BY CATHERINE DUFFY
After a fall left two-time World Para Surfing champion Sam Bloom paralysed, finding accessible adventure tourism for her whole family to enjoy had been quite the challenge — until now.
Mrs Bloom who was the inspiration behind the movie Penguin Bloom, starring Naomi Watts, has arrived in Cairns with her family for a holiday showcasing inclusive Tropical North Queensland tourism experiences.
The first stop for Mrs Bloom, her husband Cameron and their three sons was the Giant Swing at Skypark Cairns by AJ Hackett, a big leap for the para surf champion who admitted she was afraid of heights.
“I’ve never done anything like this before and to be honest, I actually don’t like heights, but up here it’s going to be pretty fun and I’m always up for an adventure so I might as well do it,” Mrs Bloom said.
World Para Surfing champion Sam Bloom has visited Skypark Cairns while on a family holiday with her husband and sons, to show that inclusive travel is possible in Far North Queensland’s World Heritage regions and award winning attractions. Sam Bloom is fitted with a harness for the giant swing by Skypark general manager Bazz Goes and operations manager Jackson Vance and her son Oli Bloom. Picture: Brendan Radke
Mrs Bloom, who grew up travelling around Australia as a child, said her relationship with travel changed when she was left paralysed after falling from an observation deck in Thailand.
“Before I’d be running through the bush exploring. Obviously I can’t now but we’ve learnt to adapt and do what we can. I’m pretty lucky because I’m pretty small so Cam and my three boys always piggyback me around,” she said.
Mrs Bloom said Queensland was well ahead of other states in the country in terms of accessibility in tourism.
She said she hoped to inspire others to realise their dreams whether they’re able-bodied or not.
“I hope it inspires other people to realise that you can still do pretty cool and pretty crazy things even if you’re stuck in a wheelchair or you have a disability,” she said.
World Para Surfing champion Sam Bloom has visited Skypark Cairns while on a family holiday with her husband and sons, to show that inclusive travel is possible in Far North Queensland’s World Heritage regions and award winning attractions. Sam Bloom (centre) rides the giant swing at Skypark with 2 of her 3 sons Oli Bloom and Noah Bloom. Picture: Brendan Radke
Mrs Bloom said the family also planned to spend time on the beach, explore the boardwalks at Daintree National Park, see crocodiles with Solar Whisper on the Daintree and visit the outer Great Barrier Reef.
Earlier this year the North Queensland Tropical Tourism conference identified accessible tourism as a key focus for operators in the Far North.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said the Bloom family’s travels would inspire other families to seek experiences that were accessible for the whole family.
“Travel is a gift. It gives so much to our lives and all travel should be inclusive. Everybody on the planet should have the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of travel,” Mr Olsen said.
“So we’re really excited to be hosting and showcasing Tropical North Queensland as accessible and inclusive destination.”