AQA

Accessible travel tips for South Gippsland

19.05.22 04:21 PM By Dan
After almost half a century living with a SCI, Martin Caruana knows a thing or two about accessible adventures. Here are his top picks for visiting South Gippsland. 
By Martin Caruana

My annual holiday is to Cape Paterson, in South Gippsland. I recommend this as a coastal holiday that can be supported by public transport for wheelchair users. 

Cape Paterson is a small coastal town, about two and a half hours from Melbourne. It’s a quieter holiday than some of the more popular tourist destinations, and offers bush tracks and great views of the ocean. 

To get there, I take the V/Line bus to Wonthaggi, and then either a local bus or taxi to Cape Paterson. The bus from Southern Cross leaves four times a day, and it’s equipped with side hoists, for manual and electric wheelchair users, including a spare seat to accommodate the carer.  

Martin says the drive from Cape Paterson to Inverloch is breathtaking, with plenty of lookouts.
For accommodation, Cape Paterson has several caravan parks, and many holiday houses for rent. The bush tracks along the Cape Paterson coastline are wheelchair accessible, and offer a number of stunning lookouts. 

The Bunurong Coastal Drive is a scenic road that connects Cape Paterson with Inverloch. The 15 minute drive is breathtaking, and has walking tracks, picnic areas and beaches along the way. From Inverloch, there is a drive to Tarwin Lower and Venus Bay, if you have access to private transport. 

Wilsons Promontory is another holiday destination worth exploring, and the wheelchair accessible cabins there are situated with great views, and privacy. They also have wheelchair friendly tracks. Getting there is usually by private transport, as it’s a couple of hours from Cape Paterson. The wheelchair cabins are in high demand, so booking is essential. Maybe take a day trip first, to see whether it’s somewhere you’d like to stay. 

Martin likes the independence of travelling on the V/Line coaches.
The city of Wonthaggi caters for wheelchairs, and everyday basic needs, including: bistros, local watering holes, mobility wheelchair repairs, cafes, libraries, bakeries, churches, a hospital, and wheelchair accessible local buses. The town is growing fast, with a new motel just completed. 

From Wonthaggi, you can catch a local bus to Phillip Island. On Phillip Island, you can visit Cowes, watch the pelicans at San Remo, or see the penguin parade. The penguin parade is located on the western tip of the island, and is accessible only via private transport or a taxi. 

I travel on the V/Line coaches alone because I like my independence, and also because I like to watch the scenery along the way. For those also wanting to make this trip on public transport, you can book through V/ line, or Bass Coast Coaches, but do so at least 24 hours prior to departure. Another possible option is hiring a wheelchair van on your NDIS plan. 

Author Martin Caruana has been living with a C5 spinal cord injury since 1973.

Read a boutique accessible travel guide for Gippsland.

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