Australia’s innovator of Sensory Tourism for blind and low vision travellers is a finalist in the NSW Tourism Awards

Since launching in August 2018, Cocky Guides have specialised in providing unique, multi-sensory adventures for the blind and low-vision community. Cocky Guides has been recognised as an outstanding new tourism business, nominated as finalists in the prestigious 2019 NSW Tourism Awards.

The past 12 months, around 300 blind and low vision Australians have experienced many of Australia’s famous tourist sites and destinations without sight. Cocky Guides have designed and delivered regular day trips from Sydney and Melbourne. The introduction of Sensory Short Breaks, which are Cocky Guides multi-day trips, showcase diverse locations like Port Douglas, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Canberra and the Snowy Mountains.

“Travel and exploring new destinations are not necessarily the easiest and most enjoyable experience for community members with sight loss. Learning mobility skills for locations you regularly frequent is a high priority to retain independence. That takes time. So, I can understand why there are so few vision-impaired travellers. I’m using my knowledge and experience of each destination we visit, to develop engaging experiences, using fun tactile and sensory elements. We are building a community of new adventurers that are excited to discover new places and gain a passion for travel” said founder of Cocky Guides, James McFarlane.

Cathy, a regular traveller with sight loss, loves the support Cocky Guides provide.

“Cocky Guides are changing people’s lives! They help me build my confidence and discover new things that I’ve never thought possible. I’m now exploring my own country with a sense of independence, knowing that support from a Cocky Guide is not far away.” Cathy said.

By next year, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT estimate the number of Australians living with sight loss will reach 500,000.

“I’ve spent over ten years in tourism roles in Australia and Europe. Not once had I met a blind or low vision traveller. I found this very surprising considering the number of Australians with sight loss. I launched Cocky Guides to make travel fun, safe and accessible for the blind and low vision community.” James McFarlane said.

Cocky Guides run regular tactile and sensory group adventures all around Australia. Right now, Cocky Guides are running a competition. Tell them, in 25 words or less, what would be your favourite Sensory Short Break in Australia. Entries close on 30 November 2019, and one entrant will be selected to win their adventure. Enter online now by visiting

You can also find out about upcoming experiences online at or by calling 1300 657 640.