"First, do no harm" isn't a bad principle when it comes to anyone who travels, but it seems particularly appropriate for locum tenens. Every day, hoardes of sightseers are running roughshod over some of the world's most fragile places, winning Machu Picchu a spot on the World's Monuments Fund's Watch list. Wildlife on Ecuador's Galapagos Islands is disappearing under beach towels and hotels, thanks to a boom of building and ships that shuttle tourists by the gutful each year. Even Australia's evocatively-named Bay of Fires, once Tasmania's "best-kept secret," has been threatened by a massive, recent influx of visitors.
So what do you do when wanderlust gets the better of you Down Under? Well, we've happily found several eco-friendly wilderness adventures that will scratch your itchy feet and satisfy your curiosity - without destroying Mother Nature.
The Overland Track between Cradle Valley and Lake St. Clair is regarded as one of the best guided walks in the world, and there's no better way to see it than on a walking tour with Cradle Mountain Huts. Take six days to walk the famous track, bunking down in comfortable mountain huts. You can explore alpine plateaus and glacial tarns, temperate rainforests, rivers, waterfalls and sedge land moors, traversing an extraordinary variety of unspoiled landscapes. The pace is leisurely, with a range of optional and more rigorous side trips including an ascent of Mt. Ossa. Take a trip from your desk chair with this spectacular photo gallery.
As much an Aussie holiday icon as the Sydney Opera House, Phillip Island in Victoria hosts a nightly parade of little penguins that's hands-down the country's most popular wildlife attraction. The parade, which occurs at dusk when the Phillip Island fairy penguins return to shore, has boardwalks, viewing stands, ranger tours, and a variety of sightseeing options including using night-vision technology. And the penguins aren't the only adorable wildlife you'll encounter on here. The Koala Conservation Centre on the Phillips Island brings visitors up close to these adorable marsupials via a series of treetop boardwalks.
Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales is the known as the King of Australia's National Parks and home to mainland Australia's highest peak. A Kosciuszko Alpine Guided Walk hosted by the Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort offers travelers a tantalizing taste of the Australian high country: the glacial lakes, alpine fauna and sweeping views that make up the immense UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. One-day and overnight treks, including an ascent of Kosciuszko, range from easy to expert with pre-prepared campsites, a dry change of clothing and a hearty meal awaiting walkers at day's end. Small groups are led by knowledgeable guides (all equipment is carried by the staff) and the program ensures minimal track and campsite impact.
So take a Hippocratic Oath of another kind and resolve to travel responsibly, conserving the environment and improving the well-being of local people as you go. To learn more visit the International Ecotourism Society's website.