Ian on the Big Red Kidney Bus

Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Kidney Health Australia have taken the advice of our clinical partners  in our Bid Red Kidney Bus program; Monash Health in Victoria and Royal North Shore Hospital in NSW, to cancel the following sites: Torquay (VIC), Lorne (VIC) and Nelson Bay (NSW).

We are monitoring the situation and are hoping to open bookings for Halls Gap (VIC) and Coffs Harbour (NSW) in the coming weeks.

The Big Red Kidney Bus is available free of charge to all Australians on haemodialysis in hospital, satellite unit or on home haemodialysis. The Bus is fully equipped with three (very comfortable) dialysis chairs for between 6-12 people a week. All you have to do is arrange your own holiday accommodation and get there – we’ll take care of the rest.

Our award-winning* Big Red Kidney Buses travel to popular holiday destinations across Victoria and NSW providing haemodialysis to patients by experienced dialysis nurses and renal technicians.

How does it work?

  • Open to anyone on haemodialysis in hospital, satellite unit or on home haemodialysis.
  • Located for up to six weeks or more, in holiday parks at popular holiday destinations around Victoria and New South Wales. Take a look at our holiday locations in our latest travel brochure.
  • There are three dialysis chairs for up to 12 holidaymakers each week. Contact us on 1800 454 363 or bigredkidneybus@kidney.org.au to make a booking or register interest.
  • Vacancies are updated regularly on our website, see latest vacancies for Victoria and New South Wales.
  • The health care provider confirms bookings once medical information has been received from your dialysis unit.
  • You will need to arrange your own holiday accommodation and travel, details of where you can book and discounts offered can be found are on the location pages.
  • Admission criteria must be met to be eligible for the Bus.
  • Treatment sessions on the buses are provided by highly experienced, caring dialysis nurses proudly provided by Monash Health in Victoria and Royal North Shore Hospital in New South Wales.

Got questions? Contact our friendly team on 1800 454 363 or email bigredkidneybus@kidney.org.au

Victorian holiday locations New South Wales holiday locations

 What our holiday-makers say

Bev and Barry with the Big Red Kidney Bus

Bev, has been doing home haemodialysis with the support of her husband, Barry.  Every other day, Bev and Barry get up at 5am to get ready for dialysis.

“I start unpacking all the gear,” says Barry. “I do all the leads while Bev’s having her brekkie and, when I’ve got it all going, I yell out to her and she comes and hops in the chair and she needles herself. I do the taping and we document it in the book.”

The Big Red Kidney Bus gives them a break from this routine and the chance to go on holiday with their friends.

“The Bus is terrific,” says Barry. “We’ve followed the bus to Milton’s Bay, Halls Gap, Torquay and Warrnambool. It’s great to have a service that gives us a break from the routine and allows us to take the holidays we always dreamed of.” 

Victorian holiday locations New South Wales holiday locations

*The Big Red Kidney Bus was awarded the 2015 National Disability Award for Excellence in Community Accessibility, and also won the Gold Innovative Models of Care Award at the 2015 Victorian Public Health Care Awards.

Stay up to date with the Big Red Kidney Bus!

The Big Red Kidney Bus holiday dialysis program is in partnership with Royal North Shore Hospital in New South Wales and Monash Health in Victoria.

Royal North Shore Logo   Monash Health Logo

Booking information and admission criteria

Please read the admission criteria before you book a haemodialysis dialysis chair. See the information you need to know about holiday dialysis here.

(In Victoria, Monash Health provides the clinical and medical aspects on the Big Red Kidney Bus and will confirm bookings once the admission criteria has been met.)

Patients arrange their own holiday accommodation and travel. We suggest mentioning Kidney Health Australia's Big Red Kidney Bus when booking into a holiday park, as discounts may be available.

Kidney Health Australia manages the bookings online through our online booking form below, via email or phone. Please, direct enquires to phone 1800 454 363 or email bigredkidneybus@kidney.org.au

John's testimonial

"The Kidney Health Australia Big Red Kidney Bus is a life changing opportunity for people like me who live with the relentless (but life-saving) treatment of dialysis.

I normally have my dialysis 3 times a week at hospital – its like ground-hog day! Recently I got to have a change of scene and a holiday and I had my dialysis in the Big Red Kidney Bus in Ballina. What a wonderful 2 weeks!

With only 3 chairs, dialysis is very quick and efficient. Very well organised by Ling Wei, Nurse Unit Manager, I can thoroughly recommend the bus as it provides a welcome break for myself and my wife.
It was a long drive to Ballina but with a car you can visit the tourist hot spots in the area. Three highlights stood out. Lismore Regional gallery has a world class “Hannah Cabinet”,
(144 drawers, 90 Australian timbers, all inlaid with flowers and birds) just incredible! It is hard to believe the craftsmanship and dedication to perfection by Geoffrey Hannah over 6 years .

The Crystal Palace is a serene and secluded retreat in the hinterland of Byron Bay, again world class with the biggest geodes in the world. You can even sit inside a huge geode lined with amethyst crystals and enjoy a meditation session.

The third attraction, the Macadamia Castle and Zoo is excellent. The zoo has a good range of Australian birds and animals and we enjoyed a delicious roast pumpkin salad and bought a big bag of roasted Macadamia nuts. We enjoyed the restaurants in Ballina, the RSL, Redwok Thai, Wharf Bar and Grill, Chinese and Indian.

Finally, the location of the Bus in the Discovery Park provided good accommodation options. Our cabin was right on the Richmond River and I caught 4 nice bream for my breakfast!

Please help Kidney Health Australia keep the Big Red Kidney Bus on the road. It is a vital service that they provide a break for people on dialysis and their families.


- John

Natalie's testimonial

"I write this in regards to my experience with the Big Red Kidney Bus.

In 2012 I was diagnosed with acute Kidney failure, which requires me to attend hospital for Dialysis treatment for 5 1/2 hours 3 times a week, with travelling time a total of at least 20 hours per week.

As my husband and I have always enjoyed travelling we initially found this very restrictive, only being able to travel short distances on “non-dialysis days”.

Thanks to the brilliant Australian idea, which resulted in the development and introduction of the Big Red Kidney Bus that has now changed. My husband and I are once again able to enjoy holidays in popular holiday locations around Victoria, and now also in N.S.W. resulting in a great improvement in my quality of life, wellbeing, general health and happiness.

As the bus is always located in holiday parks, where good accommodation is available at discounted rates, it is always only a short walk to and from the bus each day, (no long drives,) which allows more time for sightseeing even on Dialysis days. The bus’s timetable and choice of treatment times can very easily be viewed on-line, and the bookings application is straightforward and easy to complete and submit. I have always found the nurses to be very friendly, knowledgeable and above all very efficient. With the many benefits that are provided by the Big Red Kidney Bus I strongly recommend everyone on Haemodialysis seriously consider booking it for a very enjoyable holiday."

- Natalie

In the news

Big Red Kidney Bus heading will be in Nelson Bay October 28 to December 14

The Big Red Kidney Bus will roll back into Nelson Bay next week where it will stay until mid-December.

The mobile dialysis unit provides renal services at selected popular holiday locations, allowing people requiring regular dialysis treatment the opportunity to holiday with family and friends. Read more

Kidney Health Australia's Big Red Kidney Bus is parked in Port Macquarie to help dialysis patients have a holiday

Bruce Darcy usually receives dialysis treatment at a hospital near Bourke but thanks to Kidney Health Australia's Big Red Kidney Bus is getting treatment on holiday in Port Macquarie.

Mr Darcy is in town visiting his cousin and said the mobile dialysis van is allowing him to 'have a life'. Read more

A big red bus brings dialysis to some of the state's top holiday spots

Planning a holiday for most people involves a bit of Googling, some TripAdvisor and possibly recommendations from friends.

But when you need dialysis three times a week, things become much more complicated. While many local hospitals provide dialysis, they are mostly at capacity and can’t fit in any more patients, even short-term. Read more

Dialysis bus makes holidays possible for patients suffering kidney disease

The whizz and whir of the dialysis machine went on and on, its invasive tubes pierced into Maree Jaloussis's arm pumped blood back and forth.

"Most people, like myself, have to do between 15 and 20 hours a week of dialysis," Ms Jaloussis said. Read more

Dialysis & travelBig Red Kidney Bus - Victoria
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