We represent walking for all Queenslanders

Walkability for a family with a wheelchair

“I’ve always had an affinity, if not a need, to regularly immerse myself in nature and the outdoors. Engaging in physical activity such as team sports, running and exploring new places through bushwalking and hiking has been a huge part of ensuring my regular dose of health and happiness.

Since becoming a mum, I’m finding it a little more challenging to commit to a team or access more remote spaces for bushwalking and hiking, running and walking. Being able to  connect to safe and accessible paths to green spaces in our local neighbourhood, and with a pram, has become a really important channel. It’s also been essential to the health and happiness of our child. 

Last year, our little man was diagnosed with a condition which impacts his muscle strength and ability to access energy. There’s a bit more to it but what it means is that on any given day, he may be able to walk a certain distance unassisted or he may not. As a result, some days and for some distances we now rely on a pushchair, some days we don’t and some days you might see us pushing him along in a push trike to work on his muscle strength.

Consequently, the way in which we access any given space can be different each time. For instance, if we meet friends at a playground in non-peak time, we might be able to park close by and our little one might be able to walk. If we go at peak time, we may not be able to park as close so we’ll need the pushchair and an understanding of access to ramps and such.

We are so incredibly fortunate to live in such a beautifully scenic and climatic state with so many established and accessible walking and recreational spaces designed with all members of the community in mind. Sometimes however, the infrastructure that we and other individuals rely on for access might not be available. For example, maintenance or other works blocking paths, lack of ramps, shade or benches to rest or maybe the outdoor space is a natural setting without any infrastructure at all and you don’t realise you can’t access the space with a pushchair until you get there.

For all of the above reasons we’re so very thankful for the work of Queensland Walks and the Queensland Walks Month campaign. We love that this campaign is a celebration of the countless benefits of walking, rolling, running and strolling, and a way for community members to showcase some of the great walkable spaces all over our state. More so, we love that the campaign works to empower all members of the community to act as a collective voice in shining a light on any needed infrastructural maintenance or updates to ensure access for ALL members of the community.

We’re also really inspired by the fact that this campaign is driven via a collaboration between Queensland Walks, the Department of Transport and Main Roads, The Heart Foundation, 10,000 Steps, and Snap, Send, Solve which provides a solid platform not only in supporting the many health, recreational and environmental benefits of walking but also in providing required advocacy and change in needed infrastructure.

When you’re able to walk without any sort of aid, it’s sometimes easy to forget that others might need a different type of access. This September we’re excited to contribute to Queensland Walks Month by exploring and celebrating some spaces new to us and submitting stories about the accessibility / walkability of those spaces from the perspective of a family using a wheelchair. We can’t wait to find some new favourite places, maybe even some accessible bushwalking and hiking spaces and also shine a light on anything we come across that might need some work to make it more accessible.

Thank you Queensland Walks for such a wonderful campaign and thank you to everyone getting involved in Queensland Walks Month for so many wonderful reasons.”

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