Travelling ‘wheelie’ Vanessa Waller checks out Batemans Bay Beach Resort. How does it stack up as an accessible stay? Caravan parks and wheelchairs do not always combine well, but thankfully more and more providers are improving their accessible accommodation options. Batemans Bay Beach Resort on the NSW south coast is setting a good standard for travelling ‘wheelies’.
Life in a wheelchair can be challenging at the best of times so the last thing you want on holiday is to battle with your accommodation. A recent stay in Batemans Bay Beach Resort’s Easy Access cabin was refreshingly free of hassles for me and my mobility scooter. Just to clarify for my fellow wheelies: I have very limited use of my legs and use a power chair at home but I usually travel with ‘Little Red’, my Pride Go Go four-wheeled scooter.
The accessible cabin was obviously purpose-built and is relatively new, pleasantly decorated and more than adequate for my needs and those of my carers (my husband and our eight-year-old son!). There is one disabled parking spot right outside the cabin, although we were beaten to it a number of times by someone with a valid permit. There was other parking close by, but as there is only one accessible cabin, I think it would be a good idea to package the spot with the cabin in some way.
Access to the cabin is by wooden ramp up to the deck which has a small table and chairs and an outdoor kitchen consisting of a bench, a barbecue and a sink with a flick-mixer tap (a thoughtful addition for disabled access).
Inside, the cabin has a kitchen, a small table, a sofa lounge and a queen-size bed. The high ceilings give a feeling of space and a privacy curtain can be drawn across the room to separate the bed and bathroom. There is knee space under the kitchen bench and desk area (though strangely not under the sink). The pathway of travel through to the bathroom is manageable, even with the sofa bed out. Someone was really thinking when they put the bedside lights overhead on the wall and positioned the switch for the lights and the fans in the middle. A powerpoint beside the bed was perfect for charging my scooter.
For me, the biggest test of a property’s accessibility is the bathroom and apart from a few tiny niggles, the cabin passed with flying colours. The wall-hung basin, flick-mixer taps, grab rails, toilet and turning circle were all there as you would expect. The small shelf near the basin and the complementary toiletries in wall-mounted dispensers near the basin and in the shower were useful additions.
The eternal problem of providing a wheel-in shower that won’t flood the entire bathroom was tackled with a very slight dip down into the shower floor. This kept the majority of the water in the shower area, but there was still a lot of over spray which could have been minimised with a more generous shower curtain. The fold-down shower seat was quite small and positioned directly in front of one of the grab rails which was a little uncomfortable on my back at times. It was adequate for a slight person, but I suspect that someone with a larger frame would struggle. Personally, I prefer a portable shower chair so that it can be positioned according to need.
At $800 for five nights, the cabin wasn’t cheap, but it allowed us to enjoy a comfortable holiday with friends who were camping at the resort. The public areas, including the pool, camp kitchens, games room, jumping pillow and mini golf were all accessible to me on the scooter. The cleanliness of the entire park, the abundant bird life and the gentle sound of the Bay’s ebb and flow were a delight. The resort also has en-suite, accessible camp sites so when we figure out a wheelie good camping solution, we will definitely return.
51 Beach Road,
1800 217 533