Tag Archives: south island

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.

Rob Pyne: A Far Northern Life

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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

Cheap flights