Peter Garrett gets around without burning Midnight Oil

Australian politician Peter Garrett – best known in other countries as lead singer of eco-conscious rock band Midnight Oil – performed the opening ceremony of a new learning centre by taking the Segway Tour at the Hunter Wetlands Centre. The Newcastle Herald reported him saying “This project is a wonderful example of how local organisations can come together to give all students the opportunity to have an excellent, hands-on learning experience at this beautiful wetland location.”

Hunter Wetlands already attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year, and the new Segway eco-tour is expected to become a key attraction. It will certainly help Australians understand just how low the environmental footprint of the near-silent, zero-emission Segway Personal Transporter really is. The large, wide, low-pressure tyres of the Segway x2 model have a much lighter impact per square centimeter on the forest floor than shoes, boots, or vehicles (such as mountain bikes, motorcycles, mobility scooters and power chairs).

Just how light is well-illustrated by this series of photos that compare the impact on a beach of a Segway x2 with cross-terrain tyres, a person walking and a person running. Next to the depth of the depression into the sand caused by footsteps, the Segway x2 makes barely an impression down below the surface.

And the x2 Golf model with Turf tyres has an even wider distributed load. Which is why golf courses around New Zealand permit them to be used on the fairway on even the wettest days (when carts and even hand-pulled trundlers are banned). Both tyre types can be seen in the photo below – Peter Garrett is the tall man on the x2 Turf, while the tour leader is in front on a x2 with standard cross-terrain tyres.

Meanwhile, over on Australia’s Gold Coast two solar-power Segway Tours are proving very popular in the lush rainforest of Lamington National Park. Brett Walton (owner of Segway of Queensland) was the brainchild behind daily tours that have been operating out of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat for the last two years, where tourists gently glide through ancient rainforests, an old dairy farm and a eucalypt forest with spectacular views of Morans Falls and the Great Dividing Range. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary offers Segway Safari Tours through the new Animal Hospital, followed by a journey along a bush track to take in the sights and animals such as koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles and birds.

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