Locums for a Small World Blog

Locum tenens doctor 'tossed by the wind' in New Zealand & Oz

Posted by Saralynn White

Dr. Steven Vilter's passion for the Land Down Under
is evident in the photos he takes and the stories that accompany them.
Here's his latest dispatch:

Hello Everyone!

We finally made it out to Tiri Tiri Matangi Island (an open nature and conservation reserve), which has been cleared off and grazed for 130 years. The expectation was that the native bush on the island would regenerate, but by the mid-80's it became evident that wasn't happening. A grassroots campaign to replant the island and clear it of pcaribbean blue water bay 123rfests ensued. Now, several endangered species have been reintroduced and are thriving,
and this peace of heaven has been declared pest free. (Note: Tiri Tiri is a Maori name that means "tossed by the wind" and the mythology says the island is a remnant of an ancestral fishing net.)

Usually, when the Department of Conservation (DOC) clears an island and reintroduces endangered species, the public is excluded. But as this island was cleared by the public, 120 people a day can visit on Wednesdays through Sundays (catch a ferry from Gulf Harbour or downtown Auckland).

australia uluru sunset thinkstockI visited Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia some
30 years ago and, as luck would have it, I was able to make it back on this trip. It is still powerful. We spent three days, did a bit of walking, and spent most sunrises and sunsets watching the rock change moods and colors.

When I was here before, Ayers was administered by the National Park System. Since then, the land has been returned to the Aboriginal tribes of the area. Climbing to the summit used to be the thing to do, but the the peak is a culturally sensitive area, so the tribes now ask you not to hike.

Similarly, places around the base are now off limits. Some 30 years ago, it was a bit of a camping free-for-all. In 1985, however, that was eliminated and campers were redirected to the newly built Ayers Rock Resort 10 kilometers away (though some camping can still be done in designated areas). The restaurants at the resort serve Emu, Kangaroo, and Crocodile. I recommend the "bush tucker, hold the witchity grubs" (they'll know what you're talking about). After visiting Ayers, it was back to Brisbane to prepare for our upcoming Outback Adventure.

australia newcastle bridge 123rfWe spent a few more days than expected, which gave us time to see the city. We were able to wander through the botanical gardens and got out on the river on the CityCat Ferry. Several bridges cross the river, the most famous and attractive being the Story Bridge. There are some great places to eat fresh seafood, and some elegant Bed and Breakfasts that might need our attention next time. Now we're off to the West, and very much looking forward to our "walk about" in Australia's famous Outback. Cheers!

A GP from Alaska, USA, Dr. Steve Vilter is an avid biker, boater and one terrific correspondent. He and his wife have extended their locum tenens stay, apparently to do a walkabout, eat fresh seafood and try some B&Bs. Keep coming back for further installments from the good doctor. Or better yet, subscribe to this blog and get weekly updates sent right to your inbox.

Topics: Dr. Steven Vilter, Brisbane AU, Ayers Rock Resort AU, Locum Tenens, New Zealand

Locum Doctor Down Under: On kayaks, clams, kitsch and being first to ring in the New Year

Posted by Saralynn White
We hope the New Year finds you all happy and healthy!
kayaking Ohiwa HarbourMy niece, Sabine, and her boys, Jacob and Johannes, were able to make the trip from Austria to New Zealand for the holidays. We met in Auckland and spent Christmas on The Bay of Plenty in a beach town called Ohope. Befitting sun and warmth not yet available in Southland, we took to the water in boats in the protected waters of Ohiwa Harbour. Most kayaking up north is of the sit-on-top variety, which always leaves me feeling as though I haven't really gotten in the boat. And those darn sit-on-tops seem even tippier in 50 km/hr winds and one metre seas. 
 new zealand shore trees 123rf
While the rest of the family went out to swim with the dolphins, I spent the afternoon kayaking around Whale Island, a nature reserve 9 km offshore where we are not allowed to land. The trip was supported by a boat standing off in the distance. Lance, who skippered and owned Breaksea Girl, later serenaded us with his guitar while a campfire ushered in the New Year. Our position on the International Date Line meant we were the first on the planet to see it. 
pipisRay, our landlord for the week, provided us with some pipis - small clams from the harbor that do not take up sand and so are ready for eating immediately without purging. My they were fresh and tasty! But it was a first for the kids. Johannes contemplated the first raw oyster on-the-half-shell of his life; Jacob seemed to enjoy it the most, though neither of them had a secondVilter Horseback Riding!

The New Year found us closer to home in Manapouri, a town 25 km from the way more popular Te Anau. These towns sit at the eastern edge of the Southern Alps and remind me of Jackson Hole [Wyoming], though wetter. The thinnest covering of green holds the place together. And what could be better in big sky country than a horse ride? The saddles here are English style - no horn to hang onto! And our mounts (Lippy and Ollie) were skittish of the 50 kph wind, so it was a rather more active ride than we expected - and came with the expected soreness that set in two days later!
Colac Bay NZWe took the long way home from Manapouri. Having grown up 2 miles from Route 66, I have a soft spot in my heart for kitsch of the oversized variety, be it dinosaurs, tipis, ice cream cones or giant mosquitoes, so this surfing treasure on Colac Bay was a pleasant ending to our trip.
Best to you and yours,
Dr. Steve Vilter and family
Dr. Steven Vilter, a GP from Alaska, USA, is an avid biker, boater and one terrific correspondent. He and his wife have extended their locum tenens stay in New Zealand in order (among other things) to have access to the Southern Alps for the Summer.

Topics: Dr. Steven Vilter, Bay of Plenty NZ, Ohope NZ, Ohiwa Harbour NZ, Manapouri NZ, Te Anau NZ, Southern Alps NZ, Colac Bay NZ, Locum Tenens

Locums for a Small World Blog

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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