A new range of tactile and sensory tours has made sightseeing around Sydney much easier for the blind and low vision community.
Cocky Guides launched eight tactile and sensory tours from Sydney. Destinations include the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, Manly, Kiama and the famous Sea Cliff Bridge along the Illawarra Escarpment.
Fonder James McFarlane has spent 10 years in tourism in both Australia and Europe. He was shocked by the fact he had never met a blind traveller.
“I found this very surprising considering the estimated number of people with a vision impairment in Australia alone,” James says.
“I launched Cocky Guides to make travel fun, safe and accessible for the blind and low vision community.”
In 2016 Vision Australia estimated that 384,000 people in Australia are blind or have low vision.
Travel isn’t just about what you see. It’s about the experiences you have, what you smell, what you can touch and what you can hear.
In Manly, vision impaired tourists can enjoy a tactile sculpture walk. In Kiama, they can meet the farmers at a local market. Cocky Guides also take vision impaired tourists to the Blue Mountains by train.
Cocky guides have been running trips for the past six months and building their capability with blind and low vision community groups. Many of the tours are low cost.
Gina recently travelled with Cocky Guides on one of the tours. She says the experience was “absolutely brilliant” and she loved the support Cocky Guides provided.
“I gained a lot of confidence with Cocky Guide’s support and as a group, we all enjoyed it tremendously,” Gina says.
“We hope you will continue to provide this service as it’s so important for [our] community to be able to participate.”
For more information phone 1300 657 640 or visit cockyguides.com.au