SENSORY TOURS Two travellers having a tactile experience with the spear shaped flower of a grass tree.
SENSORY TOURS Two travellers having a tactile experience with the spear shaped flower of a grass tree. Peter Killick

Sensory tours for sight impaired

HAVING sight impairment is no excuse for experiencing Australia's extraordinary east coast with new sensory short breaks.

Travellers with sight loss can now visit iconic east coast tourism sites regularly with accessible adventures that eliminate sightseeing and deliver experiences using other senses.

In Queensland, visit the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest where you can knock on the buttress root of a century old tree, touch a live crocodile or listen to the booming rumble of a Cassowary.

In New South Wales you can ride the world's first solar power train from Byron Bay or visit Australia's highest alpine resort using oversnow transport.

Sensory short breaks are a new product launched by Cocky Guides, Australia's first tactile and sensory tour operator for the blind and low vision community.

The company offers sensory short breaks that range from two to four days.

The tours start from Sydney, but Mr McFarlane said he can assist with enquiries from people living in other locations. "If we have a traveller from Brisbane, for example, we can send a guide up to meet them and assist with getting them to Cairns for the start of that tour."

Destinations include Port Douglas, Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, Canberra, Snowy Mountains, Melbourne, Lake Mountain, Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula.

"Since the launch of Cocky Guides it has been a high priority to offer multi-day experiences that really showcase the destinations we visit," Cocky Tours founder James McFarlane said.

"At the very beginning it was even more important to make sure our presentation of a destination really connected with our travellers. Our insights and experience conducting regular day trips will help us expand and deliver quality sensory short breaks."

Sydney-sider Katie Best, a recent traveller and low vision community member, had a great time on a sensory short break to Port Douglas with Cocky Guides.

"I have just had the best holiday in ages," she said. "I honestly didn't want it to end. The activities were fantastic, and the support was amazing. I am now counting down to my next adventure."

"I've spent over 10 years in tourism roles in Australia and Europe," Mr McFarlane said. "Not once had I met a blind traveller. I found this very surprising considering the estimated number of people with sight loss in Australia.

"I launched Cocky Guides to make travel fun, safe and accessible for the blind and low vision community."

For more details and costs, phone 1300 657 640 or go to cockyguides.com.au.


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