With a wonderful Swan River foreshore that is flat, scenic and unencumbered by obstacles such as buildings and traffic, Perth, the capital of Western Australia would seem to be the ideal location from which to conduct Segway tours.
Good ideas sometimes remain just that when bureaucracy gets in the way, but the brother and sister team of Owen Williams and Belinda Hill of Segway Tours WA persisted in persuading various levels of government to agree to allow them to conduct Segway Tours of the Perth foreshore.
They have set up their headquarters at Barrack Square, right opposite Perth’s Bell Tower, and operated six daily tours seven days per week.
They have dubbed their headquarters the experience zone, where people can go to get know and love the Segway by practising to negotiate a series of obstacles which includes mazes, humps, bumps, bridges and even a seesaw. With just a few minutes training, most people can become quite efficient at manoeuvring the Segway.
The Segway is a two-wheeled self-balancing electric vehicle which travels at a maximum speed of 10kph. They are eco-friendly and very quiet.
Each tour consists of a maximum of ten riders and one guide. Riders and guide keep in contact via a sophisticated headset communication system.
There are currently three routes, and with a short training session prior to the commencement of the tour, duration lasts either 60 or 90 minutes.
For visitors to Perth the Segway Experience Zone is very easy to find. Just walk down Barrack Street to the Bell Tower, which can’t be missed, or catch the free Blue CAT service and alight at Barrack Square.
The longest tours are called the East Tour and the West Tour, which is pretty self-explanatory, really.
The East Tour takes you along Perth Water to the Causeway and then past the WACA and Gloucester Park to Claisebrook Cove. It is a very pretty trip which gives you great views of South Perth, Heirisson Island and the Crown Casino complex. Claisebrook Cove itself is very interesting, being a pedestrian (and Segway) friendly small bay that is a perfect place for a quite meal, or a drink at The Royal – but only after you’ve completed your tour, of course.
The West Tour has you zipping under the Narrows Bridge with the steep hills of Mt Eliza on your right and magnificent confluence of the Canning and Swan Rivers on your left. On a weekend you’ll see hundreds of yachts competing in regattas, and take note of what the statue of Eliza is wearing as you pass her on your way to the University of Western Australia.