Hobsons Bay features two of the most accessible beaches in Australia! With support from Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club, Altona Life Saving Club and local traders, Council has delivered the Accessible Beaches program since 2015-16. Over the years, the program has expanded to provide year-round access to beach matting and free hire of beach wheelchairs to more than 150 community members.
The 2023-24 season commences in December 2023 and will continue until March 2024. As always, beach matting will be available seven days a week at Williamstown and Altona. Beach wheelchairs and beach walking frames are also available at both locations during surf lifesaving club patrol hours (12pm to 5pm weekends and public holidays). More information on equipment and bookings are provided below.
Accessible Change Facilities
An accessible change facility (with an adult-sized change table and hoist) is available at Weaver Reserve, across the road from Altona Beach. This facility allows people with higher needs to transfer, shower, toilet and get changed in before and after using a beach wheelchair or walking frame.
A Master Locksmiths Access Key (MLAK) is required to access the accessible change facility. A key may be available on site, but it is recommended that you bring your own MLAK to ensure access. Keys may be purchased at https://masterlocksmiths.com.au/mlak and are free for Companion Card holders.
NOTE: There is a hoist available for transfer at Altona accessible changing facility. Please ensure you bring your own sling. However, there is currently NO hoist available in the accessible toilets at Williamstown Beach.
Beach Matting is available at Williamstown and Altona beaches, seven days a week. Anyone can use the matting, but it particularly helps people using wheelchairs, prams, and walking and mobility aids to pass over the soft sand to get to the hard sand.
Beach wheelchairs are ideal for people who have mobility limitations, including people with permanent disability, temporary disability, or reduced mobility due to age.
There are four types of beach wheelchairs available for hire:
- MobiChair - designed to enter the water to waist height of the support person
- Sandpiper - designed for children to travel on the sand
- Sandcruiser - designed for adults to travel on the sand (Altona only)
- DaVinci – self-propelled beach wheelchair designed for use on the sand (Altona only).
IMPORTANT: The Mobi-Chair, Sandpiper and Sandcruiser chairs are NOT designed for independent use and require support.
Beach Walking Frames
A beach accessible walking frame is available for hire at Altona and Williamstown beaches. The walking frames are designed for people who can walk but need some additional mobility support.
All beach wheelchairs and walking frames are free to hire but bookings are essential. Hire is conditional on users accepting the Hire Agreement in the booking form below. On the day, hirers will also be required to sign a ‘Safety Procedure Checklist’ before using any equipment. Links to all relevant documents are provided below.
Please also note that none of the beach wheelchairs (except the Da Vinci) are designed to be used independently. Therefore, please ensure you have the right level of support to transfer into and use the equipment, particularly if you intend to go into the water.
Bookings are required at least 48 hours prior to proposed hire date and time. Please complete the online form (below), contact Council on 1300 179 944 or email email@example.com to make a booking. Further information will be provided via email when bookings are confirmed.
Hire Agreement and Safety Procedures
Under the hire agreement, users agree to use equipment in accordance with the relevant safety procedure(s):
Accessible Beaches Australia