Light up your life this Christmas
What do twitter, a smart phone and a Christmas tree have in common? They’re all part of the incredibly accessible and interactive Christmas lights experience offered in Sydney during December.
In the age of technology you can send a text message or tweet to the Christmas tree in Sydney’s Martin Place and watch it light up on the Digital ribbon bedecking the tree. Jump on the adjacent interactive dance pad as you wait for your message to appear. Download an app and you can control the light display in the Pitt Street Mall.
The old and new combine to celebrate Christmas creating stunning sound and light displays at St Mary’s Cathedral, the heritage listed buildings in the Pitt Street mall and Townhall, the famous David Jones Christmas windows, and the traditional the giant Swarovski crystal Christmas tree which reaches the top level of the Queen Victoria building.
Christmas in Sydney is very accessible as each major attraction is near a wheelchair accessible train station, so those with limited mobility can travel between stations without exhaustion from walking distances. As someone with reduced hand function I was delighted I could dictate messages into my smart phone and watch them appear on a Christmas tree.
Brisbane’s ‘Wonder of Christmas’ spectacular
Christmas in Brisbane is about eco-friendly entertainment, with 1600 solar lights illuminating the tree in front of the historic town hall which comes to life each night with a sound and light show, and is accessible via the city’s brail trail.
The Christmas window displays, street decorations and performers in Queen Street Mall are not to be missed.
Meanwhile at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) at Southbank the annual Nutcracker ballet is sure to delight. As the intimate Playhouses velvet curtains open revealing exquisite costuming and a live orchestra you feel the traditional old world feel of the story where young Clara discovers magical toys who come to life on Christmas Eve. Access features include a hearing loop, wheelchair access to seating areas, accessible toilets and parking. Wheelchair seating is limited so booking early is advisable, as is returning from intermission last which allows other guests to get past you and be seated first.
Before watching the Nutcracker, why not take a stroll through Southbanks Christmas market complete with pine trees, alpine decorations and street performers.
Accommodation: The point Hotel
Located near the picturesque Kangaroo Point parklands, and a free wheelchair accessible ferry or short taxi trip to the city the Point Hotel is not only accessible but close to Christmas sights. Featuring a luxurious accessible bathroom, the room has two queen sized beds. Care has been taken to provide clearance beneath the sink with ample bench space, a lowered mirror and storage in addition to shower bench and grab rails.
Christmas revolves around the animated Myer Christmas window displays on Bourke Street, attracting over 1 million visitors annually. Feel the anticipation build as you reach the first window in a series of displays, which have their own theme and tell a unique story each year. Be entertained by carollers, street performers and the spectacular Christmas trees and decorations.
Visitors to all cities with vision impairment can enjoy auditory delight with carols, roving performers and music accompanying the light displays in all cities.
Wherever you travel this festive season in this age of technology pull out that smart phone for some fantastic Christmas ‘selfies’ with the lights and sights.
For bonus information including extra images, which stations to access to visit each Christmas attraction in Sydney, dimensions of hotel roo, and links visit Marayke’s website www.marayke.com
Marayke was a guest of The Point Hotel, QPAC and theNutcracker ballet. All other trips were paid for as private holidays.
I will include all these on my website plus a feature on both access and the hotel with detailed photos of every hotel element and measurements such as bed and sink height , tips fpr parking, transport and any issues encountered.
For the Melbourne Christmas festival visit
Brisbane Christmas festival
Dates: 27 November – 31 December
Wonder of Christmas Program
Christmas in Sydney
Jump on the interactive dance pad at the Martin Place Christmas Tree, text or tweet your message to 046 SYDXMAS (0467 939 627) or #sydxmastree and it will light up the tree’s branches for everyone to see.
Accessibility in Sydney http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/explore/getting-around/accessibility
Points I will make on my website
How to use public transport in all cities with a wheelchair.
Photo demonstrating the awkwardness of crowd trying to squeeze past wheelchair into row once I entered first.
The pool, Gym and Lamberts restaurant also offer wheelchair access and public amenities include accessible bathroom
Another option for accommodation in Brisbane
Melbourne and Sydney: unfortunately the hotels I stayed at in these cities did not live up to my expectations for accessibility so I would not recommend them