Locums for a Small World Blog

4 of our favorite family-friendly experiences in the Land of the Long White Cloud

Posted by Everett Fitch

New Zealand is a country unlike any other. Once you step foot here you won’t believe the wonders that exist in both city and countryside. Sounds an awful lot like an overpromise, doesn’t it? We assure you that it’s not. Everyone who visits say they love it for its friendliness, its community, its nature, its landscape, everything.

Okay, maybe not everyone. We shouldn’t speak in absolutes. There have probably been a few people over the years who have visited the Land of the Long White Cloud and weren’t that impressed. We’d venture to guess it’s because they’re not fans of waterfall-and-peak-filled fjords, lakes roughly the size of Singapore, coastline complete with geothermal pools, tussock farmland with big skies, glaciers, volcanoes, rainforests and geysers. You know, the kind of countryside you’d do anything for as a kid, just to play and frolic and lose yourself in fresh air.

That’s exactly our point. New Zealand is an ideal family-friendly destination. In fact it ranks 1st on the Legatum Prosperity Index: an annual ranking developed by the Legatum Institute, which essentially measures how prosperous a nation is through factors like economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital and natural environment. You can discover more about their methodology as well as their findings concerning New Zealand right here.

The real important takeaway is that this island-country is rich not only in landscape but also in just about everything else. You should feel compelled to explore its greatness with your whole family. If you find yourself in New Zealand on locum tenens assignment already, here are some unforgettable experiences you’ll want to consider.

Experiencing Franz Josef Glacier – South Island

Clothed by the Southern Alps, Franz Josef Glacier is a marvel. Cacophonous colors shade the horizon. Light blues you’ve never met before rush toward you. Dark greens you won’t recognize slip into your field of vision. Nonetheless, the sight is welcoming.

Start in town, Franz Josef, where you can frequent quaint cafes and shops while the Southern Alps tower over you. This is where you’ll want to book your adventures, too. You can choose anything from a guided walk to a scenic flight. If you’d like to overnight it, there are a variety of hotels, motels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, plus holiday parks. And believe it or not, a lot of the places where you can stay are enshrouded by rainforest.

Stargazing at Lake Tekapo – South Island

The southern lights in all its vibrant beauty can be seen from Lake Tekapo’s shores. Wait a minute, the southern lights? Yes, the northern lights has a sibling existing at the exact other side of the world, the Southern Hemisphere. And if you head to Lake Tekapo during winter you’ll experience an amazing show. Unfortunately this happens during July and August for New Zealand (that's when their winter occurs) so you'll have to wait a bit to see the southern lights.

No worries. You can still catch some killer stargazing with your family. Head to Mount John Observatory on an Earth & Sky tour where you can witness some of the darkest skies in the world, perfect for viewing the Milky Way.

Taking a cruise in Milford Sound – South Island

Milford Sound is without a doubt one of the hallmark stops on any South Island tour. Famous novelist Rudyard Kipling (author of The Jungle Book) once called this glacier-carved fjord “the eighth wonder of the world.” High praise, but suitably so.

Waterfalls pour out of forested, tall-reaching peaks. Hiking trails abound so you’re more than apt to find an agreeable view of Milford’s magnificence. And there’s ample accommodation so if you plan to stay for a few days, you're solid (though, do book in advance because places tend to fill up).

Truthfully, boat cruises are the way to go. You’ll encounter much more of the unimaginable this way. There will be coves filled with marine life and even waterfalls that you can experience up close. Plus some boats are even equipped with underwater viewing observatories so you can witness all the life blooming beneath the surface.

Going the museum route in Wellington – North Island

So far we’ve mentioned only experiences showcasing the raw beauty of New Zealand. We’d like to take a moment to highlight the culture and arts that’s abundant in this country, too.

There’s no better place to enlighten you and your family than in Wellington. This cultural hotspot has a lot going for it. Like Te Papa Tongarewa, a national museum where the continued focus is preserving the history, language and lore of New Zealand’s people through exhibitions and education. Six stories of rich artwork, both past and present fill these walls. Another huge plus? Aside from being architecturally stunning this museum sits right on the waterfront so you’re bound to experience some spectacular views.

Not quite as large but equally as important is the Museum of Wellington City and Sea that’s housed in a heritage building on, you guessed it, another immaculate waterfront. Take in the views outside then head inside for a taste of Wellington’s cultural history. This museum is dedicated fully to Wellington complete with interactive exhibitions. Check out the exhibit, A Millennium Ago, that highlights Maori legends using holographic effects.

Well, that’s it. While there’s a ton of other family-friendly experiences in New Zealand, they’d be too numerous to list in one blog. Discover what locum tenens opportunities are available in the Land of the Long White Cloud with the click of an orange button below then start planning your scenicand educationalfamily-friendly adventures right away. (Oh, and if you'd like to learn more about Maori culture before you embark, then click here).

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Topics: Legatum Prosperity Index, New Zealand, Land of the Long White Cloud, Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef, Lake Tekapo, Mount John Observatory, Milford Sound, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, Museum of Wellington City and Sea, family-friendly experiences in New Zealand

Dive into New Zealand's Capital of Cool

Posted by Saralynn White

Wellington, New ZealandCourtenay Street in Wellington

Lonely Planet's annual travel list of top cities to visit is backed by globe-trotting researchers and fierce debate.
Some picks have been known to raise a few eyebrows. When Wellington made the 2011 list, though, we weren't
a bit surprised—Wellington is Cool with a capital "C".

This city is an urban mecca that's perfectly walkable and chock full of creative culture. It's also the heart of New Zealand’s own film industry—dubbed Wellywood thanks to Wellington native and executive director of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Sir Peter Jackson. He not only brought Hollywood to New Zealand, he brought the country's blockbuster scenery to the rest of the world. Thank you, Sir Jackson.

Wellington calls itself the "coolest little capital in the world" because it's also New Zealand's culinary capital.
Famous for its tucked-away bars, quirky cafes, award-winning restaurants, and lucious coffee, the very cosmopolitan Wellington is crammed with more food spots per capita than New York City! 

Venison Wellington

Fushion Cuisine of Wellington 

Its gastronomic reputation comes from any number of innovative and inspired Kiwi chefs (Peter Gordon,
Simon Gault and Kate Fay among them), who were influenced by foods from Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands. This now-famous “fusion” cuisine has been exported to the rest of the world, but we suggest you try it at the source: it’s straight-up "ka pai".

Based largely on local ingredients harvested from the country's oceans, rivers, and rich pastoral and agricultural landscape, the fine fare here is proof that Kiwi chefs know how to make the most of anything that's fresh, local or homegrown. Many of these ingredients—like lamb and venison or cervena—have long been staples in New Zealand and are now the choice of foodies 'round the world. Other local ingredients include salmon, crayfish, and species like Bluff oysters, paua (abalone), pipis and tuatua.

Feijoa Fruit

Tomarillo Dish

Kiwi chefs also incorporate traditional Maori ingredients like manuka honey (made by NZ bees that frequent the manuka bush), karengo (seaweed) and puha (watercress) into their dishes. The kumara (sweet potato), the feijoa
(a tropical fruit), and the tamarillo (tree tomato) are also at the heart of this unique fusion of food flavors.

If you’re interested in tasting more Kiwi fare you’ll find farmers' markets everywhere, including the Hill Street Farmers' Market. It takes place every Saturday, rain or shine, in the car park of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Thorndon. 

Gourmet Abalone with Fiddlehead

NZ National Desert, Pavlova

You can also take a guided food tour like Zest Food Tours or Wild about Wellington; they’ll introduce you to gourmet food stores, coffee roasters, cafés, restaurants and destinations off the beaten path. Or for a real "bun-fight" head straight to Courtenay Place, Boulcott Street or Cuba Street.

Doctors who are in the area, or those of you who are headed to New Zealand for a locum, may want to stay up on the latest in Wellington with their new phone app. Download this, and "Bob's Your Uncle."

Do you have a favorite spot in Wellington? Let us in on it. 

Topics: Wellington, Wild About Wellington, Lonely Planet Top Cities, Simon Gault, Zest Food Tours, Hill Street Farmer's Market

Finally - once again - black becomes gold!

Posted by Saralynn White

rugby-ball-on-field-grass-new-zealandIt’s over. The 24-year-long drought since the All Blacks won their first Rugby World Cup was broken on Sunday when they defeated France by one... single... point. All Blacks fans don’t believe in coincidences either: ’87 was the year they won their first Cup (beating France in the final) and 8-7 was the score that swept the All Blacks into the history books (yet again) over France (yet again). Allez Les...who?

\The All Blacks took their celebrations - and the famed gold Webb Ellis Cup - to the streets of New Zealand this week. It was a black-clad victory parade in Auckland first, another in Christchurch and then onto the capital city of Wellington. Over one million Kiwis flocked to catch a glimpse of their nation’s All Black heroes, and the smiles on their faces say it all.

\We’ve been following the tiny island nation’s RWC festivities since well before the first team arrived on their shores and we were keen to make you a fan of this picturesque nation (and maybe rugby, too).

We took you to Taranaki and showed you why it really is “like no other”. We charged Hukafalls on a jet boat and ate world-famous Whitebait for breakfast. We joined the fans in Hagley Park in the vibrant city of Christchurch - which rea\lly is rising again - and biked to New Zealand's “Capital of Cool” (Wellington), which boasts more places to eat and drink than New York City. There were flash mob hakas across the country. And most of all, there were kiwis with a warm Haere Mai (welcome), a cuppa and an endearing habit of making everything sound like a question!? 

\Yes, the world came to play rugby. New Zealand promised a stadium of four million - and ruck after ruck, tackle after tackle, the Land of the Long White cloud delivered.

A total of 2,435 rugby players have taken the field in RWC history, and last Sunday, Richie McCaw led his All Blacks out to face France for his 66th time as team captain. As the All Blacks performed their traditional haka, France captain Thierry Dusautoir led his \team-mates in a V-formation towards New Zealand in a huge statement of intent (which became an international incident) - but it proved ineffective. It was a close game, but the All Blacks conquered. After IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to McCaw (with NZ Prime Minister John Key looking on), the All Blacks performed a special victory haka for the crowd. This time, the team wore medals and the coaching staff joined in.

\To say All Blacks fans are enthused is putting it mildly. Eden Park Stadium was at capacity over 60,000 during the championsip match, plus All Black backers packed Fanzones and city streets across New Zealand. The All Blacks Facebook page had 1,299,564 fans as of today. And it goes both ways - the All Blacks love their fans. McCaw said it best, “Everyone's part of the All Blacks. We're just the ones that go out and play.” That’s why this championship means so much to all of us. It’s all ours. Again.

\Check out the reaction of the fans moments before - and after - the All Blacks sealed the deal in this great video (below) from Jared Branson Productions (who's nearly as popular as the All Blacks after making this video). To see even more, head over to our own Facebook page - and LIKE us while you're there, won’t you?
Photos courtesy of the All Blacks and Rugby World Cup 2011.

Topics: All Blacks, Auckland NZ, Richie McCaw, Wellington, Rugby World Cup 2011 Champions, Webb Ellis Trophy, Jared Branson Productions

Put the bottom of the north at the top of your list

Posted by Saralynn White

Wellington BayWellington City's Famous Cable Car

We head to Wellington - or “Wellywood” as it’s often called - this week. Not only did local hero Sir Peter Jackson launch New Zealand into the international scene with beautiful depictions of his home country in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong movies, he launched a film industry here, spawning niche businesses in pre-production, post-production, special effects and more.

At one point, Wellington International Airport announced plans to install a Hollywood-inspired Wellywood sign
in the steep hills above the city, but opponents who thought it would mark the city as “uninventive” and “try-hard followers” protested. After much ado and a public vote, an All Blacks sign was installed - just in time to welcome International rugby fans for Rugby World Cup 2011.

Rugby fans are ready for the USA vs. Australia match this week at gorgeous Wellington Regional Stadium,
and while Brisbane-born Tim Usasz will captain a new-look USA team for the first time, visitors will relish much more than the action on the field.  

Wellington, New Zealand's "Capital of Cool", boasts a sophisticated food scene that claims more places to eat and drink per capita than New York City. Every day restaurants, bars and cafes a draw people with time to spare and people to meet.

Head over to Cuba Street - which was not named for the Spanish speaking country, but for a New Zealand Company ship that brought a survey party from England in 1839 to speculate for land. Here, you'll find places like Matterhorn, a Wellington institution that wins local and national awards both as a restaurant and as a nightlife haunt. Next door and upstairs you'll find the Mighty Mighty, a good bar for live music. And among the hundreds and hundreds of other choices, you'll encounter Maranui Surf Life Saving Café, a local favorite for breakfast or lunch with its big views of the ocean.

Wellington City Center

Cuba Street with the Matterhorn in the foregront

Speaking of water, Wellington's natural setting on the edge of a deep harbor adds to its tremendous popularity. In fact, most residents live within 1.86 miles or 3 kilometers of the sea. Locals love their city, and they get a kick out of helping visitors fall in love with it, too. To hear them tell it, everyday life is straight forward without the hassle. Social networks and a strong community spirit are easily maintained, and people here feel safe. 

Wellington is also concentrated and compact: The central business district is just over 1 mile or 2 kilometres in diameter, so you can walk from one side to the other in about 20 minutes. The rest of the region is also easily accessible by road, rail and air. Daily commute times are short (30 minutes or less). The area also enjoys the best public transport infrastructure in New Zealand, which is why it’s also the most used - 30% of people here commute daily by bus or train, and then walk or cycle to work.

Wellington's Hillside with St. Gerard's Monastery Crisp Pitas and Spring Onion Relish from Matterhorn

You’ll find Wellington at “the bottom of the North” Island along the Cook Strait, and it’s that spot on the map that make it the world’s southernmost capital. Wellington is the proud home of many national treasures, including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. A contemporary museum that showcases country’s diverse art and visual culture, Te Papa's collections include wildlife, history and Māori culture. Wellington is also home to The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Nature and wildlife experiences are another major draw for the Wellington region. Zealandia, a sanctuary for endangered native birds and other New Zealand wildlife, is just minutes away from the city’s center. Along the 'Nature Coast' - north of Wellington - you’ll find Pukaha Mount Bruce, a conservation center where a rare white Kiwi bird made its appearance earlier this year. The coast is also home to Kapiti Island - an internationally-famed nature reserve where you can mingle with rare native birds. 

Sunrise, Mt. Victoria in WellingtonWellington Waterfront 

Back in the center of the city, you’ll find one of our favorite nods to the arts in this beautiful city - The Writer’s Walk. Here, you’ll discover 11 poems, cast in stone and paired with harbor views - each from the pens (and keyboards) of distinguished writers who, at some point, have called Wellington home. Katherine Mansfield, Robin Hyde, and Bruce Mason, are among the poets here whose words capture the true essence of this beautiful city. Here's one by Lauris Edmond that may inspire a locum tenens assignment nearby:

It's true you can't live here by chance, you have to do and be, not simply watch or even describe.
This is the city of action, the world headquarters of the verb.

Topics: Rugby World Cup 2011, Wellington, Bottom of the North, Wellywood, Matterhorn, The Writer's Walk

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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