8 Queensland Experiences for the Hearing Impaired

Beyond Silence: Inclusivity in Travel

EMBARK on an immersive journey beyond sound, and indulge in all-encompassing Queensland experiences.

Statistics reveal that one in six Australians grapple with hearing impairment, while approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users face total hearing loss.

As our population ages, projections suggest that by 2050, one in every four Australians will encounter some form of hearing loss.

Queensland, however, is breaking barriers by extending a warm invitation to travellers of all hearing abilities.

In the Sunshine State, from world-class art galleries and theatre productions to ancient rainforests and wildlife encounters, there’s an array of experiences designed to captivate all the senses.

Join us on a sensory-rich exploration of eight extraordinary Queensland adventures, where the beauty of the journey lies in inclusivity.

Queensland experiences - entertainment theatre

QPAC at South Bank offers an assistive listening system. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

World-class performances in the heart of Brisbane

Brisbane’s exciting calendar of theatre, cultural exhibitions and performing arts is accessible through a range of hearing technologies and Auslan-interpreted shows.

The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) offers an assistive listening system (ALS) to send audio directly to headphones, hearing aids, or cochlear implants – with ListenTech available free of charge.

Select performances are professionally signed by Auslan interpreters, with theatregoers encouraged to download the GoTheatrical app to access live captions on mobile or tablet devices.

Further down the river, Brisbane Powerhouse offers a range of select Auslan performances throughout the year, as well as hearing loops for everyone to enjoy the year-round festivities.

Queensland Experiences - Brisbane Powerhouse

Aerial view of the Brisbane Powerhouse, on the banks of the Brisbane River. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Wander through the rainforest in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

As the world’s oldest continually surviving rainforest, the Daintree Rainforest in the Wet Tropics is home to an impressively diverse environment and thousands of distinctive wildlife species that must be experienced to be believed.

The Daintree Discovery Centre is a great place to do just this.

Spark curiosity in this ancient landscape at the Interpretive Display Centre, featuring interactive touch-screen kiosks to help set bearings, before setting off on a self-guided tour.

Guides are fitted with a T switch suitable for hearing aids. Ascend the Aerial Walkway to take in canopy views, complete with interpretive guidebooks highlighting not to miss points of interest.

Queensland experiences - rainforest

A rainforest park nestled in the Daintree National Park. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Be inspired by art in South East Queensland

In the state’s capital, QAGOMA’s (Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art) award-winning accessibility program offers customised programs for low-hearing and deaf art lovers.

Free volunteer guided tours for members of the Deaf community are scheduled on the last Sunday of the month from January to November, with a NAATI-accredited Auslan interpreter accompanying the gallery guide.

Visitors with cochlear implants, hearing aids or hearing loss are invited to join a small group tour led by a volunteer guide on the fourth Friday of the month between January and November, with assistive listening devices (FM system) available.

Visitors can also enjoy rare film viewings at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art’s Australian Cinémathèque, with a hearing loop system to support those with hearing aids and implants.

On the Gold Coast, HOTA (Home of the Arts) is committed to bringing art to the hearts of all, with Auslan assistive listening carrier devices and Auslan-interpreted programs, including tours with the HOTA Gallery Artist Educator, regularly scheduled.

Queensland experiences - art gallery

A Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art guide talks with a group next to some artwork. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Queensland experiences - gallery

A family walks to the entrance of HOTA (Home of the Arts). Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Say hello to a wild world of wildlife on the Gold Coast

Twenty-seven hectares of rainforest and animal encounters await at the Gold Coast’s iconic Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Meet native animals, tour the animal hospital, and catch the Wild Skies Free Flight Bird Show which has hearing augmentation via an assisted listening service, amplifying sound through headphones (hired from Visitor and Member Services).

Queensland experiences - birds

Daily lorikeet feeding encounter at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Festival fun on the Sunshine Coast

Art and culture shine on the Sunshine Coast during the annual Horizon Festival.

This 10-day multi-arts festival celebrates music, arts, theatre, dance and more, from the beach to the hinterland and the townships.

Bringing art experiences to those with low hearing or deafness, some performances feature Auslan-interpreted shows on select dates.

At the same time, the festival also offers an interpreting service, meaning eventgoers can request an Auslan interpreter for events, where possible.

Visitors who would like an Auslan interpreter and seating with clear sightlines to interpreters are asked to contact the festival organisers to book.

Queensland experiences - Aboriginal dn

Aboriginal dancers perform at the 2022 Horizon Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Nic Morley, Tourism & Events Queensland.

Discover the magic of the stars, planets and universe beyond

Located in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at the base of iconic Mt Coot-tha, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium skyrockets wonder in space and astronomy.

Learn about the solar system and human space exploration in the Display Zone, which includes written and pictorial information, while glow-in-the-dark gloves are available for Auslan interpretation.

Queensland experiences - planetarium

A family walks past the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Resonating Diversity: Queensland’s Inclusive Overture

As we draw the curtain on our Queensland exploration, it’s evident that inclusivity is the melody that resonates throughout the Sunshine State.

From the theatres of Brisbane hosting accessible performances to the ancient serenades of the Daintree Rainforest, each encounter extends an open invitation, regardless of one’s hearing capabilities.

South East Queensland’s art scene paints a vivid tapestry of diversity, while the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast amplifies the wonders of the wild.

The Horizon Festival on the Sunshine Coast is a testament to accessibility in the arts, ensuring that the cultural celebration embraces all participants.

At the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, the universe unfolds its wonders for everyone, underlining the boundless magic of exploration.

Queensland’s commitment to inclusivity is resounding – every traveller is embraced in the shared symphony of wonder.

For more information on accessible Queensland holidays, explore queensland.com/foreveryone.

Story and photos contributed by Tourism & Events Queensland.
Published 3 December 2023. 

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