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  • Visitors in a wheelchair can now explore the 23 acres of gardens, lakes, waterfalls and birdlife at Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World using two custom-designed buggies.
  • Built in Queensland, the buggies were supported by a $25,000 Accessible Tourism Infrastructure Grant.
  • 2023 is the Year of Accessible Tourism in Queensland.

The Sunshine Coast’s much-loved tourist attraction Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World has launched its upgraded buggy fleet.

With $25,000 funding from the Palaszczuk Government’s Accessible Tourism Infrastructure Grants, two custom-designed wheelchair accessible buggies have been added to the existing fleet and will now ensure the unique gardens can be experienced by everyone.

The locally manufactured buggies, designed in consultation with Spinal Life Australia at a total cost of $100,000, will improve accessibility and safety at the attraction.

The venue is home to over 600 native and exotic birds, 8 kilometres of winding paths, terraced gardens and numerous waterfalls and lakes.

Grants of between $25,000 and $500,000 were available to support small to medium size tourism and events businesses to improve their accessibility through infrastructure upgrades, vehicle and vessel modifications and adaptive technology and equipment.

L-R Verena Olesch (Maleny Botanic Gardens), Queensland Tourism Minister, Stirling Hinchcliffe, Joel Fernandes (a guest of Spinal Life) and Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel.

L-R Verena Olesch (Maleny Botanic Gardens), Queensland Tourism Minister, Stirling Hinchcliffe, Joel Fernandes (a guest of Spinal Life) and Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said:

“It’s great that Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World is ensuring this magnificent venue is accessible, because world-class visitor experiences like this are too good not to be shared and enjoyed by everyone.

“Accessibility is everyone’s business, and it’s terrific that we have been able to partner with the operators of this iconic attraction, through our Tourism Infrastructure Grant, to deliver these two new buggies to their fleet.

“Embracing diversity is essential for our tourism industry as we work towards our Towards Tourism 2032 goal of becoming Australia’s destination of choice for visitors seeking world class experiences.”

Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World Owner Frank Shipp said:

“Maleny Botanic Gardens have invested more than $1.5 million dollars to enhance accessibility for our guests over the past 2 years.

“It has been an extremely positive outcome to receive funding to support these initiatives in the Year of Accessible Tourism.”

Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World General Manager Verena Olesch said:

“Our fleet of buggies is integral to the experience here at Maleny Botanic Gardens and ensures accessibility of an otherwise challenging site.

“There will be a number of very excited annual passholders to the Gardens and Bird World, who will finally be able to see the whole site with our new buggies!

Spinal Life Australia Senior Advisor Access and Advocacy Dan Cross said:

“In 2023, the Year of Accessible Tourism, we applaud the efforts of tourism operators who have recognised the huge potential market represented by people with disability and are taking steps to make their tourism offerings more accessible for all.

“We were excited to be involved in assisting with advice and conducting trials on this innovation created by Maleny Botanic Gardens and their manufacturing partner E-Z-Go Australia.

“This Queensland innovation will improve access at the Maleny Botanic Gardens, and we encourage other tourism businesses to embrace improvements such as this in their own operations.”

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