Macca's Road Trip Tips

11 November, 2015

I left Darwin in September with my sidekicks Jess and Horsey (my dog), with the vague goal to reach Melbourne before Christmas via the East Coast. So far we’ve tracked a six-thousand kms travelling through Katherine, Daly waters, Tennant creek, Mt Isa, Longreach, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Noosa, Maroochydore, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and now Byron Bay in northern NSW. It has so far been a fantastic time with only a couple of hiccups…

As a result I’ve compiled a little list of tips for you; Macca’s roadtrip bullshit cutting list:

  1. Plan ahead as much as possible, but once on the road don’t be afraid of taking the odd risk, like moving onto the next place if the room isn’t suitable. We’ve been able to find great accommodation very last minute as a result of unexpected hitches like unsuitable bathrooms or bed heights.
  2. If the motel owner/manager says “Oh yes, it SHOULD be fine, we’ve had people in wheelchairs stay before”… say thank you and keep on looking.
  3. Do try the local information centre for a list of helpful resources for people with disability – just don’t expect every centre to have something! At the very least you’ll encourage them to prepare something for the next person to come in.
  4. Use internet sites to book and request someone video  bathroom on i-phone
  5. When booking ask questions relevant to your injury; bed height , door handles ,ect
  6. Once your booking is made tell them to put a note on it so your room can’t be changed and they allocate you a different one
  7. Carry portable ramps with you if possible. We have two rubber ramps, one small 5cm high to smooth out the square edges on ramps mostly, and one larger 10cm high?? These really have saved my arse – literally, more than a few times. We also carry a set of bed height adjusters and mattress egg shells.
  8. If the beach / water looks good but there’s soft sand in your way before you get to the harder packed stuff, ask at the local surf lifesaving club if they have a roll out mat. We are yet to use one due to the beaches being too soft where they’ve been available. There are also often beach wheelchairs available – although these don’t appeal to me.

I’m sure I could keep adding to the list, but I’ll leave it there for now.  Let me know what your top tips are, as they may well help me out!

Please note that I’ve written this with from my own point of view as a C5/6  complete quad, using a power wheelchair, shower commode, manually transferring (no hoists required), and with my partner to assist me where needed. Needs re. accessible accommodation change from person to person.


Paul McKenzie (better known as Macca) is a true Aussie bloke and although he lives in the bush near Echuca he’s often spotted in Adelaide and Melbourne, and even Tasmania as he seeks to offer support to others with spinal cord injury. He has lived with C6 spinal cord injury since 1996. You can read more about his journeys on his personal website / blog at

Tags: Blog, Travel & Leisure