I love drinking good coffee. I also enjoy learning about different types of coffee. I have favourite cafés I like to visit. I also like to hear of new places I can try. I like reading guides to Melbourne's cafés. The guides rate the quality of the coffee. But I have not seen a guide that considers accessibility of cafés. I decided to rate them myself. I found five cafés in Melbourne that were accessible and had great coffee. But many cafés were hard to access. They also did not have accessible toilets.
Cooking is important for independent living. I was determined to learn to cook. When I was a girl I was often told I would not be able to cook because I am blind. But being blind has not stopped me. It is great to be able to create your own recipes. Cooking has given me confidence and independence. I have cooked for large groups. I have even cooked in difficult conditions using open fires.
Melbourne has many drinking establishments, but access is a problem
There are many pubs in Melbourne. But it is hard to find pubs that are accessible to all people with a disability. DiVine searched for accessible venues in the city. Most pubs are in old buildings. Most pubs had steps at the entry or inside. The most accessible pub we found was the Elephant and Wheelbarrow in Bourke Street. It has a level doorway and accessible toilets. Staff were also friendly. But we could not find any venues that had Braille menus. It is best to ring venues before you arrive to make sure they are accessible to you.
John Hughes recently competed on the television show MasterChef. John makes wine. He also lives with cerebral palsy. John made it through to the top 30. He made MasterChef history by choosing not to serve a dish to the judges. He did not think he did a good enough job with the dish. John received a lot of admiration for this decision. His cooking was also regularly praised. John says more people with a disability should be given opportunities to appear on television.
When it gets cold I like to cook food that will warm me up. I use a slow cooker. It cooks food at a low temperature for a long time. It is very handy when I am busy. I can turn it on in the morning. Then when I come home at night my dinner is ready. There are many different types of slow cookers available. You can use them to cook soups and stews. I also try to eat salads and fresh fruit in winter. Fruit and vegetables that are in season taste better. They are also cheaper.
I love Port Melbourne. I have lived in the area for many years. I love the accessible paths and tram stops. I am a wheelchair user. Recently I decided to test the accessibility of places to eat in my area. There are many different restaurants and cafés. I found many restaurants that were accessible to me in the Station Pier area. Most had plenty of room inside and out. Three also had accessible toilets. But the restaurants on Bay Street were not as accessible. Many were too crowded inside and not one had accessible toilets.
Melbourne’s first suburban shopping strip. Image: Mat Connolley
Smith Street is a fantastic place to eat and shop. Smith Street is the border between Collingwood and Fitzroy in Melbourne. It has many different restaurants. But many people with disability will find it difficult to access restaurants on Smith Street. We could not find any accessible restaurants for wheelchair users. We also could not find a restaurant with an accessible toilet. But we did find a restaurant with Braille and large print menus. And all of the staff we met were very friendly and helpful.