Manawatu Wanganui: A Work-Life Balance Upgrade For GPs
Carving a broad swathe towards the bottom of New Zealand’s North Island, Manawatu-Wanganui encapsulates breath-taking landscapes and stunning natural beauty. It’s a region that supports alpine, forestry, and farming communities, and it’s within this very scenic part of the country that GPs and locum doctors are desperately needed.
Not only is this a great opportunity for doctors to broaden their skill set by practicing medicine in a new environment, it’s also a chance to experience a standard of work-life balance for doctors unmatched anywhere else in the world.
From east coast to west coast, the region encompasses beaches and large towns, with southern alluvial plains rising to volcanic plateaus and ski fields to the north. There are two major towns in this region: Palmerston North, a farming hub and university town, and the picturesque Wanganui which sits near the mouth of the Whanganui River.
The Whanganui River is the largest of three rivers that criss-cross the region; the other two being the Manawatu and Rangitikei Rivers. There are plenty of recreational adventures to be had on these rivers such as white water rafting, kayak safaris, fly fishing, jet boating, and of course commercial bungee jumping. The Whanganui River is accessible to larger boats, and river cruises in the warmer months on the ‘Waimarie’, a restored paddle steamer, are very popular.
The upper reaches of the Whanganui River and its remote and rugged surrounds are part of the Whanganui National Park. Steeped in Maori and early settler history, the park features the mysterious ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, a bridge surrounded by dense native bush with no roads to connect it—it is all that remains of Mangapurua, an isolated settlement that was abandoned in 1942. Photographers, motivated cyclists and hikers regularly tramp the deep forest to reach this scenic bridge, which is also accessible via river boat.
Tongariro National Park is the largest park in the Manawatu-Wanganui region, and is also New Zealand’s oldest park and a dual world heritage area. It is a place of spiritual and cultural significance to Maori and features three active volcanoes: Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ruapehu. It is both recreational playground and untamed wilderness, with alpine lakes, hot springs, cycling tracks and ski fields.
Apart from spending a day on one of the area’s many ski slopes, visitors can also traverse the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The crossing is a 7-8 hour alpine traverse that takes in stunning mountain views, pumice screes, alpine meadows, lunar-like landscapes and emerald lakes. For the less outgoing trekkers there are also numerous short scenic hikes, including the delightful Taranaki Falls loop walk.
Pureora Forest Park is simply a must for adventurous cyclists. The Timber Trail offers a two-day journey through ancient native trees, across rivers and over a swing bridge. Further south, there are numerous track options for hikers and cyclists along the Manawatu Gorge, as well as the unforgettable Whareama Coastal Walk.
The Manawatu-Wanganui region offers an astounding range of experiences and different outdoor activities to make your next locum doctor placement an unforgettable one.