WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY RECREATIONAL HOUSEBOAT DATA.
Wheels on Water Inc.
PREAMBLE ~ FIRST TIMERS ~ SOME ITEMS TO CONSIDER ~ PHOTO GALLERY
BOATS WITH SHOWERS YOU CAN WHEEL INTO ~ ABOUT MARINE TOILETS ~ CONTACT US
There is something oddly tranquil about placid water that puts travelling the River Murray, aboard a modern all-mod-cons houseboat, among the most relaxing and captivating leisure activities a human can experience. If sheer relaxation is what you're after, as the world's troubles pass you by, a holiday on a River Murray houseboat needs to be high on your holiday agenda.
The many hire-drive-yourself Houseboats available on The Murray offer a unique mode of holiday accommodation, the equivalent of any fully furnished, two/three bedroom apartment that 'travels'. For persons confined to a wheelchair or who otherwise have difficulty walking they are especially suited; as once you board your houseboat there is no need for any additional wheelchair-to-vehicle transfers for the duration of your holiday. Likewise, the need for the daily unpacking and repacking of suitcases, equipment etc., is eliminated. Personal care, meals and comfort breaks can be catered for on-demand as/or whenever required no matter whether the houseboat is in motion or is tied-up. ... There are also advantages for those with impaired vision as they need to be 'oriented' only once for the duration of the trip. And! Along the way they have access to the sounds, and the silence, as well as the textures of the great Australian Bush!
Once aboard your houseboat, you go to bed when you like, get-up when you like, make a cup-of-tea, or whatever, whenever you like. Food and fluid input, or 'output', medication, and/or any other diversion that may take your fancy, can be catered for on-demand, at any time of any day. For as 'Captain' of your floating 'condominium' you can change your daily agenda, by the minute if necessary, to suite your changing needs.
Hiring legislation requires that one among you must hold a current Motor Vehicle Drivers License and also limits boat speed to around about 8 Km/h: - This low speed results in a delay in the boat's response time. So! When changing the boat's direction, there's a delay of perhaps 15-20 seconds from the time you turn the 'wheel', to the time the vessel starts to execute the change in direction you initiated. Likewise, boats do not have brakes, 'as-such'. You have to use multiple 'bursts' of reverse gear to pull-up!. So they do not behave like motors vehicles on dry land do. However, once you learn to adjust to their unconventional behaviour, and the slow speed allows you to do that, they are not difficult to control, even from a wheelchair. And! they're all supplied with 'river charts' to guide you on your way. - Obviously, not all houseboats are wheelchair friendly, many have narrow passageways and doorways. But, at numerous locations along The Murray, there are boats in which wheelchairs can access the salon, cabins, 'bathroom' plus front & rear decks, with no greater obstacle than a sliding door track or two.
The BIG problem is shower access: - The overwhelming majority of houseboats use precast shower cubicles, which have a 'hip-bath' style base incorporating a 20-odd cm high wall to isolate the shower's wet-floor from the general floor area. Anyone who can stand-transfer or swing onto a chair already placed in the shower cubicle, may find these boats perfectly suitable. Likewise, if you only plan a short trip and can manage without taking a shower at-all, they'll be OK!
- BUT IF, on the other hand, you require to be wheeled into a shower. Then suitable boats are few and far between. WOW is aware of eight only boats, spread over three only locations in SA, and we will gladly listen to anyone who thinks otherwise.
Top of this Page
WOW cruises photo gallery
HOUSEBOATS WITH SHOWERS YOU CAN WHEEL INTO: ... in alphabetic order:-
; two houseboats, as yet
uninspected, but advertised as having wheelchair access and catering for disabled
passengers, operated by Lois & Klaus Horn; - Ph: 08 8251 1879. ... Boats
moored at Kia Marina,
East bank of the Murray, 8km upstream from Mannum SA.
These boats feature queen sized bedrooms and ducted air conditioning throughout. The shower facilities are reported to be wheelchair accessible as is the toilet, which has the approved handrails that allow paraplegics to self transfer.
"ECSTASY", "SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE" & "TOO IRRESISTIBLE"
; 3 x Green and Gold Co.
boats, operated by James and Ruth Copeland, Waikerie riverfront, adjacent to the
Ph: 08 8541 2001 - or - Green & Gold houseboats Homepage; - Very good 10/12 berth boats. W/chair access to 4 of the 5 cabins also the marine-toilet. - Ramp supplied for sunken shower (3cm). - You supply your own bed linen.- Quadriplegics who have used these boats rate them as very good.
; another houseboat moored
at Kia Marina, East bank of the Murray 8-km upstream from Mannum SA, operated by
Ann & Bruce McCall; - Ph: 08 8352 1277 - or - email
Board the boat at the Kia Marina; Mannum, SA. - This vessel is reported to be suitable for disabled and/or is wheelchair accessible. - It has roomy sleeping areas and, though the shower room doorway is reported to be a bit 'snug', shower chairs can be wheeled into one shower alcove, albeit with the aid of an able-bodied helper.
; 8-berth houseboat with
three spacious double/single bed cabins for six, plus day/night style sleeping
accommodation for the remainder. The spacious 'wheelchair friendly' cabins
have wheelchair accessible en-suite toilet/shower facilities with one or more being
spacious enough to accommodate a 'lifter'. - Notwithstanding that an on-board
'lifter' may become available in the future, passengers currently need to supply
their own lifter/slings plus shower/commode chair.
Moored at Mannum SA. and operated by " Takme2 Houseboat Holidays" of 32 Randell Street, Mannum, SA 5238: -
Bookings: 1800 007 636 - or - Ph: 08 8569 1020 - Mobile: 0428 246 910.
Located on the "Lower Murray".
Was last heard of at MURRAY BRIDGE Marina, but has been "For Sale" a number
of times, and is difficult to keep track-of. - Last known contact was via Phone
numbers cited hereunder:
Ph: 08 8332 6468 or 08 8339 3969
A 12-berth boat designed for disabled passengers by able-bodied 'experts'. - When last seen it had a 'domestic style' flush toilet. Shower/toilet area was very roomy with a totally flat floor.
; For anyone not yet ready to
captain their own houseboat, a wheelchair friendly passenger vessel operating out
of Renmark SA; offers 2-hour cruises. The standard trip is an afternoon tea cruise
where a Devonshire Tea (scones, jam & cream) is cooked freshly on the boat,
while travelling, and taken on the bank during a 15-min stopover on an island, where
a range of birds, kangaroos and possibly emus are likely to be observed.
Booking information via Renmark River Cruises.
MILDURA BASED "PURE INDULGENCE": -
one of the 'All Seasons fleet' based at Mildura, is a
very spacious houseboat catering for the disabled with fully accessible shower/toilet facilities.
These boats invariably have a 240-volt AC generator aboard, which you start-up and use, as and when you require it.
Top of this Page
Other River Murray Houseboat Web Sites - (no suitability recommendation offered)
FOR FIRST-TIMERS; - For wheelchair manoeuvrability, you do need the space of the big 10/12-berth boats. However, hire rates vary constantly. Rising dramatically during school and public holidays. - So it's best to get a current quote direct from the operators. ~ And tell them that you will be bringing wheelchairs on board, so they'll know to prepare a shower hose, ramps and wide gangplank, etc., for you, ~ and they'll move beds etc. to suite your needs.
Brochures on these boats are available from the South Australian Tourist Bureau. But you will likely have to ask for them by name as the Bureau's staff have no reliable knowledge as to any of the boats wheelchair suitability. General inquiries will result in you getting an abundance of brochures, but mostly those of the larger and more exotic houseboat fleets.
Roughly speaking, hire rates vary from $1,500 to $2,700 per week. Depending on boat you choose, time of year etc.. So, with a full boatload, you do have to budget for something like $250 to $350, per person, for hire, diesel & food etc., for a Monday to Friday cruise, and proportionally more for a full-week. Weekend hire is available, and oftentimes commences 10-a.m. Friday, ending at 9-a.m. on Monday.
A WORD ABOUT THE RIVER;- Operators on the 'Lower Murray' stress that since they are only 60-min from ADELAIDE, it is cheaper, quicker and easier to move passengers and luggage to/from their boats. Many hirees, with scant knowledge of the river, see this as a big advantage. There are, however, other things to consider: - The same closeness makes it popular with Adelaide's shack and water-ski fraternity. So it's a busier river with shack development encroaching on much of the bank. Moreover, The Murray below Mannum passes through a landscape that is devoid of any major windbreak features. It flows between pastures, levees and lagoons, and is dauntingly wide in places. It was in this section, near Mannum, that rough weather forced Captain Sturt to lay-up for three days during his original exploration of this river in 1830: - Indeed, it would be tragic. If anyone experiencing adverse weather on this stretch, allowed it to put them off 'house-boating' in the future: - You must go upstream from Purnong (20-odd Km above Mannum), to be in the narrower more sheltered sections of the river. Where there are more options for mooring among the gum trees, and where the river is well below the surrounding mallee plain, which protects you from the prevailing winds above. Houseboats present a large above-water surface in comparison to what they have under-water. So wind can dramatically effects their speed and handling: - Yes! It can take an extra 90-odd minutes to drive 'all-the-way' to The Riverland, but the river is more sheltered and intimate 'up-there'; and if that's the way you'd like it then 'up-there' is where you'll have to go. - As hire generally commences around 2-p.m. on the first day, the extra driving time should not present any real problem.
Nonetheless, whomever you talk to! - You will find that "Bottom Enders"
(colloquial for 'Murrayians' who dwell downstream of Morgan)
rarely have anything nice to say about the "Top End".
Vice-versa also holds true.
Suffice to say! "Bottom End" boat trips are significantly different from "Top End" ones.
To ascertain which you prefer, you may need to try both!
Top of this Page
SOME ITEMS TO CONSIDER:
Top of this Page
NB - MARINE TOILETS: - To comply with 'Effluent' legislation, almost all houseboats use these toilets. They are mostly barrel-shaped, similar in height to domestic toilets but 'fatter' around the 'waist'. Anyone who can walk can use them much the same as they use an ordinary domestic toilet. Except when you 'flush', instead of a push-button there are two pedals to be pressed in sequence. However, WOW cannot guarantee that all 'shower chairs' will fit over all marine toilets - some do, and some don't. Experience has shown that for anyone who HAS to 'toilet' in this manner. It is always wise to pack a bucket that will fit under your commode/shower chair. The rectangular shaped plastic 'mop bucket', designed for 'sponge mops', and sold in most variety stores, has proven to be most suitable. Removing the wire handle and replacing it with a length of cord can make it easier to pack. - Prior to usage, line the bucket with a medium-to-large "'kitchen-tidy-liner", then line the 'liner' with an incontinence sheet or two. After the event, the whole can be conveniently 'twist-and-sealed' inside the "kitchen tidy liner" and innocuously disposed of with the rest of the boat's hard garbage.
Top of this Page
NOTE: When organising for a 'social group', as distinct from a 'family group': - To minimise losses and for ease of handling. All personal luggage, wheelchairs, cushions and other aids should be labelled with the owner's name, address and\or ward number if applicable,- also the boat's name, and\or number, especially when more than one boat is involved.
FOR ANY FURTHER DETAILS, OR ASSISTANCE WITH MENUS/FOOD SUPPLY OR TRANSPORT
Contact W. O. W. Inc. ---- e-mail: - email@example.com
Top of this Page Return to Misc and Links Page Return to Murray Heritage Homepage
FOR ASSISTANCE WITH TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS or advice TO ANY ALTERNATE INTRASTATE, INTERSTATE OR INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS CONSULT LINK BELOW.