Making the beauty of nature accessible to everyone - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Photo: Supplied.


Living in a wheelchair can make certain areas or activities, particularly those in nature, difficult or impossible to access. Some individuals may feel resigned to never experiencing firsthand the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

Nature Freedom is an organisation based on Brisbane’s bayside that creates activities for people of all ability levels – be they wheelchair users or the able-bodied – to experience the wonderful and diverse environments of the Greater Brisbane region. One of their most popular activities is paddling, now held monthly at Raby Bay in collaboration with the local paddling company, Bay Island Water Sports.

Improving accessibility to their activities is an important goal for Nature Freedom. Recently, the organisation purchased a beach mat to allow wheelchair users easier access to board their watercraft from the beach. This was used by a participant for the first time during their paddle in early December. While he had never used a beach mat before, the participant soon became accustomed to it and was able to easily access his kayak.

It was a warm, sunny morning out on the bay, with a light breeze blowing. Participants paddled together to the nearby mangroves and caught sight of a dugong in the water. Upon returning to the park, they sat at one of the gazebos to eat morning tea. Toni, the staff member leading the activity, led everyone in a sing-along on her ukulele.

The morning was greatly enjoyed by everyone, having overcome all barriers. Nature Freedom will continue to offer the new beach mat at all their forthcoming paddles at Raby Bay so that all participants in wheelchairs can experience the beauty of the bay. Their next paddle will take place on the 24th of February.

For more information about Nature Freedom, visit or email them at [email protected].

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