Accessible Beaches

Accessible Beaches

The accessible beaches trial has now ended. An evaluation of the trial is currently being undertaken and will be presented to Council with recommended next steps before the end of the financial year. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Council’s Metro Access and Inclusion Officer on 9932 1000.

Hobsons Bay has more than 20 kilometres of beaches and foreshore areas, which are greatly valued by the community. With Council’s commitment to access and inclusion, Council would like to ensure that key foreshore locations, such as the beaches, are accessible for all to enjoy.

People with a disability represent approximately 17 per cent (15,656 people) of the total Hobsons Bay population. While disability can impact individuals in many different forms, some of the largest impacts on people with a disability are physical barriers within the built and natural environment, restricting their ability to conduct their lives in a spontaneous and unplanned manner. It is understood that if a community is physically accessible for people with a disability there is increased access for all community members such as older people, children, and pram users.

In partnership with Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club and Altona Life Saving Club, Council trialled accessible beach matting at Williamstown and a beach wheelchair at Altona.

These accessible features were available on Saturday and Sunday during the Surf Life Saving Club patrol hours from Saturday 5 December 2015 to Sunday 27 March 2016.

Accessible Beach Matting - Williamstown Beach

The provision of recycled rubber matting across the soft sand to the hard sand aids in providing a firm supportive base for wheelchairs, prams, walking and mobility aids.

Where: Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club, corner of Victoria Street and Esplanade, Williamstown, 3016

The access point was in front of the Swimming and Life Saving Club’s clubhouse on the west side of the beach. Depending on the tide, the matting did not always reach the water, however it always reached the hard sand.

When: available Saturday and Sunday during the Surf Life Saving patrol hours (12pm to 5.30pm) from Saturday 5 December 2015 to Sunday 27 March 2016.

Who: anyone was able to use the matting, however it particularly helped people with wheelchairs, prams, walking and mobility aids to pass over the soft sand and get to the hard sand.

Other accessible features: Accessible parking and toilets are available at the beach.

Further information contact Council’s Metro Access and Inclusion Officer on 9932 1000


Sandcruiser Beach Wheelchair - Altona Beach

Accessible beach wheelchairs are designed to allow access on soft sandy surfaces where conventional wheelchairs are unable to go. They are currently in use in a range of locations across Australia and around the world, including Torquay and at numerous locations by Parks Victoria.

A Sandcruiser Beach Wheelchair was available to hire for free at the Altona Beach.

Where: The beach wheelchair was located at the Altona Life Saving Club, 127 Esplanade Street Altona VIC 3018

The Sandcruiser beach wheelchair was to ONLY be used on Altona Beach and if entering the water it can only be in low water, not exceeding the centre of the rear wheel, and between the flags.

When: available Saturday and Sunday during the Surf Life Saving patrol hours (12pm to 5.30pm) from Saturday 5 December 2015 to Sunday 27 March 2016.

Who: ‘The Sandcruiser’ is the latest model beach wheelchair and comes recommended by the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia. It is ideal for people who have mobility limitations, including those with permanent disability, temporary disability or those with reduced mobility due to age.

Other accessible features: Accessible parking, toilets, and showers are available at the beach.



Bookings were essential. The wheelchair was only available on Saturday and Sunday. Bookings were via Council or the Altona Lifesaving Club.

Monday to Friday contact Council’s Metro Access and Inclusion Officer on 9932 1000 or email

Saturday and Sunday contact the Altona Lifesaving Club on 9398 1270 or visit the club to see what times are available.

Hire of the Beach Wheelchair was free, conditional upon users reading the Hire Agreement and Safety Procedures, and signing the indemnity form before the beach wheelchair could be used. A copy of the forms can be found below.

Sandcruiser-Hire-Agreement.pdf(PDF, 100KB)

Sandcruiser-Saftey-Procedures.pdf(PDF, 98KB)

Sandcruiser-Feedback-Form.pdf(PDF, 106KB)

For general enquiries and feedback contact Hobsons Bay City Council’s Metro Access and Inclusion Officer on 9932 1000

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there beach matting and a beach wheelchair?

Council has undertaken a feasibility study of the two beaches to understand what environmental issues need to be considered. While the foreshore presents many opportunities for community inclusion and recreational activities, this also needs to be balanced with environmental impacts and the ability to work with the range of variable, unique and challenging natural landscapes that make up the beauty of the beaches such as erosion and sea level rise, coastal processes, vegetation, design and materials, beach cleaning and maintenance.

Due to environmental conditions and coastal processes at Altona, it was recommended that the temporary matting not be used at Altona, rather be trialled at Williamstown beach. With the location of Altona beach, the flat access onto the beach and the length of the beach, it was recommended that an accessible beach wheelchair be trialed.

Will the accessible features be available next summer?

Council is currently trialling the matting and the accessible wheelchair from the 5 December 2015 to the 27 March 2016. Council will be monitoring the trail during this period and seeking feedback from community. An evaluation report will be taken to Council with findings to be considered.

How many accessible wheelchairs are available?

At this stage Council is only trialling one accessible wheelchair, however this will be monitored during to pilot to understand demand. If demand is high an additional chair may be considered.

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