Travelling in New Zealand with mobility difficulties

Oyster NZ is a researched detailed information and booking site which gives the traveller with extra mobility needs choice to book with confidence

Last year my mother decided she needed a weekend break in Rotorua for her aching limbs. ‘Organise it for us’, she said, ‘hot springs and somewhere I can get around’. 

My mother has been increasingly less mobile over the last few years, she needs a wheelchair for generally getting around, though can stand for short periods, she had fixated on this idea that Rotorua spa waters would be a perfect present for me to give her for her birthday. Now she was excited, her eyes alight with the anticipation of a treat in her sedentary life. I thought, this will be a simple task, Rotorua is full of great spa accommodation and pools, and I shall also be able to enjoy a relaxing weekend with her floating in warm waters.

I love the internet, easy to use, easy to view where to go and see the accommodation in the pictures to enable us to make a choice. So I sat down and started my search.

Ok, so the first few accommodation sites didn’t have a search for accessible accommodation….NOTHING!

I found AA travel – great…this had a search for accessible accommodations, but it didn’t give any pictures or describe what facilities were available in the access room. I was unable to book direct from the internet a room which was on the ground floor! Or determine if there was a room which had a wet floor shower with shower seat, (Mum is a little unsteady, and likes to sit and shower and cubicle showers limit her mobility). How crazy was that?

I had to phone several accommodations to ask if they had the facilities we required, the answer was often NO – or the room was already booked.

None of this will be a particular shock to anyone who has mobility difficulties, or who has friends or family with a disability. This says something about how normalised lack of disabled access is – whether that is taking as standard the ring-round of 10 hotels before you stumble upon one that’s accessible, or resigning yourself to pulling out of plans with friends because the destination makes going physically impossible.

It took me a day and a half of long hours searching, before I found a motel which had, amazingly and uniquely identified their accessible room on their website! There was a photo of the shower facility and one of the bedrooms. I was able to book this room direct on the internet, and another room for myself and partner. Success!

If you want to experience New Zealand and are less mobile, just like my mother, I’ve got great news for you. Following this experience with booking, I have joined up with two other dynamic women with a thirst for making changes for the better for our families who have disabilities and mobility issues. Oyster NZ was born!

Oyster Accessible Travel New Zealand is a researched detailed information and booking site which enables the traveller with extra mobility needs to book with confidence, enabling choice from a nationwide selection of accommodations suitable for their specific needs. Transport, things to do, places to stay, accessible walks, equipment hire, useful information – it’s all in there!

New Zealand offers a truly remarkable travel experience, which leaves the visitor enchanted – the traveller with a disability has the same desire as any other traveller, to experience and participate the wonder of New Zealand that they have chosen to do for themselves.

Oyster NZ will Make your dreams come true – after all Accessible is our middle name!

Back to our family break in Rotorua. My mother was ecstatic, “This is the best weekend of my life” she enthused. She had arrived in Rotorua, secretly thinking that I would fail (I very nearly gave up!!); she was amazed at the quality accommodation, the ease she could enjoy the facilities. She had reached her goal, and now Oyster NZ is the new secret weapon for enabling people like her to enjoy freedom and adventure in New Zealand just like everybody else. What is your next Oyster New Zealand adventure going to be?

For more information on how you can book an Accessible New Zealand adventure, or drop us a line at and you’ll be the first to know the freedom Oyster NZ can offer you. 

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