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Beachside Access for the Disabled

Disability Access Available at Beachside Foreshore along Gold Coast’s Iconic Beach

David Bedwell Director at Obvius Access examines Surfers Paradise Gold Coast Foreshore.

The recently completed extensive upgrading of the Surfers Paradise Esplanade has created over 1km of accessible foreshore. Its level, its access is wide allowing ease of access for mobility devices such as electric scooters, wheelchairs, cyclists and people with prams. The Esplanade has 6 accessible toilet blocks spread out at equal intervals, it has twin disabled parking bays again spread out at equal distances, hundreds of resting seating locations, and most importantly the many 1:20 ramps and accessible steps for access to the world famous beach.

The Surfers Foreshore layout has taken into account the change in demographics of an aging population both on the Gold Coast and in Australia. Examples of these considerations include seating provided with armrests to assist older people, and seating without armrests to allow a wheelchair user to transfer from their wheelchair to a seat so they can enjoy the ambiance and the views with a companion

Take a look at these photos and you will see exactly why I consider Surfers Paradise could be the current benchmark for Beach Front Tourism Accessibility Standards not just in Australia but World-wide
The 1:20 ramp in the photo below is typical for all the new ramps in accordance with Gold Coast City Council Best Practice to ensure greater opportunities for independent access

foreshore surfers steps



Main Esclanade access


 The Central Beach Access Ramp and Steps The Main Esplanade Level and Wide

Foreshore Surfers Ramp


Foreshore Surfers Parking


Typical 1:20 Ramp and Steps to Beach Twin Disabled Parking Bays

In Total there is approximately 2kms of level accessible walkways from the Central Beach at Surfers Paradise going north towards Main Beach. In the Central Beach Area Disabled Accessible Parking is Pay and Display however towards Main Beach it is free for limited periods
Across the Esplanade from the Beach there are an assortment of Accessible Restaurants, Fast Food Outlets, and Bars. The Famous Surf Club located towards the South end of the Esplanade has al-fresco seating and a Unisex Disabled Accessible WC at street level.

Gold Coast Council has provided accessible self catering barbeques at several locations all along the foreshore walkways with ample seating and grass areas adjacent to them. If you forget your food, don’t worry there is a Convenience Store close by at the Beach end of Elkhorn Avenue.

In addition to the Beach Access Ramps there are Accessible Viewing Zones all along the Foreshore with ample shaded seating and adjacent showers as shown in the photos below

The Accessible Viewing Platforms on the Beach are situated less than 30metres from the Surf. These Viewing Zone Platform Areas provide opportunities for watching sport, and leisure activities such as Beach Volleyball, Surfing Competitions, Sand Sculpturing, Surf Lifesavers Training, and lots more besides.
One of the major advantages of Surfers Paradise Foreshore, and for that matter most of the Gold Coast Beaches have over other competing Tourist and Vacation Destinations is that it almost completely level making it for the most part “Universally Accessible” therefore “Getting Around” for all “Ages and Abilities” is far less demanding


Accessible Shaded Area


Accessible Showers Steps and Shade Accessible Shaded Viewing Zone
My conclusion regarding Surfers Paradise Beachfront is that for enjoying the beach experience, and generally relaxing in the sunshine is one of your holiday criteria’s then The Accessibility Provisions of Surfers Foreshore should be Ideal.
David Bedwell Is a Disability Access Consultant a director of Obvius Access Consultants a family operated practice with offices in Australia, Sydney NSW, and Gold Coast SE Queensland.
For other articles by David visit www.accessconsultant.com.au
E-mail obviusaccess@bigpond.com

by David Bedwell
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