Spotlight On: Redgate Forest Retreat


Spotlight On: Redgate Forest Retreat

Family friendly, pet friendly, and disability friendly. Robyn Lambird explores the tranquil beauty of Redgate

Everyone loves a good trip down south with the family, especially to the beautiful Margaret River region which is home to some of the most spectacular scenes of nature, world class wineries, and cozy retreats. However, accessing this region as a wheelchair user can sometimes be a little challenging: that’s why I was stoked when Your Margaret River Region reached out and asked whether I’d be interested in spending a weekend in one of the newly renovated accessible chalets at Redgate Forest Retreat. Thanks to these new renovations, two of the retreat’s chalets have totally accessible footprints, taking the hassle out of organising accommodation.

Situated on a stunning 167-acre property, with 50-acres of native forest to explore for those who are mobile enough, the Wongin and Kanana chalets are the place to stay. Featuring a fully accessible bathroom with a shower bench and roll under sink, a spacious wheelchair-friendly bedroom, and rolling access to a huge front garden and backyard BBQ space, this place is a wheelchair user’s dream. Let me tell you, it’s awesome.

For my weekend away I was lucky enough to stay in the Wongin Chalet, and I found it such a breeze to wheel around the indoor and outdoor space. In the local Wadandi Noongar language, Wongin means green trees, and you’ll see plenty of those. The chalet is situated on the edge of a plantation, so the views out the back of the property are amazing, the stars at night are like nothing you’ll see in the city, and there is plenty of wildlife to keep an eye out for too. Inside the chalet, the kitchen island, living area and corridors were all pretty spacey, giving me more than enough room to manoeuvre around, meaning I didn’t have to worry about my push rims scratching walls or missing out when it came time to cook. And while the forest might be a little tricky to navigate for most wheelchair users, gravel paths offer good access to explore a decent amount of the property, so you can visit some of their friendly residents: the farm’s cattle and sheep. The chalets are also pet friendly, so your furry friends can join in the fun too. All of this ease of access meant that I could focus on the simple things like spending time with my family and relaxing, which is why we all head ‘down south’ in the first place, right?

When we weren’t enjoying the gorgeous Wongin Chalet we took the short drive to check out Mammoth Cave. This spectacular cave is the most easily accessed show cave in the Margaret River region; wheelchair accessible into the first chamber, and with an audio guide that offers a virtual tour of the remaining features available to visitors. This site saw one of the country’s most important palaeontological digs take place, turning up actual mammoth fossils which are on display. It’s packed full of natural history and beauty, so I’d definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the area. These kinds of experiences are not often accessible to the disability community, so it’s encouraging to see the efforts being made in the region to open things up to everybody.

Other accessible attractions in the area include the ‘Access for All’ section of the Cape to Cape, where upgrades to the section between Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and Sugarloaf Rock car park means that stunning views of the Cape to Cape can be enjoyed by all. The 3.7km section easily caters to wheelchair users, those with limited mobility, and parents with prams, and there are also accessible toilets at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse complex and Sugarloaf car park. The fun at Amaze’n is also a go, with all paths having been designed for easy pram and wheelchair access – so be sure to check out the giant 25-year-old hedge maze and the adjoining five hectares of landscaped gardens, which thrive with native birds and butterflies. Then there are the wineries that the Margaret River region is famous for. There are obviously quite a number but Voyager Estate and Redgate Wines are both accessible and just a short drive away from Redgate Forest Retreat. Both wineries are family owned and situated on stunning properties.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Margaret River and taking the time to relax at Redgate Forest Retreat. I hope that these tips will help other wheelchair users in WA to plan a trip that is just as successful.

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Author Robyn Lambird

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