Uki Guesthouse: the home away from home
Regular readers of my blog will know that I occasionally write about accessibility challenges with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.
This blog entry is different. This is about a place Andrew and I had the privilege to stay in for 2 nights: Uki Guesthouse. Uki is a little village in northern New South Wales.
It’s close to the rather infamous Nimbin which is synonmous with hippies and hash. Andrew and I drove through Nimbin to get to Uki and I took this photo of a house in the main street which really summed the place up.
Uki certainly had a different feel to Nimbin, although it was clear there was a very strong sense of community. The guesthouse is an old Queenslander which has been majestically transformed into accommodation suitable for people with disabilities.
For my overseas readers, a ‘Queenslander’ is a style of house typically made of timber, on stilts and with a wrap around verandah. The design is supposed to help keep cool in Australia’s more tropical areas.
The house was renovated about 7 years ago to ensure the best possible access.
Upon our arrival we were greeted warmly by Jules. She took us on a tour and showed us a couple of rooms and bathrooms and let us pick which suited us best. Pick up jaw off floor. This is the day after the bed shifting spiderman adventure and we are looking at a wonderfully accessible bathroom… not just one but 3 of them and we could have our pick! Talk about chalk and cheese.
We picked out a bedroom with tongue and groove panelling painted white going up to a very, very high ceiling. Jules told us we could move the furniture around in the room to suit us. You could turn the light off without getting out of bed – such a simple thing but just bliss.
The guesthouse also has an accessible pool. There’s a walk in ramp or a hoist and grab rails all around the pool. It’s the first time Andrew and I have been swimming together. In the pool Andrew could move his legs in ways I’d not seen before. The grin on his face was gorgeous. With the aid of water, he almost ‘picked me up’ in the pool. For me, it was one of the best parts of his 40th birthday. I felt like a normal couple in a swimming pool on a special birthday.
When we were done swimming, we ate out on the deck with a view of Mount Warning as the sun was setting.
As if all that wasn’t special enough, Jules and Maggie cooked a magnificent meal for us for Andrew’s birthday. It was prepared with care and pizazz. It was perfect.
It was also the last time Jules and Maggie were to play host as the Guesthouse was up for auction on the Saturday after we left. I have no doubt that should new owners choose to continue to run Uki Guesthouse as a B&B, Andrew and I will be back. The house itself is wonderful and worth the trip.
However, the reason I used the word privileged to stay at this place earlier in this post, was because of Jules and Maggie. These two women made us feel so welcome and so comfortable in their home. We philosophised, we laughed hard, and we got to share a home created out of Jules’ and Maggie’s vision for universal access. It is indeed, a very special place.
Posted on March 5, 2012, in Disability and tagged Accessible accommodation, B&B, disability, Guest house, New South Wales, Queenslander, Travel, Uki, Uki Guesthouse. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.