All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak

All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak
All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak - © Jennifer Johnson 2008

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Accessible Alpine Tourism Project in Australia

A colleague, Scott Rains of the Rolling Rains Report, alerted me to the Snow Mountains accessible tourism resources (Snowy Mountains Regional Tourism Association, 2010). What Scott didn’t know was that the resources are an excellent example of operationalising previous research and value adding through new research. The resources were developed as part of the Australian Accessible Alpine Tourism project (Dickson & Hurrell, 2008). The Alpine Accessible Tourism Project was funded under Ausindustry’s Australian Tourism Development Program and was co-ordinated by Disabled WinterSport Australia (DWA). The project built on DWA’s 30 years of providing snow sport experiences and sought to develop, document, market and promote accessible summer tourism experiences. Within a participatory action research (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003) and destination management approach (Laws, 1995; Ritchie & Crouch, 2002). The methodology involved:
  • Working in collaboration with stakeholders in alpine areas through workshops, seminars and individual consultation;
  • Evaluating over 100 tourism providers based on an access auditing protocol developed by Cameron (Cameron, 2000, 2004, 2008);  
  • Developing a web-based toolkit for tourism operators who wished to develop their levels of accessibility (Dickson & Hurrell, 2008);
  • Providing disability awareness training to outdoor activity operators to aid them in being more inclusive in their activities;
  • Producing Mobility maps of alpine communities in New South Wales and Victoria; and
  • Establishing a promotional strategy to disseminate information to journals, newspapers and other marketing bodies to promote those businesses that had been assessed (Dickson & Hurrell, 2008).

Photo 1 is from the launch of the CD-ROM that culminated in a hike up Mt Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia, to celebrate the  the International Day for People with Disabilities in 2008. Participants included representatives of all access groups, including five people using wheelchairs, one person with a guide dog, a mother with two children in a cycle trailer and several older people. The hike was by no means easily accessible with the gradients and surface not compliant to Australian Standards for Access and Mobility (Standards Australia, 1992a, 1992b, 2002, 2009)but in the spirit of adventure tourism the participants with access considerations accepted the challenge and the inherent risk involved. Other Australian destination management projects and local government approaches Including have been summarized in Darcy and Dickson (2009).

Photo 1: Mt Kosciuszko Trek

Cameron, B. (2000). Easy Access Australia (2nd ed.). Kew, Vic: Kew Publishing.
Cameron, B. (2004, 20-22 September). Accessible tourism product-the future. Paper presented at the Out of the blue: Valuing the disability market in tourism.  The 5th National NICAN Conference, Perth, Western Australia.
Cameron, B. (2008). Accessible Drive Tourism Routes Available from
Darcy, S., & Dickson, T. (2009). A Whole-of-Life Approach to Tourism: The Case for Accessible Tourism Experiences. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 16(1), 32-44.
Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2003). Strategies of qualitative inquiry (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dickson, T., & Hurrell, M. (Writer). (2008). Alpine Accessibility Tourism Toolkit [DVD]. In T. Dickson (Producer). Australia: Australian Tourism Development Program/Australian Federal Government Initiative.
Laws, E. (1995). Tourist destination management: Issues, analysis and policies: Routledge London.
Ritchie, J. R. B., & Crouch, G. I. (2002, Dec 3). Destination Performance Index: Indicators of Performance and Success for Destinations. Paper presented at the WTO Think Tank on Tourism Destination Management, Madrid.
Snowy Mountains Regional Tourism Association. (2010). Accessible accommodation and attractions.   Retrieved 6 Feb, 2010, from
Standards Australia. (1992a). AS 1428.2 - Design for access and mobility - Enhanced and additional requirements - Buildings and facilities ([Rev. ] ed.). North Sydney, NSW: Standards Australia.
Standards Australia. (1992b). AS 1428.3 Design for access and mobility - Requirements for children and adolescents with physical disabilities North Sydney, NSW: Standards Australia.
Standards Australia. (2002). AS/NZS 1428.4 - Design for access and mobility - Tactile indicators North Sydney, NSW: Standards Australia.
Standards Australia. (2009). AS 1428.1 Design for access and mobility - General requirements for access - New building work (4th ed.). Homebush, NSW: Standards Australia.


  1. Simon,

    Thank you so much for the in-depth background! The outdoor access networks active in southern Africa and Brazil as well as one we are nudging into existence in India will certainly benefit from your guidance on methodology and project management.

    Your blog is much needed source of quality information.


  2. Good to see adventure, risk and access balanced in this fashion.

    Great to see current and accessible information, too.

  3. Thanks for being the first comments on the blog!

    Dr Tracey Dickson comes from a skiing risk management and emergency background so brings a very different skill set to the area. There are two bodies theory that are quite interesting in this area. The first is the recreation opportunity spectrum that developed out of the US parks management by George Stankey that looks at structuring activities from largely urban (e.g. think paved picnic areas etc.) to wilderness environments (e.g. no human environment interventions) within national park settings. The second is challenge by choice (see that structures activities around a sound understanding of the abilities of participants and the challenge of the environments in which activities take place. Both of these concepts have terrific potential in the area of people of diverse abilities.
    Thanks again

  4. If Looking to travel must visit Sydney..:-)
    Sydney is an exciting place in look to travel Australia..Sydney is the perfect mixture of the historic past and the modern future.
    boat charter sydney


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