Blind runner Charlie McConnell is very active and traditionally holidays with friends. However, a tour company that focuses on adventures for blind and low-vision travellers recently got his attention, and Charlie thought he would give it a go. Charlie chose to combine three short trips in North Queensland to create a 12-day escape from the Southern Winter.
Charlie explains, “As a blind traveller there are barriers and additional cost to organising a holiday like finding someone that will assist me and have similar interests. Not to mention wanting to go to the same place at the same time!”
Cocky Guides spend a lot of time developing experiences that take advantage of a traveller’s senses beyond sight. We asked Charlie to tell us about his experience with Cocky Guides at the two major iconic World Heritage sites of North Queensland – the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef.
There is no better way to get to an understanding of a new place then hearing stories from the Indigenous people and their connection to the world oldest rainforest.
“Cocky Guides organised a traditional smoking ceremony with Tom, a ranger at Mossman Gorge and a Kuku Yalanji man. It was great to be part of a welcome to country, have language interpreted, be cleansed by the smoke and introduced to the tools available to survive in the rainforest, then forage and taste bush tucker.”
Great Barrier Reef
“Although I’m an active swimmer I would not head out to the Great Barrier Reef where I’m trapped on a boat or a pontoon for the day. I was really surprised to experience this natural wonder on Frankland Island, where Master Reef Guide Michelle led us on a private tour of the rock pools to discover all the living activity taking place, before leading us on our own snorkel adventure from the beach. It was really hands on and I can really see how Cocky Guides adapt and tailor our experiences to keep me totally immersed in the destination.”
Know a blind or low vision traveller?
Charlie reckons, “Cocky Guides is like travelling with friends but knowing support is close by. Give it a go!”
Blind and low vision travellers can subscribe to a newsletter and search upcoming tours at www.cockyguides.com.au. Alternatively, call 1300 657 640 for more information.
This feature first appeared in Travel Without Limits magazine. You can subscribe here.