Touring Australian Vineyards as a Locum Doctor

By , Melinda McCarthy published on 20/01/2021

A vineyard at sunset after a locum placement is about as "work-life balance" as you can get. If working as a locum doctor or GP empowers you to work when and where you want, why not combine that with the things you’re passionate about? And if that passion happens to be wine, Australia is the ideal place to start.    

Australia boasts some of the most remarkable wine regions on the planet, and as a doctor working in Australia, it’s entirely possible to tour these regions and vineyards in concert with your locum work. 

Wine Country

You’ll find them in a diversity of picturesque environments, taking you from the foot-hills of mountain ranges to fertile valleys interlaced with sparkling streams.

Locum work and wineries, or shall we say, locum-adjacent vineyards, can be found in south-western regions of Western Australia, many areas surrounding Adelaide in South Australia, several locations in Victoria and New South Wales, the ‘granite belt’ in Queensland and Tamar Valley in Tasmania; let’s just say you have an abundance of choices. 

We’ll now focus on four regions for wine connoisseurs to experience when working as a doctor in Australia.

Barossa Valley, South Australia 

Home to world-famous wines and award-winning blends, the Barossa Valley is considered to be one of the world’s premier wine regions due to its almost-perfect terroir.

The soil, climate, and earthy quality of the valley make for exceptional grape-growing conditions, meaning that the wines you sample here will be of superb quality. With over 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors dotting the area, you’re presented with a myriad of different vinos to sample, from a deep, full-bodied shiraz to a light rose, to the “liquid sunshine” of fortified wines.

With these bountiful vineyards being in close proximity to each other, it’s easy to hop from one to the next. To mitigate some health benefits, consider hiring a bicycle to ride through the picturesque rural lanes and rustic stone bridges at your own pace. 

There are two historic, heritage vineyards that are must-visits when locuming in the Barossa Valley

The first is Langmeil Winery, renowned for its Freedom Shiraz which has been created using the grapes of 160-year-old-vines. The other is Seppeltsfield Wines, founded in 1851 and still serving its iconic Para Port to this day.

Yarra Valley, Victoria

Victoria's Yarra Valley presents a wonderful variety of vineyards, boasting some of the oldest vines in Australia, with the earliest dating back to 1838.  

Just one hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, Yarra Valley is home to over 70 distinct wineries, where you’ll find some of Australia's best-known labels, including TarraWarra Estate and De Bortoli.

Sample the low-yielding pinot noir and shiraz of Badger’s Brook, explore Victoria’s first vineyard at Yering Station, or experience the established offerings of Coldstream Hills and Oakridge Wines. 

Many wineries in the region offer a full gastronomic experience, making use of the Yarra Valley’s local produce. Highly regarded are Domaine Chandon Winery and Restaurant Yarra Valley, as well as the Wine Bar Restaurant at Yering Station.

In fact, a number of highly-rated chefs have set up restaurants in the Yarra Valley; one of whom is Teage Ezard, who works his culinary magic at Levantine Hill. Chef Ezard has prepared an eight-course degustation menu that he calls Modern Australian: a mixture of fusion food coming together, a combination of those different flavours and cooking techniques on the one plate. When paired with the fine array of wines on offer, this is an unforgettable gastronomy experience.


Margaret River, Western Australia

Ever since the first commercial vineyard planting in the 1960s, Margaret River has grown into a premier wine destination with globally-renowned vignerons. More than 95 cellar doors await the discerning visitor amidst rustic farmland and charming coastlines.

Though Western Australia is sometimes overlooked when reeling off great Australian wine regions, more than 15 per cent of Australia's premium wines originate here. With well over 200 vineyards to visit, you'll be spoiled for choice as you scan the landscape for the perfect drop.

For something a bit different, Stella Bella Wines is small in size, but it takes a unique, creative take on traditional winemaking techniques, using a range of fine red varietals. The Leeuwin Estate is also famed for its red output, as well as its annual concert, which attracts thousands each year

Get a taste for more than just red vino by visiting the Wine Tourism Showroom at the Margaret River Visitor Centre and immerse yourself in the histories of these vineyards and their unique flavours.

In proximity to Margaret River are tall-timber forests, ancient caves, stunning beaches and top surf spots too if you'd like to balance your wine experiences with hikes and natural adventures.

WA Locums: If you are looking to combine travel, work, good food and wine, then Western Australia is locum destination for you. From Perth to Kalgoolie, Exmouth to Port Headland, Broome, Kununurra and Halls Creek, you'll need a week in the picturesque Margaret River region to unwind from your locum adventures.

Mudgee, New South Wales

Perched in the Central Ranges of NSW, the Mudgee wine region has a viticultural history that stretches all the way back to 1858.

The wineries that of the area produce a series of robust and deeply coloured red wines. Additionally, Mudgee is where a remarkable clone of Chardonnay lay unrecognised for over 50 years, which some believe may have been a descendant of the Chardonnay introduced to Australia in 1832 by James Busby.

Locum doctors touring NSW with a penchant for Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties will be spoilt for choice in the Mudgee region.

Sample some premium organic and biodynamic wines from the Lowe vineyard, or explore Mudgee’s oldest winery at Craigmoor Wines.

NSW Locums & Permanent GP Jobs: We have a number of locums and permanent vacancies in and around the Central Ranges of NSW. The VR GP role in Mudgee is our pick of the 'bunch'. With tremendous earning potential and career growth, if you are looking for a 'green change' this opportunity is worth a close look.


Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our 'Touring Aussie Vineyards' Series where we travel the length and breadth of Tasmania in search of a nice drop of Pinot Noir.

In the meantime, If you're a Doctor looking for GP Locum Jobs in Australia,  Browse more of our offerings here. 

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