Locums for a Small World Blog

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:

There are also a bunch of brewery tours, nature and wildlife excursions, horseback day trips, and lighthouse explorations in the region that you can partake in if you’re not so much a fan of wine.

Tour the famous Ngilgi Cave

Are you a fan of stalactites, stalagmites, helictites or even shawl formations? If you are then we’ve got just the cave for you. Located in Geographe Bay, between Dunsborough and Yallingup, Ngilgi Cave is a 500,000-year-old cave that’s not just a natural wonder. Nope, it also holds Aboriginal legends that have been passed down for generations and generations.

To truly be absorbed by this intimate story it’s best to take a guided tour of the cave. That way you get the best of both cave and history. The legend itself comes from the Wardandi people. Ngilgi is a good spirit who battled with Wolgine, an evil spirit. Ngilgi was victorious over Wolgine and thus the cave received its name.

Are you looking for a little more adrenaline-pumping action than what the main tour might give? Take the Ngilgi Cave Adventure Tour where you'll descend roughly 145 feet into the earth. But be warned: you’ll have to crawl on your hands and knees through what seems like an underground labyrinth. Don’t fret. You’ll have a highly qualified guide all the while lighting your way. Literally, they have a torchlight.

Experience Cable Beach by camelback

Well, if the beaches in Big Sur are what’s iconic in the U.S. then we’d be willing to bet that Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia tops the list of most iconic beaches in Australia, maybe even the entire Southern Hemisphere. The beach’s namesake comes from the fact that telegraph cable was laid between the towns of Broome and Java back in 1889 thus establishing an unprecedented connection with the rest of the world.

Another reason why this stretch of coastline is so notable is because of the camel trains that ride through here. You might’ve seen those photographs of silhouetted camel trains with people riding atop all while the golden sun burns brilliantly behind. If you haven’t seen one then here’s one right below. See it? You can do that actually, ride camels on Cable Beach that is. We highly recommend it.

While you’re at it stay until the moon rises and you’ll encounter an optical illusion where the freakishly golden, bright, full moon casts “stairs” into the ocean. Otherwise known as the Staircase to the Moon. You can view this phenomenon from March to October.

On top of that you can experience the local Aboriginal culture, learn about the pearling history here and even shop for South Sea pearls, or just enjoy the red ochre cliffs fringing the forever-turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

Immerse yourself in history in Fremantle

Some of you are most likely aware of Western Australia’s past as a penal colony. Not all of it is as sordid as it may seem though. Of course it has a violent past but it’s said that in 1848 the Governor of Western Australia actually petitioned Britain to send more convicts to the state solely to fill labor shortages – Fremantle being one of the convict-era hotspots.

In fact, this place was once known as the Convict Establishment. And over the years it had imprisoned close to 350,000 people. It’s also true that a lot of them were set to help build the infrastructure in Western Australia, including the Convict Establishment itself.

Today you can visit Fremantle Prison and even take a variety of tours. Try the Doing Time Tour where you can experience a day in the life of a convict as well as be engrossed in the seedy underbelly of Western Australia’s past.

All these experiences sound so tempting, don’t they? Don’t get too ahead of yourself now. First, check out our locum tenens assignments in Western Australia then start booking your own tours of the region. Remember, we’ve only listed four top experiences, too. Imagine how much is in store for you once you get here. If none of these pique your interest, you can find a near-infinite list of itineraries on this site. Now get a move on. Feel free to search general locum tenens opportunities around the world, too, with the click of a button below.

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Topics: Western Australia, Australia, Margaret River, Ngilgi Cave, Fremantle, Cable Beach

From tall trees, to deep caves, to fine wines: more adventures with locum doc Starkey

Posted by Saralynn White

On January 4, 2010, Dr. Kathryn Starkey and Molly Evans left Australia and headed for their 5th locum assignment, this time on the South Island of New Zealand. In a previous issue of Hemispheres, the ladies told of an upcoming trip to Margaret River - including a the possibility of a tree climb. We asked for an update, and we got it. Just prior to their departure for NZ, they sent this:
Dear All,

australia river bank 123rf resized 600Before we head to New Zealand, we wanted to tell you about an area the Aussies call "our little secret." The Margaret River, in the southwest corner of Australia, is a beautiful, unspoiled world of history, nature and a spirit of all that is important in life...family, friends, food and wine. It features the Gloucester Tree, the highest working fire lookout in the world. Ignoring our age, we climbed its 153 rungs (actually reinforcement bars) to a height of a 20-story building (>200 feet) to the lookout platform. American litigators would have a heyday with this liability prone public amusement. Still in the climbing mood, we ventured to the coastline, driving through majestic Karri and Jarrah tree forests and climbed the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, built in 1885. It is Australia's tallest at 56 meters (184 feet) high - there are 186 steps - and still supplies a nightly safety beam of one million candlelight power via the 1000-watt halogen bulb and original prism glass. This overlooks the meeting of the Indian and Southern Oceans which clearly is visible in the water and can be seen over 25 nautical miles away.

Caves at Margaret River, AUOur last adventure (before enjoying the wine tasting and a lovely long lunch) was exploring a series of 100 underground caves along a coastal ridge. It was definitely a lost primeval world with crystalline beauty. Back on Brown Hill Winery, Australiaterra firma, we found the Brown HillVoyager, and Brookland Valley wineries - with fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blends, Shiraz and Chardonnay. You may not be able to find any wine from this region at home, but we recommend it highly!
As we do our final packing, we find it quite bittersweet. We have enjoyed living and meeting new friends in Western Australia.

Cheers, Kathy and Molly
Dr. Kathy Starkey, an OB/GYN, and her partner, Molly Evans, have wanderlust in their veins. Their locum adventures have taken them to New Zealand's North Island, the Caymans, Western Australia (twice) and now the Kiwi South Island. Watch here for more of Dr. Starkey and Molly's amazing tales about Down Under and beyond.

Topics: Locum Tenens, Australia, Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Molly Evans, Leeuwin Lighthouse, Margaret River, Wineries

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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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