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Seizing adventure whenever I can

24 June, 2021

The bathroom was huge, with enough room to hold a dance party.

JOHN OSMOND has been seeing friends and family this year, and going on adventures. While it has required some nerve to make plans that could be covid-cancelled at any minute, John has found the payoff more than worth it.

Being a quadriplegic is limiting enough without having to deal with Covid. Being a resilient, optimistic person, I decided not to let the threat of a lockdown scare off my travel plans for 2021.

Let me start by saying these plans have only been made possible by a very supportive wife, and an excellent carer network.

Border crossing

Our first trip was in early March. We went to Adelaide to visit our son and his wife, and our two grandchildren. We had not seen them for 16 months. We decided to play it safe by driving there and back, just in case Dan pulled one of his quick border shutdown tricks. We had a very good drive, both ways. My wife and my carer shared the driving.

We always stay at the Stamford Grand hotel in Glenelg, as my son’s house does not have an accessible bathroom. Stamford has a number of accessible rooms on the third floor, so we have always been able to book the dates we request. As usual we hired the equipment we required locally, and they set it up before we arrived, and removed it when we left.

Having driven across we had access to the vehicle, which gave us the freedom of going on day trips and visiting some of the wine regions. Considering this benefit, we will probably drive in the future when the distance is manageable.

Striking gold in Ballarat

In early April we went up to Ballarat, to visit our friends. We had lunch with them at the Provincial Hotel. It was an excellent meal, reasonably priced, and no problem with accessibility for me. When we were there we asked if they had accessible accommodation, and it turned out that they had two-bedroom apartments. The unit was the best accessible accommodation I have ever stayed in. The first bedroom had two king single beds and the bathroom was huge, it had a great shower, room enough to hold a dance party, and a spa bath that my wife enjoyed. The second bedroom had a queen size bed and an en suite. The unit itself was 82 square metres and included a dining room and lounge.

Later in April we went back to stay a couple of nights at the Provincial Hotel, and had an excellent time. We found that as well as the facilities being really well suited, the owners, Gorgi and Michael, and their staff, were excellent hosts. They provided us with a local map and showed us what to do in the immediate area.

I cannot recommend the Provincial Hotel highly enough.
That night we went to dinner at the historic Craig’s Hotel, well suited to a wheelchair, with a delicious meal, at pub prices. The next day we went to Daylesford, where we enjoyed pottering around before going out to dinner back in Ballarat at a lovely tapas restaurant called Meigas, around the corner from our hotel.

A refreshing pitstop  

On the way home the next day, we called into Ballan to get some materials for my wife’s quilting exploits. When I was enquiring about my hire equipment requirements I came across ILS, Independent Living Systems, and was able to hire a king single bed with five functions, which is equivalent to my own bed. This was the first time I’ve had a great sleep in a hire bed.

For our next trip we'll be going to Hamilton in Sydney, at the end of July. We will be staying at a hotel just around the corner from the Lyric Theatre. We will make a weekend out of it, not exactly sure what we'll do, but I’m sure we'll find something worthwhile.

When the weather warms up again we are going back to my favourite resort in Port Douglas, probably sometime in September. We'll be flying Qantas, as I always find them the easiest. This time we are flying in an A320, which is new to me so I hope the accessible seating is as good as the 737. We also hire an accessible van (Kia Carnival) while we’re away, as it's just easier to have it there rather than relying on accessible hire taxis.

I hope that this has motivated you to plan something over the next year, it can still be done. Good luck.

John Osmond has been living with a C5 spinal cord injury since 2010.  

Tags: Blog, Travel & Leisure