Friday, June 21, 2024

Queensland gardens rev up accessible buggies program

The Sunshine Coast’s much-loved tourist attraction the Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World has launched an upgraded fleet of accessibility buggies.

With $25,000 funding from the Queensland Government’s Accessible Tourism Infrastructure Grants, two custom-designed wheelchair accessible buggies have been added to the existing fleet to help ensure the unique gardens can be experienced by everyone.

The locally manufactured buggies, designed in consultation with Spinal Life Australia at a total cost of $100,000, will improve accessibility and safety at the attraction.

The venue is home to over 600 native and exotic birds, 8 kilometres of winding paths, terraced gardens and numerous waterfalls and lakes.

“It’s great that Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World is ensuring this magnificent venue is accessible, because world-class visitor experiences like this are too good not to be shared and enjoyed by everyone,” said Tourism Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe.

“Accessibility is everyone’s business, and it’s terrific that we have been able to partner with the operators of this iconic attraction, through our Tourism Infrastructure Grant, to deliver these two new buggies to their fleet.

“Embracing diversity is essential for our tourism industry as we work towards our Towards Tourism 2032 goal of becoming Australia’s destination of choice for visitors seeking world class experiences.”

Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World Owner, Frank Shipp said Maleny Botanic Gardens have invested more than $1.5 million dollars over the past two years to enhance accessibility for guests.

“It has been an extremely positive outcome to receive funding to support these initiatives in the Year of Accessible Tourism,” he said.

Spinal Life Australia Senior Advisor Access and Advocacy, Dan Cross said the organisation applauded the efforts of tourism operators who recognised the huge potential market represented by people with disability and were taking steps to be more accessible.

“We were excited to be involved in assisting with advice and conducting trials on this innovation created by Maleny Botanic Gardens and their manufacturing partner E-Z-Go Australia,” he said.

“This Queensland innovation will improve access at the Maleny Botanic Gardens, and we encourage other tourism businesses to embrace improvements such as this in their own operations.”

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