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Everett Fitch

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6 striking U.S. Virgin Islands locales and experiences you’ll want to escape to this winter

Posted by Everett Fitch

We’re sure you’re well aware that winter is coming in the Northern Hemisphere. So it’s either time to start throwing on those layers and prepare for the cold season ahead, or if you’re more inclined, you can skip the winter clothes shopping and take a locum tenens assignment in the U.S. Virgin Islands where the warm days never go out of style.

Now we’re not diminishing winter by any means. In fact, we love winter. Just check out these top ski resorts in the Rockies we wrote about recently. If that doesn’t get you excited as ever about the upcoming ski season then we don’t know what will. However we do know there are plenty of people out there who’d opt for year-round, sunny Caribbean weather instead. The following list of top locales and experiences in the U.S. Virgin Islands is for anyone who’d rather be sipping a piña colada on the beach than carving the slopes in the Rockies.

Magens Bay – St. Thomas

We’ve written about Magens Bay more than once. And it’s for good reason. The whole area is magical. It tops many lists as far as beautiful beaches the world over are concerned. The waters are calm, too, which means the bay is perfect for tons of sea-based activities.

Great pastime: To top your Magens Bay trip off we suggest you rent a kayak and venture out into the serene waters where you can catch sublime seascapes and landscapes from not too far offshore.

Secret Harbor Beach – St. Thomas

Just as poetically beautiful as Magens Bay but with less crowds is Secret Harbor Beach. Maybe because it’s a secret? Nah. It’s not as busy as Magens but it’s definitely no secret. You can’t keep locals and tourists away from scenes with humming Caribbean waves and rolling green hills for too long.

Great pastime: Ask around town and most people will tell you to head to Secret Harbor on a clear day and plan an afternoon of snorkeling. Diving is superb along these rocky coastlines.

Coki Point – St. Thomas

You’re catching on that tropical beaches and bays will permeate most of this list, aren’t you? You’d be right in that inference. Point is that’s what makes up these islands. They’re diverse but only insomuch that an impeccable tropical island can be diverse. And Coki Point is as eclectic as it gets. Much like Secret Harbor this small yet lush bit of coastline is fantastic for snorkeling. Plus there are plenty of activities and booths around as well as food trucks to keep you entertained and well fed on this stretch of coast for an entire day.

Great pastime: Rent a jet ski on a less crowded day. You’ll have a blast ripping through those waves unencumbered all while admiring the beauty that is Coki Point.

Charlotte Amalie – St. Thomas

Charlotte Amalie is THE iconic town to visit in the Caribbean. As a matter of fact it’s the capital and largest city of the U.S. Virgin Islands, too. It’s much of what you’d expect: there are colorful, colonial buildings, old cobblestone streets and tons of history in every step. (Visit all three quarters in Charlotte Amalie for a glimpse into the origins of this bustling capital: Kongens Quarter, Dronningens Quarter, and Kronpindsens Quarter.) But that’s part of why you want to visit, right? Not only for the tropical breezes but for the magic of the Caribbean ambience, too.

Great pastime: If you truly want those stupefying views of St. Thomas then take the Skyride to Paradise Point. It will cost you $21.00 for an adult pass and $10.50 for a kid’s pass. The passes include unlimited rides all day to the 700-foot tall observation point where you can see lovely panoramic views of Charlotte Amalie and then some.

Annaly Bay Tide Pools – St. Croix

The Annaly Bay Tide Pools are a marvelous place to cool off in such a tropical climate. But getting there is somewhat difficult. Many sites recommend that you either hire a trained guide or, if you’d like to navigate the trail yourself, to simply be extra cautious of the terrain (it’s a five-mile round-trip hike). Don’t let that deter you. Just check the sea and wind conditions before you embark. (Please keep in mind you can go by four-wheel drive vehicle, too.)

Great pastime: You guessed it, hiking to the Annaly Bay Tide Pools. The adventure itself is in getting to the tide pools. Along the way you’ll encounter all the vibrant rainforest scenery that St. Croix is known for. The relaxation and pure euphoric state comes once you dip into the pools.

Virgin Islands National Park – St. John

Did you know that Virgin Islands National Park covers roughly 60% of St. John? The park itself holds many natural treasures. There’s Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Hassel Island that are not to be missed. Plus you’ll find Danish plantation ruins wrapped up in quintessential rainforest landscape throughout the park.

Great pastime: Go for a hike, any hike. Truly, the best thing to do on St. John is to immerse yourself in nature. The park is filled with 22 nature trails, everything from an hour-long stroll to a full-day hike. Here’s a list of hikes you can take.

There you have it. The U.S. Virgin Islands are replete with breathtaking views. And we’ve only provided an iota of possible experiences. The rest is up to you. Find a physician opportunity in the U.S. Caribbean by clicking the orange button below then fill up your itinerary with all these tropical adventures and more. If you have your own set of favorite locales then please feel free to mention them in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in every single Australian capital city (pt. 2)

Posted by Everett Fitch

The best thing about traveling to a new city is discovering it all your own. Every pair of eyes will see new cityscapes differently; every set of taste buds will experience the local cuisine uniquely; every person will feel different feelings when gazing out at a strange, faraway sunset.

When you travel to any one of these capital cities in Australia, we recommend you try hard to unearth as many layers of it as you can. See more sights. Taste more local food. Experience more nightlife. Explore more beaches and mountains and rivers and oceans nearby.

The deeper you dive the more you find out about yourself and the very culture you’re exploring. You begin to see all the multitudinous sides. The buildings and city centers and countryside that surround become more familiar to you as the days pass. They shed their mysterious veneer. Think of discovering a city as though you’re getting to know someone. Long after the pleasantries have passed, you may even persuade yourself to stay in one of these wondrous cities.

Do you plan to take a locum tenens assignment in Australia? If you do we suspect you’ll be hard-pressed to peel yourself away from this great country once the time has come. Simply put, you’ll fall in love.

Feel free to read part one of our two-part series examining the best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in every single Australian capital city. Then come on back – because it’s time to round off the list for you with part two below.

Hobart, Tasmania

Best restaurant:

This consistently top-ranked restaurant hosts its kitchen smack-dab in the middle of the open-floor plan so you’ve got unrestricted views of all the madness and beauty that goes into making your elegant meal. As much as this place is about the ambience, people definitely come wolf-hungry for the food. The menu is rich with local produce, local meats and seafood and local wines and beers. Word of advice, book ahead.

Best bar: Republic Bar

Conveniently enough some of the bars we’ve listed so far double as a restaurant (and vice versa) so if you’re looking to knock out two birds with one stone, then you’re in luck. Republic Bar just so happens to be a pub that serves up fine grub, too. This joint is a favorite among locals for its upscale seafood and BBQ menu, not to mention it has some of the best live music in town seven nights a week.

Best pastime: Salamanca Market

This one was difficult. There are so many great pastimes in Hobart. We had to go with Salamanca Market. Every Saturday since 1972 this stretch of waterfront in Hobart is alive and bustling. The air is filled with ocean breezes, live music and fragrant foods. Plus the Georgian sandstone architecture is quite the sight.

Melbourne, Victoria

Best restaurant:
Cutler & Co.

Thus far we’ve tried to incorporate both fine-dining establishments as well as some more laid-back food joints. Cutler & Co. though falls into the former more so than the latter. Another open-kitchen design, this restaurant serves up the most elegantly prepared dishes you’ve ever seen like the beef short rib with native pepper, parsley and horseradish. They do have a more, relaxed sharing-style lunch menu every Sunday if that’s more your style.

Best bar: Riverland Bar

Known as the iconic waterfront pub of Melbourne, Riverland Bar skirts the Yarra River in the shadow of Princes Bridge. Of course you can hang inside with your brew but why would you do that if you have an entire outside patio (suitably dubbed the “beer garden”) with resplendent views to enjoy your drink of choice?

Best pastime: St Kilda Esplanade

Not far from the city center you’ll find St Kilda Esplanade. This palm-fringed stretch of sand and boardwalk is an eclectic wonderland complete with captivating views of Port Phillip. It’s quite often humming with both locals and tourists alike. You won’t be wanting for more while you’re visiting, either: there are markets, boutiques, restaurants, bars, rollercoasters, you name it. And of course, there’s immaculate coast as far as the eye can see.

Perth, Western Australia

Best restaurant:
Alfred’s Kitchen

Alright, back to basics. Welcome to Alfred’s Kitchen, a real burger legend in Perth. This roadside joint has been around since 1946 so you know they’re serving up the real deal. And if you’re vegetarian, no worries, they even prepare a mean lentil burger that the locals say is to die for. For you meat-eaters out there, snag Alfred’s famous, original-recipe pea and ham soup.

Best bar: Frisk Small Bar

Are you looking for a more intimate atmosphere where you can share great drinks with new friends? You’re in luck. Frisk Small Bar offers just that. Though they specialize in gin cocktails they do serve up plenty of other choices.

Best pastime: Rottnest Island

Okay, this one is a bit outside of town (12 miles off the coast, or about a 90-minute ferry ride) but we’re sure you’ll forgive us for not listing a best pastime directly in Perth once you step foot on this island – especially after you lay your eyes on a quokka. These tiny marsupials can be found throughout the island. Now on top of spying on these adorable creatures you can also explore coral reefs and shipwrecks, relax on one of over 60 beaches or just walk around with your camera for an entire day and take pictures of sublime ocean scenery.

Sydney, New South Wales

Best restaurant:
Bennelong Restaurant

If you’re in Sydney you’re probably going to want to splurge a bit. (It might very well be Australia’s most iconic capital city.) There’s no better restaurant to do that at than Bennelong. Located right inside the Sydney Opera House, it’s been deemed the grandest of restaurants in the city. Where else can you marvel at one-of-a-kind architecture while having your taste buds blown away by crab ravioli? Nowhere, that’s where.

Best bar: The Lobo Plantation

Again, you’re in Sydney, you’re going to want to head to the best of the best. So head to The Lobo Plantation, a fine establishment that won Bar of the Year in 2015 by Time Out Magazine. Grab a local beer or your favorite cocktail and sprawl out with your friends in one of their mammoth-sized booths.

Best pastime: Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

We would’ve chosen a tour of the Sydney Opera House but since you’ll already be eating inside the architectural wonder with our restaurant recommendation we thought we’d give you the next best thing, a 360-degree view of the city with the BridgeClimb. That’s right, book one of these tours and you’ll be up close and personal with this modern marvel. Don’t worry, a guide will be with you the whole way and all safety measures are taken.

Well that concludes our tour of Australia’s capital cities. Don’t forget to comment below with some of your favorite spots. All that’s left to do now is see what current physician jobs are available in Australia by clicking the big orange button below.

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Best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in every single Australian capital city (pt. 1)

Posted by Everett Fitch

Over the years we’ve written rather extensively about all the top locales to visit in Australia. In doing so we’ve almost run out of adjectives to accurately describe this wonderful country. Every adjective from awe-inspiring to zestful has leapt from our keyboards. Don’t worry though we haven’t run out of things to say yet. And fortunately we haven’t run out of locations to talk about, either.

It’s time to dive a little deeper, don’t you think? Instead of the broad strokes we’re used to. We’re going to give you a complete list of the best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in every last Australian capital. This way if you find yourself in any one of these cities with no idea as to what to do then just jump on our trusty blog and you’re all set. Oh and for those of you who’ve been to these cities and don’t agree with our finds please feel free to write your favorite places in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you think.

Adelaide, South Australia

Best restaurant: Orana (Aboriginal word for “welcome”)

If you want a real taste of Australia with a spotlight on not just local but native, too, then Orana is where you should go. It’s quite the unique experience – small and intimate where the focus is on the food and all the wine pairings that go with.

Best bar: The Collins Bar

Instead of picking a hip, new bar (as there are a ton in Adelaide to choose from) we opted for an established, tried-and-true favorite called The Collins Bar. This is a specialty cocktail joint with a modern, relaxed atmosphere. Grab a babysitter then head to this bar for some exemplary cocktails and great conversation.

Best pastime: Adelaide Hills

This was a tough one. It was a choice between a beach destination and tramping through winery-coated hills. We decided to head for the hills. The Adelaide Hills has it all (except for a beach). Pick some fresh fruit straight from the bush, tree or vine. Sample some local wines. Stroll through the hills unencumbered. Watch kangaroos hop around. IT'S GOT EVERYTHING.

Brisbane, Queensland

Best restaurant: Stokehouse Brisbane

Almost as brilliant as Stokehouse Brisbane’s menu is its riverside location. It has an open design with big windows so you feel as though you’re right in the mix of nature. You can sit on the deck too if you want. You can even catch a glimpse of the city from your seat. So snag a Mediterranean dish and let the ambient city life wash over you. Be warned, this place fills up fast so book in advance.

Best bar: The Laneway

It’s difficult to choose a proper bar for everyone to enjoy. All sorts of people have all sorts of different tastes in scenery and ambience. Though we think all will be pleased with The Laneway. It’s cemented itself as one of the best bars in all of Brisbane for its welcoming yet stylistic atmosphere and its bountiful selection of boutique beers and finely crafted cocktails. Not to mention it has a firm focus on being both green and local in its never-ending pursuit of spirits, wines, beers and cocktail ingredients.

Best pastime: North Stradbroke Island (AKA "Straddie")

When it comes to pastimes we tend to opt for the outdoors, especially in a place like Brisbane. We don’t want to discriminate too much; occasionally we do offer insight into top museums, art galleries, historic buildings, etc. But for the most part the outdoors is where it’s at and it’s always ripe for exploring.

Head to North Stradbroke Island via a short ferry ride from Brisbane. You’ll be met with sublime views. Either relax or customize your own tour: everything from 4WD treks to sandboarding is available.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Best restaurant: Eighty Six

A retreat from the fine-dining, small-plate atmosphere, Eighty Six could be coined a hipster eatery. But we’d be remiss if we did such a disservice to such a radiant restaurant. It can be a bit noisy in here but that’s because the diners are having a helluva flavor experience and can’t do anything but shout about it. The menu is richly unique, the plates are meant to be shared, and a blackboard shows you what’s been eighty-sixed (nixed) from the menu as they slowly run out.

Best bar: 54 Benjamin

There are a lot of great bars in Canberra. That’s because the capital is a hip place to be. But we had to decide on one. And 54 Benjamin was our choice. It is newer than most bars in town but we picked it for very sound reasons. They have a penchant for creating high-end cocktails that hit your taste buds just right. And it’s a place where pretty much everyone can feel welcome.

Best pastime: National Gallery of Australia

Remember when we said we tend to opt for the outdoors? Well this time in Canberra we’re staying inside. That’s not because Canberra is lacking in things to do outdoors, no. It’s because when you’re in the capital city of Australia you’re going to want to visit the National Gallery of Australia. It hosts contemporary, Australian, Indigenous and Asian artwork among others. Don’t stop here, either. Canberra is home to many great art galleries. Get out in the city and explore.

Darwin, Northern Territory

Best restaurant: Hanuman

Ask a Darwin local about a few of their favorite restaurants and they’ll most certainly throw Hanuman in the mix. That’s because it’s a community staple. It’s been said that the chef and restaurateur Jimmy Shu put Darwin on the map when it comes to great dining. The menu combines Thai, Indian and Nonya flavors to give diners an unforgettable tasting experience. Try the fresh and local barramundi for a real treat.

Best bar: The Darwin Ski Club

This one’s a bit of a cheat as it’s kind of a restaurant, too. It also doubles as the home of the Northern Territory Water Ski Association. But all are welcome.

While we say go ahead, order a delicious bucket of prawns straight from the Arafura Sea and dig in. We also say come here after a long day to watch the spectacular sunset as you sip on a local brew.

Best pastime: Darwin Harbour

Darwin is a great jumping-off point for adventurers of all kinds. You’ve got Kakadu National Park, Mary River National Park and Litchfield National Park all nearby. Plus Darwin Harbour is right out your front door.

Magnificent landscapes rich with wondrous flora and fauna surround this Northern Territory capital. It’s extremely difficult to choose just one experience for our list. But since we have to choose we’re going with a pleasant nature cruise around Darwin Harbour. It’s a fantastic primer to get you excited about all the other outdoor adventures you can have in this part of Australia.

Stay tuned for our next installment where you’ll find out about all the best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in the rest of the capital cities across Australia: Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Again, feel free to comment below if you’ve been to any of these places, or if you have any places you’d recommend yourself. In the meantime, find out what physician opportunities are available in Australia right now by clicking the orange button below.

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Leaf peeping in New England: 10 regions and scenic byways you must visit while on locum tenens assignment

Posted by Everett Fitch

If you live in a place that has four distinct seasons you might not realize it at times but you’re fortunate. Seriously. Each season is wonderful for very different reasons what with winter and its hot cocoa, its cold-weather mountain sports and its idyllic charm. And spring with its long-anticipated promise of new growth. And summer with its seemingly endless warm-weather days filled with daytrips to the beach or hikes up in the mountains. And fall…who could ever forget fall? This season’s got those cool, refreshing breezes, that warm, golden light and almost the entire visible spectrum of changing leaves.

Do you reside somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere? Then you’ve no doubt already started seeing the autumnal changes. For all you leaf peepers out there this is prime-time viewing, especially in New England. Take a locum tenens job in the Northeast this fall. And be sure to hit up these 10 regions and scenic byways. That’s right, we’ve gathered up some of the best places for you to go leaf peeping while you’re here (in no particular order). Check them out.

1) Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Lauded as one of the best regions to go leaf peeping, you’d be remiss if you didn’t venture to the Litchfield Hills for a classic taste of fall. This region is teeming with white church steeples, rolling backcountry roads, covered bridges and two-story clapboard colonials complete with red doors. And it’s all set against a golden-hued heavenly backdrop you will definitely write home about.

2) Lake Candlewood and Squantz Pond State Park, Connecticut

On top of being Connecticut’s largest lake, Candlewood is also a leaf-peeper’s paradise. On the way you can stop off at DiGrazia Vineyards, which isn’t far off from Lake Candlewood’s shores, to taste some fine New England specialty wines. Or if you’d like to keep at it, head to the western side, to Squantz Pond State Park for fantastic views of rolling hills immaculately covered with burnt-orange leaves.

3) The Berkshires, Massachusetts

The Berkshires, what region could be more famous for fall foliage? Rhetorical, of course. This region, capitalizing on its beauty over the years, has amassed a lovely array of unforgettable bed-and-breakfasts and spa retreats. Feel free to stay a night or two. Not only will you leave more relaxed, you’ll leave with a new perspective. Literally, within a matter of days, the fall leaves tend to turn an even more brilliant hue.

4) Old King’s Highway, Massachusetts

We truly don’t believe it gets much better than Old King’s Highway. To be honest, we’re biased. If you’re going to choose but one of these scenic places to visit while on locum tenens assignment in the Northeast, we highly recommend this one. This route gets busy but not too busy. It takes you right along Cape Cod Bay, through quaint towns, past antique shops and – most importantly – right into the magnificence of autumn in New England.

5) Lake Champlain, Vermont

We don’t think a bad word can be said about Vermont’s landscape. It’s considered royalty when it comes to autumn scenery. While there are countless places to travel in the Green Mountain State for fall-like nostalgia, Lake Champlain is perhaps the most unique. Unique insofar as you can take a cruise out on the lake and gain a grandiose perspective – orange sunlight, crimson trees and deep blue waters blanket the horizon to give you exceptional views. Be sure to visit the maritime museum while you’re in the area, too.

6) Route 100, Vermont

To truly get a glimpse of the brilliance that is autumn in Vermont, we suggest you travel down Route 100. Dedicate a whole day – or two days – to the trip. Over 200 miles long and with over 20 picturesque towns along the way there’s no shortage of things to do along Route 100. Stop off in Weston at the Vermont Country Store. If you have kids along for the ride take them to the candy counter here, there's no doubt they'll love perusing the glorious selection of sweets.

7) Kancamagus Scenic Highway, New Hampshire

Ah, the White Mountains. You’ve heard of these, we’re sure. They’re the most famous rugged mountains in New Hampshire, part of the northern Appalachian Mountains. And the Kancamagus Scenic Highway AKA “the Kanc” (pronounced “Kank-ah-mah-gus”) cuts right through these jagged beauties replete with endless fall foliage. It’s now designated as an American Scenic Byway. Drive the route in early to mid-October and you’ll see why.

8) Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway, New Hampshire

Often touted as slower-paced and less frenzied than other scenic byways in the area, Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway is a must visit. The lake itself is a popular, year-round destination but come fall-time its not nearly as busy. That means less crowds as well as more scenery for you to freely explore. Meander along the 25-mile route and on the way stop at Fells Historic Site for an easy, intimate hike into protected forestland.

9) Acadia National Park Loop Road, Maine

Acadia National Park is downright mesmerizing any time of the year. But if you really want a peek into what it looks like during fall then take the Park Loop Road, 27 miles of brilliance. Situated on Maine’s Mount Desert Island this loop is filled to the brim with misty ambience, miles of changing leaves and oceanic views. Would you like an all-encompassing history of the park while you drive? An audio CD is available for purchase at Hulls Cove Visitor Center.

10) Blackstone River Valley, Rhode Island

Known officially as the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, this slice of New England highway starts in Worcester, Massachusetts and settles in Providence, Rhode Island. If you’d rather get outside the car for a while and stretch your legs then take a bike tour through the backwoods of Blackstone River Valley. It will be memorable to say the least. Or if you’d just like a different perspective other than the open road you can book a riverboat tour, too, complete with a guide.

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Spring is coming: Catch these 6 can't-miss locum tenens experiences in New Zealand

Posted by Everett Fitch

August tends to be steeped in nostalgia. Maybe it’s the way the sun shines. Maybe it’s summer’s end itself. Or maybe it’s just mostly a time for recollection. Heavy, wonderful memories begin to move in. Life is more closely examined. We’ve lost the speed of summer.

Not so in New Zealand, they are in the Southern Hemisphere after all. They’re gaining excitement and sunlight as spring rapidly approaches. It’s not too hot, not too cold (in most places anyway). In fact, it’s just the right time of year for most activities.

Have you ever wanted to take a locum tenens assignment in New Zealand? We’d say now’s the best time to finally consider taking the plunge. Spring is marvelous in the Land of the Long White Cloud. And here are some of the most marvelous sights and experiences.

1) Okarito Lagoon

Even if you grew up in the shadow of a mighty mountain range, next to a sparkling, raging river, you’ve never experienced anything quite like Okarito Lagoon. Some would paint this region with the very same words. Granted, you’ve got the Southern Alps towering furiously as they do not far off. And the Okarito river delta itself sparkles and rages. Still this place has an energy all its own.

Located not far from Franz Josef Glacier (about 20 minutes away), you can book a kayak tour and gain unheard-of views of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps from New Zealand’s largest unmodified wetland. If you’re a birder, you’ll be in heaven. Over 70 species of birds call Okarito home.

2) Whanganui

We know what you’re thinking: How do you pronounce Whanganui and what does it mean? Here’s how you pronounce it. And it means 'big harbor' in Maori. Now let’s dive into what makes this city so great.

Just a couple hours’ drive from Wellington, this town holds a lot of adventure – both in its city life and its outdoors life. You can stay in the city center and explore all kinds of neat places like the Whanganui Opera House or the Sarjeant Art Gallery or even the country’s only Glass School.

We recommend going to the outskirts and dipping your toes into some real outdoor adventure. If you’re a mountain biker, take the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail. If you’re a kayaker, take the Whanganui River Journey. (You can go by canoe, too.)

3) Golden Bay

Now we’d like to start off introducing Golden Bay by saying it’s for nature lovers but we could honestly say that about any town, sight or experience we have listed here. In fact, we could say that about most places in New Zealand.

If you’re in Nelson, take the roads to get to Golden Bay. You’ll drive over Takaka Hill (AKA ‘marble mountain’ because it’s made of marble). On the way, don’t miss out on cooling off in Ngarua Caves. You can witness a skeletal display of the extinct moa here. Stop off in Te Waikoropupu Springs, too. This gushing water is sacred to the Maori. It’s also known for having the clearest spring water in the world.

Once the views open up of Golden Bay you’ll be truly astounded. It’s a massive sandy bay with huge rocks jutting up out of the sea here and there. Bit of advice while you’re here: try the scallops.

For all you fishing enthusiasts, hit up Wildcat Charters in town. They’ll take you in and around Golden Bay for a unique fishing experience. They’ll supply you with bait, fishing gear, tea, coffee and a light snack, too. Some fish you might be able to catch: snapper, blue cod, gurnard, kahawai, perch and tarakihi.

4) Hamilton-Waikato

The Hamilton-Waikato region is about a two hours’ drive south from Auckland. Trust us, take the drive. You’ll want to come visit rolling-green-hill places like Matamata where the Hobbiton Movie Set can be found, or black-sand beaches with endless crashing waves and panoramic views like Raglan (notoriously known to surfers the world over).

We’ve talked about the Waitomo Caves in the past. But we’ll say it again: Go visit. Glowworms have taken over the cave’s ceiling and light it up so brilliantly that you'll be hypnotized.

After a morning at Waitomo, spend an afternoon at Kawhia’s hot water beach. Bring a shovel so you can dig your very own hot springs bath while the rest of your family plays on the beach.

5) Kaikoura

If you’re looking for the best whale watching in the country then you’re going to want to travel to Kaikoura. You can whale watch from the rails of a catamaran or kayak next to seals off the coast.

Be sure to book a tour with Whale Watch. It’s unforgettable. You’ll board one of their catamarans and instantly be taken into a world unseen by most. Marine encounters definitely vary but some of the year-round residents include sperm whales, fur seals and dusky dolphins. Depending on the time of year, too, you may come across humpbacks, pilot whales, blue whales, or southern right whales.

6) Milford Road

New Zealand has some of the most spectacular scenery in the entire world, no doubt about it. And Fiordland National Park is no exception. You can hike and bike in the park or you can charter a cruise on the magnificent waters. This time around we say go by road. Magical, misty mountains will be your guide.

From Te Anau to Milford Sound you’ll be awestruck. Bring your camera. We repeat bring your camera. Even if you’re not a photographer by hobby or heart, no worries, you’ll still be drawn to take pictures. Especially at places like the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain "where an optical illusion causes the approaching mountain to get smaller rather than larger." Just before Milford, pull off to the side of the road and take a 20-minute walk to The Chasm. You’ll come across a forested wonderland complete with a small but powerful waterfall.

If you don’t feel comfortable driving this road then you can always take a bus. That way you can sit back and enjoy all the mesmerizing views without a care.

Are you itching to get to New Zealand after reading about all the wild locum tenens experiences you can have here? We don’t blame you. Find out about all the jobs we currently have for physicians in the Land of the Long White Cloud by clicking the orange button below.

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Road tripping across New York State: 3 top scenic drives you must experience this fall

Posted by Everett Fitch

Ah, road trips. There’s something wonderful about loading up your car with only your most necessary belongings. You end up finding out what you love most when you’re packing your choice possessions into a limited space. Of course, saving room for your camera is a must, too; you’ve got to take pictures along the way after all.

As we lose the speed of summer in the Northern Hemisphere we tend to think vacation season is over. It’s not. In fact, even with the collective sigh of summer’s end, you must know fall is a wondrous time to take a vacation. And New York State is an ideal place to do so. If you’re on locum tenens assignment in the Empire State, or if you plan to take a medical job here then be sure to consider its stunning countryside as the backdrop for your fall vacation. It’s full of amazing sights.

Hudson Valley comes to mind. Here you’ll get leaves of gold. This scenic drive is on National Geographic Traveler’s Top 20 Must-See Places on its “Best of the World” list.

Ask a New York resident about where to road trip and they’ll mention Route 20, too. This cross-section of America is reminiscent of yesteryear. The road itself began construction in the early 20th century and was finished around the 1950s; you’ll see sights like cobblestone houses, whitewashed barns and fields of hollyhocks.

Of course, with every road trip, you’ll be held spellbound by all those endless painted white lines along the way. They tend to serve as a reminder of unabashed freedom; they’re part of the heavy memories that make up life on the open road. And each time you step foot outside the car to witness the magnificent sights we’re about to detail below, you somehow become lovesick, desiring to have your foot on the gas pedal again, pining to drift freely past countryside and take in as much scenic stimulation your senses can handle. Welcome to the striking byways and highways of New York State.

1) Hudson Valley Scenic Drive

Stretching from the Adirondacks all the way to the Statue of Liberty, the Hudson River defines Upstate New York. It’s an iconic refuge for New Yorkers. Historic towns rife with storied pasts, riverfront parks, old diners, you better believe you're in for a real treat traveling down this road.

Hit up Kingston if you’re looking for an intimate look into New York’s past. (It was the state’s first capital before Albany.) The Stockade District is where you’ll want to head first; you can witness fascinating Dutch architecture here. Or if you’re more inclined, get out on the river ASAP with Rip Van Winkle, a family-run, river-cruise company.

Some more places to check out:

Red Hook Diner (AKA Historic Village Diner) – A 1920s-built diner just north of Rhinebeck.

Walkway Over the Hudson – Stop in Poughkeepsie to walk across the world’s longest pedestrian bridge.

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt – Yep, you can visit FDR’s riverside home. A place FDR spoke fondly about quite often, “All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River.”

Mohonk Mountain House – Quite expensive to stay overnight but it’s worth it. If you don’t have the time then opt for a less-expensive day pass and visit the grounds – a Victorian castle resort sits atop a brilliant mountain lake. There are plenty of hiking trails and swimming spots to explore here.

2) Central NY Scenic Drive – Route 20

As mentioned before, locals will probably tell you to drive the distance on Route 20 because you’ll be met with unparalleled scenery. Not many people outside New York State know about Route 20 as a scenic byway. Most people might think of the Finger Lakes or Hudson Valley or even the Great Lakes Seaway Trail as far as the really great New York drives. But Route 20 should be up there, too. We bet you’ll be recommending it to friends soon after you make the drive yourself.

Stop off in Skaneateles for a lakefront-rich adventure. You can see the town’s namesake lake right from Main Street. There are remarkable little boutiques and antique shops here – plus a slew of great diners. There’s no other reason to stop here other than to view the splendor of one of the prettiest towns in all of New York State.

Some more places to check out:

Chittenango Falls State Park – Just north of another quintessential New York town – Cazenovia – is Chittenango Falls. Take the roughly 0.5-mile gorge trail up to the 167-foot waterfall for spectacular views.

Fly Creek Cider Mill – In the town of Fly Creek is a cider mill that has been pressing the most delicious cider ever to grace anyone’s taste buds for the past 160 years. Don’t miss out.

3) Long Island’s Gold Coast

Notoriously known for serving as an inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby, this ocean drive is, in a word, transcendent. You drive this stretch and you feel instantly transported back 100-plus years, as if you’re in the Gilded Age looking from afar witnessing in wonder all the glory of a glistening party at Eagle’s Nest (the Vanderbilt’s Spanish Revival mansion). But that’s not the only thing that’s magnificent about this drive.

There’s a whole world going on inside Long Island’s Gold Coast. Start at Sands Point Preserve, once the mansion of Harry F. Guggenheim, for some truly great views of Long Island Sound. It now serves as a natural history museum, as well as a nature preserve and historic site.

Some more places to check out:

Nassau County Museum of Art – 25 miles east of New York City rests a 145-acre property filled with formal gardens, art exhibitions and a world-renowned sculpture garden. This is the height of Long Island’s famed Gold Coast.

Vanderbilt Museum – Gone are the days of raucous parties. Now the Vanderbilt Museum hosts a 3,000-year-old mummy along with clear views of Northport Harbor and Long Island Sound. It’s also a marine and natural history museum. And a planetarium, too.

Take a cruise aboard the Discovery – You probably didn’t think you could take a wetlands cruise in New York, did you? Well you can. And this hour-and-a-half-long tour runs right along Long Island’s North Shore, aboard a pontoon boat.

Now that we’ve detailed some of the best scenic drives and top sights in all of New York State, what’s next? First things first, find more can't-miss drives and tours here. Second, are you looking for a locum tenens assignment in New York State? Look no further. We have opportunities for physicians all across this great state, just click the orange button below to search for a medical job that suits you. You’re also welcome to give us a call; our physician placement specialists are here to help.

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And now 9 offbeat, extraordinary things to see and do in California

Posted by Everett Fitch

We’ve written about California a lot – and for good reason. It’s a marvelous bit of land. You’ve got the redwoods in the north standing tall next to gorgeous oceanside cliffs. Turn south and both those mammoth trees and the misty monoliths along with them quickly and dramatically turn into gold-sand beaches. Inland, Yosemite casts massive shadows (you’ll immediately fall in love with this wilderness). Then there’s Lake Tahoe nearby where – during any season – the beauty is endless and unerring. Vibrant cultures and communities fringe every last measure of road along the way.

Immensely captivating places like Big Sur provide beatnik refuge. Coastal cities like San Diego, farther south, make you feel like you’re on perpetual spring break. And only a glimmer, a scratch-of-the-surface, is what we’ve offered so far. We know there’s so much more to the Golden State.

This time though, instead of going the more familiar route (like a listing of top places to explore in California), we’re going to give you a full list of the not-so-familiar. Places or things or experiences you may have never even heard of. Have we intrigued you? Are you planning a locum tenens adventure in California? If you answered yes to at least one of those questions, keep reading.

1) The Wave Organ in San Francisco

Back in 1986 a pair of artists, Peter Richards and George Gonzales, collaborated on an acoustic art piece together. It’s called the Wave Organ and it actually produces sounds, activated by waves of course. (It’s said that the sound is so subtle that you must become sensitized to really hear it.) Go check it out. You may just fall in love with the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from here, too.

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Dive into all-things Western Australia: Some extraordinary locum tenens experiences to look out for

Posted by Everett Fitch

Must all locations we write about be brilliant and stunning? The answer is yes, yes they must. Not because we only place locum tenens physicians in locales we can’t say a bad word about but more so because if you truly look hard enough, you can find a sliver of beauty in any destination.

Though, we will admit you’d be hard-pressed to say anything bad about Western Australia at all, except maybe to say it can get a tad hot in the outback. Still, that’s all part of the experience. If you want to be immersed in the red, red desert this country is known for then Western Australia is where you need to go. This countryside is also rife with coastal wonders plus a quite glorious river valley region. Are you not an outdoorsy person? No worries. There’s plenty of culture and history to explore, too.

Wine and dine in the Margaret River region

A little over 20 percent of Australia’s top wines come from this region. We’re not just talking one or two grape varieties, either. True, you’ll find that the backbone of this region is Cabernet Sauvignon. Though, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin blanc and Verdelho can also be found here. And every last batch is top-notch.

All sorts of tours depart from Margaret River. Here are a few we urge you to imbibe in:

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Locum tenens adventures: Explore amazing landscapes and lesser-known gems across the Midwest

Posted by Everett Fitch

Some people consider the Midwest to be a flyover region, meaning there’s not much to explore. We’re not those people. We emphatically believe the 12 states that make up the Midwest hold some of the most perspective-shattering views throughout the entire U.S. That’s definitely a bold statement considering this region is backlit by some extremely beautiful places. Landscapes to live up to like Yellowstone in Wyoming and Glacier in Montana. Or metropolises that are pretty difficult to hold a candle to like New York City and Boston. But you know what we say to people who so staunchly favor those sights over the Midwest? What about the Great Lakes and the Badlands? What about Chicago? These are wonderfully stunning places, too. We would be struck with remorse if we didn’t do our best to shout from the rooftops about all these countless Midwest treasures.

Ultimately, we want to say that the American Midwest should not be so quickly dismissed as “flyover.” Because on top of all the big cities here, you’ll find a slew of lesser-known gems scattered throughout that we bet you’d be dying to see if you knew about them. Luckily for you, we’re going to tell you about a few treasures to look out for; so prepare for an eyeful, here’s the best of the Midwest.

Northern Michigan – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

These three words will change the way you feel about the Midwest: Sleeping Bear Dunes. Enter that into Google and see what comes up. The herculean Lake Michigan challenges your perception. You’ll be questioning whether or not you’re viewing the open sea with all that seemingly infinite water laid out before you. Couple that with scenes of joyous people artlessly tossing themselves down honey-colored dunes that fall right into the bluer-than-blue lake below and you pretty much know what Sleeping Bear is all about. In other words, you’ll be enraptured by colorful earth within a sea of smiles.

If you don’t have too long to discover the area then head to the Phillip A. Hart Visitor Center first. This place will get you set up with maps and an intro to the park. They’ll most likely tell you to take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive because it gives you a quick but satisfying look into the magnificence of Sleeping Bear.

South Dakota – Badlands National Park

The name itself conjures up images of Mars, or some strange dream you maybe had as a kid. At sunset, get here to experience the rainbow-layered buttes of Badlands National Park and one of those things will probably still be coming to mind. This park elicits fervor in people that’s unrivaled – possibly because they don’t expect such immense beauty in South Dakota. But it’s here.

"Mako sica" means “land bad” in the Native American language, Lakota. “Les mauvais terres pour traverse" means "bad lands to travel through" in French. It’s no coincidence the name stuck what with the rugged terrain and lack of water. Still many animals thrive here (e.g., prairie dogs, mule deer, bison, bighorn sheep and coyotes). And many once thrived here: Walk where saber-toothed cats and rhinos used to roam.

You’re also welcome to drive. Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway (SD 240) is the most breathtaking route, and consistently rated as a top-ten scenic drive. Don’t leave here without hiking the Notch Trail though. It’s a one-and-a-half-mile (round trip) hike that finishes with captivating views of the White River Valley.

Northern Wisconsin – Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Have you ever heard of the Apostle Islands in Northern Wisconsin? No? Well, let us paint a picture for you.

Imagine a patch of summer air being passed back and forth between waves. As the sun slowly gains height above Lake Superior, beams of fiery orange light meet with this sweet-smelling air. And before it’s carried to shore, with every cycle of crest and trough in the wave, the patch of air becomes more fragrant, now thick with a balmy heat. Eventually the breeze finds a home in a cave built from age-old sandstone. You come up from the depths of Lake Superior only to be met with this intimate current of air and that utterly enchanting smell. Welcome to the windblown, cliff- and cave-drenched, forested masterpiece of nature that is Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. What we just painted for you was a summer day full of scuba diving amongst sandstone caves. You’re welcome.

Chicago, Illinois – The Ledge in Sears Tower (now Willis Tower)

Now for a little break from the wild scenery we just decorated your mind with and right on into the city. Chicago is equal parts grit and grace. It can be seen as the backbone of the Midwest plus its oceanic shoreline is pure poetry for the eyes.

You should absolutely go to all the usual haunts: Millennium Park, Magnificent Mile, Wrigley Field and the Art Institute of Chicago. We would like to delve a bit deeper, though, to give you a place that isn’t so often talked about. (We highly recommend that you visit all those brilliant sites still – especially the Art Institute. It’s the second largest art museum in the U.S.)

You’ve heard of Sears Tower, we’re positive (AKA Willis Tower). It is the third tallest building in the world after all. But what you possibly haven’t heard about is The Ledge. This is essentially a glass box housed in the 103rd floor observation room. It towers over the city. You’ll be pleased to know you can experience second-to-none views of the Windy City, just about 50 miles worth on a clear day. Don’t worry, The Ledge is made of one-and-a-half inches of glass and can support up to 5 tons.

There you have it, four lesser-known experiences in the great Midwest. Now it's time to find a reason to visit (hint: find a Midwest locum tenens assignment right here). After you do that, set out exploring in the above-mentioned places. Maybe you can even seek out some unique experiences that aren’t on the list. In fact, we’d love to hear if you have any sites you’d recommend, too, in the comments below. Happy travels!

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Before you embark on your locum tenens adventure – understand New Zealand’s Maori culture

Posted by Everett Fitch

In this hyper-connected world it’s easy for us to get too busy, to get too caught up in the everyday, to get too lost in the glow of our phones. Some days we might even forget to look up from our screens more than a few times. We miss out on quite a bit of beauty that way – like the kind that rolls on effortlessly in New Zealand.

Now, we’ve waxed poetic for years about the glorious landscape that’s housed here. And that’s for good reason: it’s home to a plethora of natural wonders. In fact, we plan to keep talking about every last beach, hot spring and fjord here for years to come. But this time is different. This time we’re going to give you a tiny glimpse into how the Māori – a proud people with a fascinating culture – shaped this island-country. Welcome to “the land of the long white cloud," or Aotearoa, as the Māori would call it.

A brief history of Māori settlement

Tangata whenua – that means “the people of the land.” You can probably guess Māori are the tangata whenua (‘wh’ pronounced as ‘f’). The first Polynesian ancestors of Māori stepped on New Zealand shores about 1,000 years ago. Though, it wasn’t until about 700 years ago that settlements were developed. (The exact dates of these settlements are still contested among scholars and historians.)

Māori used the ocean currents, as well as the wind and stars to reach New Zealand. In fact, it was deliberate that Māori found New Zealand. For years they were setting off on voyages of exploration; they were intent on finding land.

Kupe is said to be the first Polynesian explorer who discovered New Zealand. He left his ancestral homeland of Hawaiki and traveled across the Pacific by canoe. (Hawaiki is not to be confused with Hawaii but instead is thought to be a group of islands in the South Pacific where Māori originated.) Eventually he landed at the Hokianga Harbour in Northland – at least that’s where historians believe Māori first made landfall.

For years Māori gathered and grew their own food. Kumara, which is a sweet potato, was a vital food source and provided sustenance for large settlements of Māori. They hunted, too – seals and moa were their main prey. Then the moa died out because of over-hunting.

Due to the abundance that New Zealand offered, Māori thrived. Populations grew and grew, and so did iwi (tribes). In times of peace, Māori would live in unprotected settlements. When there was tribal warfare, Māori would construct individual pā (fortified villages) to protect themselves from rival iwi.

Then the Europeans came. In 1642, Abel Tasman – a Dutch explorer – was the first to set his eyes on what would be called New Zealand. And it wasn’t until 1769 that the next European, James Cook, stepped foot on these golden shores. In the early 1800s was when Europeans really started shaping the communities, culture and infrastructure that already existed on the islands.

In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was created by the British and signed by Māori chiefs. Essentially, in doing so, Māori ceded power to the British Crown. And European settlement truly began.

Later, in the first half of the 20th century, prominent Māori leaders strived to ensure a better life for their people. Newfound interest in language, arts and culture grew among the younger generations. It was a major revival. Today, Māori comprise about 15% of the total population in New Zealand. Their culture, language and traditions – thanks to the efforts of many – are all still very much alive.

Customs and traditions of the proud Māori

There’s so much to see and do. You’ve got your hāngi, your haka, your pōwhiri, your marae, your pounamu, how do you know where to begin? The best place to start is a marae (meeting grounds).

You can experience Māori culture in a slew of stunning places all over the both North and South Island – like Rotorua, Auckland, Hokianga, Whanganui National Park, Wellington and Kaikoura to name a few. But we recommend you head to the Bay of Islands for a truly unique experience.

On top of staying at a marae and being greeted with a traditional pōwhiri (welcome ceremony) – an intricate ritual filled with dances and chants (haka) and welcome calls (karanga) – you can also dive further into Māori heritage and take a journey aboard a waka (Māori canoe). Back in 2011, it was featured in National Geographic as one of the world’s top 50 tours of a lifetime. You’ll hear ancient stories from Māori guides as you help paddle the 40-foot war canoe along the Waitangi River.

Don’t leave New Zealand without trying a hāngi meal. Some culinary delights are special because of their exceptional ingredients. But the New Zealand staple hāngi, is exceptional because of its unique preparation. It’s a method of cooking involving an earth-made oven where vegetables and meat spend hours steaming.

A traditional hāngi meal is chicken or fish cooked with seasonal vegetables, or kumara (sweet potatoes, remember?). For thousands of years, Māori have dug pits and lined them with rocks heated in a fire. The food is put into a basket, settled inside the pit on top of the warm rocks, covered with earth and then left to cook. The results are spectacular. We challenge you to find a more traditional New Zealand meal.

More notable places to visit in Aotearoa

Have you ever heard of pounamu? It’s a type of green jade that’s integral to Māori culture. Hokitika and the nearby Arahura River are considered the birthplace of pounamu. While it’s not uncommon to come across small bits of pounamu along Hokitika Beach, your best bet is exploring nearby shops and galleries. You can even visit a master carver and learn about the origins of both New Zealand’s green heart and the art of carving. But be sure to have someone else buy you your own pounamu. It’s bad luck otherwise. Māori believe that pounamu is a gift from the land and so a carved greenstone should be a gift as well.

Explore New Zealand firsthand

There's a lot we missed. But that's where you come in. It's your turn to experience Aotearoa. On top of everything we outlined above, there are entire museums in New Zealand dedicated to not only preserving but also reviving Māori culture. We suggest you check out the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington for starters. You can learn even more about Māori language and lore, as well as fascinating traditions we didn’t have time to talk about – like the art of Māori tattoo, tā moko. Feel free to learn more about tā moko here.

In the meantime, view our current physician opportunities in the Land of the Long White Cloud. You’re sure to have a blast exploring Māori culture while on locum tenens assignment.

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