Access for all: 8 Queensland experiences for low-hearing and deaf travellers

Queensland's Daintree rainforest

Across Australia, one in six are affected by hearing loss, with about 30,000 Auslan users living with total hearing loss.

And with an ageing population, it’s estimated that by 2050 one in every four Australians will experience some hearing loss in their lives.

But those who are hard of hearing do not have to miss out on enriching travel experiences, with Queensland rolling out the welcome mat for everyone to make memories in the Sunshine State.

From world-class art galleries to outstanding theatre productions, ancient rainforests and wildlife encounters, these eight Queensland experiences will get all the senses firing.

World-class performances in the heart of Brisbane

Brisbane’s exciting calendar of theatre, cultural exhibitions and performing arts is accessible through a range of hearing technologies and Auslan-interpreted shows.

The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) offers an assistive listening system (ALS) to send audio directly to headphones, hearing aids, or cochlear implants – with ListenTech available free of charge.

Select performances are professionally signed by Auslan interpreters, with theatregoers encouraged to download the GoTheatrical app to access live captions on mobile or tablet devices.

Further down the river, Brisbane Powerhouse offers a range of select Auslan performances throughout the year, as well as hearing loops for everyone to enjoy the year-round festivities.

Cairns rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef

As the world’s oldest continually surviving rainforest, the Daintree Rainforest in the Wet Tropics is home to an impressively diverse environment and thousands of distinctive wildlife species that need to be experienced to be believed.

The Daintree Discovery Centre is a great place to do just this. Spark curiosity in this ancient landscape at the Interpretive Display Centre, featuring interactive touch-screen kiosks help set bearings, before setting off on a self-guided tour.

Guides are fitted with a T switch suitable for hearing aids. Ascend the Aerial Walkway to take in canopy views, complete with interpretive guidebooks highlighting not to miss points of interest.

Be inspired by art in South-East Queensland

In the state’s capital Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art’s (QAGOMA) award-winning accessibility program offers customised programs for low-hearing and deaf art lovers.

Free volunteer guided tours for members of the deaf community are scheduled on the last Sunday of the month from January to November, with a National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters-accredited Auslan interpreter accompanying the gallery guide.

Visitors with cochlear implants, hearing aids or hearing loss can join a small group tour led by a volunteer guide on the fourth Friday of the month between January and November, with assistive listening devices (FM system) available.

Visitors can also enjoy rare film viewings at QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque, with a hearing loop system to support those with hearing aids and implants.

On the Gold Coast, HOTA (which stands for Home of the Arts) is committed to bringing art to the hearts of all, with Auslan assistive listening carrier devices and Auslan-interpreted programs, including tours with the HOTA Gallery Artist Educator, regularly scheduled.

Say hello to a wild world of wildlife on the Gold Coast

At the Gold Coast’s iconic Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, 27 hectares of rainforest and animal encounters await.

Meet native animals, tour the animal hospital, and catch the Wild Skies Free Flight Bird Show which has hearing augmentation via an assisted listening service, amplifying sound through headphones (hired from Visitor and Member Services).

Festival fun on the Sunshine Coast

Art and culture shines on the Sunshine Coast during the annual Horizon Festival.

This 10-day multi-arts festival celebrates music, arts, theatre, dance and more, from the beach to the hinterland and the townships in between.

Bringing art experiences to those with low-hearing or deafness, some performances feature Auslan interpreted shows on select dates, while the festival also offers an interpreting service, meaning eventgoers can request an Auslan interpreter for events, where possible.

Visitors who would like an Auslan interpreter and seating with clear sightlines to interpreters are asked to contact the festival organisers to book.

Discover the magic of the stars, planets and universe beyond

Located in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at the base of iconic Mt Coot-tha, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium skyrockets wonder in space and astronomy.

Learn about the solar system and human space exploration in the Display Zone, which includes written and pictorial information, while glow-in-the-dark gloves are available for Auslan interpretation.

For more information on accessible Queensland holidays, visit queensland.com/foreveryone.

Would these types of services help your next holiday? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Plan your Tropical North Queensland summer trip

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