Our tried and tested guide to accessible tourism and wheelchair friendly travel in South Australia.
Not sure how accessible South Australia is? Take Jimmy Jan’s word for it. The 22-year-old medical student, who was recently paralysed in a ski accident, has become a Tik Tok sensation for his great sense of humour and ever-positive account. Not only does he have the gift of the gab, but his content also shines a light on what his life is like with a spinal cord injury.
We met up with Jimmy Jan after his recent trip to Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula, Adelaide Hills and Murray River Lakes and Coorong, to hear his tried-and-true recommendations. From luxury bathrooms to seaside accommodation within heritage listed stables, Jimmy Jan provided his accessibility tips and experience travelling in a wheelchair, to help you plan a trip with peace of mind.
Where to stay
After arriving in Adelaide Jan’s first stop was the five-star hotel EOS. Perfectly positioned for city exploration, EOS is conveniently a stone’s throw to Rundle Mall, Botanic Gardens, Art Gallery, Festival Centre, Adelaide Central Markets and laneways packed with bars and restaurants. In a recent Tik Tok video Jan posted during his trip to Adelaide, he mentioned “the first thing I look for in a hotel is the accessible bathroom”. “A lot of accessible bathrooms just look like hospital toilets,” Jan humoured. However, the seamless integration of accessible features is apparent throughout the five-star oasis, as Jan spoke highly of the accessible bathroom amenities that didn’t compromise on luxury finishings.
“It’s like accessibility had a baby with a gold statue in here,” he said in a TikTok video tour of the bathroom. “(The bathroom in my room) was huge and just luxurious,” he told South Australia. “It really suited the rest of the vibe of the hotel.”
Heading down to the south coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula Jan checked into Pago - a hidden oasis in the quaint seaside town of Middleton. Located just a two-hour drive from the Adelaide CBD, Middleton’s population experiences an influx every summer as locals flock to the shores to escape South Australia’s summer heat.
“Pago in Middleton was, oh my gosh! It was *chefs kiss*,” Jan exclaimed. While the social media influencer promised this review would not be all about bathrooms, he did say that the property owners at Pago were attentive to some of the smaller details.
“It had larger bathrooms and they put a shower chair in there for me,” he said. “They didn't have rails, but I don't usually use rails, however I know a lot of people who are looking for accessible accommodation like rails on the walls. They did say that they had plans to install (them).” Pago – built within heritage listed stables and the private garden of the Middleton Mill, features a luxury private pool and four king sized bedrooms - each with their own ensuite bathroom.
Where to eat
PART TIME LOVER, ADELAIDE
Surrounded by the energy of the Adelaide CBD, Part Time Lover is a bistro tucked behind the Adelaide Town Hall with dishes so good, Jan “can’t stop thinking about it”. Leaning heavily on Asian flavours, the menu reads both crowd-pleasing and thoughtful, and got the tick of approval from the 22-year-old social media influencer.
“The food there was spectacular,” he continued. “We had a lot of vegetable dishes, but they were a whole new level.” The breezy diner’s refined but warm interior and striking aesthetic is as if it has come straight out of California.
THUNDERBIRD, PORT ELLIOT
As South Australia’s coastal paradise, the Fleurieu Peninsula offers some of the states’ finest seaside scenic and culinary experiences. During his time on the coast, Jan dined at the newly renovated restaurant, Thunderbird, just three minutes from Port Elliot and the iconic Horseshoe Bay. With a strong focus on fresh and regional produce, Jan indulged in some interesting yet tasty plates that all received high praise.
“It was great food,” Jan excitingly explained. “The muscles and kingfish ceviche was great… the kangaroo steak too!” With warm and inviting interiors of reclaimed brick walls, natural timbers and polished concrete floors, Jan noted the staff welcomed guests as if being invited into their family home. Observing the attentiveness of the staff, Jan recalled “the staff there were just wonderful”.
What to see
D’ARENBERG, MCLAREN VALE
The Willy Wonka factory of wine, D’Arenberg is an insatiably quirky five storey multi-function rubix cube that floats above the vineyards in McLaren Vale. This otherworldly cellar door is one of the most iconic and unique wine tasting destinations in Australia. Set among the rolling hills of McLaren Vale on the largest biodynamic winery in Australia, ‘The Cube’ features more than just a cellar door. From a tasting room with 360-degree views over five levels, several bars, a casual dining restaurant, a museum and art gallery - this experience appeals to all regardless of if you enjoy wine.
“If wine isn’t really your thing, there’s so much else to do (there),” Jan mentioned. According to Jan, the well-known winery experience ticks all the boxes for a fun day out. The consideration for accessibility is just the cherry on top - including a well paved entrance, a lift stopping at all levels and of course the impressive accessible toilets. “I promise I won’t only talk about accessible bathrooms, but this was one of the coolest accessible bathrooms I have been in,” he laughed. “It was artsy with a spectacular view of the winery and cool artworks in it.”
MONARTO SAFARI PARK, MONARTO
Setting off on a wild African safari, Jan labelled the Lions 360 Experience at Monarto Safari Park “heaps of fun”. With an accessible shuttle bus, guests are transported across the 1500-hectare open range sanctuary (where lions, cheetahs and zebras roam) before entering a lion proof cage. Getting within a whisker of the lions as they prowl over and around the cage, Monarto has created an unforgettable experience that gets the adrenalin pumping.
With walking paths stretching for kilometres around the park, Jimmy did concede that “while not all the walking tracks are paved, the dirt pathways were packed dirt, and were pretty easy for (him) to go over.”
ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL MADE EASY...
Discover further resources available for accessible travel options and turn your trip into an adventure, without the worry at our accessible tourism page. Additionally you can download Pavely from the app store to find, rate and review inclusive venues across South Australia.