Great Barrier Reef Tours for Disabled Guests
Great Barrier Reef Islands
Most of the Great Barrier Reef tour operators that take guests to the Islands moor their boats 500 meters off the islands and then ferry passengers across on motorised dinghys so a level of mobility would be required for these types of reef tours.
Green island is different on the other hand and is accessible for those with varying mobility issues. Green Island has its own jetty which makes it more of a viable option. When booking your Great Barrier Reef tour we must be informed of the guests type of handicap and mobility level as not all of the Green Island transfer boats are wheelchair accessible.
Each tour operator has various transfer boats and times that they depart Cairns to go out to Green Island and by booking ahead, your reservation can be secured onto one of the wheelchair accessible boats.
Furthermore, based on the oceans tide levels on certain days, there may be a few steps at the end of the gangway onto the Green Island jetty. Tides can generally be predicted and the friendly staff will organize your day and time based on when the tides are predicted to be at the appropriate level - please note that not all motorized wheelchairs can be accommodated for as they are sometimes too wide.
Push wheelchairs are preferred. Green Island features disabled toilet facilities and paved or wooden boardwalk pathways that are easy for wheelchairs to access. There is also a boardwalk that takes you directly through the rainforest into the centre of the Island which is flat and easily accessible.
The sand on the island is very soft so wheelchairs are not recommended. To board the glass bottom boats, there are a few steps, therefore may not be suitable if the passenger has no mobility whatsoever. The same goes for the semi-submersible submarine tour as you have to negotiate steps down to the bottom of the submarine.
All in all Green Island certainly is accessible for disabled guests and you can be assured of a really great day.
Outer Great Barrier Reef Pontoon Tours for Guests with Limited Mobility or Disabled
Many of these tour boats travelling to the Outer Great Barrier Reef Pontoons are very accessible for guests with handicaps or limited mobility issues. Please be sure at the time of booking to specify the handicap and mobility level to ensure that you are on the appropriate reef tour with wheelchair accessibility. Wheelchair accessible toilets are available onboard the boats; however on some of the pontoons they are not available... Thankfully this is not a problem, as the boat moors beside the pontoon all day and wheelchair accessible platforms connect the boat to the pontoon for constant easy access. Access to the underwater observatory, swim platforms, semi-submersible or any coral viewing vessels are non-accessible for those who have no mobility as they involve stairs. The BEST option for a pontoon would be with Quicksilver, Outer Barrier Reef Pontoon. Be sure to ask for Quicksilver VIII that goes to the Port Douglas Agincourt 3 floating platform. The Quicksilver pontoon is equipped with a hydraulic lift to enable transfer between the lower deck and the water, allowing guests with limited or no mobility to be able to put on a mask, snorkel and look into the water from the chair. The area where this is done is also the fish feeding area so get ready to see a wide variety of bright unique small and large fish.
For assistance booking wheelchair friendly and disabled Cairns Accommodation and Day Tours contact The Cairns Holiday Specialists on 1300 780 806.
Transfers for all Vessels for the Disabled
Normal coach transfers are available for Cairns, Cairns Northern Beaches and Port Douglas passengers who are self sufficient and able to negotiate 3 stairs on and off the coach. The height from the ground onto the first step of the coach is approximately 300mm.
For wheelchair confined passengers, a wheelchair taxi can be booked on your behalf to Port Douglas or Cairns. There is a set taxi price from Cairns and Cairns Beaches to Port Douglas and will be a metered cost in the Cairns area and payment can be made direct to the taxi company on the day; just make sure you book in advance.
Wheelchair Taxis Cairns
For travel to and from some of the local tours and attractions guests in wheelchairs may need to pre-book a taxi specifically designed to cater for disabled travellers.
It is advisable to pre-book your taxi at least 24-48 hours in advance to ensure a wheelchair friendly vehicle is available to take you to the departure point of your day tour.
To book your Cairns taxi call 131 008 or go to their website www.cairnstaxis.com.au
Disabled Beach Access
Beach friendly wheelchairs are available at Palm Cove beach in Cairns and Four Mile beach in Port Douglas. Beach friendly wheelchairs are equipped with large wide wheels which can roll more easily over soft sand providing people with disabilities or leg injuries easier access to the beach. Please note that a carer or friend should be present to assist in the use of the wheelchair on soft sand.
To hire a Palm Cove Beach Wheelchair please contact Palm Cove Surf Life Saving Club on (07) 4059 1244 or Surf Live Saving North Queensland on (07) 4049 1200 between 10:00am and 2:00pm.
To hire a Four Mile Beach Wheelchair please contact Trevor and Phillipa at Macrossan House at 19 Macrossan Street Port Douglas or call on (07) 4099 4366.
It is highly recommended to call a few days in advance to ensure the beach wheelchair is not already booked for the date you wish to visit the beach. You will also be required to sign a waiver for the use of the wheelchair at both locations prior to use.
More information about the Great Barrier Reef
Cairns scenic flights are fun for everyone and a great way to see Australia's Great Barrier Reef for the magnificent natural phenomenon that it is. Soar above the oldest rainforest in the world or through the famous Australian Outback. The choice is yours. For those who are in a wheelchair or with limited mobility, it is suggested to bring a carer as there are 1 - 2 steps required to get into the helicopter, seaplane or plane and the Disabled guest will need to be lifted. Although the option of flying out to the reef to your desired pontoon or Green Island is a possibility, if the guest has no mobility at all, they will need to be carried twice more - Once onto the tender boat between the landing pad and the pontoon and once again onto the pontoon. The scenic helicopter flights on the other hand simply require just the lift over the steps to get in and out of the helicopter, seaplane or plane.
More information about Cairns Scenic Flights
Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail are a highlight not to be missed and are definitely accessible. Like any of the other Cairns tours, at the time of booking, please inform the agent or operator of the particular situation of your handicapped or Disabled passenger to ensure total satisfaction.
Kuranda Scenic Railway - PWD Facilities
Each train carrys a special PWD carriage for max 4 wheelchair seeing plus 1 companion (extra seating for accompanying passengers on request)
Wheel chair access at Freshwater & Kuranda stations via hydraulic Lift
Wheel chair Ramp at Cairns station
Wheel chair access at Barron Falls Viewing Platform is unavailable due to platform low level
When booking please advise Reservations you require wheelchair access, so that we are able to provide the appropriate assistance onboard and at our Stations.
Skyrail caters for wheelchair passengers with the following:
Optional use of ramp, to assist with loading and unloading from gondola cabins on the cableway (as pictured below).
Ramp access to all boardwalks at Red Peak and Barron Falls stations.
Access to the CSIRO Interpretation Centre at Barron Falls Station. Wheelchair accessible restroom facilities at all stations.
The following information details wheelchair guidelines for guests traveling on Skyrail.
The width of the wheelchair can not exceed 610mm. The length of the wheelchair can not exceed 950mm.
Wheelchairs must be capable of being tilted backwards to enable loading into the gondola. To load a wheelchair, the wheelchair will need to be tipped backwards raising the front wheels and then gently pushed into the gondola.
The combined weight of the wheelchair occupant and the wheelchair must be of a manageable weight to allow cableway operators to load the wheelchair.
Wheelchairs must have handles to ensure easy lifting into the gondola cabins.
Skyrail provides the complimentary use of wheelchairs (subject to availability) during a Skyrail experience. We recommend you contact our reservations team at the time of booking to confirm wheelchair availability.
Please note that wheelchairs cannot be carried on the coach transfer service to Skyrail. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please ask for transfer details at the time of booking.
Kuranda Village takes pride in having stairs and ramps to accommodate all visitors' needs in getting around this unique rainforest village in the sky. Visit the Kuranda markets, Birdworld, Butterfly Sanctuary and The Koala Gardens, all of which are wheelchair accessible.
Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail do have Normal coach transfers available for Cairns, Cairns Northern Beaches and Port Douglas passengers who are self sufficient and able to negotiate 3 - 4 stairs on and off the coach. The height from the ground onto the first step of the coach is approximately 300mm.
For wheelchair confined passengers, a wheelchair taxi will be booked at the operators specified time only. If guests wish to travel at a time opposing to what the operator offers, the guest must pay for their own taxi transfer at the taxis metered rate. If the guest cooperates in going at the time the operator offers, the rate is at the same price as the regular transfers for Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail transfers. This MUST be arranged at least 48 hours in advance.
More information about Cairns Skyrail
The Tours going to The Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation or The Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway do have normal coach transfers available for Cairns, Cairns Northern Beaches and Port Douglas passengers who are self sufficient and able to negotiate 3 to 4 stairs on and off the coach. The height from the ground onto the first step of the coach is approximately 300mm - 400mm on the buses and these tours require getting on and off of the bus numerous times.
The Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and The Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway Self Drive for the Disabled or Handicap
Self Driving the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation or The Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway are all possibilities as the boardwalks are wheelchair accessible. In Cape Tribulation, the beach is non-wheelchair accessible as the sand is quite soft but all rainforest surrounding areas are great ways to explore the area.
More information about Daintree Rainforest
Cairns Parks, Aboriginal Cultural Parks and Australian Native Animal Parks for the Handicapped or Disabled
Cairns tours and attractions such as Cairns Tropical Zoo, The Dome, Rainforestation, The Rainforest Habitat, Cairns Wildlife Safari, Hartleys Crocodiles Adventures and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park are all wheelchair accessible.
Cairns Skydiving Companies pride themselves on the fact that they have taken guests skydiving with mental and physical disabilities, ages 14 to 80. This must be booked well in advance and does require a Doctors note, a specific tandem skydiving master to be working and a medical questionnaire that is to be filled out in advance too. It is the companies discretionary right to refuse the skydive if the medical conditions do not coordinate to what is legally safe but are definitely open minded and look into making the dream come true as best as they can for these unique cases.
More information about Cairns Skydiving
Cairns Bungy Jumping for the Disabled
From those in wheelchairs, with limited or no eyesight and many other cases, Cairns AJ Hackett Bungy will get the job done! Try the Minjin Swing that soars 45 meters above the ground horizontally at the speed of 125 km per hour! The minimum age is 10 years of age and minimum jump weight is 45kg. If the guest is less than 45kg they can participate in a tandem jump with a friend, or one of the great crew. There is no maximum age or weight so pick up that phone and make that booking!
More information about Cairns Bungy Jumping
Cairns Hot Air Ballooning for the Disabled
Don't go through life wishing you always had... Go on and book that Hot Air Ballooning Tour that you always dreamed of! Cairns hot air ballooning tours are $100.00 cheaper to do here than in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and offer the scenic views of the Cairns tablelands, no other can compare to. Upon booking, the handicapped or Disabled must answering a questionnaire to ensure that they are prepared for handling the hot air ballon ride. A carer must be present with the handicapped or Disabled guest.
More information about Cairns Hot Air Ballooning
Barrier Reef Tour Port Douglas - QS - Outer Barrier Reef Cruise
- Departs From: Marina Mirage Port Douglas
10:00 - 16:30
This is the number one reef tour for any disabled person to have the best possible Great Barrier Reef experience. Our team are highly trained in accommodating guests with handicaps and our on board equipment has been specially built to allow guests to be lowered into the water to see the reef. We have semi-submersible submarines, glass bottom boats, underwater observatories and we conduct fish feeding presentations. A great day out for elderly folks and little children with safe swimming enclosures
Green Island Full Day Tour | Ferry | MV-BC
- Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence Street, Cairns
5 Hours on Green Island - 9:00am Departure (Big Cat)
4 Hours on Green Island- 11:00am Departure (Reef Rocket)
Return to Cairns at 5:00pm for both tours
Choose from 2 departure times. For this Great Barrier Reef tour you will need to be able to negotiate some steps with the assistance of your carer and have a collapsible wheelchair.
Great Barrier Reef Cruises Cairns | Dive-Snorkel | Scuba Doo | Pontoon
- Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence Street
7 hours approx
This Great Barrier Reef tour has wheelchair accessibility that we class as "fair" for collapsible wheelchairs. You will need the assistance of a carer to negotiate stairs for all in water activities.
Reef Day Tour Cairns | Pontoon | Great Barrier Reef | RM
- Departs From: Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal
8 hours (approx)
Again this Great Barrier Reef tour has a "fair" rating for its facilities to cater for mobility impaired travellers. Chair lift available to upper and lower decks. Wheelchair accessible bathrooms. Will need assistance from personal carer
Cairns Pontoon Reef Tours | Dive-Snorkel | Helicopter | Glass Bottom Boat Moore Reef
- Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal Cairns
90 minute cruise each way
4 hours on pontoon
Whilst there are wheelchair accessible bathrooms and designated seating for wheelchairs you would really need to be able to negotiate stairs with the assistance of your personal carer. We give this a "fair" rating for disabled friendly reef tours
Snorkel & Dive Tour Cairns
- Departs From: Cairns Marlin Marina
9 hours (approx)
Rated "low" accessibility for mobility impaired or disabled persons without the assistance of a carer
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway | Cheapest Best Value Kuranda Tour in Cairns | SKYRL
- Departs From: Smithfield or Kuranda
1½ hours one way
2-2½ hours return
This Kuranda tour is the perfect disabled or mobility impaired tour in Cairns. Ride the Skyrail Gondola up the mountains to the village of Kuranda soaring high above the trees. For those adventure seekers upgrade to a glass floor gondola so you can see all the action at your feet or even an open air carriage. You may choose to return down the mountain on the world famous Kuranda Scenic Railway. Please advise when booking the limitations of your disability.
Kuranda Scenic Train | Cheapest Best Value Tour | Self Drive
- Departs From: Cairns
7 hours approx.
We cater for wheelchairs and guests with limited mobility on our Kuranda rainforest tours. This famous train takes you on a journey of Australian history thru hand cut mountain tunnels, across deep gorges and past cascading waterfalls and onto the quaint little rainforest village of Kuranda where you can explore the markets, fossick in the shops enjoy entertainment and have a nice luncheon.
Bungy Jumping Cairns - AJ Hackett
- Departs From: Cairns, Port Douglas, Cairns Beaches
The site is open for jumping everyday from 10.00am till 5.00 PM
If your keen we are keen. Only available for guests who do not exceed 80kg. You will be carried up 196 stairs for your adventure by our crew. Arm mobility is required.
Minjin Jungle Swing - Bungy Jumping Tower Cairns
- Departs From: Cairns, Port Douglas, Cairns Beaches
Give 2-3 hours depending if you got transfers or drove to the site yourself
This activity is only suitable for visually and hearing impaired guests. Why not try the bungy jump instead?
Reef OR Rainforest Discovery | 30 Minutes Scenic Helicopter Flight | GBR
- Departs From: Cairns Airport, Heliport in Cairns City Centre
Scenic flights have no mobility restrictions as long as you have a carer to assist you with the 2 steps (30 cm) into aircraft
Hartleys Crocodile Adventures
- Departs From:
Self Drive: as long or as short as you would like
Bookings with transfers please see below
Wheelchair accessibility is classed as "Good" For coach transfers you will need to be able to negotiate 2 -3 steps or use a specially built taxi to accommodate wheelchairs
Ultimate Reef & Rainforest | 60 Minutes Scenic Flight | GBR
- Departs From: Cairns & Port Douglas
Scenic flights have no mobility restrictions you just need to be able to negotiate 2 steps (30cm) into the helicopter either on your own or with a carer
Cairns Aboriginal Cultural Park by Day
- Departs From: Cairns, Cairns Northern Beaches
The Tjapukai Gallery is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm
Wheelchair accessibility is classed as "Good" Wheelchair enable activities are all thru the Aboriginal Cultural Park
Kuranda Rainforestation Nature Park | Big Australian Wildlife Package | RF
- Departs From: Cairns
8.5 hours (approx)
Disabled accessibility is classed as "Good" at this Kuranda Nature Park
Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside Hotel
Recently completing an extensive $2 Million Pool and alfresco dining redvelopment, Mercure Cairns Harbourside now boasts having Cairns' only disabled pool access lift. With Ocean or Mountain view Superior Room available for wheelchair access, Mercure Harbourside Cairns is a great holiday accommodation option for your next holiday.
Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns
Located on Cairns Esplanade the Rydges Esplanade Resort offers elevator access to Hotel Rooms on Level 2 with facilities to cater for Wheelchairs along with Restaurants and Bars.
Cairns Queens Court Holiday Accommodation
With FREE daily Continental Breakfast included, Cairns Queens Court is a great value accommodation option whilst on holidays in Cairns. For guests with impaired mobility choose from a Superior Twin Room or Studio Apartment, both located on the ground floor with ramp access to the onsite Restaurant.
Cairns Plaza Hotel
FREE Daily Breakfast Included - Cairns Plaza Hotel offers Disabled Access rooms in the Standard Hotel Rooms with modified Ensuite facilities. Cairns Plaza Hotel offers elevator access and a ground floor Breakfast Room making getting around a breeze. Not to mention the all abilities swing in the playground is located directly opposite the Cairns Plaza hotel.