Cairns and Far North Queensland Tours for Disabled Travellers

Cairns stands proud in offering a wide variety of things to do and see in Cairns for those of all ages including guests that may be handicapped or have limited mobility or even totally disabled. Tours and attractions that can cater for disabled or handicapped persons and their carer must be booked in advance to ensure the guests full satisfaction and assistance on the day can be provided for.

Be sure to book well ahead and advise the agent or staff member at the time of booking if a passenger uses a wheelchair or any other means of mobility along with any other special requirements to ensure preparations are put in place to ensure you are all well catered for to enjoy your Cairns holiday.

While every attempt is made to ensure these disabled facilities are available on a daily basis, due to operational consideration some facilities may not be available on the desired day of travel. It is important that all wheelchair passengers are fully briefed prior to joining a tour.

We have specialised search tools on our accommodation websites and our tours and attractions websites for guests with disabilities so you may view each one individually to see if it suits your needs.

Just look for the wheelie tick box in the top left search box and the wheelie icons on the website pages   

The Tour Specialists team have put together this page on all the Tips & Hints for mobility impaired travellers planning a holiday in Tropical North Queensland. Please make sure you read all of this information as you will find it a mine full of information that will make your travel so much easier.   

For more personalised assistance with wheelchair friendly and disabled Cairns Accommodation and Day Tours contact The Cairns Holiday Specialists on 1300 780 806 7 days a week.

Call us on 1300 780 806 to plan your perfect Cairns Holiday.

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 Tour Specialists on 1300 780 806.

Transfers for all Vessels for Disabled Travellers

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

Disability & Mobility Impaired 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 for disabled travellers

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.

Bus Transfers

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 the right Kuranda Tours for disabled travellers. 

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 the Daintree Rainforest for disabled travellers.

Cairns Parks, Aboriginal Cultural Parks and Australian Native Animal Parks for the Handicapped or Disabled

Cairns tours and attractions such as Rainforestation, The Rainforest Habitat and Hartleys Crocodiles Adventures are all wheelchair accessible.

Cairns Skydiving

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 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

The perfectly smooth riding Wave Piercer is perfect for people who suffer from seasickness heading out to the Great Barrier Reef every day

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Port Douglas Reef Tours | Great Barrier Reef Tours | QS
  • Departs From: Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina Port Douglas
  • Duration:

    6.5 hours (approx.)

Port Douglas Reef Trip, Outer Barrier Reef cruise from Port Douglas with the most awarded reef cruise company in Australia Instant book on line or call 1300 761 612 MV - QS Cruises also has the added bonus of traveling out to one of the most spectacular Outer Barrier Reef pontoon sites on the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs from Port Douglas Queensland Australia. This reef trip is the perfect choice for those that suffer seasickness and those that wish to see and do as much as possible on the Great Barrier Reef in one day. Fly out or back in a helicopter to see the reef from above and then dive down below to see it up close. This is one Port Douglas reef tour you will remember for a lifetime.

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Ariel view Green Island

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Cairns Reef Tours | Green Island Snorkel Tour | FULL DAY Great Barrier Reef Tour
  • Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence Street, Cairns
  • Duration:

    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.

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Cairns Great Barrier Reef Tours | Dive-Snorkel | Scuba Doo | Pontoon | GBRA
  • Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence Street
  • Duration:

    7 hours (approx) or less depending on options

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.

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Cairns Snorkel Tour | Great Barrier Reef Trip | Meet Resident Photo Bomber Wally The Maori Wrasse

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Cairns Snorkel & Dive Day Tour Cairns | Pontoon | Great Barrier Reef
  • Departs From: Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal
  • Duration:

    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

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Great Barrier Reef Tour | Snorkel Cairns | Dive Cairns

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Great Barrier Reef Tour | Cairns Pontoon | Dive-Snorkel | Helicopter | Glass Bottom Boat
  • Departs From: Reef Fleet Terminal Cairns
  • Duration:

    90 minute cruise each way

    4 hours on pontoon

    Times are approximate

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

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Best Value Accommodation Deals in Cairns
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.

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Best Value Accommodation Deals in Cairns