Arthurs Seat Eagle
Opened in December 2016, the Arthurs Seat Eagle is the Mornington Peninsula’s newest attraction. The Eagle enables visitors to take a ride aboard a state of the art gondola and enjoy the Peninsula as never before.
The Eagle carries passengers between the Base Station in Dromana to the summit of Arthurs Seat, passing high over the beautiful State Park. A combination of enclosed and open cabins provides an all-weather experience, and passengers can board at either station.
The journey is peaceful and smooth, designed to allow visitors to feel as though they are soaring like an eagle. Arthurs Seat Eagle has focused on making the experience available to as many people as possible. Their aim is for every guest to have a space, be catered for and to always feel a sense of inclusion.
The Arthurs Seat Eagle features fully enclosed, eight seat gondolas that allow people of all abilities to take in the spectacular views over Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington Peninsula. The Gondolas allow wheelchair users to face forward and enjoy the full view, move slowly at the boarding platforms and allow level access for wheelchairs, walking frames, prams and strollers to board. If a guest requires further assistance, the gondolas can be stopped completely without affecting the rest of the ride. This is particularly useful for elderly people and those with vision impairments.
Level, accessible parking is provided and there is ramped access to both stations. The buildings themselves have also been designed to be very open and easy to move through.
Accessible toilets are available at both the Base and Summit Stations and the Base Station also has a Changing Places facility for profoundly disabled visitors and their carers. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as spinal injuries, spina bifida, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, or an acquired brain injury, often need extra facilities to allow them to use toilets comfortably.
Changing Places provides a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, a tracking hoist system, enough space and a safe and clean environment. Holders of Carers and Companion Cards ride for free with their companion.
The board of directors ensured accessibility was a top priority for the architect during the design of the building and boarding platform. The previous Arthurs Seat chairlift could not be experienced by many people with a disability. This had impacted some of the board members’ families directly and they were determined to ensure the Arthurs Seat Eagle was a world class, fully inclusive attraction.
The thorough process included members of the Eagle development team meeting with the Disability Community Inclusion unit at the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, who put them in touch with their All Abilities Consultative Committee – a group of people with different disabilities. This connection and the assistance provided was invaluable, with the Committee providing advice and training on how to be truly inclusive from accessibility through to communication.
The Peninsula & South East Regional Communication Service (which is part of the Communication Access Network), also gave advice on accessible communication.
The research and consultation phase led to the discovery of the need for a Changing Places facility. The closest one to the Eagle was in Frankston which made most of the Mornington Peninsula inaccessible for those who rely on this facility.
The work with the communications groups also led to staff training which allows the Eagle staff to understand a range of needs and communicate effectively. The Arthurs Seat Eagle is also working towards gaining the Communication Access Symbol from Scope Australia.
The accessibility of the Arthurs Seat Eagle experience has led to many positive comments from guests. Several people 100 years of age or older have visited the attraction and reported to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There have been tears of joy from a gentleman with MND and a mother of a severely autistic boy has said that the experience made them ‘’feel like normal people’’.
After only one month open the Eagle has had many guests with a disability and has offered them an experience that allows them to be just like everyone else.
To learn more about Changing Places facilities, please go to their website changingplaces.org.au
To learn more about the Scope Australia Communication Access Symbol visit scopeaust.org.au