KOALA ADVENTURE TOURS - KANGAROO ISLAND
Kangaroo Island has a new tourism business aimed at meeting the needs of disabled residents and visitors who want to visit the Island's attractions.
Island resident Lisa Thompson has worked in and been passionate about disability services ever since her sister died at an early age of a brain injury.
"I am passionate about disability and assisting people who have a disability have access and enjoy things everybody else does," Ms Thompson said.
Now she has started Koala Adventure Tours, a fully NDIS approved business, and last week had her first customer; Pamela Dennis of Gawler, who needs assistance getting around due to a functional neurological disorder and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Pamela said she had visited KI with her family before but wanted to do something special and so booked herself on a seven-day tour with Koala Tours.
"I said to myself, this is going to be your year to shine," she said.
And shine she has, thoroughly enjoying the tour, finding a new lease on life and she was even able to make it to the end of a beach using only her hiking sticks.
"Pamela reached her goal of walking up to the end of Stokes Bay beach," Lisa said. "An incredible achievement for a lady who has a disability and was in a wheelchair and couldn't walk a few years ago."
Lisa was able to find suitable accommodation for Pamela at Acacia Apartments.
Koala Tours is aimed at not only visitors from the mainland but also locals and local families, who need a bit of respite or who want their family members to see parts of the Island they would never normally see.
Ms Thompson has a new van, into which she plans to install a lifting device when funds become available, so she can take wheelchair-bound customers on tours.
She can cater for people with different needs and abilities.
Her tours are itemised under core funding through the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) meaning individuals and families can claim the tour fees through the service.
For Pamela, one of the many highlights was going on a dolphin tour with KI Ocean Safaris in Penneshaw.
She sang the praises of young skipper Illijah Porter-Baines.
"He made the trip wonderful," she said, even assisting her slide off and on the boat.