New Zealand is a stunning country, full of incredible landscapes and exciting places to explore.
Public buildings, museums and galleries are generally accessible – it’s law that every new or reconstructed building provides ‘reasonable and adequate’ access for people with restricted mobility. But restaurants and public transport can be less accessible so it’s important to check in advance.
If you plan to travel in New Zealand the organisations listed here may offer a starting point for your trip; Weka has details of accessible travel companies and services listed on their site.
If you want help to plan your trip, the following companies specialise in accessible travel options within New Zealand:
- Ability Adventures New Zealand is based in Dunedin and specialises in designing and leading boutique, accessible holidays and journeys in NZ.
- Accessible New Zealand provides a specialist service for travellers with physical disabilities.
- Accessible Kiwi Tours is a New Zealand tour company that caters to travellers with disabilties.
- Accessible Journeys offer wheelchair accessible vacations in New Zealand.
You can contact your regional tourism operator for details of accessible travel companies in your chosen area.
Our two national airlines can cater for a range of mobility and medical requirements. This can range from stowing wheelchairs to providing assistance both within the airport terminal and throughout the flight. There are a number of options that can be discussed when you make a booking including air lifts, aisle chairs and travel companions.
Once you know who you plan to fly with, visit their website for more information on the assistance provided.
New Zealand has a broad range of adaptive car companies nationwide. These include adapted car rentals, specialist wheelchair taxies, taxies with additional boot spaces and companion driving services. By prior arrangement some taxi companies also provide intercity guided tours.
If you are on the Total Mobility (TM) Scheme you will need to order a taxi chit book from your local council so you can still receive the discount rate. TM cards do not work outside their associated council area, but the chits do.
Public Transport and Taxis
Taxi companies in the main centres and larger towns operate Total Mobility Vans equipped with hoists and floor clamps. These vans should be booked through the local taxi service several hours in advance where possible.
There is also a number of other services available for your use.
Public Transport in New Zealand is mostly accessible. Each city is different so make sure you check before you leave.
Most travel insurance companies will not cover for pre-existing conditions, therefore it’s essential you discuss with them in detail what your disability is and what cover you need. Even for a domestic travel flight insurance is a good idea as this covers for unexpected cancellations – the fees can be quite expensive otherwise.
NB. Cover for pre-existing conditions can be arranged in some circumstances for an additional cost.
Most accommodation has at least one room designed or modified to be accessible. However, the level of these facilities, such as grab rails and open plan showers, can vary considerably and not all accommodation providers have experience with a range of mobility circumstances.
If you use a wheelchair or mobility aide it’s good to give the vendors an idea of the space your equipment requires for a comfortable turning circle and/or storage.
There are already a number of known accessible accommodation providers in New Zealand.