Sight impairment no excuse for experiencing Australia’s extraordinary East Coast with new sensory short breaks

Travellers with sight loss can now visit iconic East Coast tourism sites regularly with accessible adventures that eliminate sightseeing and deliver experiences using other senses.

In Queensland, visit the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest where you can knock on the buttress root of a century old tree, touch a live crocodile or listen to the booming rumble of a Cassowary. In New South Wales, you can ride the world’s first solar power train from Byron Bay or visit Australia’s highest alpine resort using oversnow transport.

Sensory short breaks are a new product launched by Cocky Guides, Australia’s first tactile and sensory tour operator for the blind and low vision community. Originally leading day trips from Sydney, and more recently Melbourne, Cocky Guides now offer sensory short breaks that range from two to four days. Destinations include Port Douglas, Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, Canberra, Snowy Mountains, Melbourne, Lake Mountain, Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula.

“Since the launch of Cocky Guides it has been a high priority to offer multi-day experiences that really showcase the destinations we visit. At the very beginning it was even more important to make sure our presentation of a destination really connected with our travellers. Our insights and experience conducting regular day trips will help us expand and deliver quality sensory short breaks,” said founder of Cocky Guides, James McFarlane.

Katie, a recent traveller and low vision community member, had a great time on a sensory short break to Port Douglas with Cocky Guides.

“I have just had the best holiday in ages. I honestly didn’t want it to end. The activities were fantastic, and the support was amazing. Counting down to my next adventure,” Katie said.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT estimate the number of Australians living with sight loss will reach 500,000 in 2020.

“I’ve spent over 10 years in tourism roles in Australia and Europe. Not once had I met a blind traveller. I found this very surprising considering the estimated number of people with sight loss in Australia. 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 from Sydney. For more information phone 1300 657 640 or visit

Cocky Guides run regular tactile and sensory group adventures from Sydney. For more information phone 1300 657 640 or visit