Locums for a Small World Blog

4 of our favorite family-friendly experiences in the Land of the Long White Cloud

Posted by Everett Fitch

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New Zealand is a country unlike any other. Once you step foot here you won’t believe the wonders that exist in both city and countryside. Sounds an awful lot like an overpromise, doesn’t it? We assure you that it’s not. Everyone who visits say they love it for its friendliness, its community, its nature, its landscape, everything.

Okay, maybe not everyone. We shouldn’t speak in absolutes. There have probably been a few people over the years who have visited the Land of the Long White Cloud and weren’t that impressed. We’d venture to guess it’s because they’re not fans of waterfall-and-peak-filled fjords, lakes roughly the size of Singapore, coastline complete with geothermal pools, tussock farmland with big skies, glaciers, volcanoes, rainforests and geysers. You know, the kind of countryside you’d do anything for as a kid, just to play and frolic and lose yourself in fresh air.

That’s exactly our point. New Zealand is an ideal family-friendly destination. In fact it ranks 1st on the Legatum Prosperity Index: an annual ranking developed by the Legatum Institute, which essentially measures how prosperous a nation is through factors like economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital and natural environment. You can discover more about their methodology as well as their findings concerning New Zealand right here.

The real important takeaway is that this island-country is rich not only in landscape but also in just about everything else. You should feel compelled to explore its greatness with your whole family. If you find yourself in New Zealand on locum tenens assignment already, here are some unforgettable experiences you’ll want to consider.

Experiencing Franz Josef Glacier – South Island

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Clothed by the Southern Alps, Franz Josef Glacier is a marvel. Cacophonous colors shade the horizon. Light blues you’ve never met before rush toward you. Dark greens you won’t recognize slip into your field of vision. Nonetheless, the sight is welcoming.

Start in town, Franz Josef, where you can frequent quaint cafes and shops while the Southern Alps tower over you. This is where you’ll want to book your adventures, too. You can choose anything from a guided walk to a scenic flight. If you’d like to overnight it, there are a variety of hotels, motels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, plus holiday parks. And believe it or not, a lot of the places where you can stay are enshrouded by rainforest.

Stargazing at Lake Tekapo – South Island

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The southern lights in all its vibrant beauty can be seen from Lake Tekapo’s shores. Wait a minute, the southern lights? Yes, the northern lights has a sibling existing at the exact other side of the world, the Southern Hemisphere. And if you head to Lake Tekapo during winter you’ll experience an amazing show. Unfortunately this happens during July and August for New Zealand (that's when their winter occurs) so you'll have to wait a bit to see the southern lights.

No worries. You can still catch some killer stargazing with your family. Head to Mount John Observatory on an Earth & Sky tour where you can witness some of the darkest skies in the world, perfect for viewing the Milky Way.

Taking a cruise in Milford Sound – South Island

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Milford Sound is without a doubt one of the hallmark stops on any South Island tour. Famous novelist Rudyard Kipling (author of The Jungle Book) once called this glacier-carved fjord “the eighth wonder of the world.” High praise, but suitably so.

Waterfalls pour out of forested, tall-reaching peaks. Hiking trails abound so you’re more than apt to find an agreeable view of Milford’s magnificence. And there’s ample accommodation so if you plan to stay for a few days, you're solid (though, do book in advance because places tend to fill up).

Truthfully, boat cruises are the way to go. You’ll encounter much more of the unimaginable this way. There will be coves filled with marine life and even waterfalls that you can experience up close. Plus some boats are even equipped with underwater viewing observatories so you can witness all the life blooming beneath the surface.

Going the museum route in Wellington – North Island

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So far we’ve mentioned only experiences showcasing the raw beauty of New Zealand. We’d like to take a moment to highlight the culture and arts that’s abundant in this country, too.

There’s no better place to enlighten you and your family than in Wellington. This cultural hotspot has a lot going for it. Like Te Papa Tongarewa, a national museum where the continued focus is preserving the history, language and lore of New Zealand’s people through exhibitions and education. Six stories of rich artwork, both past and present fill these walls. Another huge plus? Aside from being architecturally stunning this museum sits right on the waterfront so you’re bound to experience some spectacular views.

Not quite as large but equally as important is the Museum of Wellington City and Sea that’s housed in a heritage building on, you guessed it, another immaculate waterfront. Take in the views outside then head inside for a taste of Wellington’s cultural history. This museum is dedicated fully to Wellington complete with interactive exhibitions. Check out the exhibit, A Millennium Ago, that highlights Maori legends using holographic effects.

Well, that’s it. While there’s a ton of other family-friendly experiences in New Zealand, they’d be too numerous to list in one blog. Discover what locum tenens opportunities are available in the Land of the Long White Cloud with the click of an orange button below then start planning your scenicand educationalfamily-friendly adventures right away. (Oh, and if you'd like to learn more about Maori culture before you embark, then click here).

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Topics: Wellington, Franz Josef, New Zealand, Milford Sound, Land of the Long White Cloud, Museum of Wellington City and Sea, Legatum Prosperity Index, Franz Josef Glacier, Lake Tekapo, Mount John Observatory, Te Papa Tongarewa, family-friendly experiences in New Zealand

Only one word can describe New Zealand and that word is...

Posted by Everett Fitch

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Coast to coast, north to south, island to island, New Zealand has it made. Somehow, perfect boundaries have been set; the most ideal lines have been drawn. Everyone who lives here has an ocean of fascinating country and culture that’s unparalleled. So many people call this brilliant land home yet so many don’t get to explore its vast expanse unflinchingly. Shocking, I know. Still, many more than that have never visited at all. They’ve never stepped foot on this volcanic, beachy, glacial, rainforesty country. It’s time that changes. It’s time for those who haven’t been to make their way. In fact, to do whatever they must to make their way. Unspoiled scenery is waiting. Right along with those “this is the way life should be” epiphanies.

Few words exist to describe New Zealand with due respect. I can only think of one off the top of my head that describes it perfectly. It’s a word that won’t leave your mind while you’re here. Literally—not a peep will leave your lips. Because you’ll be so stricken with awe, so overcome by rolling waves of soft earth, so exhausted mentally from the idyllic explosion happening before your eyes that you won’t be able to garner enough mental capacity to make those choice syllables move from mind to mouth. New Zealand is simply and utterly…surreal. And here’s the most surreal out of all the surreal in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Milford Sound (South Island)


Lauded short-story writer and novelist Rudyard Kipling stepped foot here once or twice. Every time he left, he swore Milford Sound worthy of being “the eighth wonder of the world.” Not much more can be said. Take his word for it.

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Rotorua (North Island)

Don’t miss Rotorua. Here, the earth churns and the air’s thick with mist. And all around are green pools, hot springs and mud pools with vast mountains vaulting in the distance. One of our doctors—Catherine Dalton, MD, went and was paralyzed with awe: "The land was strangely beautiful and the people were beautifully strange. Geysers erupted all over, and the Maori danced their traditional dances."

Franz Josef Glacier (South Island)


After a hike, heli-hike, or ice-climb on the famed Franz Josef, take a relaxing dip in the Glacier Hot Pools. They’re located in a lush rainforest not far off. Legend has it these hot waters are fed by the frozen tears of a goddess pining for her lost love. (We didn't say it wasn't gushy, we just said it was a legend.)

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Tongariro National Park (North Island)


Three volcanoes call this land home: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe (you might recognize this fiery mountain as Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings) and Ruapehu (AKA Mordor). Emerald lakes and alpine meadows make this place pretty. Steaming craters and old lava flows make it revered. Tramp the Tongariro Alpine Crossing—they say it’s the best one-day hike you’ll ever take.

Catlins (South Island)


The Catlins—an area on the southeastern coast of the South Island—is home to some rare animals. From the shy Hector's dolphin to the very un-shy Hooker's sea lion; you're sure to see some local fauna. This sweep of land is also home to endless beaches, coastal cliffs, rainforests, coves, waterfalls and sprawling farmland. It’s often sold as “off the beaten track” and it’s true. Lucky for you, many people overlook the beauty of this place.

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Hot Water Beach (North Island)


William LeMaire, MD—who’s worked for us in New Zealand—sums it up perfectly: “The best part of Coromandel Peninsula was Hot Water Beach. With a borrowed shovel, we dug a hole in the sand at low tide...the hole then fills up with hot water (from underground geothermal activity) and coupled with the cold ocean water, it becomes a great natural spa to soak in and enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the tide roll in again.” Well, that sounds nothing short of lovely.

Stewart Island/Rakiura


Just south of the South Island, Stewart is the third largest island of New Zealand. Its far-south position makes it an ideal spot for seeing the Aurora Australis (the Southern Lights). In fact, the island's Maori name—Rakiura—means "the Land of Glowing Skies." People flock here for many reasons. Not just for the above-mentioned breathtaking view. This island, over 85% of which is a national park, gives prime glimpses of rare birds like the kiwi.

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Rangitoto (North Island)


You’ll remember the sight of Rangitoto Island—a volcanic cone just off Auckland shores—for years to come. At sunset everything’s falling. Like Rangitoto is pulling down the sun itself. The surrounding sky looks like a wispy porcelain map beautifully stained with dark orange flames. That’s just the view from Auckland. Wait ‘til you get on the island. The view from there is just as magnificent. Plus, there are black lava caves to explore and much hiking to be done. And it’s all in the midst of the world’s largest pohutukawa forest.

Summer is drawing to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are getting shorter...


That heralds more light for New Zealanders at the other end of the world. Say yes to an invincible, unending summer in the Land of the Long White Cloud with a locum tenens assignment. Learn more about our current opportunities for physicians. Meanwhile, watch this short video that wraps New Zealand up in a shiny, impeccable package.

Topics: Everett Fitch, North Island, South Island, Franz Josef, Tongariro, Catlins, Hot Water Beach, Stewart Island, Rangitoto, New Zealand, Milford Sound, Rotorua

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Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

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