Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Where's Wheely Good To Go Out?

29 Jul 2011Getting out on the town means great things to most people, it can relieve stress, allow you to catch up with old friends, let loose, and have a good old boogie. For someone in a wheelchair or with a disability however, a night out on the town can bring anxiety, fear, and feelings of being a burden to others, and can take a lot of time planning.

It’s difficult to think about if you’ve never been in the shoes of someone with a disability, but it’s not as easy as just throwing on your best party clothes, and heading out the door to hail the first taxi... There is a lot more preparation involved.

For example, do you know where you are heading? Does it have stairs? Are there wheelchair accessible toilets? Is brail available? Are you allowed to take service animals? Is there accessible transport nearby? Is there parking? And the questions could go on.

I stumbled across a great disability info website, which is based in Melbourne. ‘DiVine’ gives advice on all things that someone in my shoes (or wheels) would need to know; including accessing night spots, eateries and cafes, and heaps of other helpful stuff. The only problem is, it’s based in Melbourne, and that’s where the info is for, which doesn’t do much good, unless you live there or are planning a trip there anytime soon.

I’ve been to Melbourne twice, and I have to say, compared to Sydney, it’s quite accessible. There are tons of old buildings, like Sydney, which aren’t converted into accessible ones, but for the most part, I found the transport to be great, and didn’t have too much of a problem with anything else while I was there.

In Sydney, most of the hotspots in the city have stairs. I can remember many nights in my party days, where my friends had to help me up loads of stairs..... One grabbing the front of my chair, one grabbing the back, and off they would go, carrying me up or down to wherever we needed to go, (which became quite scary as the night went on, and the drinks got flowing). Now days though, I really can’t be bothered, by the time we settle on a place to go, it’s probably too late to see if there is any access, so I just have to go and hope. But most of the time, in my experience, the places are inaccessible in one way or another. I could get someone to help me, a bouncer, a friend, my fiancé, but I really prefer to be independent on my own, be able to leave on my own, unassisted, if need be. So I tend to stick to local places now, that are flat, and are familiar to me, plus, I don’t really care too much for nightclubs anyway, I’m more into live music.

Here’s some links to the articles on the Victorian website ‘DiVine’ - so if you happen to be going out in Melbourne, this may be able to assist you. For cafes and restaurants; http://www.divine.vic.gov.au/main-site/out-about/dining;p,1 and for bars and clubs; http://www.divine.vic.gov.au/main-site/out-about/bars-nightlife

Why don’t we share some great places that you enjoy going out to? Tell me your favourite nightspot or restaurant, which has wheelchair access and is disability friendly, in all ways.

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