also hand rails and ‘low steps’ are not much help if you are a quadriplegic in a motorised wheelchair.

Airport

Christchurch wheelchair access starts at the Airport which has really good access. They have a website with any access information about the airport you may need.

Taxis

The evening we arrived at Christchurch airport we were unable to get a wheelchair-accessible taxi. We tried every company but no luck. We were told to get a wheelchair access taxi ‘after hours’ you needed to book well in advance. As a result, our first night in Christchurch was spent not sleeping in our hotel room,. but sleeping in the First Aid room at Christchurch airport. 

The staff at the airport were great, but the taxi services were not very good at all. The message is, if you are going to need a special wheelchair access taxi from the airport, make sure you book it well in advance of your flight.

Hire Vehicle

Freedom Mobility came to our rescue. They specialise in Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and we rented a van from them that allowed us to fully explore the region. Wherever you are travelling in NZ Freedom Mobility have you covered.

Christchurch wheelchair access travel

Rob Pyne: A Far Northern Life

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Wheelchair Access Cities

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