Locums for a Small World Blog

Want to practice medicine in Australia? Three doctors fill us in on work, play and the locum tenens lifestyle.

Posted by Everett Fitch

There’s no doubt about it…Australia is, in a word, vast. Now, when we say “vast” we mean it. No single word in the English language is more appropriate in encapsulating the true essence of Australia. This country contains, in elegant manner, a multitude of cultures, cuisines, dialects, landscapes, oceanscapes and cityscapes all within its 2,969,907 square miles.

You’ve got Western Australia with its picturesque Perth and Queensland with its shining Gold Coast. Then you’ve got the gritty yet charming feel of the outback in the Northern Territory and the craggy island atmosphere of Tasmania. And still there's more: in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

So yes, Australia is vast. To place any other adjective by its side would be tantamount to a disgrace. Three doctors who practiced medicine in Australia can testify to its welcoming greatness. They’ll tell you all about what to expect at work as well as what sights they experienced – in a nutshell, they’ll enlighten you on the locum tenens lifestyle here in Australia.

But before we get to their stories you should know that taking an assignment in Australia is about more than just the scenery. It’s about a life experience, a career change. It’s about being entirely immersed in a different culture and healthcare system. (Read: 3 interesting places to practice medicine in Australia plus a brief overview of their healthcare system.) Simply put, practicing medicine in Australia is a work experience you’ll never forget.

And as an Aussie would say, no worries: Your physician placement specialist will handle all the logistics along the way (licensing, registration, travel, etc.). They'll match you with a medical facility as well as put you in touch with the practice where you’ll be working. And if there’s a doctor who has practiced in that area before you’ll even have a chance to chat with them, help you get your bearings ahead of setting foot in the country.

All in all this process should take about three months once a job has been offered. If you’d like you can learn more about the requirements for taking a locum tenens assignment in Australia by visiting our Ask an Expert page. In the meantime, catch a head start on what to expect by reading all about the following doctors’ experiences below.

Isadore Unger, MD – Tasmania

On practicing medicine in another country:

For Dr. Unger, practicing medicine in another country – especially one with socialized medicine – presented a few challenges. “There were differences in language and terminology,” says Dr. Unger. “Interns were called house surgeons and residents were called registrars or 'reggies' for short. And surgeons are never called ‘doctor,’ they're addressed as ‘Mister.’” Kiwis and Aussies do speak English, but they not only have their own accent, they have a few of their own words. Fortunately, the nurses helped Dr. Unger translate the jargon. “One patient told me he felt 'like a box of fluffy ducks,’” says Dr. Unger, “Which I learned is 'great.’”

Rick Abbott, MD – Tasmania

On the differences between the U.S. and Australia’s healthcare system:

Beyond figuring out that a “long black” is Tassie's answer to a simple coffee, Dr. Abbott found out that both the healthcare system and work ethic are a bit different, too. “The ER was a great place to work. Because Australia is a national healthcare system, we had very little 'social safety net' to our practice and so we were a real ER. In other words, a very high proportion of our patients had an acute problem that required an acute intervention. We weren't trying to manage chronic disease that had nowhere else to go (as in the U.S.)." Dr. Abbott also praised Tasmania's implementation of an Emergency Medical Information Book (an organized booklet listing their medical and surgical history, active problem list, and current medications) that lots of patients carry with them.

On the adventures him and his wife, Jean Abbott, MD, had:

For his last month in Tasmania, Jean Abbott, MD (his wife, an ER doctor herself) joined him for some Tassie fun. The “Doctors Abbott” ventured to the capital city of Tasmania, Hobart, which serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations. They also made their way to a few nature parks to see the wildlife that you'll only find in Australia: wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, kookaburras, and a lot more. They even saw Little Penguins or “Fairy Penguins” out on a quaint little Tassie beach. Ben Lomond National Park is a spectacular place and it's a haven for rock climbers, bushwalkers, and skiers. “Beautiful tundra - though we could only see a few feet of it at a time because of the thick fog,” Dr. Abbott says. “And wallabies were all over the place up there!”

Kathryn Starkey, MD – multiple assignments throughout Australia

On the experiences you won’t get anywhere else:

"You know when you come to Australia that you're going to see some kangaroos," she says. "What we didn't expect was to see them chewing on the putting green at the local golf course!" It was an event that became a nightly ritual for Dr. Starkey and her partner, Molly Evans, not to mention the famous marsupials. "Watching the kangaroos bounce in – a lovely movement in itself – and chew on the grass at sunset beat anything on the four TV channels," says Dr. Starkey. "And who ever imagines they'll be hiking along and see a platypus swim by on their webbed feet, right there in the wild? A platypus!"

On the reasons for taking a locum tenens assignment in the first place:

As Dr. Starkey tells it, “I had a gynecology practice in the Finger Lakes area of New York, but no life. I went to work early, got home late, had dinner, watched a bit of TV, went to bed, and then did it all again. I told my patients to take care of themselves, but I wasn't taking care of myself.” What she had done was keep a postcard from Global Medical, which inspired her to take action. “I told Molly to start planning; I brushed up on my OB work and we took an assignment a year later." Since then, Dr. Starkey has lost some 40 pounds; she respects a 9-to-5 workday and leads a balanced life. The primary requisite in each new area is a decent library. “I now have time to read, and I love to get books about the areas where we're living and dive into them,” says Dr. Starkey. “I learn the history, the geography, everything. It's fascinating.”

If it feels that you still have unanswered questions after reading these first-hand accounts then read the full stories and more. In fact, we have an online library of sorts you can visit. It's entitled The Locum Life – locum tenens stories told through the eyes of our own doctors. You'll find out more about what it's like to work in Australia, New Zealand and even the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Interested in practicing medicine in Australia right away? Go ahead and view our current locum tenens opportunities in the Land Down Under with the click of a button below.

Search for current physician openings in Australia


Topics: Australia, Tasmania, locum tenens lifestyle, Australian healthcare, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, New South Wales, Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Dr. Rick Abbott, Dr. Isadore Unger

Global Medical's top 5 regions for locum tenens doctors to explore in 2017

Posted by Everett Fitch

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are in full swing. But they will be gone just as fast as they came. We thought it’d be best to prime you with next year’s top 5 regions to explore now instead of waiting ‘til January. That way you can start lacing up your boots, packing your bags and be ready to go once the New Year ball drops. Or at the very least make some tentative plans to travel in 2017.

Fortunately you don’t have to drop your career for any length of time. Within these wondrous regions we have an abundance of locum tenens opportunities for you to take advantage of. Whether your heart is drawn to wander about the countryside or your stomach is hankering to discover the best restaurants in the city, any of these regions will supply you with ample amenities. What’s more you can see how physicians in different practice settings – possibly different countries – deliver care.

As always, if you’ve been to any of these places, feel free to share your favorite adventures. A world of possibilities awaits you within these 5 striking regions.

Tasmania – East Coast

What can be said about Tasmania that hasn’t already been said? A lot. We’ve barely scratched the surface, barely touched the coast in all our writings. That’s why we’re bringing the East Coast to your attention.

Did you know there are a slew of national parks spread along this part of Tasmania? You’ve got Freycinet National Park with clear waters, pink mountains and Wineglass Bay. Then there’s Maria Island National Park where you can climb to the top of Mt. Maria (2,332 feet up) and witness all-encompassing views of Tasmania. And Douglas-Apsley National Park (named after the streams that wash through the region) is a can’t-miss, too, what with its thick eucalypt forest, deep gorges and magnificent waterfalls.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Take to the open road. You can hit all the above and more in one fantastic journey called the Great Eastern Drive.

Michigan – The Upper Peninsula

The Upper Peninsula in Michigan has national parks, historic sites, over 40 lighthouses, shipwrecks, waterfalls and packed forests all ready to be explored. Even in winter you can experience so much beauty in such a small stretch of America.

For example, head to Isle Royale National Park for an introduction to pure wilderness. 53 miles away from the nearest town, Isle Royale can only be accessed by ferry, floatplane or passenger ship. Believe it or not this national park is one of the least visited in the country. Don’t let that deter you. It’s not visited much because of its remoteness. But that adds to its appeal. Keep in mind this massive archipelago is only open to visitors from April 15 – October 31.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

If you don’t want to wait until summer we recommend taking an entirely different ferry to Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-in-aw), which is open year-round. While this island is actually located between the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula we still suggest a day or two here not only to explore Michigan’s diverse landscape but its incredibly rich history, too.

Hawaii – Windward Coast

The very word Hawaii conjures up images of unrivaled beauty. Green peaks scrape the sky and fall all the way to the Pacific. The landscape that surrounds inspires most to relax, some to surf and a select few to drop everything and move to these shores.

The Windward Coast might be the place that finally convinces you to stay indefinitely. If you need a nudge then head to Nuuanu Pali Lookout, a five-mile drive northeast of Honolulu. Your head will be in the clouds and your eyes will cease blinking solely to capture as much of the Koolau Cliffs as possible. Other points of interest along the Windward Coast are Makapuu Point Lighthouse, Valley of the Temples and Kailua Beach Park.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Spend a day in Kailua, a town roughly 30 minutes northeast of Honolulu. Known for its turquoise waters and white-sand beaches the scenery can’t be beat. But if you want more than just pretty views then hit up the farmers’ markets, hip boutiques and delicious restaurants that are abundant in this town.

Oregon – Coast

The coast of Oregon is a long sweep. It’s tough to pick just a few spots to check out. Still you can already see the mist-blanketed sea stacks and quaint oceanside towns we’re about to describe, can’t you?

Like Florence, a river- and seaside city just about halfway between the northern and southern borders of Oregon. To get your fill of scenery visit Heceta Head Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves nearby. Then hit up the Waterfront Depot for the tastiest of seafood.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Cannon Beach has to be one of the only places in the world where people are happy to don their sweatshirts simply to chase that almost unreachable feeling of silent awe. And the cause of that awe? Haystack Rock of course. This 235-foot-tall sea stack just off Cannon Beach could be the most famous ocean monolith in the entire United States but we’re just guessing.

Our recommendation: stand in amazement for a moment then take a peaceful stroll along the beach.

South Carolina – Coast

It wasn’t intentional by any means but you’re starting to notice a theme, aren’t you? Except one region we’ve outlined, the rest are coastal. We suppose we’re urging you to travel to the oceans of the world. Though a massive body of water does border the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, too. No matter. We’re here to end the list with the coast of South Carolina, home to such greats as Hilton Head Island, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

Granted there are 2,876 miles of tidal coastline so if you only have time to make it to a few places we do recommend the wonderful places we’ve outlined above. Hilton Head Island has its dramatic marshland and some of the most jaw-dropping white-sand beaches along the Atlantic. Charleston is historic and imbued with picturesque architecture overlooking the ocean. And Myrtle Beach…well it’s renowned for many remarkable things, one of which is its world-class golf.

How to make it the ultimate trip:

Stay in Charleston for a while, a romanticism exists here unlike any other. What to do? Pick a direction on any cobblestone street and start walking. You’ll encounter antebellum buildings and a slew of delicious eats.

What now? There's no better time like the present to start planning your 2017 travels. Oh and be sure to consider any of the above locales when searching for your next locum tenens assignment.

Happy 2017 travels!

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Topics: top 5 regions, top 5 regions 2017, Tasmania, michigan, upper peninsula, mackinac island, Hawaii, windward coast, Oregon, Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock, South Carolina, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Freycinet National Park, Great Eastern Drive

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.

Search for current physician openings in Australia

Topics: Hobart, Tasmania, Melbourne, Victoria, Perth, Western Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Best Restaurants in Australia, Best Bars in Australia, Best Pastimes in Australia

How Dr. Starkey got her groove back: An open letter to doctors considering a locum

Posted by Saralynn White
Molly Evans and Dr. Kathy Starkey Kangaroos on the golf course with Molly




G'day all,

I’m asked a lot wDr. Starkey in the Caymanshat it’s like to be a US-trained doctor working as an OB/GYN in Australia and New Zealand and it's a question I love to answer.

First, a bit about me. I’m from Buffalo, New York; I completed my OB/GYN residency at Magee Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) in 1990 and went directly into practice that same year (I have been board certified since 1992). In 2005 I lost my mother and that year I realized I did not want to work so hard at the "business” of medicine. I had a Gynecology practice in the Finger Lakes area of New York, but no life. I went to work early, got home late, had dinner, watched a bit of TV, went to bed, and then did it all again. I told my patients to take care of themselves, but I wasn't taking care of myself. I had kept a postcard from Global Medical Staffing and that inspired me to take action. I told Molly (my partner) to start planning; I brushed up on my OB work and in 2007 we took a locum tenens assignment with Global. It was a step that reinvigorated me and I got my life back. Now, I just practice medicine—which I love. 
new zealand windswept trees 123rfSince 2007, I have worked in the Caymans, on both islands in New Zealand, in two Australian States (Western Australia and Tasmania) and in Australia’s Northern Territory. I have loved each location and have traveled extensively before, during and after assignments. I personally prefer a six-month assignment, but many, many locums work for a year or more.

Working in the Southern Hemisphere has opened my eyes to medicine as it is practiced in other countries, including the UK, Singapore and India. Our American viewpoint is very welcome, but the UK Royal College Guidelines are first line as well in our field. It’s a breath of fresh air to see and learn other viewpoints (no, we Americans don’t know it all! There is definitely more than one way to "skin a cat"!).

The residents in New Zealand and Australia are a hard-working bunch. The hours are civilized, with morning report at 8:00 a.m., rounds at 8:30, clinics or surgery 9-12 and afternoon clinic or surgery from 1:00 until you go home at 4:00 p.m. Your call is 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Labor & Delivery, then the night person takes over and you go home. After a week of nights you generally have a week free.

Kathy and Molly at the Bungles Bungles

Australia and New Zealand are obviously first-world countries, but I have had some third-world experiences. The Aborigine population, for instance, does not embrace preventive medicine. You’ll also likely treat some of the many immigrants from Asia and the Middle East. You’ll see and care for some interesting cases here, but your USA training will ensure you’re up to the task. In Australia, the junior staff are equal to USA residents from year 1-4, but they call themselves registrars and resident medical officers—all doctors in various levels of skill. Some may have been specialists in other countries but need to repeat their training to obtain full medical registration here. Or are general practitioners but want to work remotely and are up-skilling in the specialty.

Now about travel. I have ventured through much of Australia and New Zealand (and beyond)—yes, you’ll have lots of time to explore! The exotic country of Bali is a great weekend getaway. My favorite spots in Australia are Tasmania and the the "Bungle Bungles" in the Northwest portion of the continent. Darwin (in the Northern Territory) is on the water and just beautiful—like Florida or even Pebble Beach in California—but weejkend getaways in the outback desert are close. We were there in the rainy season still saw the sun a lor. For a portion of the year, we can’t swim in the ocean because of jellyfish and crocs (don’t worry, there are signs posted!) but we still enjoyed the huge 50-meter pools every day.

Molluy in TasmaniaIf you work in Australia, be sure to visit Uluru (that big red rock - Ayers - in the center of the country) and ride camels, swim with whale sharks, dive the Great Barrier Reef, taste all the different wine regions, fly into remote Tasmania by bush plane, climb the remote rocks in Kakadu Park and see rock drawings from 50,000 years ago, ride the Indian Pacific Railroad East to West or The Ghan train North to South, climb the Hanger Bridge and visit the Opera House in Sydney, descend into a gold mine, sail on an America's Cup boat in Queenstown, hike New Zealand's great walks, helicopter onto a glacier and walk on blue ice at Fox Glacier in New Zealand's Southern Alps, stand next to penguins all over the place....I think I’ve made my point!

A locum tenens assignment is the adventureFairy penguins in New Zealand of a lifetime; just keep your mind open, expect the unexpected, and learn ways to "be a good guest". I miss family and friends, but I keep in touch via Skype, email, Facebook and phone calling cards.

That's it for now, except this: Do it, do it, do it! One doctor in particular (who is just finishing her residency training) asked me about working as a locum and I told her the same thing. She has lots of time to eventually "get established and become one of the rat race."

Cheers,Dr. Kathy Starkey

Kathy Starkey & Molly Evans

Dr. Kathy Starkey, an OB/GYN, and her partner, Molly Evans, have chosen locum tenens as a permanent lifestyle. They're preparing to head out for their eighth assignment with Global Medical now, and their previous adventures have taken them to New Zealand's North and South Islands, the Cayman Islands, Western Australia, the Australian island state of Tasmania, and the Top End of Australia in the Northern Territory.

Topics: Uluru, Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Northern Territory, Tasmania

In Tasmania you won't run away from your problems, you'll bike.

Posted by Saralynn White

Jacob's Ladder

Wildflowers in Ben Lomond

Tasmania. Mountain bikers have kept quiet about the outstanding trails here, but on an island crawling with outdoor adventurers a secret like this is tough to keep quiet.

The characteristic dolerite columns so prized by rock-climbers and rapellers (abseilers) are especially dramatic here. Wildflowers abound in summer, and despite the stony plateaus there are also dense forests and moorlands that make most of us think of, say, Scotland. Mention Tasmania and most people think of skiing. Yet Ben Lomond National Park, which encompasses the Mountain Range of the same name, offers a challenge for anyone who loves pedal power. It’s called Jacob’s Ladder.

Aptly named after the ladder to heaven described in the Book of Genesis, this steep and narrow zigzag road ascends to heaven, or at least 5148 feet/1570 meters in the air. The hairpin bends of the road and the sweeping views also make it a biker's heaven on earth. Jacob’s Ladder also happens to be the final section of the ascent to Ben Lomond—the only route to the ski fields.

A Eucalyptus forest in Ben LomondCrystal Mountain in Ben Lomond

Riders start near the summit then cruise down sweeping fire-trail switchbacks before hitting the main trail down.
One devotee, Andrew Harris, describes the ride this way: “Fist-sized rocks, lung busting ascents and hope-and-pray descents combine with vast vistas and temperamental weather for an unprecedented outdoor experience.” Once you’ve descended Jacob’s Ladder, there are some tough secondary access trails and sculpted single-tracks that are worth the trip, too.

This spectacular ride is less than an hour from Launceston, Tasmania’s second largest town with—not coincidentally—one of the highest per-capita densities of bike shops in Australia. Buy or “hire” a bike at Mountain Bike Tasmania (MBT) where a guide can tailor any ride to your skill level. Dirt fiends here also recommend Kate Reed Nature Recreation Reserve. Wedged between the Midland and Bass highways, there’s no set route to follow, but it’s difficult to get lost; just go where you please along the trails and fire roads.


tasmanian devil australia 123rfLaunceston

When you’re biking (or driving or skiing) here, gear should be windproof and rainproof—the weather can change rapidly in any season. In fact, pedaling in the snow is a common sight and chains are required on vehicles. One resolute rider says, “I enjoy the cool weather: it’s easier to see the incredible views if you’re not drowning in sweat!”

Rapha Performance Roadwear recently released a short film of a bike journey across Tasmania called Van Diemen's Land (the name Europeans originally used for Tasmania). Filmed with a cast of local riders over three days, it showcases the breathtaking countryside and amazing cycling roads the Apple Isle (yet another nickname for Tasmania) has to offer. For the full effect, take a journey down Jacob’s Ladder now with a rider who filmed the trip wearing IMGing HD 720 Video Camera Sunglasses. Hint: don’t eat lunch first.

Photo credit (top right): Retired Aussies 

Topics: Ben Lomond National Park, Mountain Bike Tasmania, Tasmania, Launceston, Van Dieman's Land, Jacob's Ladder

Tasmania: Where pademelons run amok and Boag's beer is magically brewed

Posted by Saralynn White

The Nut, an ancient volcanic formation overlooking the historic village of Stanley

The rooftops of Hobart, Tasmania's Capital City

The tiny Australian island of Tasmania has a special relationship with Mother Nature and with the sea. Its mild maritime climate brings four distinct seasons; its incomparable beauty, unique wildlife, world-class food and wine, and fascinating history will astonish you; and its five diverse regions - from the capital city of Hobart to its Eastern “Suncoast” - will leave you wanting for nothing.

We asked our locum doctors to recall the things they love about Tassie (beyond the famed hiking and wine), and this is what we learned. We did our best to limit the list to the top ten, but it wasn't easy.

australia kangaroo and baby 123rf

Callington Mill in Oatlands, Tasmania

Get close to Forester kangaroos, Bennett's "red-necked" wallabies, and wombats that graze on the plains and lawns at dusk in Narawntapu National Park. Watch for pademelons while you’re here, too - they’re extinct,
except in Tasmania.

2. Discover the string of charming towns from Evandale to Pontville along The Heritage Highway. Walk in the footsteps of infamous bushrangers, enterprising wool growers, convict road gangs, political exiles, scoundrels, and opportunists who are all at the heart of Tasmania's first main road. Surrounded by gracious homes, historic farming properties and a wealth of magnificent architecture, this scenic countryside inspired the famous artist, John Glover, The Father of Australian Landscape Painting.

3. Take a fragrant journey through the evolution of the rose – there’s more than 4,000 to enjoy at the historical Woolmers National Rose Garden in Longford.

Big-game fishing charter out of St. Helensfat-blue-penguins-new-zealand

4. Take a glide on a high wire at Hollybank Treetops Adventure and get a fresh perspective from the tip top of a forest on a Canopy Tour (why walk when you can fly?). Or try gliding through the lush, beautiful forests on a Segway Tour!

5. Watch the Fairy Penguins parade. A colony of these little blue penguins managed to hang onto their home at the end of a Burnie city beach, and thanks to local volunteers who (among other things) constructed hundreds of penguin igloo apartments to protect them, the Little Fairy Penguins are presented to visitors every summer.

6. Battle back and forth with a marlin, swordfish or bluefin tuna on a game-fishing charter out of St Helens - widely acclaimed as one of Australia’s best game-fishing spots.

7. Take to the water on a kayaking expedition into Bathurst Harbour, where the granite-jawed mountains keep the water – and all that surrounds it – gloriously pristine.

8. Meet the remarkable butcher of Hill Street Gourmet Meats in Hobart, Shane Mundy, who is known the world over for the enthusiasm he serves up along with his famed free-range, grass-fed beef and poultry. 

9. Raise a glass of beer at Boag's, where Wizard Smith is ale you drink and the magic is in the brewing.
James Boag’s famed brew is made of pure water, barley, hops and yeast from “the only place that makes it
possible - Tasmania.” Take a tasting tour of the Brewery or head to the Centre for Beer Lovers - a museum experience that no-one with a passion for beer and brewing should miss. If you take any Boag's with you when
you leave, guard it with your life.

10. And for the cherry on top, indulge in the luscious fresh fruit from the orchard at Spreyton farm, where more
than 15 varieties of cherries are grown.

You know what they say about all work and no play making a locum tenens doctor dull? Neither do we. Check out this commercial for Tasmania tourism, then get planning a locum assignment in Australia.

Topics: Tasmania, Narawntapu National Park AU, John Glover, Woolmers National Rose Garden, Spreyton Farm, The Heritage Highway, Hollybank Treetop Adveneture, Game-fishing in Tasmania, Fairy Penguins, Boag's Beer

From Port Arthur to the petting zoo, more locum tales from Dr. Starkey

Posted by Jesse Black

By Kathryn Starkey, MD, and Molly Evans

australia jail window 123rfAustralian ContinentAsk any Aussie and they’ll tell you that Australia was built on the “backs of sheep.” After traveling throughout Tasmania, we reckon this country was built on the “backs on convicts.” From 1830 to 1877 the largest penal colony in Australia was located on the Tasmanian Peninsula at Port Arthur. The site was ideal for a penitentiary because it’s surrounded by water, which authorities reported were infested with sharks. Whether that’s true or not, we’re not certain, but it would definitely keep us out of the water.

old jail australia 123rfFrom 1804-54 more than 12,500 female convicts, including children, were transported from the British Commonwealth countries to Tasmania. It was not uncommon for starving Irish teenage females convicted of stealing food to be transported 10,500 miles to the Southern Hemisphere. Some of these parts of Australian history weren't mentioned for many years, but the free labor of convicts did build many of the cities now found throughout Australia.

World HeritagePort Arthur, TasmaniaThe good news is that the Port Arthur prison property was eventually acquired by the National Park Services and has earned the status of a World Heritage Site. We marveled at the beauty of the peninsula, and were impressed at the lenghts that have been taken to preserve this part of Australia's history. We found it hard to believe that such a beautiful location was the former site of a colonial penitentiary.

Fast forward to the 21st Century, where we continue to meet and greet an odd assortment of furry animals. Recently, we enjoyed feeding kangaroos, baby pademelons, devils, and wombats at a local animal rescue park.

During the holiday break, we also watched the arrival of several yachts compDr. Kathy Starkeyeting in the 66th Annual Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race. Sixty-nine yachts braved the 31 mph (50 km) winds crossing the strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia, and from what we could tell, only one yacht hailed from the U.S. We were lucky enough to be able to sail on a square rig tall ship and cheer a few yachts over the finish line.

Along the waterfront there was the weeklong festival that celebrated the food and wine of the state called The Taste of Tasmania, and we paid our respects more than a few times. We're still enjoying 15 hours of sunlight daily and temperatures in the 70’s!

On a side note, Oprah Winfrey paid Australia a call in December and brought with her 300 loyal American fans. Her television show was tapaustralia white wine and cheese 123rfed at the renamed Sydney “Oprah House” and plays in the U.S. in mid-January. It should showcase the country nicely, so stay tuned!


Kathy and Molly

Dr. Kathy Starkey, an OB/GYN, and her partner, Molly Evans, have chosen locum tenens as a permanent lifestyle. Their adventures have taken them to New Zealand's North and South Islands, the Caymans, Western Australia (twice) and the small Australian state of Tasmania. For several years, their exploits have graced the pages of our blog. Watch for more from Kathy and Molly in future editions of Locums for a Small World.

Topics: Port Arthur AU, Taste of Tasmania, Locum Tenens, Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Molly Evans, Tasmania, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

A bite of Tasmania: Another locum adventure with Dr. Starkey

Posted by Saralynn White

By Kathryn Starkey, MD, and Molly Evans

Kathy at the Market resized 600We had a few days to kill, so we decided to head south - across the Tasman Sea - to Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania. We were a bit overwhelmed to learn that over 100,000 people call Hobart home; however, we soon realized that Hobart is more like a village than a big city. The old-world city streets, combined with the fact that we were staying in a 100-year-old refurbished horse stable, led us to believe this was no bustling metropolis.

The Stables-Starkey's homeWe didn’t completely appreciate the incredible sustainable food and wine production on the island until we had the opportunity to visit Salamanca Place. What we found were a collection of old stone warehouses built by convicts in the 1800’s, all filled to the brim with purveyors of fine foods, local wines, baked goods, artisan cheeses and restaurants. Local fishmongers sold their goods from Victoria dock, which we soon discovered was the center of the waterfront activity.

Salamanca Market resized 600Every Saturday, the Salamanca Market is in full swing. There are over a 250 stalls that line the streets; each specializes in Tasmanian produce, honey, jams, wool products, wood-fired baked bread, cheeses, wood crafts and every form of the Tasmanian Devil known to the artistic mind. Our first day at the market, we enjoyed an egg and bacon roll with what the locals call, “the lot." The Aussie "Brekkie" sandwich included egg, ¼ lb of ham, grilled tomato, cheese, mushroom and a sauce of your choice all on a massive toasted, buttered roll. Yummy!

Later, we visited the Tassal Salmon Company - a beautiful store filled with farm-raised, fresh and smoked salmon. They conduct cooking demonstrations a few days a week throughout the year. It’s a great way to learn new ways to prepare salmon and enjoy a free lunch, too.
Veggie shopping resized 600
Our visit wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to Hobart’s own distillery and brewery, Lark Distillery. Known for its exceptional barrel-aged, single malt whiskey and its unique Tasmanian Bush Liqueur, Lark isn't alone on the island. There's Cascade Brewery, which is Australia’s oldest continuously operating brewery. Needless to say, we employed a few cold ones to wash back that smoked salmon.

Flat Stanley at the Bakery resized 600Although we couldn't stay more than a week, the locals reminded us that summer would soon be there, and so, too, another bounty of great food. At the end of December, Hobart plays host to a seven day “Taste Festival” which coincides with the famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

By far, this has been our favorite place to visit. The locals constantly remind us that Tasmania is “a world apart, but not a world away.” We welcome company to latitude 40-44 degrees south. Cheers!

Dr. Kathy Starkey, an OB/GYN, and her partner, Molly Evans, have chosen locum tenens as a permanent lifestyle. Their adventures have taken them to New Zealand's North and South Islands, the Caymans, Western Australia (twice) and the small Australian state of Tasmania. They're such great storytellers that they appear in our blog often, so watch right here for more amazing tales from Down Under and beyond.

Topics: Locum Tenens, Australia, Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Tasmania, Tassal Salmon Company, Salamanca Market Hobart

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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