Hartleys Crocodile Adventures is located 40 minutes north of Cairns on the Captain Cook Highway. It occupies over 25 acres including the large man-made lagoon.
There are two designated disabled parking bays directly adjacent to the park entry. The car park is asphalt with level entry into the main building and ticket office. There is a small 19mm lip from the car park to the entry path.
Inside the entry is the main visitor centre with a cafe overlooking the lagoon, gift shop and accessible toilet facilities. The cafe has two levels. Access to the lower level, which overlooks the lagoon is via a ramp at the left-hand end. The servery is open with a bench allowing trays to be slid the full length of the counter to the till. The food displays are easily viewable by visitors using wheelchairs. Trays are provided to allow food to be carried to the tables.
Looking at the lagoon, to the left is the main entry to the park displays and to the right is the pathway to the boat tours.
The highlight of a visit to Hartleys is the boat tour to experience crocodiles being feed in the lagoon in a close encounter experience. The park operates three boats all of which have a large area at the front that can be used by wheelchair users. The row immediately behind the chair is reserved for family and friends. Wheelchair users and friends are boarded before the general public. The position offers the best view on the boat of the crocodile action. Board is via a gently sloping wide ramp onto the level floor at the front of the boat.
There are no toilets on board the boat and the cruise takes 25 minutes.
There are two feeding display areas in the park, Croc Feeding Arena and the Wildlife Amphitheatre. Access to the arena is via a wooden boardwalk of a moderate slope past the Croc Feeding Pen. Wheelchair access is along the entire front row of the arena. A solid top rail is at an awkward height for adult wheelchair users. Moving back from the rail gives a good view but encourages other visitors to stand in front and block the view.
The second display area, the Amphitheatre, has wheelchair access to the top of the stand only. The area is very small so seating at the top does not diminish the experience.
Hartleys is one of only two parks in Australia where you are able to cuddle a Koala and it is one of the parks most popular optional animal encounters. The experience is fully wheelchair accessible accessed off a concrete path a short distance from the main visitors’ centre.
Access throughout the park is generally very good either on boardwalks or concrete pathways.
At the back of the Cassowary Garden there is a short gravel loop beyond the aviary. Part of that loop can be soft. The path through the aviary is park packed fine gravel. The aviary doors are wide and easy to negotiate.
The biggest challenge in the park is Gondwana Gateway. The entry is via a steep but smooth path. The gradient is approximately 1:10 over a 30-metre distance. This path would provide a challenge to manual wheelchair users without assistance. Park rangers will assist if requested. The path over the river leads down into the Koala, Kangaroo and Wallaby area. Immediately at the bottom of the ramp is a display explaining Australia’s Bio History. There is a wheelchair accessible fossil digging display offers a unique experience.
Beyond the Gondwana Grill function area, another steep ramp leads up to the Wombat, Quolls, Emus, Snakes and Monitor displays. The ramp is approx 1:14 over 50 metres. The display area at the top is level with concrete paths throughout. All of the enclosures have low walls and/or glass fronts allowing easy viewing.
To exit Gondwana Gateway the paths have to be retraced including both of the steep ramps.
At the top of the entry ramp to Gondwana Gateway is a second accessible bathroom strategically located at the intersection of Gondwana Gateway, Cassowary Garden and the Wildlife Discovery Trail.
The Wildlife Discovery Trail wanders though a series of ponds containing a mixture of Crocodiles, Freshwater Crocodiles, Alligators and birdlife. There is also a tropical birdlife aviary and an indoor Komodo Dragon display. All of the paths through this section of the park are wide boardwalks and are level.
The map on the following page has been marked up to show the steep ramp sections (Red) and the sandy unpaved section (Yellow)