Blind travellers support Australia’s tourism recovery

Australians with sight loss have taken action after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced: “Australian tourism is facing its biggest challenge in living memory”. This month, small groups of blind and low vision community members from all over Australia, have just returned from short sensory breaks on NSW’s Northern Rivers and Queensland’s Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

The travellers have been supported by Cocky Guides who have been delivering more inclusive tourism experiences to enable blind and low vision community members discover a passion for travel.

“My holiday to Byron Bay was one of the best I have ever had. It’s also great to have done my little bit to help other Australians that rely on tourism for jobs” said Margaret Shanahan, a first time traveller with Cocky Guides.

Cocky Guides founder James McFarlane said “We have presented some of Australia’s most popular destinations to our blind and low vision travellers throughout February and embraced Tourism Australia’s ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign. Our itineraries always have focused on sensory tourism; however, we enhanced our products to ensure we visit more small family-operated businesses like farm gates and cellar doors. We also select attractions that employ locals.”

“So far this year, we have visited Byron Bay, Nimbin, Surfers Paradise, Noosa, Montville, Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island. Next month I am very excited to lead our travellers on a short break to South Australia, exploring the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula” James McFarlane said.

Guide Dogs Australia estimate over 450,000 Australians are now living with sight loss. The past 12 months, around 300 blind and low vision Australians have experienced many of Australia’s famous tourist sites and destinations without sight with Cocky Guides.

Cocky Guides run regular Sensory Short Breaks to more than ten destinations across Australia, showcasing diverse locations like Tropical North Queensland, the Snowy Mountains and the Red Centre. As a creator of tactile and sensory adventures, Cocky Guides deliver fun small group tours with enriched sensory enjoyment for blind, low vision and sighted guests.

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